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CODE 105039
SEMESTER 2° Semester


The course of Geography of Conflicts aims at introducing a general perspective on the relation between geography and current and past conflicts by critically examining and discussing the most relevant international literature and case studies. In addition, it focuses on some key topics of the geographical dimension of conflicts and wars around the world with specific reference to the relation between climate change, environment and conflicts.



The course of Geography and Conflicts provides students with some key topics in the geographical dimension of conflicts and wars around the world: cartography and conflicts; climate change-driven conflicts; political borders; physical geography and battlefield. At the end of the course, students will be able to understand the spatial dimensions of conflicts under a geopolitical perspective and to use a specific geographical vocabulary


At the end of the course, students will be able to

- investigate and understand the relevant international literature on the topic in terms of its various perspectives and approaches

- critically examine academic texts in geography of conflicts

- track links between environment and conflicts

- understand how global climate change can influence current and future conflicts

- argue and describe (in both oral and written form) the relation between geography and conflicts by developing a specific theme in great depth, making use of and comparing a wide range of sources. 




The course will consist of a series of lectures (frontal teaching) where students will be introduced to the most relevant themes of the subject. Frontal teaching will also include some lectures on specific themes by invited experts. In addition, there will be some readings (compulsory for attending students) where some key texts will be analysed and discussed together in class. At the end of the course, attending students (as groups) will be required to develop in great depth a topic of their choice which will be presented, discussed and developed in oral and written form as part of the examination programme. Further information will be provided on the Aulaweb page of the course. 

Positive assessments of the teamworkswill allow attending students to acquire the following Open Badge: 
Project creation proficiency - basic level.


The module will be divided into three specific parts:

FIRST PART: the first part will introduce students to the most relevant scientific literature on the relation between geography and conflicts. If geographers and historians have historically looked at such relation in terms of implications of physical geographical elements on wars and battlefields, more recent perspectives investigate how spatial factors and relations can explain political violence. Particularly, this part will introduce approaches in the field of environmental security and political ecology. One specific lecture will be aimed at providing students with insights into the critical examination of academic and scientific texts and into producing a scientific piece of work in the field of geography of conflicts.

SECOND PART: the second part of the module will deal with the concept of territory and territorialisation by focussing on borders, cartography and power. A general lecture on borders will introduce some practical case studies of contested borders around the world with a specific focus on landscapes of violence and security landscapes in Europe and their consequences on the environment (eg Poland-Belarus border). Alpine borders and the concept of “moving border” will be used as an example of a “virtuous” management of border issues in the age of climate change.

THIRD PART: the third and most significant part of the module is dedicated to the relation between conflicts and environment with specific (but not exclusive) focus on climate change. A general introduction to climate change will deal with its main manifestations (floods, droughts, heat waves, extreme events in general), causes of climate change, environmental and social inequality. Some models on the environment-conflict nexus will be presented too, as well as considerations on environmental determinism in political ecology studies. Specific case studies will be geopolitical issues and environmental conflicts in the Arctic, exploitation of the sea (South China Sea, Mediterranean, North Atlantic), water management issues in transboundary water catchments (Indus, Nile, Jordan), urban-rural migrations, climate and conflicts in urban areas of the Global South.

In addition, specific readings and occasional contributions by outsider speakers will take place throughout the module,

The course deals with themes in line with the following goals and targets of UN 2030 Agenda: 

Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts (in particular 13.1 Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries; 13.2 Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning; 13.3 Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning.


Attending students

Study materials for attending students will be notes and Powerpoint presentations on AULAWEB and articles and book chapters which will be uploaded on AULAWEB during the course. These include the following texts, compulsory for attending students:

Gregory, D (2010) War and peace. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 35: pp. 145-185

Harley, J.B. (1988) Maps, knowledge and power. In Daniels, S. and Cosgrove, D. (eds.) The Iconography of Landscape: pp. 51-81

Raleigh, C. (2015) Geographies of Conflict, in J. Agnew, V. Mamadouh and A. Secor (eds.) A Companion to Political Geography. Wiley Blackwell, pp. 86-99

Further texts will be communicated during the course.

As essential part of the exam, attending students (as groups) will be required to develop in great depth a topic of their choice which will be presented, discussed and developed in a written work as part of the examination programme.

Non attending students

Powerpoint presentations, articles and book chapters uploaded on AULAWEB (see the section for attending students).

In addition, non attending students will be asked to prepare one of the following books:

- Galgano, F. (Ed.) (2019) The Environment-Conflict Nexus, Springer (downloadable from Springer website through Sistema Bibliotecario di Ateneo)

- Winters, H. A. (1998) Battling the Elements: Weather and Terrain in the Conduct of War, The John Hopkins University Press

- Doel, M. (2017) Geographies of Violence: killing space, killing time, Sage Publishing


Exam Board

PIETRO PIANA (President)






Teaching will start on the week of 26 February 2024. The teaching schedule will be available at the following link


Class schedule

The timetable for this course is available here: Portale EasyAcademy



The exam is oral. Teamworks carried out by attending students, even if discussed during the course, form an integral part of the oral exam. The teamworks will be presented, discussed and developed in a oral and written work as part of the examination programme.


Evaluation criteria are:
- the quality of the oral communication,
- the correct use of the appropriate vocabulary,
- the ability of critical analysis, even on possible cases discussed.

The students who carry out the group work will also be assessed on the quality of the paper as regards the content and formal aspects.

Exam schedule

Data Ora Luogo Degree type Note
12/12/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
15/01/2024 09:00 GENOVA Orale
05/02/2024 09:00 GENOVA Orale
22/05/2024 09:00 GENOVA Orale
12/06/2024 09:00 GENOVA Orale
09/07/2024 09:00 GENOVA Orale
12/09/2024 09:00 GENOVA Orale


Students with “Special Needs”: the compensatory/dispensative tools recognized by the Department coordinator, Prof. Aristide Canepa, and by the University Service for students with special needs are applied.

Agenda 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals

Agenda 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals
Climate action
Climate action


 PRO3 - Soft skills - Creazione progettuale base 1 - A
PRO3 - Soft skills - Creazione progettuale base 1 - A