Critical Approaches in Geography - GEOG5002

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Spring Term 5 15 (7.5) Jonathan Rock checkmark-circle


Human Geography has seen significant theoretical shifts with major intellectual traditions or schools of thought emerging and contesting knowledge about space and place and how it shapes modern life. This module builds on the foundations of the earlier parts of the degree and gives an overview of the changing theoretical landscape by discussing - among others- positivist, humanistic approaches, historical/geographical materialism, post-modernism, post-structuralism, feminist, queer and post-colonial geographies. The module is not designed to be encyclopaedic in its coverage; rather, it aims to introduce students to and critically discuss the major thinkers and theories on the recent theoretical journey of Human Geography.


Contact hours

Contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 128
Total contact hours: 150


Compulsory for:
• BSc Human Geography

Optional for:
• BA Environmental Social Sciences
• BSc Wildlife Conservation

Also available as an elective module

Method of assessment

Essay: 2000 words 40%
Exam: 2 hours 60%

Reassessment Methods:

*Exams will be online*

Indicative reading

The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages (

• Aitken, S. and Valentine, G. (eds) (2006) Approaches to Human Geography, Sage, London.

• Cloke, P., Crang, P. and Goodwin, M. (2013) (3rd Edition) Introducing Human Geographies. Routledge, London.

• Cresswell, T. (2013) Geographic Thought: A Critical Introduction. Wiley, Chichester.

• Hubbard, P. and Kitchen, R. (2011) (2nd edition) Key thinkers in Space and Place. Sage, London.

• Plus selected articles from leading international academic journals such as Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers; The Geographical Journal; Geojournal; Environment and Planning D: Society and Space; Progress in Human Geography

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1. Devise and sustain reasoned arguments founded upon assessing the merits of contrasting theories and explanations in Geography.
2. Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the changing nature of theories in Human Geography and how different conceptual approaches have emerged over time
3. Demonstrate detailed knowledge of key thinkers and their contributions to the diverse ways Human Geography has been theorised
4. Critically evaluate the major differences between emerging schools of thought and intellectual traditions in Geography.


  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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