Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)


Department: Geography


Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To introduce students to the field of academic political geography
  • Promote an appreciation of the relationship between politics and geography
  • Develop understandings of the politics of space - and the spaces of politics
  • Engage issues in contemporary global geopolitics


  • An initial block of lectures on key concepts and then a number of lectures on topics drawn from the following list:
  • Space, Territory, Security
  • State and Nation
  • Contemporary Geopolitics
  • Performing / Representing Geopolitics
  • Terror, Borders, Dissent
  • Citizenship and the making of a people
  • Activism, resistance, and social movements
  • Feminist Geographies
  • Postcolonialism and Race

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students are expected to be able to:
  • Trace the emergence and evolution of academic political geography
  • Understand key political geographic concepts such as space, territory, power and security
  • Show an appreciation of the ways in which the political world is constituted through geographical representations
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students are expected to be able to:
  • Think critically about the texts of academic and popular geopolitics
  • Think critically about contemporary global geopolitics
  • Think critically about how the international relates to the personal and vice versa
Key Skills:
  • Demonstrate expertise in critical reflection and analysis
  • Communicate effectively in oral debates (during tutorials) which lead towards the writing of the summative assessment
  • Evaluate sources of evidence in contemporary public debates
  • Demonstrate an ability to formulate critical and sophisticated arguments

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

  • The lectures will introduce students to the concepts, theories and contemporary issues of political geography and global geopolitics
  • Small group discussion in tutorials will allow students to work through theoretical understandings introduced in lectures and apply such understandings to contemporary examples
  • The summative coursework essay and the exam will test critical understanding of concepts and critical thinking

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 15 weekly 2 hours 30
Tutorials 4 2 in Term 1, 2 in Term 2 1 4
Preparation and Reading 166
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Coursework essay 5 x sides A4 100%
Component: Examination Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Online 24 hour unseen examination 2 hours (recommended) 100%

Formative Assessment:

Feedback and feedforward on the essays is provided through small group discussions in the tutorials occurring across the module, and in a dedicated lecture at the beginning of Term 2.

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