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Globalization and the Environment:
International Agendas and Local Responses

FES 765B

Spring 2002

  • Amity Doolittle,
    Tel. 432-3660, 210 Prospect Street
    Office Hours: Thursdays 10:00-12:00
  • Lisa M. Curran,
  • McCluskey Fellow Aban Kabraji, IUCN Regional Director, Asia will also be participating in the course.

Films: Tuesday 8:00 pm Bowers Auditorium (open to public)

Lectures: Wednesday 5:00-6:30, Bowers Auditorium (open to public)

Discussions: Thursday 11:30 am-12:50 pm, 32 Sage (for course participants)

Class Policies

No Pass/Fail and No Auditors. The lectures and films are open to all, but the discussions and class participation will be capped at 25 in order to achieve the desired level of interaction in class discussion. Interested students should submit a paragraph to both Lisa Curran and Amity Doolittle explaining why to course is interesting or relevant to you. Preference will be given to second year masters students and doctoral students

Course Description

Globalization involves the integration of markets, nation-states and technologies at an increasingly rapid rate. But globalization has not only meant increased integration of the world’s economic systems; it has also influenced the way we think about the environment. Many people and nation-states, particularly those in the economically developed north, see environmental problems as international concerns. Many citizens, institutions and governments consider the environment as the common heritage of humankind. But not all governments and citizens of the world share this view, particularly in under-developed countries where people are struggling to obtain equitable access to valuable resources and to achieve a higher quality of life. In nations where they perceive that they are playing catch-up to global economic growth, governments and citizens may be willing to accept a certain level of environmental damage in exchange for economic well being.

Opponents of globalization come from many perspectives: some feel that uncontrolled economic growth fueled by free-trade harms the environment by causing more pollution and the exhaustion of natural resources. Others argue that the increasing global nature of environmental discourse privileges the epistemologies and views of northern academics, activists, corporations, and governments over southern academics, activists, corporations, and governments. Even others argue that indigenous technical knowledge about the environment and local control over natural resources is lost in international efforts to manage natural resources and promote economic development.

Proponents of globalization argue that new technologies and institutions of global governance will offer ways to balance the trade-off between environmental protection and economic development. Because globalization is occurring, it is more productive to explore ways to influence the shape of global environmental institutions and public discourse than simply to protest free trade without providing viable alternatives.

The main objective of this course is to introduce students to the issues, conflicts and the contradictions inherent in addressing issues of globalization and the environment. Our major emphasis will be to explore the perceived discrepancies between the North and the South over issues of natural resources use, governance and conservation. Invited speakers represent a range of disciplines (economists, lawyers, policy-makers, scientists and anthropologists) to provide students with a broad and interdisciplinary exposure to the diversity of views on the nature of globalization and its effects on the environment and local peoples.

Course Requirements and Grading:

No formal examinations are given in this course. Your performance will be evaluated by your class participation, three individual class presentations/reading summaries and a final submission of 4 essays on selected topics. Please submit all written assignments via email as Word attachments. Make sure to include you name and number pages on your work.

Attendance in class, completion of all readings and active participation in seminar discussions is expected (20% of final grade).

Each week, a small group of students will be responsible for preparing a short critical presentation of the readings. Students will be required to present 2 different weeks. The readings require careful consideration. Presenters should not summarize the readings but should explain central concepts and critique the strengths and weaknesses of the material. Presenters should offer questions to provoke seminar discussions. All participants will be responsible for three class presentations (30% of final grade).

Students will write brief (1-2 page, double spaced) weekly commentary on the readings. These commentaries will be circulated via email to the whole class one day prior to class. Each student should submit 3 commentaries to complete the course. These commentaries should be handed in on different weeks than you are presenting. (20% of final grade).

In the final essays, students will engage in four of the several suggested themes that will arise in the course surrounding the globalization of environmental.  Particular emphasis should be placed on the schism between the North and the South over the issue of globalization. The final essays (4) should be no longer than four pages each, 16 pages total (30% of final grade and weighted more heavily if substantial improvement is demonstrated over earlier work).


