Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)


Department: Geography


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham


  • Any Level 2 GEOG module.


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To develop with students their understanding of the key approaches, issues, theories and debates in theory and philosophy and their relation to geographical questions
  • To introduce different ways of understanding the role and style of theory in geography, particularly through connections to philosophical texts. They will become familiar with a number of the key philosophical, methodological and political themes around which recent geographical work has been focused


  • The module will involve a core set advanced lectures on the links between social theory and geography. The introductory session will outline and situate some major themes in both contemporary social theory and geographical theory
  • The rest of the module will comprise of four discrete sections. Each section will be on one thinker, drawn from the list below:
  • Berlant
  • Barad
  • Derrida
  • Deleuze
  • Or other appropriate thinker

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On successful completion of the module students are expected to be able to:
  • Demonstrate understanding of key approaches, theories and debates in geographical and social theory, with reference to key figures in social theory
  • Demonstrate appreciation of certain key thinkers both in their own right and in relation to leading issues in geographical practice
  • Show an appreciation of the demands of a close and contextual reading of theoretical texts
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Critically assess and debate a number of current perspectives which link geography and theoretical literatures
Key Skills:
  • To critically appraise texts
  • To situate them in contexts
  • To relate them to contemporary debates
  • Demonstrate the ability to plan an effective and well argued essay
  • Develop ideas and concepts in written work

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

  • Background information and key concepts will be introduced in lectures and guided discussions. In the lectures and guided discussions students will also develop and demonstrate more detailed understanding and their skills of critical assessment, through focused reading and discussion of specific texts
  • Independent learning (through reading widely and informal discussion) will be encouraged and facilitated through tutorials, guided discussions, and lectures. An understanding of different perspectives and explanations will be built in to preparation for guided discussions and tutorials and time will be set aside for reading in the course
  • Continuous feedback will serve as the formative assessment
  • The summative essays will allow students to demonstrate independent learning, as well as detailed understanding of specific topics and debates

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 13 In Terms 1 & 2 2 hours 26
Seminars 2 Once at end of Term 1 and Term 2 2 hours 4
Tutorials 4 2 each in Terms 1 & 2 1 hour 4
Student Preparation & Reading 166
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay 1 Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 1 5 x sides of A4 100% None
Component: Essay 2 Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2 5 x sides of A4 100% None

Formative Assessment:

Formative Assessment will be through continuous feedback, with group discussion of the essay questions in two dedicated assessment seminars

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