Critical Approaches to Human Geography

Module code: 708AR
Level 7 (Masters)
30 credits in autumn semester
Teaching method: Not yet finalised
Assessment modes: Report, Coursework

No other discipline in the social sciences and humanities could claim the diversity of research themes and practices as Human Geography.

From the highly technical, the applied and policy-orientated, to the theoretically rich and philosophical, and from the past through the present to the future, human geography research – including at Sussex – embraces all possible worlds.

Through a series of reading-led seminars, this module will introduce you to some of the debates at the critical cutting edge of human geographical scholarship pertinent to ongoing research in the ‘Histories, Cultures, Networks’, ‘Geographies of Migration’ and ‘Globalisation and Development’ research clusters. Each week a different member of faculty will lead discussion on their area of research, introducing discussions of literature review, method and epistemology.

Alongside reading foundational texts and/or work in progress, discussions will focus on exploring how theory and evidence combine in critical geographical research. In the second half of the term you will be given the opportunity to read and critically review a set of real grant proposals and take part in a mock grant review panel.

This will not only provide a hands-on appreciation of the assessment and grading process associated with research bids, but also help to develop critical appraisal skills in an environment where you will also learn directly from your peers.

The final weeks of term will be devoted to research project formulation workshops. In so doing, the module will expose you to geographical debates, and profile the diversity of research processes and practices at Sussex and begin the process of project formulation for the extended research project in the final term.

Module learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate a well-grounded and broadly based knowledge and critical understanding of scholarly approaches in Human Geography
  • Engage coherently and critically with contemporary human geographical debates
  • Demonstrate a knowledge and critical awareness of the central theoretical underpinnings of Human Geography and their place within the wider field of social theory
  • Contextualise and critically appraise the key contributions of a new piece of geographical research and communicate this effectively to both specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • Critically evaluate a range of research epistemologies and methodologies in order to design an original research project that addresses defined challenges in human geography