Africa: Environment, Development, People

Subject GEOG30024 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2014:

Semester 2, 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: one 2-hour lecture & one 1-hour tutorial per week
Total Time Commitment: Not available

50 points of first, second or third year geography/anthropology/development studies/politics/planning/environments subjects or approval of the subject coordinator.

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects:
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Objectives, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student’s participation in the University’s programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and the Disability Liaison Unit:


Assoc Prof Simon Batterbury


Melbourne School of Land & Environment Student Centre
Ground Floor, Melbourne School of Land & Environment (building 142)

Phone: 13 MELB (13 6352)

Subject Overview:

This subject introduces students to the physical environment, history and development challenges facing contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa. Students will examine in detail intellectual and ethical debates surrounding the strategies undertaken by postcolonial African states and the overseas development “industry” to tackle poverty, inequality, environmental change and the colonial legacy. Students will consider how Africa’s problems are portrayed and understood by the rest of the world. Topics may include: the physical environment and competing understandings of environmental change; the history and governance of the continent; regional case studies (West Africa and the D.R. Congo); agrarian transformations and rural livelihoods; development projects and rise of the NGO; military conflict and mineral wealth; hunger, famine, and the controversies of the relief industry; forestry; wildlife conservation; and urban geographies.

Learning Outcomes:

To provide broad understanding of environmental, social and development issues in Africa.


Submission totalling 4000 words comprising of book reviews or reading assignments of 1000 words 25% (due mid-semester), an open essay of 2000 words 50% (due end of semester), a class test 20% (at the end of semester) and tutorial attendance and participation 5%.

Prescribed Texts: None
Recommended Texts:

Stock R. 2012. Africa south of the Sahara: a geographical interpretation. Guilford Press.

Moseley, W.G. (ed.) 2011. Taking Sides: Clashing Views on African Issues. McGraw-Hill.

Binns A, A.Dixon and E.Nel. 2012. Africa:Diversity and Development. Routledge.

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:
  • Understand contemporary challenges facing Africans in their historical, political, and environmental context.
  • Be able to conduct independent research on African topics, using a variety of media.
  • Be able to exercise critical judgement in written assignments and tutorial discussion.

Students who have completed 121-494 Africa: Environment, Development, People may not enrol in this subject.

Students enrolled in the BSc (pre-2008 degree), or a combined BSc course (except for the BA/BSc) will receive science credit for the completion of this subject.

Related Course(s): Master of Science (Geography)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Development Studies
Development Studies Major
Environmental Geographies, Politics and Cultures major
Environmental Studies
Environments Discipline subjects
Geography Major
Science credit subjects* for pre-2008 BSc, BASc and combined degree science courses
Science-credited subjects - new generation B-SCI and B-ENG.
Selective subjects for B-BMED

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