The following books are required readings and can be purchased at Book Haven on York Street.

Roy, Arundhati. Power Politics
Roy, Arundhati. The Cost of Living
Broad, Robin. Global Backlash: Citizens Initiatives for a Just World Economy  

Good Background (Optional) Readings

Cavanagh, John, et al. Alternatives to Economic Globalization (available at Book Haven)

Esty, Daniel and Maria Ivanova, eds. 2001. Global Environmental Governance (Call Jane Coppock 2-8980 to purchase)

All other readings can be purchased in a course pack from RIS, 155 Whitney Ave.

January 15th, Week One: Opening discussion;
key topics to be explored in course

SPEAKER: Curran/Doolittle/Kabraji


Broad, Robin, ed. 2002. Global Backlash: Citizen Initiatives for a Just World Economy. Rowman and Littlefield, Part I A Clash of Visions, pp. 1-60

Legrain, Philippe. 2002. Open World: The Truth about Globalization, Ch. 3, Ch 9, Ch. 13

Rosenberg, Tina. Globalization New York Times Magazine, August 18, 2002.

Micklethwait, J. and A. Wooldridge 2001. The Globalization Backlash Foreign Policy,Sept/Oct 16-26

Taylor, T. 2002. The Truth About Globalization The Public Interest Spring 2002, Volume 147.

Sarah Anderson, John Cavanaugh, and Thea Lee. Ten Myths About Globalization The Nation 269 (19): 26-7.

Roy, A 2001. Power Politics. Boston: South End Press.

Film in class: California Newsreel video Controlling Interest; The World of Multinational Corporations

January 21st: Films on the Globalization of Trade and the Environment Impacts

The Seattle Syndrome

Borderline Cases: Environmental Matters on the US-Mexico Border

Optional Readings to provide a good background to the films is:

Broad, Robin, ed. 2002. Global Backlash: Citizen Initiatives for a Just World Economy. Part III Realigning Trade Rules, Pp. 117-172

January 22nd, Week Two: Common but Differentiated Responsibilities:
the Case of the UN Framework Climate Convention

SPEAKER: Donald Goldberg, Senior Attorney, Climate Change, Center for International and Environmental Law, Washington, DC

P. Sunderarajan. October 13, 2002. Why Should We Do More to Cut Greenhouse Gases?, The Hindu. (Reprinted in YaleGlobal Online).

Check out the Center for International Environmental Law website for information on Climate Change.

Poverty and Climate Change: Reducing the Vulnerability of the Poor. October 2002. Discussion Document Prepared for the Eighth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

J. Morgan and S. Porter. 1999. Compliance Institutions for the Kyoto Protocol: A Joint CIEL/WWF Proposal. A Discussion Draft Prepared for the Fifth Conference of the Parties, October 25, 1999.

Broad, Robin, ed. 2002. Global Backlash: Citizen Initiatives for a Just World Economy. Part II The Historical Context, Pp 65-116.

January 29th, Week Three: Mobilizing Science for Sustainable Energy Systems

SPEAKER: Jeffrey Sachs, Executive Director of the Earth Institute, Columbia University


N. Nakicenovic, et al., Energy primer; In Climate Change 1995: Impacts, Adaptations and Mitigations of Climate Change - Scientific and Technical Analysis; Contribution of Working Group II to the Second Assessment Report of the IPCC. 1996, International Panel on Climate Change: Verdana, Arial, Switzerland.

W.C. Turkenburg, Chapter 7: Renewable Energy Technologies, in World Energy Assessment. 2000, UNDP: New York, NY. p. 219-272.

Overview: energy and the challenge of sustainability, in World Energy Assessment. 2000, UNDP: New York, NY. p. 1-28.

February 4th Film: Rum Business: Conservation, Tourism, and the Bedouin of Wadi Rum

February 5th Week Four: Oil, Conservation, Sustainable Livelihoods in Pastoral Peoples in the Middle East

SPEAKER: Dawn Chatty, Deputy Director of the Refugee Studies Centre, Professor or Social Anthropology, Oxford University, England


Titus Moser. 2001 MNCs and Sustainable Business Practice: The Case of the Columbian and Peruvian Petroleum Industries World Development 29 (2): 291-309.

