BA Geography with International Study / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Social and Cultural Geography

Course unit fact file
Unit code GEOG26011
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


How do people understand, experience, and shape place and space? How do space and place interface with difference, identities and groups in day-to-day life? How can we make sense of the social world through a critical lens? How does culture shape, and how is it shaped by, space and place? What are the practices, material artifacts, values and lived experiences that express and reinforce cultures? These are all key questions to social and cultural geography, an exciting and vibrant sub-discipline. This course aims to build on the knowledge students gained in their first year to further develop their understanding of the theoretical and empirical concerns of social and cultural geography. This course sets out to examine themes such as place, space, power, difference, culture, and identity and demonstrates the value of a geographical perspective on a range of social and cultural phenomena worldwide. It also seeks to deepen and enrich students’ critical engagement with theoretical and methodological approaches that underpin contemporary social and cultural geography.



  • enhance critical awareness of contemporary social and cultural issues
  • develop understanding of key issues and debates in social and cultural geography including their theoretical and philosophical underpinnings
  • encourage interdisciplinary thinking

Teaching and learning methods

This course will be delivered through 10 weekly two-hour lectures and 10 weekly one-hour seminar. Lectures will outline background information, key concepts and theories, and case studies. Seminars will centre on students’ engagement with lecture themes by featuring case studies where traditional and/or innovative research methods are used. Seminars will involve a variety of activities such as presentation and group discussion.

You will be required to undertake work in both peer study groups and individually outside of lectures. During reading weeks there will be no course content delivered but students will be expected to undertake independent work. Lecture slides, reading lists, and other materials to support the course will be available through the Blackboard pages. You will be expected to contribute fully to lecture and seminar discussions and activities and to read articles, chapters and complete other activities as preparation.


Knowledge and understanding

• Identify the value of social and cultural processes in geographical interest and research

• Understand the nature of the sub-discipline of social and cultural geographies and the main theoretical debates and methodological approaches within the field

• Comprehend the diversity of societies and how different social groups experience and construct spaces, relationships and practices in a range of ways

Intellectual skills

• Observe and analyse social and cultural issues in the real world

• Apply concepts and theories to make sense of real-life situations

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Critical thinking and reflection
  • Information management 
  • Motivation and independent learning
  • Self-awareness and a sense of responsibility  
  • Argument development and academic writing
  • Time management 

Assessment methods

Formative Assessment Task        Length (word count/time)      How and when feedback is provided

Draft essay                                      500 words                                Verbal feedback in seminar with written

                                                                                                          feedback via email


Assessment task              Length                How and when feedback is provided        Weighting

Film Essay:                        1,500 words           Written feedback provided within                  50%
Students will watch a                                       15 working days after 
film of their choosing                                        submission deadline.
and discuss social and 
cultural phenomena in 
the film with reference 
to the course content and 
relevant academic literature

Reflective Essay:             1,600 words            Written feedback provided within                50%
Students will write 4 short                               15 working days after submission
essays (400 words each)                                deadline.
to reflect on selected 
topics and readings. Each essay
focuses on one week’s content.  

Recommended reading

•Barron, A., 2021. The taking place of older age. cultural geographies, p.14744740211020510.
•Bonds, A. and Inwood, J., 2016. Beyond white privilege: geographies of white supremacy and settler colonialism. Progress in Human Geography, 40(6), pp.715-733.
•Browne, K. (2006). Challenging queer geographies. Antipode, 38(5), 885-893.
•Cresswell, T., 1996. In place/out of place. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
•Hoelscher, S., 2003. Making place, making race: performances of whiteness in the Jim Crow South. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 93(3), pp.657-686.
•Hubbard, P. (2008). Here, there, everywhere: The ubiquitous geographies of heteronormativity. Geography Compass, 2(3), 640-658.
•Sidaway, J.D., 2000. Postcolonial geographies: an exploratory essay. Progress in Human Geography, 24(4), pp.591-612.
•Skinner, M.W., Cloutier, D. and Andrews, G.J., 2015. Geographies of ageing: Progress and possibilities after two decades of change. Progress in Human Geography, 39(6), pp.776-799.
•Tuan, Y., 1977. Space and place: the perspective of experience. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
•Wilson, H.F., 2017. On geography and encounter: Bodies, borders, and difference. Progress in Human Geography, 41(4), pp.451-471.

Key Journals

Below are a few of the main journals that you will encounter in this module:

ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies
Children’s Geographies 
Cultural geographies
Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space
Environment and Planning D: Society and Space
Geography Compass
Progress in Human Geography
Social & Cultural Geography
Time & Society 
Urban Studies

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 170

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Yawei Zhao Unit coordinator

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