Module Identifier GG23110  
Academic Year 2007/2008  
Co-ordinator Matthew Hannah  
Semester Semester 1  
Other staff Mr Christian Yeomans  
Pre-Requisite GG12610  
Course delivery Lecture   10 x 2 hours lectures  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam2 Hours Seen examination  100%
Supplementary Exam2 Hours Resit of failed exam100%

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:
  1. Expand upon the dominant theoretical frameworks used by geographers.
  2. Explain how the choice of theoretical framework leads to a series of methodological choices.
  3. Critically compare and contrast theoretical frameworks and their associated methodologies.

Brief description

This module aims to provide students with a robust philosophical and conceptual framework for the study of human geography at an advanced level. It examines the modern development of Human Geography as a discipline, focusing in particular on epistemological and ontological innovations and their influence in shaping the practice of human geography. The module introduces the key perspectives employed by human geographers from the end of the 19th century onwards, from positivist spatial science to post-structuralist theories, and examines how these perspectives produce and inform different methodologies for geographical research.


  1. Introduction to post-19th century geographic theory-making and the role of methodology
  2. Environmental determinism, possibilism and the complex boundary between nature/society
  3. Regional geography, regional science and the `new┬┐ regional geography
  4. Spatial science and a positivist epistemology
  5. Humanistic geographies, from phenomenology to existentialism, and the role of ethnomethodology
  6. Radical geographies from anarchism to Marxism and neo-Marxism
  7. Feminist geographies and the rethinking of methodology
  8. Postcolonial geographies and the place of the Other
  9. More-than-representational geographies and the re-emergence of ontology
  10. Post-structural geographies and the issue of context

Module Skills

Problem solving The module will examine how different epistemologies frame problems and approaches to problem solving.  
Research skills The module will require small groups to research and present on a key debate within geography  
Communication The module will involve oral communication in class discussion and written communication in the exam  
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to equip students with a conceptual framework which will inform their selection of methodology for independent and group research.  
Team work Small groups will work as a team to research and present on a key debate within geography  
Information Technology The module will require students to obtain information from web-based sources.  
Application of Number Some module lectures will refer to the use of quantitative methodologies, requiring students to read on this topic  
Personal Development and Career planning Not explicitly addressed in this module.  
Subject Specific Skills The module requires students to develop an in-depth knowledge of the history of the modern day discipline  

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
Cloke P.J. , Philo C. and Sadler D. (1991) Approaching Human Geography: Introduction to Contemporary Theoretical Debates Paul Chapman Publishing
Holloway S.L. , Rice S. and Valentine G. (2003) Key Concepts in Geography Sage


This module is at CQFW Level 5