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Unit information: Colonial and Postcolonial Geographies in 2015/16

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Unit name Colonial and Postcolonial Geographies
Unit code GEOG30010
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Jackson
Open unit status Not open

GEOG25110 Philosophy, Social Theory, and Geography AND GEOG20110 Political Economy 2


Available to year-three Geography and year- four Geography with Study Aboard/Continental Europe students only.

School/department School of Geographical Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science

Description including Unit Aims

This course will introduce students to the cultural and political economic geographies of colonial and post-colonial critique. Blending an historical and contemporary approaches with thematic analyses of colonial and postcolonial discourses and practices, the course will investigate key areas of concern, including: enclosure, accumulation, imperialism, colonialism, empire, race, nationalism, conflict, resistance, decolonization, neo-imperialism, as well as representational and discursive techniques and strategies integral to colonialism, neo-colonialism, and postcolonialism. The module will be taught through lectures and seminars. The critical analysis of visual materials including maps, photographs, paintings, drawings, and films will accompany the expectations for the course.

The aims of this unit:

  • Introduce students to contemporary theoretical and empirical approaches to thinking about historical and contemporary colonial and postcolonial geographies.

Enable critical examination of different kinds of visual and textual sources and discursive techniques which engage the topics of empire, neo-imperialism, neo-colonialism, postcolonialism, violence, hegemony, globalization, identity, diasporas, representation, etc.

Intended Learning Outcomes

  • Critically assess contemporary theoretical and empirical debates in the geographical analysis of neocolonialism and post-colonialism.
  • Understand and communicate the complexities of defining and describing postcolonial analytical registers
  • Apply that understanding to contemporary debates regarding neo-colonialism, enclosure, accummulation, inequality, and capitalist globalisation, and comprehend the relevance and value of key concepts in the historical and geographical study of colonial and postcolonial processes for contemporary life including: capital, accumulation, enclosure, corporeality, hybridity, materiality, colonialism, subaltern, imperialism, etc.
  • Appreciate the inherent and necessary interdisciplinarity of colonial and postcolonial critique, and so further an awareness of relevant conceptual and empirical research in cognate disciplines such as history, sociology, anthropology, political theory, cultural studies, and science and technology studies.
  • Demonstrate analytical and conceptual skills in their written work.
  • The following transferable skills are developed in this Unit:
  • Written and oral communication
  • Discursive analysis of multiple and interdependent textual forms
  • Lateral, critical and analytical reasoning
  • Planning and implementing applied research projects

Links between learning outcomes and methods of assessment

  • The assessments will test your awareness of academic scholarship on the critical geographies of colonial and postcolonialism, and critical political economy, will require you to be conversant with key themes, concepts and case studies covered in lectures, readings and discussions.
  • The assessments will require you to use your written communication, critical reasoning, and organisational skills to demonstrate the relationship between concepts/theories and empirical material, and to make effective use of wider literatures to support your arguments.

Unseen examination questions will test conceptual comprehension and integration.

Teaching Information

Teaching will consist primarily of a 2-hour lecture. Some discussion to take place within lecture (class size permitting).

Assessment Information

50% course work assessment and 50% final examination

One independent research paper of 2500 words on a choice of two set questions. 50% of unit assessment total. Paper due Week 12.

One 2 part final examination set in exam period. 2 hour exam. The exam will comprise 6 questions in questions total across to parts. Students will be asked to answer 2 questions, one from each part. Weighting: 50% for each part. Total 100%.

Reading and References

Readings will be assigned for each week from pre-selected books and papers. Representative Readings for the unit are the following:

1. Ghandi, L. (1998) Postcolonial Theory: A Critical Introduction. Columbia University Press.

2. Sharp, J. (2009) Geographies of Postcolonialism. Sage.

3. Gregory, D. (2004) The Colonial Present. Blackwell.

4. Mbembe, A. (2001) On the Postcolony. University of California Press.

5. Stewart-Harawira, M. (2005) The New Imperial Order: Indigenous Responses to Globalization. Zed Books.