CP0241 - Contemporary Geographical Ideas

SchoolCardiff School of Planning and Geography
Department CodeCPLAN0
Module CodeCP0241
External Subject CodeL700
Number of Credits20
Language of DeliveryEnglish
Module Leader Dr Christopher Bear
SemesterAutumn Semester
Academic Year2014/5

Outline Description of Module

This module will provide an overview of the contemporary development of human geographical thought. It will introduce how the cutting edge of the discipline continues the historical development of theory but also challenges it, offering new and exciting empirical spaces to study, alongside vibrant theoretical approaches with which to understand them. The module demonstrates how the careful construction of theoretical approaches might help students develop their own arguments within the geographical discipline and in related areas such as planning.

The main aims of the module are as follows:

On completion of the module a student should be able to

How the module will be delivered

The module will consist of 10 two-hour lectures, with supplementary hand-outs and Learning Central (e-learning) support, to summarise the key contemporary developments in the discipline of geography.

These lectures will be accompanied by 8 one-hour seminars, offering the opportunity to apply abstract and general ideas to specific case study areas and key subject areas in order to explore how ideas can be applied in practice.

In addition, students will be directed to a selection of compulsory and supplementary guided reading on each topic, to supplement and deepen the taught component.

Skills that will be practised and developed

This module will:

How the module will be assessed

Assessmentwill be 100% coursework. There will be two summative assessments (an essay and a reflective diary, detailed below), supported by formative assessment of group presentations within weekly seminar meetings.

Type of assessment 



(if applicable)

Approx. date of Assessment



Theoretical developments in contemporary geography

2000 words


Reflective diary


A summary of key themes from seminar readings and activities, along with a critical reflection on their role in the development of human geography

2000 words


The potential for reassessment in this module

 Students are permitted to be reassessed in a module which they have failed, in line with the course regulations. The reassessment will usually take place during the summer

Assessment Breakdown

Type % Qualifying Mark Title Duration(hrs) Period Week
Written Assessment 50 N/A
Theoretical Developments In Contemporary Geography
N/A 1 N/A
Written Assessment 50 N/A
Reflective Log - A Summary Of Key Themes From Seminar Readings And Activities, Along With A Critical Reflection
N/A 1 N/A

Syllabus content

Introduction – the evolution of human geography and the making of an academic discipline; Geography and critical theory: Marxism; Geography and critical theory: Feminism; Geography and critical theory: Postcolonialism; Geography and ‘post’ theories: Postmodernist geographies; Geography and ‘post’ theories: Poststructural geographies; Embodiment, practices and the emotional turn; The mobilities paradigm; More-than-human geographies; Overview, summary and conclusions.

Essential Reading and Resource List

Cresswell C 2013 Geographic thought: a critical introduction Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell

Gregory D, Johnston R, Pratt G, Watts M and Whatmore S (eds) 2009 The Dictionary of Human Geography Oxford: Blackwell

Nayak A and Jeffrey A 2011 Geographical thought: an introduction to ideas in human geography Harlow: Prentice Hall


Background Reading and Resource List

Aitken S and Valentine G (eds) 2006 Approaches to Human Geography London: Sage

Clifford NJ, Holloway SL, Rice SP and Valentine G 2009 Key Concepts in Geography London: Sage

Cloke P, Philo C and Sadler D 1991 Approaching Human Geography London: PCP

Holt-Jensen A 2009 Geography: History and Concepts London: Sage

Johnston RJ and Sidaway JD 2004 Geography and Geographers: Anglo-American Human Geography since 1945 London: Arnold (6th edition)

Livingstone D N 1992 The Geographical Tradition Oxford: Blackwell

Peet R 1998 Modern Geographical Thought Oxford: Blackwell

Additional specialist readings will be provided in weekly lecture and seminar reading lists.

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