UCL Department of Geography
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15 credit units (for 30 credit unit version, see below) NB Taught in the autumn term

Staff: Prof Ann Varley, Room 105, 26 Bedford Way, x 25519 email: a.varley@ucl.ac.uk

Aims This module explores the idea that modern geographies are divided into public and private spaces and how such a division might be gendered.  It examines the place of the public/private dualism in modern western thought and its significance for women’s and men’s lives, at home and at work, in the west and elsewhere.

The distinction between the ‘public’ and the ‘private’ has been described as central to theories of modernity and to the definition of gender identities in western thought.  This module asks why this is so, and with what consequences.  It aims to introduce students to some key ideas about the ‘public’ and the ‘private’ in the work of historians, philosophers, political theorists and sociologists as well as geographers. It emphasises feminist and post-modernist critiques of the public/private binary and related dualisms but questions the assumption that if we do not talk about binaries they will ‘go away’.

To illustrate some of these themes addressed, the module includes two visits to London museums/galleries (the Wallace Collection and the Geffrye Museum), which will focus on ideas about the private and the development of domesticity in Western Europe culture.

Mode of teaching Apart from the museum/gallery classes, the course is taught entirely by seminars. Each seminar is student-led, with pairs of students commenting on set readings and leading general discussion. Set readings will be assigned to each student and it is therefore essential that any student interested in taking the module contact the convenor with details of their academic background before registering for the course.

Prerequisites Familiarity with the social sciences is desirable, and familiarity with essay writing in the social science or humanities, essential. Students must discuss their academic background with the course convenor before registering for the course.

Assessment 100% coursework. One essay of 3,000 words on one of a list of questions available from the convenor.

GEOGG048 This module may also be available in a 30 credit version, assessed by two essays of 3,000 words each. For details please contact the convenor.

Preliminary reading

Arendt, H. (1958) The Human Condition. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Blunt, A. and R. Dowling (2006) Home. Routledge, London.

Duncan, N. (ed.) (1996) Bodyspace: Destabilizing Geographies of Gender and Sexuality. Routledge, London.

Elshtain, J.B. (1993) Public Man, Private Woman: Women in Social and Political Thought. Princeton University Press, Princeton. 2nd ed.

Landes, J.B. (ed.) (1998) Feminism, the Public and the Private. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Madanipour, A. (2003) Public and Private Spaces of the City. Routledge, London.

Massey, D. (1994) Space, Place and Gender. Polity, Cambridge.

McDowell, L. (2009) Working Bodies: Interactive Service Employment and Workplace Identities. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester.

Pateman, C. (1988) The Sexual Contract. Polity Press, Cambridge.

Pratt, G. (2004) Working Feminism. Temple University Press, Philadelphia.

Puwar, N. (2004) Space Invaders: Race, Gender and Bodies out of Place. Berg, Oxford.

Rose, G. (1993) Feminism and Geography: The Limits of Geographical Knowledge. Polity Press, Cambridge.

Young, I.M. (1997) Intersecting Voices: Dilemmas of Gender, Political Philosophy, and Policy. Princeton University Press, Princeton.