Knowing Nature

Subject MULT10007 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 1 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Two 1-hour lectures and one 1-hour tutorial per week. The subject will also run optional screenings throughout the semester.
Total Time Commitment: 3 contact hours per week , 5 additional hours per week. Total of 8 hours per week.
Prerequisites: none
Corequisites: none
Recommended Background Knowledge: none
Non Allowed Subjects: none
Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this course are articulated in the Course Description, Course Objectives and Generic Skills of this entry.

The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Dr Monica Minnegal


Monica Minnegal

Subject Overview:

This subject introduces students to different ways that humans come to know and think about the natural world, understand their place in relation to that world, and define what they mean by Nature. Current debates over the need to protect species biodiversity, ensure sustainability of ecosystems and conserve or restore landscapes will be focal. The subject draws on contributions from Anthropology, Geography and History and Philosophy of Science to locate contemporary scientific understandings of the natural world alongside ways nature has been understood in the past and within different cultures. By questioning the idea of Nature itself, in a world where people can change not just the genetics of organisms but the climate of the globe, the subject addresses the possibilities of a future that may be not merely post-Nature but post-human.

  • To introduce students to multi-disciplinary approaches to investigating and understanding the natural world
  • To enable students to develop a sound grasp of basic concepts and approaches to the study of nature
  • To introduce students to cross-cultural approaches to nature through scientific, social, political, cultural and philosophical perspectives
  • To develop students ability to understand and analyse current debates about the evolving relationship between humans and nature
  1. One essay of 800 words (20%) due early in semester.
  2. One essay or tutorial assignment of 1200 words (30%) due by end of semester.
  3. A two-hour examination (50%) in the examination period.

Students must attend a minimum of nine tutorials, demonstrate familiarity with online resources and participate in the Faculty of Arts online learning community in order to qualify to have their written work assessed.

Prescribed Texts: A subject reader will be available.
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • Think critically, and organize knowledge from a consideration of lecture material
  • Improve problem-solving skills during tutorial classes
  • Develop analytic skills through participation in tutorial exercises
  • Develop abilities to work as a team member
  • Feel confident about tackling unfamiliar problems
  • Improve skills in written and verbal communication
  • Effectively use the library and research support services
  • Enhance the capacity to plan schedules and meet deadlines
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Environmental Studies
History && Philosophy of Science
History and Philosophy of Science
History and Philosophy of Science
History and Philosophy of Science Major
Interdisciplinary Foundation Subjects

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