Teaching & Supervision

Courses 2022-2023

ENSC 430: Honours Projects in Environmental Sustainability

This course is a capstone experience for ENVS and ENSC majors. It incorporates many of the issues and concepts you have been exposed to in Environmental Studies and requires you to apply knowledge and methods you have learned in other courses toward a ‘real world’ case study. The case study for the 2022/23 year is climate change and cities. We will explore what cities around the world are doing to mitigate and adapt to climate change and students will work in small groups to develop proposals for the City of Kingston (or other entities within the city, such as Queen’s) to consider adopting. The fall term includes a series of lectures and in-class activities to help you find a team and develop a project idea. The Winter term primarily involves small group work (there will be some meetings of the whole class to share progress reports).  

PREREQUISITE Level 4 and registration in an ENSC Major, ENVS Medial, EBIO, ECHM, EGEO, EGPY, ELSC or ETOX Plan or permission of the School.

DEVS 492: Economy and the Environment in the Global South

It has been 50 years since The Limits to Growth, a report from the Club of Rome, first sounded the warning that a relentless pursuit of economic growth would result in ecological overshoot and a collapse in global human welfare. Although many of the report’s predictions have proven to be accurate, the relationship between economic growth and environmental sustainability remains a subject of intense debate. The concept of sustainable development that emerged in the late 1980s, in an effort to reconcile the two, has since been joined by related notions of green growth and a green economy. At the same time, there has been a resurgence of interest in limits (framed now as “planetary boundaries”). Degrowth and “doughnut economics” are growing in popularity in certain parts of the Global North, while philosophies like buen vivir are inspiring social movements in the Global South. In addition to addressing economic growth, this course will also look at the relationship between environmental sustainability and economic inequality (both within and between nations). In particular, we will examine proposals for a Global Green New Deal which aim to simultaneously address the climate emergency and improve the lives of the world’s poorest and most marginalised.

Note:  Taught concurrently with DEVS 8XX/3.0.
Learning Hours: 120 (36L;84P)
Prerequisites: Level 4 and registration in the DEVS Major or Medial Plan and (DEVS 300/3.0 or DEVS 340/3.0) or permission of the Department.

DEVS 365: Trade and Investment in the Global South

As we enter the third decade of the 21st century, the future of globalization is highly uncertain. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the fragility of global supply chains for everything from medical equipment to basic food supplies and has led many to argue that countries need to be more self-sufficient. But even before the pandemic hit, there was trouble brewing. The turn to more mercantilist policies by President Trump brought the term “trade war” back into vogue and the “rules-based” order for trade and investment into crisis. In this course, students will examine this shifting landscape and what it means in a development context. Would the breakdown of the World Trade Organization (WTO) benefit or hurt countries in the Global South? What does the regionalization of trade rules mean for the “development agenda”? Students will also critically assess alternatives to the current system, with a focus on fair trade. Finally, the course will address the intersection between global trade and investment and the climate crisis.

Learning Hours: 120 (36L;84P)


Examples of Relevant Topic Areas

  • The role of the state in a transition to a green economy
  • Critical examinations of green economy/green growth policies and projects
  • Explorations of alternative economic and development paradigms such as Buen Vivir and degrowth
  • Understanding employment in the green economy, including initiatives that would be needed to maintain full employment without growth (e.g. shorter working week, job sharing)
  • Just transitions
  • Fossil fuel subsidies and divestment
  • The role of global economic institutions (e.g. G20, OECD) in environmental governance
  • Trade and foreign investment agreements and the environment
  • Corporate power in global environmental politics

I am not currently accepting PhD applications on any other topics. I may consider Master of Environmental Studies (MES) and MA (Global Development Studies) applications on relevant topic areas (see below). Please note that I receive a large volume of requests and unfortunately I cannot respond to them all. Please do not contact me unless you are planning to do qualitative social science research. I do not have a ‘lab’ and I am not an appropriate advisor for environmental engineers, chemists, biologists etc. Please also note that there are very limited funding opportunities for international students and I do not have funding to cover international student fees.