We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2021/2022

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: Anthropology

ANTH49715: Climate and Energy - Intensive Study

Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2021/22


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To introduce current research status on climate change
  • To introduce a broad range of energy technologies and their implications for climate and sustainability. This may include: Heat, Electricity, conventional and unconventional Fossil Fuels, Hydrogen (precise content may vary according to current research activities)
  • To enable students to consider energy and society through time, from energy histories to energy futures
  • To explore global geo-histories of energy and energy transitions using archaeologies and histories of energy To explore the socio-politics of energy today from a variety of perspectives, including social, political, economic, and the use of energy in global geopolitics'


  • The module offers an overview of current issues in climate and energy, with the emphasis on energy and sustainability. It includes a rapid updating on key energy technologies and infrastructures, to ensure that students have a basic understanding of their workings and implications. Further analytical strategies are discussed using historical and social science approaches, with an emphasis on political economies of energy and infrastructure studies.
  • This module takes a broadly socio-technical approach to energy technology, which includes socio-technical analysis, sociological and anthropological perspectives, addressing social, political, policy, economic, scientific and technological challenges facing societies today, their interconnections in global energy and climate change contexts, and the specific challenges in particular societies to address potentials for sustainable energy.
  • Assessment is in two parts, beginning with a formative annotated bibliography that will provide the basis for the essay. Students recruited from engineering and/or sciences may have limited experience of essay-based assessment, and guidance will be integrated into the teaching to focus on study and communication skills. Students will be required to produce interim outlines for formative assessment.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • an advanced overview of the global history of energy transitions and climate
  • an advanced overview of the socio-cultural context of energy processes and challenges
  • an advanced overview of the socio-technical implications of different energy sources, management regimes and technologies
  • a detailed understanding of the technical and non-technological implications of a chosen energy technology/fuel, its infrastructures, climate implications and transition potential.
  • an understanding of the methodologies available to analyse energy and society
Subject-specific Skills:
  • to identify historical trajectories of energy technologies
  • to employ a range of theoretical approaches to understanding energy and society and the user-interface
  • to identify potential uses of energy in social, political and economic contexts, including gender dimensions
  • to analyse potential impacts of energy developments and evaluate the arguments around particular energy debates
  • to identify, evaluate and employ sources for further research and analysis of energy debates
Key Skills:
  • to demonstrate knowledge of energy in comparative human history
  • to demonstrate an ability to pursue further research on the socio-historical and contemporary implications of changing energy practices in an interdisciplinary framework
  • to demonstrate an ability to construct argument critically for both oral and written presentation from different sources of material.
  • to use sophisticated techniques of information retrieval and management using an array of print and digital resources.
  • to formulate complex arguments in articulate and structured English, within the discursive conventions and genres of academic writing and written to high academic standard

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Module delivery will employ a combination of preparatory directed reading, a 5 day intensive learning event and a period of further guided reading, reflection and essay writing. Introductory reading and teaching material will be made available through the online learning environment for student-led learning, with one tutorial/seminar to support the assessment. A one-hour preparatory tutorial will be held prior to the intensive teaching week, and a subsequent two-hour tutorial will focus on assessment.
  • Students will be assessed through an essay on an agreed topic (ie led by the student with tutor guidance).

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Preparation and Reading 40
Tutorials 2 1 or 2 hours 3
Intensive teaching and learning event 1 5 days 30
Follow-up reading and essay preparation 78
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 3000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Annotated bibliography (1000 words).

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University