BSc Geography with International Study / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Migration, Conflict and Social Change

Course unit fact file
Unit code GEOG32032
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


We are living in what has been termed ‘The Age of Migration’. The cultural turn in Human Geography transformed understanding on the lives and experiences of migrants and their spatialities. In this course we will examine the contributions of geographers to the theorizing and study of migration. Taking a main focus on Britain and our former colonies to understand migration patterns and processes, there are options to investigate other examples of global migration across the course and assessment. To critically engage with the geographies of migration we draw on theories of post-colonialism and anti-racism strategies, with reflection on ethnicity and religion, and reflect on the important contributions of feminist and intersectional approaches. For instance we will consider the interconnections between areas of Pakistan and Manchester in the Textile and Garment Industry, that continue today. In the second half of the course we will deepen your knowledge of key concepts of transnationalism, mobilities, encounter, integration, assimilation, statelessness, citizenship and belonging. We will use a series of ‘grounded’ examples to explore how these big ideas are produced and transformed in relation to specific migrant lives in different places, looking at, for instance, recent Muslim arrivals and notions of citizenship. This involves consideration towards policy-making and national borders, but also institutions (e.g education, museums, archives), cultural forms (e.g music, fashion, food), and analysing different textual forms (e.g oral life histories, films, novels, newspapers).  


  • Understand key paradigms of human geographers’ contribution to migration theory in the twentieth/twenty-first century
  • Evaluate the strengths of qualitative methods used to understand human migration in different lives and places
  • Engage with different sources from across multiple mediums and disciplines in understanding migration and migrant lives
  • To examine a series of examples of migration and migrant lives, considering issues of representation and embodiment in relation to policy and surveillance, culture and museums, and the media
  • Develop knowledge of migrant-led social change, including urban development 

Teaching and learning methods

The course is delivered through a range of lectures, seminars and student readings. Each week will comprise a 2hr lecture and 1hr seminar. These will draw on a wide variety of sources to show how the topic of migration is a key theme for Geographers, but best understood as interdisciplinary and cross medium. All course materials (subject to copyright laws) will be available on Blackboard. It is anticipated learning will be face-to-face where Covid-19 safe, with potential for a blended learning approach of lectures online and seminars in person. There will be ongoing monitoring to ensure parity of learning experience. Discussion boards will be available for all online. 

Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the contribution of Human Geography to migration theory with critical understanding of the cultural turn 

Intellectual skills

  • Apply theoretical perspectives on mobility, transnationalism, integration, assimilation, citizenship, encounter and belonging to real life examples of migration and migrant lives  

Practical skills

  • Critical reflection on how qualitative and visual methods such as oral life histories, ethnographies, photography, film, creative writing, and archival research can be used to gain insights into the experience of migration and everyday migrant lives 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Assess the different ways that policy, media and social action influence knowledge and understanding of migration and migrants today  

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 50%
Written assignment (inc essay) 50%

Feedback methods

Feedback will be provided both online and verbally, promptly in line with UoM assessment guidelines. Before exam assessment. 

Recommended reading

Blunt, A. (2007). Cultural geographies of migration: mobility, transnationality and diaspora. Progress in human geography, 31(5), 684-694.
Gilmartin, M. (2008). Migration, identity and belonging. Geography Compass, 2(6), 1837-1852.
Gorman-Murray, A. (2009). Intimate mobilities: Emotional embodiment and queer migration. Social & Cultural Geography, 10(4), 441-460.
Halfacree, K. H., & Boyle, P. J. (1993). The challenge facing migration research: the case for a biographical approach. Progress in Human Geography, 17(3), 333-348.
Hyndman, J. (2012). The geopolitics of migration and mobility. Geopolitics, 17(2), 243-255.
King, R. (2012). Geography and migration studies: Retrospect and prospect. Population, space and place, 18(2), 134-153. Ralph, D., & Staeheli, L. A. (2011). Home and migration: Mobilities, belongings and identities. Geography Compass, 5(7), 517-530.
Rogaly, B. (2020) The Migrant City: Living and Working Together in the Shadow of Brexit, Manchester University Press, Manchester. 
Raghuram, P. (2009) Which migration, what development? Unsettling the edifice of migration and development Population, Space and Place 15, 103–17.
Said, E. W. (1985). Orientalism reconsidered. Race & class, 27(2), 1-15.
Warren, S (2019) #YourAverageMuslim: Ruptural geopolitics of British Muslim women's media and fashion, Political Geography, 69, 118-127.
Waters, J. L. (2006). Geographies of cultural capital: education, international migration and family strategies between Hong Kong and Canada. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 31(2), 179-192. 

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 2
Seminars 1
Independent study hours
Independent study 197

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Saskia Warren Unit coordinator

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