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 offer students an opportunity to engage with advanced theoretical perspectives on difference in relation to contemporary geographical research
  • To reflect critically upon the relevance of questions of difference to a range of sociopolitical contexts
  • To encourage reflection on the political, ethical, and methodological issues involved in researching difference
  • To introduce students to the reflexive practices of scholarship required for Level 3 study in the context of a small-scale independent research project


  • This module will address questions of difference and their relation to geographical research, through the introduction of specific (empirical) geographies of difference, and a more conceptually-facing discussion of the various ways in which difference might be theorized and critiqued, both within and beyond the discipline.
  • Taught material will include the examination of specific axes of difference (such as those relating to race, ethnicity, gender, species , sexuality, class, age, or ability) as well as the broader sociopolitical and cultural contexts of difference - for instance, the creation and reproduction of social and spatial inequalities, practices of inclusion and exclusion, processes of social change, and the formation of power.
  • Attention will also be paid to the spacing, placing and scaling of these contexts, as well as the intersections between them.
  • Conceptually, the lectures and workshops will focus on a range of critical theories of difference to include multiple perspectives, which might include postcolonial, poststructural, posthuman , feminist or historical-material approaches, alongside more specific questions around emotion, affect, embodiment, performativity and representation, as just some examples.
  • New and emerging frameworks for theorizing and conducting research into difference will also be explored.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:
  • Demonstrate critical understanding of different conceptual frameworks for research on the geographies of difference
  • Explain how cultural identities and social inequalities intersect and are produced spatially, historically, politically
  • Critically evaluate the methodological implications of different conceptual approaches for research on the geographies of difference
Subject-specific Skills:
  • On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:
  • Synthesize and critically assess interdisciplinary and geographical literatures on difference
  • Integrate conceptual understanding of difference and identity with empirical analysis of a particular topic
  • Identify and critically discuss the methodological and ethical implications of new theoretical approaches to difference and identity for geographical research
  • Communicate the results of an independent research projects by means of an oral presentation and a written report
Key Skills:
  • On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:
  • Demonstrate expertise in critical reflection and analysis
  • Work collaboratively in a team to co-produce knowledge for an group research project
  • Develop the skills to execute a research project on the geographies of difference
  • Synthesise, critically appraise and present the outcomes of an independent research project in an oral presentation and a written report

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

  • This module is delivered through a combination of lectures and workshops
  • In the first term, classes will provide an introduction to the empirical and conceptual themes of the module, organized around a number of parallel axes of difference
  • In the second term, project-specific group workshops will provide bespoke support for the student-led projects, to include coverage of the methodological, ethical and conceptual issues in researching difference as well as guidance on the design, delivery and analysis of sensitive research.
  • Assessment for the module revolves around a student-led group project, which accounts for 100% of the module grade (67% individually prepared project report and 33% group oral presentation). This project allows students to research a self-chosen critical case study in more depth, as well as to develop skills and experience in on-the-ground reflexive scholarship.
  • Formative assessment will be via a oral feedback on group project plan and development in Term 2 workshops.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 Term 1 2 hours 20
Workshops 3 Term 1 1 hour 3
Workshops 4 Term 2 2 hours 8
Project formation workshop 1 Term 1 3 hours 3
End of module conference (inc summative presentations) 1 Term 2 4 hours 4
Research, preparation, reading 162
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Project Presentation Component Weighting: 33%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Group presentation on independent research project 100%
Component: Project Report Component Weighting: 67%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Individual Report on Research Project Max 6 sides A4 100%

Formative Assessment:

Group project oral feedback in Term 2 workshops.

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