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2017/18 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

GEOG2140 Political and Development Geographies: The shaping of the world

10 creditsClass Size: 10

Module manager: Dr Martin Purvis

Taught: Semester 1 View Timetable

Year running 2017/18

This module is mutually exclusive with

GEOG2020Political and Development Geographies

Module replaces

GEOG2690 Geographies of International Development & Rebellion, GEOG2910 Political Geography

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module focuses on political and development geographies and explores how these perspectives help us understand the shaping of the world around us. The foundations of political and development geographies are explored in terms of enlightenment, colonialism and state-making and questions are asked about how these features have contributed to current geopolitics and the 'idea' of development. Emphasis is placed on the construction of different spatial scales of political jurisdiction and the relationships between national and supra-national systems through processes of globalization. Exploration of the ways in which notions of 'empire' have been reinterpreted at various times and places is at the heart of the module; from early modern Europe to neo-colonialist impulses within contemporary countries like the United States and China.


On completion of this module students should have acquired:

1. an understanding of the main dimensions of modern political and development geographies;
2. knowledge of the processes underpinning change in political and international development structures;
3. an appreciation of the importance of space and place in the constitution of institutions and global flows;
4. an understanding of the historical forces that have driven the development process;
5. skills in the identification and acquisition of literature and other sources of information, and knowledge of selected techniques of information retrieval, analysis and presentation in written formats.

Learning outcomes
Knowledge and Understanding
The dynamic nature of geographical thought and practice and the inter-relationships between the discipline and the social sciences
Spatial patterns and relationships in human phenomena at a variety of scales
The geography of places and their constitution by environmental, economic, social and political processes, and the influence of places on these processes
Contemporary debates about time-space relationships, globalization and global interconnections, and social movements
The contribution of geography to development of environmental, political, economic and cultural agendas, policies and practices

Skills outcomes
Cognitive skills
Abstraction and synthesis of information from a variety of sources
Assessment and critical evaluation of the merits of contrasting theories, explanations, policies
Critical analysis and interpretation of data and text
Developing reasoned arguments

Practical/professional skills
Collect, interpret and synthesise different types of quantitative and qualitative geographical data
Recognise the ethical issues involved in geographical debates and enquiries

Key skills
Communicate effectively (in writing, verbally and through graphical presentations)
Use information technology effectively (including use of spreadsheet, database and word processing programmes; Internet and e-mail)
Identify, retrieve, sort and exchange geographical information using a wide range of sources
Work as part of a team and to recognise and respect the viewpoints of others
Manage time and organise work effectively


Indicative topics include:

Conceptual foundations
Enlightenment & modernity
State making
Imperialism & colonialism
The idea of ‘Development’
Modernisation theory, dependency theory & pan-Africanism
Post-development & critical/postmodern geopolitics
The shaping of the contemporary world
Washington Consensus & neoliberalism
Supra-national institutions/organisations
Globalisation & transnational flows
Alternative European political geographies – integration and disintegration

Seminars running alongside the lectures will introduce students to relevant literature and documentaries/films that connect to the module themes.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours80.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

- 40 hours reading to support individual lectures and seminars
- 40 hours reading, bibliographical research and preparation for assessed report

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Progress monitoring will be through weekly lectures and especially small group discussion seminars.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Report2,000 words100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 21/04/2017


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