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Unit information: Experimental Geographical Methods: Practicing Posthumanism in Social Research in 2015/16

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Unit name Experimental Geographical Methods: Practicing Posthumanism in Social Research
Unit code GEOGM0020
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Patchett
Open unit status Not open



Other MSc S&S Units

School/department School of Geographical Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science

Description including Unit Aims

Posthuman theoretical innovations currently shaping contemporary cultural and social geography (and as taught in the Theory and Affect units) require us to rethink the empirical demands and responsibilities of geographical research. For example, if method(ologie)s are to address the material and ecological fabric of social life, then we need to reinvent their practices and their politics in order to deal with its more-than-human, more-than-textual, multi-sensual dimensions. The aim of this unit is both to provide students with a set of new approaches for the investigation of the material and ecological fabrics of social life, and to reflect critically on the value and status of experimental geographic ways of making knowledge and disseminating research. The unit will thus introduce and examine the practical, performative, and methodological questions and/or problems arising when geographers ‘practise posthumanism’. It will also provide students with commensurate practical experience in experimental and inventive method(ologie)s that respond to challenges posed by posthuman theoretical developments in Human Geography and related fields.

Intended Learning Outcomes

The unit will require students to: 1. Reflect critically on the practical, performative, and methodological questions and problems arising from the important posthumanist theoretical currents shaping cultural and social geographies; 2. Deploy a set of experimental practices and inventive methodologies that respond to posthumanist changes in human geography and related disciplines; and, to appreciate how such approaches can be used and developed to ‘practice posthumanism’ as research; 3. Engage the value and status of experimental geographic ways of making knowledge by conducting and disseminating research and the questions raised in doing contemporary social science.

Teaching Information

Directed seminars and accompanying practical sessions.

Assessment Information

100% Research Portfolio (up to 4000 words).

Students will be required to compile over the course of the 12 week unit a research portfolio that documents methodological experiments introduced and carried out in the associated practical sessions. The portfolio will require a critical reflection on the value, status and ethics of both experimental geographic ways of making knowledge and conducting and disseminating posthumanist social scientific research.

Reading and References

1. Lury, C. and Wakeford, N. (2012) Inventive Methods: the Happening of the Social. London: Routledge.

2. Anderson, B. and Harrison, P. (2010) Taking-Place: Non-Representational Theories and Geography. London, Ashgate.

3. Law, J. (2004) After Method: Mess in Social Science Research. London: Routledge.

4. DeLyser, D. et al. (2010). Sage Handbook of Qualitative Geography. London, Sage.

5. Ingold, T. (2013) Making: Anthropology, Archaeology, Art and Architecture. Routledge, London.

6. Thompson, N. (2009) Experimental Geography: Radical Approaches to Landscape, Cartography and Urbanism. Melville House Publishing.