Land and Ethics

Social Sciences

Course Description

This course will take place on Zoom.

What are the ethical implications of our relationship with the land? How do worldviews influence our sense of identity and responsibility in relation to the land? In exploring these questions, we initially draw on sources from the Hebrew Bible. What is the meaning and significance of “land” for the Israelite people searching for the land promised by Yahweh? Are there multiple interpretations of land for the Hebrew people and how might this inform our question concerning the land and ethics? Pope Francis draws on biblical sources in his reflections on the land as “common home,” leading to the publication of his second encyclical titled ‘Laudato si’: On Care for Our Common Home. How might the Pope’s influential work contribute to an understanding of our responsibility in relation to land?

In the second part of the course, we explore the relationship between land and Indigenous peoples. Here, we will draw heavily on Christine J. Elsey’s book, The Poetics of Land and Identity among British Columbia Indigenous Peoples. In addition, we will read a small number of articles by authors from other Indigenous Nations in Canada and a novel by Cree author David R. Robertson titled Black Water: Family, Legacy, and Blood Memory. In these readings, we will consider questions such as: What can Indigenous peoples’ relationship to non-human beings, including land, teach us about ethical relationships beyond human-to-human connections? What does it mean that Indigenous peoples consider land as family and believe that by being placed upon the land or in relationship with the land we have a responsibility to maintain right relationships with creation?

Books to Purchase

    • The Poetics of Land & Identity Among British Columbia Indigenous Peoples by Christine Elsey (2013). ISBN: 9781552665503
    • Black Water: Family, Legacy, and Blood Memory by David Robertson (2020). ISBN: 9781443457767

Please note that this course has a maximum enrollment of 14 students.

Priority is given to students who pay upon registration.

For fully registered courses, a waiting list will be created. Should vacancies develop, those on the waiting list will be contacted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Course Details

First Session: Monday 20 September 2021

Course Length: 12 weeks, Mondays, 6:15 to 8:15 p.m.

Discussion Team: Claire English, Christine Jamieson, Mariela Tovar

Degree Credit: 3.0 credits

Course Fee:

$150.00 (standard tuition)
$100.00 (promotion for new students)

Administrative Fee:



$185.00 (standard tuition)
$135.00 (promotion for new students)

Course fees are refundable in full before the second session. After the second session, a fee of $50 for the withdrawal will be applied. Refunds will not be issued after the third session. Please note that non-attendance does not constitute a withdrawal.

Students pursuing studies for credit are encouraged to consult with their advisers as they register for courses.

Course leaders, and students wishing to use credit vouchers, should call (514) 935-9585 to pay by phone or to schedule an appointment to pay in person.

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