Rival, Laura 1997. Oil and sustainable Development in the Latin American Humid Topics  Anthropology Today 13(6) 

Chatty, Dawn 1998. Enclosures and Exclusions: Conserving Wildlife in the Pastoral Areas of the Middle East Anthropology Today 14(4).

Chatty, Dawn and Marcus Colchester. 2002. Conservation and Mobile Indigenous Peoples: Displacement, Forced Settlement and Sustainable Development in Displacement, Forced Settlement and Conservation, ed. Chatty and Colchester. Oxford: Berghahn 2002. 

February 11th Film: Trinket and Beads

February 12th, Week Five: Mining the Frontier Forests of El Dorado:
Local Realities, TNCs and the quest for Sustainable Forest Management in the Guiana Shield.

SPEAKER: Janette Forte, Senior Social Scientist, Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development


Forte, Janette. 1996. Barama River Caribs: Between the Rainforest and the World System, in Thinking about Amerindians, ed. Janette Forte. Georgetown, Guyana.

Mayers, James and Stephen Bass. 1999. Forests, people and power the scene, the players and the drama, in Policy that works for forests and people, 9-28. International Institute for Environment and Development.

Sizer, Nigel and Dominiek Plouvier. 2000. Increased Investment and Trade by Transnational Logging Companies in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific: Implications for the Sustainable Management and Conservation of Tropical Forests. A joint report by WWF Belgium, World Resources Institute’s Forest Frontiers Initiative.

Thomas, Clive. 2000. Globalisation as Paradigm Shift: Response from the South, in Globalisation, A Calculus of Inequality: Perspectives from the South, eds. Denis Benn and Kenneth Hall. Ian Randle Publishers.

Broad, Robin, ed. 2002. Global Backlash: Citizen Initiatives for a Just World Economy, Part IV, Challenging Corporate Conduct (especially sections 4.7 and 4.8), Pp. 173-228.

February 18th Film: Since the Company Came

February 19th, Week Six: Rethinking the Global’:
Environmental Conflict within Tanzania’s Mafia Island Marine Park.

SPEAKER: Christine Walley, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Gibson-Graham, J.K. 1996. Querying Globalization, Rethinking Marxism Vol. 9, No. 1 1996/7: 1-27.

Cooper, Fredrick. 2001. What is the Concept of Globalization Good for? An African Historian’s Perspective, African Affairs 100: 189-213.

Yamin, Frahana. 1995. Biodiversity, Ethics, and International Law International Affairs 71(3): 529-546.

February 26th, Week Seven: No Lecture since we go into readings week.

Please read: Cavanaugh, J. et. al. 2002.Chapter Two Ten Core Principles for Sustainable Societies Pp 56-78 in Alternatives to Economic Globalization. Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc., San Fransisco.

March 5th, Week Eight: The New Views on Environmental Governance

SPEAKER: Ann Florini, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution, Washington DC


Hammond, Allen and Jonathan Lash. 2000. “Cyber-Activism: The Rise of Civil Accountability and Its Consequences for Governance,” IMP: information impacts magazine, May 2000. 

Heal, Geoffrey. 1999. “New Strategies for the Provision of Global Public Goods:  Learning from International Environmental Challenges,” Pp. 220-239 in Inge Kaul, Isabelle Grunberg, and Marc A. Stern, eds., Global Public Goods: International Cooperation in the 21st Century. New York: Oxford University Press for the United Nations Development Programme.

McDonough,William and Michael Braungart. 1998. “The NEXT Industrial Revolution,” Atlantic Monthly, October 1998.

Petkova, Elena and Peter Veit. 2000. “Environmental Accountability beyond the Nation-State: The Implications of the Aarhus Convention,” Environmental Governance Note. Washington, DC: World Resources Institute.

March 25th Film: Banking on Disaster

March 26th: Week Nine:
Indigenous Lands and Tropical Forest Conservation in the Era of Globalization .

