Skip to content | Change text size

ENV430E - Wilderness Studies in Social and Sacred Ecology

12 points, SCA Band 2, 0.250 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: TBA


Not offered in 2007


This unit explores the relationships between the participants and the many habitats of a country place in Victoria. The experience of being in wilderness and in community for 10 days is used to bring the meaning of social and sacred ecology alive. It emphasizes the multi-dimensional human connection to nature - affective, cognitive and behavioural, and compares and contrasts eurocentric and indigenous understandings of the natural world. In this context, the contested nature of the term 'wilderness' and divergent notions of the sacred will be explored.


Students who successfully complete this unit will:

  1. Develop an understanding of the physical and social ecology of a particular place in nature, integrating their academic learning with the experience of natural environments.
  2. Acquire an understanding of the impact of various human activities on the region's ecosystem and social fabric.
  3. Examine the issues of appropriate technology for engaging with nature.
  4. Explore the meaning of 'sacred' in a natural environment, and examine contrasts between eurocentric perspectives on 'wilderness' and indigenous understandings of 'country'.
  5. Deepen their understanding of personal nature connections and their role in personal review and development as a consequence.
  6. Work more deeply with the challenges of community development and the meaning of living a sustainable social ecology.
  7. Develop capacities for regenerating partnership between humans and the rest of nature, and explore outcomes for how participants live and work in
  1. Enhance their skill of presenting both orally and in writing reasoned arguments about the dialectic between social and sacred as experienced in a natural environment.


2000 word report: 22%
Oral presentation: 16%
Short essay of 1500 words: 17%
Journal of 1000 words: 11%
2 practical essays (1000 and 2000 words): 34%

Contact hours

3 x 2 hour orientation seminars, 10 day wilderness field trip, and 3 x 2 hour follow up classes.


None. However students are encouraged to take Environmental Psychology (ENV431E) or Sacred Ecology-Social Ecology (ENV427E).