Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)


Department: Geography


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Not available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham


  • • Any Level 1 or level 2 module in Geography.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To explore geographies of visual culture in order to expand students knowledge and understanding of the politics of representation in the construction of people and places.
  • To enhance students grasp of theoretical and methodological approaches to the analysis of visual geographies.
  • To promote critical reflection on the cultural geographies of identity, representation and geopolitics with respect to ‘Africa’.


  • Theoretical and methodological approaches to visual culture and geographies.
  • Historical trends in the representation and performance of ‘Africa’ and the legacies of empire.
  • Analysing representations: content analysis of ‘African’ issues in the news, visual analysis of place representations, geopolitical imaginations, and the enactment of other cultures.
  • Culture and identity: constructions of identity and difference in visual culture and media.
  • The global image economy: analysis of the visual economy of documentary photography, photojournalism and world cinema.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Application of theoretical approaches to the analysis of visual culture and geographies.
  • Critically discuss the historical and political dimensions of cultural production and consumption.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Construct visual analyses of geographical issues with respect to ‘Africa’.
  • Demonstrate the role of photography and cinema in constructions of place and identity.
Key Skills:
  • Critically interpreting visual culture.
  • Assessing the merits of contrasting theories and methodologies used in the analysis of visual culture.
  • Taking responsibility for their own learning and developing habits of reflection upon that learning.
  • Group work and presentation skills.

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

  • Lectures will be used to impart basic information (empirical and conceptual) necessary to fulfil the aims of this course.
  • Concepts introduced in lectures will be explored in more depth in workshops, which will be conducted by the lecturers and form the core of the course.
  • Students will select one of three workshops in each term, each workshop will be limited to 1/3 of the course enrollment to ensure small group teaching, and last nine hours over three weeks.
  • Group work skills will be developed in a practical project, the results of which students present in a workshop talk that constitutes the formative assessment.
  • When not in a workshop students will be undertaking a practical task individually (the completion of a reflective ‘visual diary’).
  • Students ability to interpret and apply theoretical concepts will be tested through an examination and an individual practical exercise (visual diary).

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 8 4 per term 1 or 2 hours 14
Workshops 6 3 per term 3 hours 18
Reading and Preparation 168
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: End of module examination Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Exam 1.5 hours 100% None
Component: Individual practical Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Visual diary 5 sides of A4 100% None

Formative Assessment:

Workshop presentations, with written feedback.

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