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2024/25 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

GEOG2020 Political and Development Geographies

20 creditsClass Size: 136

Module manager: Dr Martin Purvis

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The module explores geographical perspectives on politics and development, beginning by considering the foundations of international political systems in modernity, state-making and imperialism, and reflecting on their continuing significance in today’s world. The module then discusses contemporary global geographies of power, focusing on the role of leading states. The module’s second half highlights alternatives to state power and the potential impact of voices critical of established political and economic elites, and of the inequalities that they perpetuate.


1. The first half of the module aims to enhance understanding of the evolution and contemporary geography of global political systems – primarily conceived as a system of states.

2. The second half of the module aims to foster understanding of alternatives and challenges to the power of the state and other elites in the contemporary world, highlighting the potential of resistance at scales from the local to the global.

Lectures provide an overview of key themes, reinforced by seminars designed to deepen student understanding by focusing on the exploration and critical discussion of particular academic arguments and case studies. Some seminars require students to independently identify relevant materials, as well as to respond to materials provided.

Assessment is designed to test understanding, and to help students enhance their confidence/skills in both searching for and critically evaluating information and ideas (including journalistic and policy materials, as well as academic publications); and expressing their own perspectives on key issues in contemporary politics and development.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module students should have acquired:
1. an increased understanding of key themes in global geopolitics;
2. an increased understanding of the potential of resistance to established geographies of state power;
3. an increased understanding of geographies of difference and inequality, particularly in relation to race and ethnicity, gender, political rights and freedoms, and economic attributes and opportunities.
4. the ability to express their own understanding of, and thoughts about, contemporary political and development challenges at both the global and local scale.
5. an enhanced understanding of the importance of space and place to wider debates about politics, development and the environment.

Skills learning outcomes
On successful completion of the module students will have demonstrated the following skills learning outcomes:
1. Increased capacity for reflection; recognising and expressing their own understanding.
2. Increased capacity for, and confidence in, thinking critically about frequently contentious arguments and issues.
3. Enhanced skills in searching for, evaluating and using relevant information sources to enhance the quality of their own academic work.
4. Enhanced skills in academic writing, or in otherwise expressing their ability to convey ideas and information in a clear, concise, focused and structured manner that is supported by relevant evidence.
5. Enhanced appreciation of the importance of academic integrity, through the demonstration of skills in using and properly crediting the work of others.


Details of the syllabus will be provided on the Minerva organisation (or equivalent) for the module.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours170.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

1. Students receive formative feedback on their progress and understanding in the course of discussions at fortnightly seminars.

2. Feedback on assessment #1 (returned to students early in Semester 2) also includes a formative element advising students on how they might improve future work.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
AssignmentOnline Time-Limited Assessment40.00
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: 10/07/2024 10:26:41


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