Courses & Units

Political Ecologies of Development KGA308

Please contact the unit coordinator, Aidan (, if you have any queries, including about pre-requisites. Overseas exchange students have made important contributions to the unit in the past and are very welcome.


Political ecology is a diverse area of study, professional practice and activism that integrates the pursuit of justice, sustainability and development. Political ecology builds intellectual and emotional clarity by unearthing root causes of environmental problems and guiding transformative actions to address them. Analysing nature and society as one system and employing case studies from around the world, you will: investigate environmental concerns through a focus on unequal social power; examine the interplay of political and economic processes in relation to food, water and energy resources; unpack global power relations between ‘high consumption' (minority world) and 'low consumption' (majority world) societies; and chart actionable paths towards sustainable, equitable and decent futures. The skills of inquiry and knowledge you develop are applicable to careers in government, the private sector and civil society at the intersection of development and environment concerns at scales from the local to the global.


Unit name Political Ecologies of Development
Unit code KGA308
Credit points 12.5
College/School College of Sciences and Engineering
School of Geography, Planning, and Spatial Sciences
Discipline Geography, Planning, and Spatial Sciences
Coordinator Associate Professor Aidan Davison
Available as an elective? Yes
Delivered By University of Tasmania
Level Advanced


Location Study period Attendance options Available to
Hobart Semester 2 On-Campus International Domestic
Online Semester 2 Off-Campus International Domestic


International students
Domestic students

Please check that your computer meets the minimum System Requirements if you are attending via Distance/Off-Campus.

Units are offered in attending mode unless otherwise indicated (that is attendance is required at the campus identified). A unit identified as offered by distance, that is there is no requirement for attendance, is identified with a nominal enrolment campus. A unit offered to both attending students and by distance from the same campus is identified as having both modes of study.

Key Dates

Study Period Start date Census date WW date End date
Semester 2 22/7/2024 16/8/2024 9/9/2024 27/10/2024

* The Final WW Date is the final date from which you can withdraw from the unit without academic penalty, however you will still incur a financial liability (refer to How do I withdraw from a unit? for more information).

Unit census dates currently displaying for 2024 are indicative and subject to change. Finalised census dates for 2024 will be available from the 1st October 2023. Note census date cutoff is 11.59pm AEST (AEDT during October to March).

About Census Dates

Learning Outcomes

  • apply political ecology analysis of social power in environmental systems to develop integrated, evidence-based knowledge about justice, sustainability and development;
  • investigate the political ecology of energy, food and water resources in diverse places and across scales to identify root problems and transformative paths towards just and sustainable forms of development;
  • communicate political ecology insights through critical, reflective, dialogical, creative, persuasive and ethical forms of academic and professional writing and speaking.

Fee Information

Field of Education Commencing Student Contribution 1,3 Grandfathered Student Contribution 1,3 Approved Pathway Course Student Contribution 2,3 Domestic Full Fee 4
090309 $2,040.00 $957.00 not applicable $2,324.00

1 Please refer to more information on student contribution amounts.
2 Please refer to more information on eligibility and Approved Pathway courses.
3 Please refer to more information on eligibility for HECS-HELP.
4 Please refer to more information on eligibility for FEE-HELP.

If you have any questions in relation to the fees, please contact UConnect or more information is available on StudyAssist.

Please note: international students should refer to What is an indicative Fee? to get an indicative course cost.



One Unit (12.5%) KGA Level 200 OR Two Units (25%) Level 200 in Asian Studies, Ecology and Biological Sciences, Economics, English, Fine and Performing Arts, History, International Relations, Law, Management, Politics and Public Policy, Psychology, Sociology and Social Work


Teaching Pattern

40 minute recorded talk (via MyLO), 75 minute seminar and 50 minute tutorial weekly, for all students.


AssessmentAT3: Take-Home Examination (25%)|AT2: Investigative Essay (35%)|AT1: Critical Inquiry Portfolio (40%)
TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable



The core of your learning in KGA308 is a required reading program, listed in a table in MyLO. The effort it takes will reward you. The program prepares you for seminars, tutorials and assessment tasks. Readings range from 20-40 pages a week and are 1/3 of the unit workload, or 3 hours a week. Read ONLY the pages indicated (some extracts are parts of chapters).

Why read?

From Week 2 onwards, readings are to be completed before seminars and tutorials (i.e., complete Week 2 readings before Week 2 classes). This pre-reading forms the basis for critical inquiry assignments, seminar and tutorial materials and discussions, and the exam.

Pre-readings are chosen to promote inquiry-based learning and be diverse in length, difficulty, perspective, authorship, style, and focus. Readings you find unfamiliar, difficult, or even objectional may benefit your learning the most. In this interdisciplinary unit, you are not expected to accumulate jargon – translate discipline-specific content of readings into terms that make sense to the focus of your degree, career, and aspirations.

How do I access readings?

Links to electronic copies of readings are provided in the weekly instructions in MyLO ‘Content’. You can also access readings via the Library Reading List

Note that if a reading is from part of a whole e-book held by the library it will be under the ‘Text’ tab of the Library Reading List: all other readings will be under the ‘Reading’ tab.


There is no required textbook. This text is recommended and available as an e-book in the library: Robbins, P. 2020. Political Ecology: A Critical Introduction, 3rd edn. Malden: Wiley Blackwell.

The UTas library holds many other relevant e-journals and ebooks.

LinksBooktopia textbook finder

The University reserves the right to amend or remove courses and unit availabilities, as appropriate.