Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 10 x 2 hours lectures


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Coursework paper (3000 words)  50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   seen examination  50%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmission  50%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   50%

Learning Outcomes

1. Clearly describe and distinguish the different modes of power and resistance at work in the spatial ordering of modern societies;
2. Describe and explain the ways these different power relations interact in specific situations and contexts;
3. Produce detailed political analyses of spaces and places at all scales using the tools provided in Part one of the module;
4. Compare and contrast specific regimes and instances of power with reference to the paradigmatic historical referents covered in Part two of the module;
5. Reflect critically on the ways in which relations of power and resistance shape the spaces and places in which they live their own lives.


Part one: methods of analyzing modern power relations
1. Capitalism, the state, law, and territorial sovereignty
2. Spatial forms of power/knowledge
3. Democracy, public space, and participatory citizenship

Part two: ideal-typical contexts and contrasts
4. Colonial power relations
5. Space, knowledge and power in Nazi Germany
6. Radical democracy and social movements

Part three: case studies
7. The postcolonial construction of national territories
8. Territorial assemblages, sovereignty and globalization
9. Citizenship, movement and security
10. Bodies and neo-sovereign violence since 9/11

Brief description

This course aims to provide a detailed, analytically useful understanding of the interconnections between the structuring of territories, the sources of social and political power, and modern forms of knowledge. The module proceeds from (1) a detailed comparison of three useful methodologies through (2) an exploration of key modern geo-historical contexts in which territorial power relations were given particularly clear or extreme expression, to (3) a survey of issues and case studies amenable to detailed analysis based on the tools provided in parts (1) and (2). The empirical material contained in the readings will cover a range of geographical scales from the individual human body to buildings, cities, and national territories. Students will be encouraged to recognize the similarities and differences in the nature of spatial power relations at different scales, as well as the involvement of these forms of power in constructing scales. Additionally, attention to modes of resistance at different points in the module will emphasize the contestability of modern spatial power relations.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Analysis of power relations in buildings (Part one) will require some rudimentary arithmetical work (to measure `hierarchical depth¿ and `surveillance efficiency¿ of buildings). Otherwise numerical proficiency is not required.
Communication The group work during lecture sessions, as well as individual participation in discussions, will be an occasion for polishing of oral communications skills. The research paper and the exam will both involve written communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance This goal is not directly addressed in the module, though the required coursework may well have an impact in this area.
Information Technology Students will need to utilize appropriate information technology in the course of their research projects.
Personal Development and Career planning This goal is not directly addressed in the course.
Problem solving Group exercises and discussions will form a part of many of the lecture sessions, and will be heavily oriented toward problem-solving in hypothetical scenarios.
Research skills The coursework research essay will require students to engage in serious research, use the resources of the library and internet, organize their papers and present their work in a professional way.
Subject Specific Skills Techniques for analysing buildings will equip students with one previously unfamiliar method of analysis that depends upon more than just conceptual facility (see 7. above)
Team work In-class group exercises will require teamwork in the sense of agreeing upon divisions of labour for group projects and mutual consultation.

Reading List

Should Be Purchased
Goswami, M. (2004) Producing India: from colonial economy to national space. University of Chicago Press, London Primo search
Recommended Text
Aly, G. and Heim, S. (2002) Architects of annihilation: Auschwitz and the logic of destruction. Princeton University Press: Oxford Primo search Cohn, B. (1990) An anthropologist among the historians and other essays. The censuses, social structure and objectification in South Asia Primo search Delaney, D. (2005) Territory: a short introduction Blackwell, London Primo search Foucault, M. (Rabinow, P. ed.) (1989) The Foucault reader Penguin Books Primo search Gordon, C. (Burchell, G., Gordon, C. and Miller, P. (eds)) (1991) The Foucault effect: studies in governmentality Governmental rationality: an introduction University of Chicago Press, London Primo search Gregory, D. and Pred, A. (2007) Violent geographies: fear, terror and political violence. Routledge, Abingdon Primo search Hannah, M. (1997) Space and social theory: interpreting modernity and postmodernity Imperfect panopticism: envisioning the construction of normal lives pp. 344-359 Blackwell (Oxford) Primo search Lefebvre, H. (Brenner, N., Jessop, B., Jones, M. and MacLeod, G. (eds.)) (2003) State/Space: a reader. Space and the state pp. 84-100 Blackwell (Oxford) Primo search Markus, T. (1993) Buildings and power: freedom and control in the origin of modern building types. Routledge, London Primo search Mitchell, D. (2003) The right to the city: social justice and the fight for public space Chapter 3: From free speech to People's Park: locational conflict and the right to the city The Guildford Press, London Primo search N. Blomley (1994) Law, space and the geographies of power Legal territories and the 'Golden Metewand' of the law pp. 67-105 The Guildford Press, London Primo search Poulantzas, N. (Brenner, N., Jessop, B., Jones, M. and MacLeod, G. (eds.)) (2003) State/Space: a reader The nation pp.65-83 Blackwell (Oxford) Primo search Sassen, S. (2006) Territory, authority, rights: from medieval to global assemblages Princeton University Press: Oxford Primo search Sofsky, W. (1997) The order of terror: the concentration camp. Part II: Space and time pp. 45-49 Princeton University Press: Oxford Primo search Torpey, J. (2000) The invention of the passport: surveillance, citizenship and the state Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Primo search Weizman, E. (2007) Hollow land: Israel¿s architecture of occupation. Verso: London Primo search Agnew, J. (2005) Annals of the Association of American Geographers Sovereignty regimes: territoriality and state authority in contemporary world politics 95: pp. 437-461 Primo search Blomley, N. (2003) Annals of the Association of American Geographers Law, property, and the geography of violence: the frontier, the survey and the grid 93: 121-141 Primo search Hannah, M. (2006) Annals of the Association of American Geographers Torture and the ticking bomb: the war on terrorism as a geographical imagination of power/knowledge 96. pp 622-640 Primo search Harris, C. (2004) Annals of the Association of American Geographers How did colonialism dispossess? Comments from an edge of empire 94: pp 165-182 Primo search Massey, D. (1995) Environment and planning D: society and space Thinking radical democracy spatially 13: pp. 283-288 Primo search Merriman, P. (2005) Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers Respect the life of the countryside: the Country Code, government and the conduct of visitors to the countryside in post-war England and Wales 30:pp. 336-350 Primo search Mitchell, D. (2005) Political geography The S.U.V. model of citizenship: floating bubbles, buffer zones, and the rise of the 'purely atomic' individual 24:pp. 77-100 Primo search Oza, R. (2007) Environment and planning D: society and space Contrapuntal geographies of threat and security: the United States, India and Israel Primo search Slater, D. (2002) Environment and planning D: society and space Other domains of democratic theory: space, power, and the politics of democratization 20: pp. 255-276 Primo search Sparke, M. (2006) Political geography A neoliberal nexus: economy, security and the biopolitics of citizenship on the border 25: pp. 151-180 Primo search Woods, M. (2003) Journal of rural studies Deconstructing rural protest: the emergence of a new social movement 19: pp. 309-325 Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6