SPEAKER: Stephan Schwartzman, Anthropologist, Environmental Defense


Schwartzman, S, A. Moreira, and D. Nepstad. 2000. Rethinking Tropical Forest Conservation: Perils in Parks. Conservation Biology14 (5): 1351-57

Terborgh, J. 2000. The Fate of Topical Forests: A Matter of Stewardship. Conservation Biology14 (5): 1358-61

Schwartzman, S, and D. Nepstad, A. Moreira.202. Arguing Tropical Forest Conservation: People Versus Parks. Conservation Biology14 (5): 1370-4

Wilshusen, P. et al. 2002 Reinventing a Square Wheel: Critique of a Resurgent Protection Paradigm’ in International Biodiversity Conservation. Society and Natural Resources 15: 17-40

Brechin, et al. 2002 Beyond the Square Wheel: Toward a More Comprehensive Understanding of Biodiversity Conservation as a Social and Political Process. Society and Natural Resources 15: 41-64.

Additional Readings:

Schwartzman, S. 1999. Forests under siege: lessons from the past, proposals for the future, pp. 409 - 420 in Annals of the Third International Conference on Environmental Law: The legal protection of tropical forests, Antonio Herman Benjamin, ed., Ministerio Publico do Estado de Sao Paulo, SP.

April 2nd, Week Ten: Fields of the Future:
Under what Local and Global Conditions can Genetic Engineering Contribute to Sustainable Agriculture?

SPEAKER: Don Doering, Senior Associate, Management Institute for Environment and Business, World Resources Institute


Weil, Alain. 2001. The Future of Trangenic Plants in Developing Countries. Cellular and Molecular Biology 47 (8): 1:12.

Biotechnology in Crops: Issues for the Developing World Compiled by Laura Spinney for Oxfam GB

Altieri, Miguel. 2001. The Ecological Impacts of Agricultural Biotechnology.

Doering, Don. 2002. Will the Marketplace See the Sustainable Forest for the Transgenic Trees? Draft manuscript for World Resources Institute.

Victor, David and Ford Runge. 2002. Sustaining a Revolution: A Policy Strategy for Crop Engineering. A paper based on a Council on Foreign Relations Study Group.

April 8th Film: Namada: A Valley Rises

April 9th, Week Eleven, North-South Consensus Building on Hydro-Power

SPEAKER: Navroz Dubash, Senior Associate, Institutions and Governance, World Resources Institute


Finnemore, Martha and Kathryn Sikkink, International Norm Dynamics and Political Change, International Organization 52, 4, Autumn 1998, pp. 887-917.

Dubash, Navroz K., Mairi Dupar, Smitu Kothari, and Tundu Lissu, A Watershed in Global Governance:  An Independent Assessment of the World Commission on Dams, 2001 Washington DC: WRI, LEAT and Lokayan. Also available in summary for at

McCully, Patrick. 1996. Wise Use of Watersheds, Pp. 188-216 and Industry Applies, Man Conforms: The Political Economy of Damming, Pp. 236-280 in Silenced Rivers: The Ecology and Politics of Large Dams. Zed Press: London.

Roy, Arundhati 1999. The Greater Common Good, Pp. 1-90 in The Cost of Living. Modern Library: New York.

Also look at for case studies and thematic reviews generated by the World Commission on Dams.

Broad, Robin, ed. 2002. Global Backlash: Citizen Initiatives for a Just World Economy, Section 5.4, The Cochabamba Declaration on Water. Pp 273 and Section 2.7 We Were to be Sacrificed: Indigenous Peoples and Dams, Pp. 103-105.

April 15th Film: Seeds of Plenty; Seeds of Sorrow

April 16th, Week Twelve: Is Agriculture the Enemy of Nature?
Agro-Food Globalization and the Worldwide Farmers’ Movement for Agroecology

SPEAKER: Kathleen McAfee, Assistant Professor of Social Ecology and Community Development, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies


Intermediate Technology Development Group. 2002. Sustaining Agricultural Biodiversity. http: //www.itdg.org/html/advocacy/sab.htm 

Magdoff, Fred, John Bellamy Foster, and Frederick Buttel (eds.). 2000. An overview Pp 7-21 in Magdoff, Fred, J.B. Foster and Frederick Buttel (eds). Hungry for Profit, Monthly Review Press: New York.

