UCL Department of Geography
GEOGG004 Thinking Space
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GEOGG004 Thinking Space

(15 credits)

Term 1 (2013-14)

Staff: Dr. Tariq Jazeel (T.Jazeel@ucl.ac.uk; BW G10); Prof Andrew Barry (A.Barry@ucl.ac.uk; BW G09); Dr Alan Latham (Alan.Latham@ucl.ac.uk; PB G19); Prof Richard Dennis (R.Dennis@ucl.ac.uk; BW G110)


  • To introduce students to key approaches to theorising space
  • To demonstrate how thinking spatially informs analysis of key social science debates
  • To provide advanced level training in the theoretical skills needed to undertake research on geographical topics and to contribute to theory-building in geography


This course explores the theorisation of space. It will build a strong historical understanding of how current spatial thinking has developed, and will place these developments in the context of the history of geography and of the social sciences more generally. A general introduction to the history and importance of spatial thinking in Geography (Jazeel) will be followed by four themes through which we will explore this in more detail. This year these will be: “Place, Space and Representation” (Jazeel); “Scales and Topologies” (Latham); Spaces of Science and Politics (Barry); Geography and Marxism (Dennis). Students will be introduced to the work of key spatial thinkers and to social scientists whose work has played an important role in the development of spatial thinking. The role of theorisations of space in shaping selected core social science and geographical debates will be discussed.


There are two COMPULSORY components to the assessment for this course.

1 piece of coursework – 1000 words (this essay is compulsory but does not contribute to course grade; It is due by 11 November 2013. It will be marked and returned with comments by the end of term for early formative feedback.

1 piece of coursework – 3000 words – 100% of the formal assessment for this module. The questions for this will be circulated before Reading Week. The due date for the assignment is 13 January 2014. The hard copy must be submitted to the Department Office by 12pm on that date, and an electronic version submitted via the course Moodle site by 5pm. These two versions MUST be identical.


Teaching will take the form of 10x2 hour seminars on Thursdays from 2-4pm Pearson Building Rm. G07.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Appreciation of the implications of analyses of space for core themes in contemporary social science and geography
  • Knowledge and understanding of key theoretical approaches in geography and the social sciences
  • Ability to develop a spatial analysis of key geographical and social science topics
  • Develop transferable research skills in textual analysis and academic writing.

A useful resource for this course will be the Dictionary of Human Geography, which will help you with many of the terms you will come across, and which also offers brief overviews of key topics in Geography together with some further reading:

Gregory, D., Johnston, R. J., Pratt, G., Watts, M. and Whatmore, S. (eds) (2009) The Dictionary of Human Geography. Oxford: Blackwell.