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Durham University

Faculty Handbook 2022-2023

Module Description

Please ensure you check the module availability box for each module outline, as not all modules will run each academic year.

No such Code for prog: LMV1
No such Code for prog: LMV2
No such Code for prog: QRV0
No such Code for prog: QRVA

Department: Geography


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2022/23 Module Cap 30 Location Durham
Tied to L702 Geography
Tied to L704 Geography with Year Abroad
Tied to LA01 Liberal Arts
Tied to LA02 Liberal Arts (with Year Abroad)
Tied to LMV0 Combined Honours in Social Sciences
Tied to LMV1
Tied to LMV2
Tied to LMVA Combined Honours in Social Sciences (with Year Abroad)
Tied to QRV0
Tied to QRVA
Tied to CFG0 Natural Sciences
Tied to FGC0 Natural Sciences
Tied to CFG1 Natural Sciences with Year Abroad
Tied to CFG2 Natural Sciences with Placement


  • GEOG2472 Social Research in Geography and GEOG2581 Political Geography


  • NONE

Excluded Combination of Modules



  • To enable students to learn about the relationship between territory and geopolitics in a variety of contexts
  • To provide theoretical background to the understanding of territorial issues and contemporary geopolitics
  • To provide students with an understanding of contemporary disputes and agreements concerning territory, borders and geopolitics and to contribute to students' development of an analytical perspective that recognises the material basis of geopolitical power and contestation
  • To apply key concepts through field-based research in a highly contested urban environment in order to develop a specialist understanding of these processes


  • The module will focus on:
  • The nature of territory:
  • How have territorial divisions emerged as the foundational template for geopolitical control and contestation?
  • How is our notion of territory based on understandings of the world as scientifically knowable and geophysically stable?
  • How has geopolitical knowledge and practice been premised on understandings of states as reliant on nature?
  • Geo-politics: constructing territory in a material world:
  • How has political contestation been premised on metaphysical idealisations of the connection between soil and nation?
  • What role has the construction of physical barriers played in geopolitical narratives and struggles?
  • How have monuments and memorials served to reproduce connections between place and politics?
  • Geopolitics and territory in the city:
  • How are geopolitical conflicts played out in contestations over urban space?
  • What is the relationship between architecture and military attempts at engineering terrain?
  • What is the potential for urban conflict as a means for challenging geopolitical discourses?
  • The field course will consist of a week in the Jerusalem-Ramallah metropolis and will involve:
  • Guided visits and tours that correspond to themes developed in lectures
  • Student-led project work
  • Focus workshops with local experts and communities

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the notion of territory and contemporary geopolitics
  • Demonstrate knowledge of a range of territorial issues, their representation, and their influence on politics
  • Use case study material effectively in relation to learning outcomes 1 and 2
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Critically assess and debate a number of current perspectives within political geography and geopolitics
  • To critically appraise the development of ideas of geopolitics and to relate these to conceptual debates in Geography
Key Skills:
  • Show an understanding of historical changes in ideas and concepts
  • Demonstrate a variety of communication skills, including: the ability to plan and execute an effective and well-argued essay and develop ideas and concepts in written work; the ability to represent research findings, discuss initial analysis
  • Demonstrate a capacity to carry out primary research: by keeping notes of findings; learning to make sense of those notes through an engagement with academic texts; learning to prepare for and structure a diary of research work; engaging critically with the research process as well as its spatial and temporal limits

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures will provide necessary breadth of coverage, overview and study guide required by the aims and objectives. These will be supported by additional reading lists, which will enable the student to build on information provided in the lectures
  • Discussion practicals following the lectures will provide students opportunity to engage with and develop ideas covered in the lectures
  • Multi-day residential field trip will reinforce student understanding of theoretical approaches and show how they can be applied. It will also provide training and experience in project design, research and analysis, while developing student individual and group working skills
  • Students will be required to submit an individual report on their field research for summative assessment. Their ability to interpret and apply theoretical concepts to empirical examples and their ability to explain things clearly and support their argument with appropriate reference to the general literature will be tested through the research-based project report. The report also assesses skills of research design, implementation and analysis.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 8 Term 1 2 hours 16
Lectures 3 Term 2 1 hour 3
Lectures (Field Trip H&S briefing) 1 Term 2 2 hours 2
Research seminars 3 Term 2 1 hour 3
Residential field trip 1 Easter Vacation 7 full days on site 56
Student Preparation & Reading Time 120
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Book report Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Book report 3 x sides A4 100% None
Component: Coursework essay Component Weighting: 30%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Coursework essay 4 x sides A4 100% None
Component: Research report Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Research report using course material to analyse field research 5 x sides A4 100% None

Formative Assessment:

Formative assessment is provided through feedback on small group discussions in workshops occurring across the module.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University

If you have a query about a specific module or degree programme, please contact the appropriate department.

If you have a question about Durham's modular degree programmes, please visit our FAQ webpage. If you have a question about modular programmes that is not covered by the FAQ, or a query about the on-line Faculty Handbook, please contact us using the Comments and Questions form below.