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Unit information: Geographical History, Thought and Practices in 2018/19

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Unit name Geographical History, Thought and Practices
Unit code GEOG10002
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Mayhew
Open unit status Not open



Key Concepts in Human and Physical Geography, Introduction to Quantitative Geography.

School/department School of Geographical Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science


This unit provides a foundational introduction to some of the key perspectives and skills used in human and physical geography. The unit comprises four key elements: Geographical Practices, Geographical Concepts, Physical Field Skills, and Tutorial Work. Geographical Practices and Concepts introduces the nature and history of Geography as an intellectual enterprise, examining both the earlier history and recent developments, and geographical concepts and their production as a basis for understanding developments in both human and physical geography. Field skills needed in Physical Geography are introduced and applied in a 3-day field course.

The aims of this Unit are:

  • To encourage study, discussion and debate of the history of geographical practices and epistemology, knowledge production, and concept formation.
  • To develop practical skills in physical geography through fieldwork.
  • To develop learning, writing and presentation skills through weekly small-group Tutorials

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this Unit students should be able to:

  1. Present a history of geographical practices, some of the reasons for key changes and the debates which surround them.
  2. Discuss methods and processes of geographical knowledge construction within the discipline.
  3. Apply essential fieldwork techniques in physical geography, execute field experiments, have expertise in the use of appropriate scientific field equipment and apply statistical and computing techniques that have been introduced in laboratory practical classes.
  4. Participate in group discussion and presentations; write well-structured essays and organized report/writing skills; be able to give individual presentations to small groups.

The following transferable skills are developed in this Unit:

  • Written and verbal communication
  • Analytical and interpretative skills
  • Problem definition
  • Knowledge construction
  • Planning
  • Project management
  • Group work and discussion

Teaching details

Lectures, Practicals and Fieldwork, Tutorials/Seminars

Assessment Details

Extended essay: 40%

Examination: 35%

Fieldwork Report: 25%

For the extended essay, a 5 page assignment is set and students must analyse three from a list of selected “classics” in geographical writing.

A short answer, essay based, 1.5 hour examination on the ‘Concepts’ modules of the unit will assess classroom based TB2 learning.

Students work in groups on three separate projects during the three days of the field course. They are assessed on the basis of oral presentations at the end of each day of the field course.

All ILOs are covered by all three assessments.

Reading and References


1. Clifford, N, Holloway SL, Rice SP, Valentine G (eds. 2009) Key Concepts in Geography (2nd ed) Sage, London. (B1 KEY). ISBN: 9781412930222
2. Couper, P. (2015) A Student’s Introduction to Geographical Thought: Theories, Philosophies, Methodologies. Sage, London. ISBN: 9781446282960
3. Johnston RJ & Sidaway JD (2004) Geography & Geographers (6th edn.), Arnold, London. (N JOH). ISBN: 9780340808603
4. Livingstone, D (1992) The Geographical Tradition, Blackwell, Oxford. ISBN: 9780631185864


5. Clifford NJ & Valentine G (eds. 2003) Key Methods in Geography, Sage, London. (B3 KEY) ISBN: 9780761974925
6. Matthews, JA, and Herbert, DT (2008) Geography: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, Oxford. ISBN: 9780199211289