UCL Department of Geography
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Dr Jason Dittmer

Unit value: 0.5 unit                          Year 3 Term 2

Brief course description

A lecture-oriented course considering the subject matter of popular geopolitics

Course aims

The course will cover a wide variety of approaches to the analysis of popular culture and geopolitics.  It will begin with two weeks’ overview of critical geopolitics and cultural studies before moving into in-depth coverage of concepts that have emerged within the field as key to both traditional popular geopolitics and its theoretical challenges and variants.  Each week will feature a different concept and related case study.

Course content

Having completed this course, students will have:

  1. Gained an understanding of the various theoretical approaches to popular culture within the geopolitical tradition;
  2. Engaged with case studies of popular culture that enable students to make connections between theoretical approaches and empirical examples;
  3. Applied this theoretical knowledge alongside their own critical thinking skills to analyze, in groups, some element of popular geopolitics
  4. Earned experience working in teams towards a common goal;
  5. Participated in an oral presentation that illustrates the team’s collective work.

Topics to be covered:

  • Emergence of critical/popular geopolitics
  • Cultural studies and related approaches to popular culture
  • Representation
  • The active audience
  • Narrativity
  • Affect
  • Hegemony and the subaltern
  • Identity and subjectivity

Method of Teaching

Lectures and group presentations


Form of Assessment

50% examination, 50% coursework

Pre-requisites and relationships with other courses

You should have taken GEOG2019 in year 2.

Suggested reading:

Dittmer, J. (2010) Popular Culture, Geopolitics, and Identity. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.

Sharp, J. (2000) Condensing the Cold War: Reader’s Digest and American Identity. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.