Collage of tractors in the field, Machu Pechu, a dam, Rio de Janero

This is a course for students interested in learning about relationships between environment and development in S. America. We will explore the complexity of development practices and efforts to govern natural resource extraction and use, and how relationships between development and the environment shape the way we think of S. America and its “place” in the world. We will use approaches from development geography, political ecology, and Latin American studies coupled with case studies, documentary film, and a series of guest speakers to learn about how development “works” in S. America. 

The course will expose you to theoretical and applied approaches to development. By the end of this course, you will gain a better understanding of development practices and the different opportunities and challenges that it presents in S. America. Instead of thinking of S. America as a homogenous region, we will focus on the ways development creates distinct places tied to the local environments and social responses to how development takes place “on the ground”. In that way the course asks you to think about how development can simultaneously be a process that may intend to improve peoples’ livelihoods and increase economic well-being, while also creating socio-economic inequality, environmental injustices, and conflict.    

The course is organized around a series of issues that will take us around the continent as we consider the relationship between the environment and development.