Universität Wien FIND

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240064 VO+UE VM1 / VM3 - Intersectionality, climate change and human rights (2021S)

Continuous assessment of course work


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first serve).


max. 25 participants
Language: German


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

The course starts online and depending on Covid-regulations will change to face-to-face teaching.

Monday 08.03. 11:30 - 14:45 Digital
Monday 22.03. 11:30 - 14:45 Digital
Monday 19.04. 11:30 - 14:45 Digital
Monday 03.05. 11:30 - 14:45 Digital
Monday 17.05. 11:30 - 14:45 Digital
Monday 07.06. 11:30 - 14:45 Digital
Seminarraum 6, Kolingasse 14-16, EG00
Monday 21.06. 11:30 - 14:45 Digital
Seminarraum 6, Kolingasse 14-16, EG00


Aims, contents and method of the course

Both the causes and the effects of climate change are closely linked to intersectional processes and structures of inequality, exclusion and marginalization. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found in a recent assessment that "risks are unevenly distributed and are generally greater for disadvantaged people and communities in countries at all levels of development." UN human rights institutions have discussed these unequal effects of climate change as a growing problem for the human rights of the individuals and communities concerned. For example, the UN Human Rights Council has repeatedly expressed concern that climate change interacts with complex and intersectional forms of discrimination, inequality and structural and social dynamics. This also exacerbates unequal power relations and jeopardizes access to rights for those affected, for example for people who have to migrate in the context of climate change.

The aim of the course is to address and analyze the complex causes and impact of climate change from a human rights perspective. The concept of intersectionality is used as a central analytical approach during the course in order to be able to grasp the multi-layered, interacting dimensions of exclusions and inclusions discernible in the context of climate change and human rights. An emphasis will be laid on the topic of climate change and migration / flight / mobility.

The course will therefore deal with the following questions:
• How do the effects of climate change interact with social (global) inequalities? What are the human rights consequences of these developments? These questions will not only be discussed with regard to geographical and economic inequality structures, but also analyzed along the intersectionality of inequality categories such as gender, ethnicity and “race”, poverty, minority status, etc.
• How do UN human rights institutions address and negotiate the connection between climate change and the intersectionality of inequality categories? What human rights problems does climate change pose in terms of the right to equality and non-discrimination and the right to development? Which human rights dimensions of the effects of environmental and climate change on inequalities including questions of “environmental racism” and sexism become visible?
• Inequality is also an essential factor in relation to climate change and migration / flight / mobility: How is the interrelation between climate change, intersectionality of social categories and human rights discussed in the context of the political debates on climate change-related mobility and what are the solutions from a political as well as human rights perspective?

Using case studies as well as academic literature, but also policy documents and legal texts, the students are instructed to acquire an understanding of different topics relevant in the context of climate change, social (global) inequalities and human rights.

Methods: Depending on the Covid restrictions, the course will partially be held online by using methods of blended learning. Introductions to the respective lessons by the instructor, reading of academic literature and policy documents, short presentations by students, various exercises, short films, discussion of the texts

Assessment and permitted materials

Submission of three exercises during the semester, active participation, occasional presentation of exercises, attendance (in class or virtual)

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Completion of readings and assignments, regular active participation, timely submission of assignments, occascionally presentation of individual assignments.

Examination topics

Literature of the course available in Moodle and introductions by the instructor.

Reading list

Selection (final list will be provided in Moodle):

Carbado, D. W./Crenshaw, K. W./Mays, V. M. & Tomlinson, B. (2013) ‘Intersectionality. Mapping the Movements of a Theory’, Du Bois Review, Vol. 10, No. 2.

Collins, P. H. & Bilge S. (2016) Intersectionality. Cambridge/Malden: polity.

Human Rights Council (2009) Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the relationship between climate change and human rights, UN General Assembly A/HRC/10/61 15 January 2009, abrufbar unter http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/climatechange/docs/A.HRC.10.61_AUV.pdf

Human Rights Council (2018) Addressing human rights protection gaps in the context of migration and displacement of persons across international borders resulting from the adverse effects of climate change and supporting the adaptation and mitigation plans of developing countries to bridge the protection gaps, A/HRC/38/21, https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/G1811626.pdf

Kaijser, A./Kronsell, A. (2014) ‘Climate change through the lens of intersectionality’, Environmental Politics, Vol. 23, No. 3, 417-433.

Manou, D./Baldwin, A./Cubie, D./Mihr, A. and Thorp, T. (eds.) (2017) Climate Change, Migration and Human Rights. Law and Policy Perspectives. Earthscan from Routledge.

Perkins, P. E. (2018) ‘Climate justice, Gender and intersectionality. In: Jafry, T. (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Climate Justice, London: Routledge, 249-358.

UNDP (2019) ‘Chapter 5: Climate change and inequalities in the Anthropocene’, in UNDP (ed.) Human Development Report 2019, available at http://hdr.undp.org/sites/default/files/hdr2019.pdf

Association in the course directory

VM1, VM3

Last modified: Fr 16.04.2021 11:28