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 Year2013/4

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.

On completion of the module a student should be able to

On completion of the module a student will be able to:

The main aims of the module are as follows:

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 developments in the discipline of geography.

These lectures will be accompanied by 10 one-hour seminars, offering the opportunity to apply abstract and general ideas to specific case study areas and key subject areas in order to show 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


 Assessment will be 100% coursework.


Students will be expected to make ONE Reflective Learning Diary which will constitute 50% of the final assessment and ONE essay which will constitute 50% of the final assessment.


Type of assessment





(if applicable)

Approx. date of Assessment

Reflective Learning Diary


A ‘diary’ that reflects on the readings discussed during weekly seminars. The diary should explain key themes and arguments in each reading and should examine its place in the development of geographical thought and practice

2000 words

13thDecember 2013



An essay on the development of one area of contemporary geographical theory (e.g. Marxism, feminism, mobilities, relational)

2000 words

January 2014



The potential for reassessment in this module


Essays equivalent with the above assessment topics



Assessment Breakdown

Type % Title Duration(hrs) Period Week
Written Assessment 50
Contemporary Geographical Ideas
N/A 1 N/A
Written Assessment 50
Contemporary Geographical Ideas - Reflective Log
N/A 1 N/A

Syllabus content

Introduction to the paradigms of Critical and Hybrid Geographies; Critical Paradigm: Marxism; Critical Paradigm: Feminism and ‘Queer’ Geographies; Critical Paradigm: Postcolonialism; Hybrid Geographies: Postmodernism and Poststructuralism; Hybrid Geographies: Emotional Turns; Hybrid Geographies: Relational Turns; Hybrid Geographies: Mobilities Turns; Presentations; Review.

Essential Reading and Resource List

Highly Recommended.

Agnew, J. Livingstone, D. Rogers, A. eds. 1996 Human Geography. An Essential Anthology. Blackwell: Oxford.

Cresswell, T. 2013 Geographical Thought: a Critical Introduction. Wiley: Chichester.

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

Sidaway, J. Johnston, R. eds. 2004 Geography and Geographers. Ango-American Human Geography since 1945. Arnold: London.



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

Livingstone, D.  1992  The Geographical Tradition Blackwell: Oxford.

Peet, R. 1998 Modern Geographical Thought. Blackwell: Oxford.

Unwin, T.  1992  Place of Geography. Longman: Harlow.




Anderson, J. 2010 Understanding Cultural Geography: Places & Traces. Routledge: London & New York.

Cloke P. ed Country visions. Prentice Hall: Harlow.

Cloke, P. Little, J.  1997  Contested countryside cultures. Routledge: London.

Fainstein, S. Campbell, S. eds  1995  Readings in Urban Theory, Blackwell: Oxford.

Godlewska, A. Smith, N.  1996  Geography and Empire Blackwell: London

Holloway, S. Rice, S. Valentine, G. eds. 2003 Key Concepts in Geography. Sage: London.

Ian Craib  1994  Modern Social Theory

Johnston, R. 1986 Philosophy & Human Geography. An Introduction to Contemporary Approaches. 2nd edition. Edward Arnold: London.

Johnston, R.  1986  On Human Geography Blackwell: Oxford.

Johnston, R.  ed   1993  The Challenge for Geography: A changing world; A  changing discipline Blackwell: Oxford.

Johnston, R. Gregory, D. Smith, D. 1994 The Dictionary of Human Geography. Third Edition. Blackwell: Oxford.

Kitchin, R. Tate, N. 2000 Conducting Research into Human Geography. Prentice Hall: Harlow.

Massey, D. Allen, J.  eds   1984  Geography Matters! Open University: Milton Keynes.

Panelli, R. 2004 Social Geographies. From Difference to Action. Sage: London.

Peet, R. 1998 Modern Geographical Thought. Blackwell: Oxford.

Quaini, M.  1982  Geography and Marxism Blackwell: Oxford.

Rogers, A. Viles, H. 2003 The Student’s Companion to Geography. Second Edition. Blackwell: Oxford.

Thrift, N.  1989  New Models in Geography Vols 1 and 2 Unwin: London

Valentine, G.  2001  Social geographies. Prentice Hall: Harlow

Wills, J. Blunt, A.  2000  Dissident Geographies. Prentice Hall: New York.


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

© Cardiff University