Uphoff, Norman (ed) 2002. Agroecological Innovations: Increasing Food Production with Participatory Development. London: Earthscan. Chapter 1.

Broad, Robin, ed. 2002. Global Backlash: Citizen Initiatives for a Just World Economy, Section 5.2 Bringing the Food Economy Back in: The Social, Ecological and Economic Benefits to Local Foods, Pp. 262-265.

Additional Readings:

Altieri, Miguel. 2000. “Ecological impacts of industrial agriculture and the possibilities for truly sustainable farming.”   Chapter 4 in Magdoff, Fred, J.B. Foster and Frederick Buttel (eds). Hungry for Profit, Monthly Review Press: New York.

Crouch, Martha. 2000. From golden rice to terminator technology: Why agricultural biotechnology will not feed the world or save the environment.” in Tokar, Brian (ed) Redesigning Life? The Worldwide Challenge to Genetic Engineering. Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press.

April 23rd, Week Thirteen: The New Thrilla’ in Manila:
Peasants Fighting Against Bioengineering

SPEAKER: David Frossard, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Colorado School of Mines


Frossard, David. Forthcoming. In Field or Freezer?: Some Thoughts on Genetic-Diversity Maintenance in Rice in Biodiversity and Society in Southeast Asia: Case Studies of the Interface between Nature and Culture, ed. Dove, Sajise and Doolittle.

Shiva, Vandana and Tom Crompton. 2000. The Changing Nature of Seed: From Public to Provate Property, Pp. 1-25 in Seeds of Suicide: The Ecological and Human Costs of Globalisation of Agriculture,ed. V. Shiva, et al. New Delhi: Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology.

Shiva, Vandana. 1995. Biotechnology Development and the Conservation of Biodiversity, in Biopolitics: A Feminist and Ecological Reader on Biotechnology, ed. V. Shiva and I. Moser. Zed Books: New Jersey.

Broad, Robin, ed. 2002. Global Backlash: Citizen Initiatives for a Just World Economy, Part V: Rolling Back Globalization, Pp 293-295.

April 30th, Week Fourteen: Golden Rice -
The Numerous Hurdles of a Humanitarian GMO-project

SPEAKER: Ingo Potrykus, Professor of Plant Sciences, specifically of Biotechnology of Plants, at the Institute of Plant Sciences, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich)

Potrykus, Ingo. 2000. Draft Press Release: Golden Rice. April 13, 2000.

Potrykus, Ingo. nd. Golden Rice and the Greenpeace Dilemma.

Anon. 1999. Golden Rice Rockefeller Press Release

Potrykus, Ingo 2001. Letter to from Potrykus to Doug Parr at Greenpeace. January 22, 2001.

Russell. R. nd. How much Golden Rice has a child to Eat to Defeat Vitamin A-Deficiency Disorder? USDA Human Nutrition Research Center, Boston.

Lucca, P., R. Hurrell and I. Potrykus. 2001. Genetic Engineering Approaches to Improve the Bioavailability and the Level of Iron in Rice. Theory and Applied Genetics 102: 392-397.

Potrykus, Ingo. nd. Open Letter to Hope Shand and the RAFI in response to their Press Release on Golden Rice’ from October 13.

Qaim, Matin. 2001. Transgenic Crops and Developing Countries. Draft ms for Economic and Political Weekly, August 11, 2001: 3064-3070.

Zimmermann, R. and Matin Qaim. 2002 Projecting the Benefits of Golden Rice in the Philippines. Paper presented at the 6th ICABR Conference on Agricultural Biotechnologies: New Avenues for Production, Consumption and technology Transfer in Ravello, Italy July 11-14, 2002.

Websites for background information:

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