Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)


Department: Geography


Type Tied Level 1 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham
Tied to L702
Tied to L704
Tied to F800
Tied to F803
Tied to LA01
Tied to LA02
Tied to LA03
Tied to LMV0
Tied to LMV1
Tied to LMV2
Tied to LMVA
Tied to LMVP
Tied to CFG0
Tied to FGC0
Tied to CFG1
Tied to CFG2



  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To critically explore the causes and consequences of a range of contemporary crises
  • To develop students’ appreciation of the interdependencies and interconnections that make up the contemporary world
  • To encourage reflection on possible solutions to crises


  • The module will focus on a range of contemporary crises, exploring their causes, thinking about their consequences, and considering solutions. Through descriptions and explanations of specific crises, the module will introduce students to the complex geographies of the contemporary world, in particular the interconnections and interdependences that make up life today. The module will be organised into blocks dealing with different crises and the interrelations between them. By combining detailed examples with relevant concepts, the lectures and workshops linked to each block will critically explore the range of geographies, understanding and responses to different crises.
  • Lectures and workshops will:
  • Describe, discuss, and debate the causes and consequences of a selection of contemporary crises affecting the global North and South. Examples related to violence and terrorism; resource and energy; environment and climate; finance and economy; migration and displacement; health and disease; inequalities of gender, race and indigenous struggles; knowledge and truth.
  • Understand and evaluate a range of solutions to specific crises
  • Outline debates about the interconnected and interdependent nature of the contemporary world
  • Introduce a range of relevant concepts and theories drawn from geography and other social sciences, and show the difference those approaches make to how we understand the geographies of crisis

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
  • Demonstrate understanding of a range of crises affecting the contemporary world
  • Show awareness of the multiple dimensions and effects of crises and have an appreciation of the geographies of difference and inequality that underpin crises
  • Show awareness of the range of possible solutions to specific crises
  • Demonstrate an appreciation of the interconnected and interdependent nature of the contemporary world
  • Show detailed knowledge of examples from around the globe, and situate these in a wider conceptual framework while reflecting on the place-specific outcomes of such processes
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Critical skills in analysing the diverse geographical causes of a range of crises
  • A command of various conceptual vocabularlies appropriate for understanding how political, economic, social and other geographies are made through crises
  • An ability to describe and interpret the world in terms of multiple interconnections and interdependencies
  • An ability to critique the unequal geographies that result from specific crises and evaluate the various solutions that are offered to crises
  • A sensitivity to the multiple, often conflicting, interpretations that surround crises and an ability to identify and consider the political effects of treating an event or situation as a crisis
Key Skills:
  • Assessing the merits of contrasting theories, explanations and policies
  • Critically judging and evaluating evidence
  • Abstracting and synthesising information
  • Developing a reasoned argument
  • Learning and self-directed study
  • Written communication
  • Contextualising and synthesising information

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures are used to convey facts and concepts and to contribute to building knowledge and understanding.
  • Lectures are supported by slides, video clips, Q&A sessions, online participatory activities, and a staff-led module discussion board.
  • Full reading lists provide students with the means to undertake independent study and learning
  • Workshops are used to develop deeper knowledge and understanding and the ability to assess theories and evaluate evidence.
  • Student group learning activities on the module Discussion Board, formatively assessed by module staff, develops the ability to demonstrate knowledge and understanding, to critically evaluate information, theories and evidence, to present a reasoned argument, and to communicate ideas in writing.
  • The summatively assessed essay and the written examination assess the ability to demonstrate knowledge and understanding, to critically evaluate information, theories and evidence, to present a reasoned argument, and to communicate ideas in writing.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 14 Approx weekly 2 hours 28
Drop-in Q&A sessions online 4 Terms 1 and 2 1 hour 4
Workshops 4 Terms 1 and 2 1 hour 4
Preparation and Reading 164
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Summative Essay Component Weighting: 33%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Summative Essay Max 4 pages A4 100%
Component: Examination Component Weighting: 67%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Online 24 hour unseen examination 2 hours (recommended) 100%

Formative Assessment:

2 x student group learning activities on Learn Ultra. This will include student-led peer discussion with input from the block lecturers.

â–  Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University