Study Abroad and Exchanges

Modules

Modules

GEO3041 : Geographies of Commodities (Inactive)

Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

This course gets behind the things we buy, showing where they come from, how they are produced and through what processes and pratices they are consumed and recycled. It aims to introduce and evaluate the following;
(i) theories and case studies of commodity geographies;
(ii) theories and case studies of global commodity chains, power and space;
(iii) theories and case studies of ethical commodity chains;
(iv) theories and case studies associated with spaces of commodity culture and consumption;
(v) theories and case studies of waste, recycling and disposal.

Student knowledge of the themes above will be assessed through two course essays.

Outline Of Syllabus

The following lectures, workshops and clinics form the core structure of the course. Six seminars (reading-based and participatory) will also be set on the lecture topics on selected weeks between Week 1 and Week 10.

PART I: INTRODUCING COMMODITIES
Lecture 1. Course introduction
Lecture 2. Material worlds: commodities and space

PART II: GLOBAL COMMODITY CHAINS, POWER AND SPACE
Lecture 3. Understanding commodity chains: theoretical perspectives
Lecture 4. Setting of Assessment 1: advice and guidance
Lecture 5. Global commodity chains and development
Lecture 6. ‘Black Gold’
Lecture 7. Development and the commodification of water
Lecture 8. Locating power in global commodity chains
Lecture 9. Contesting corporate power in global commodity chains

PART III: ETHICAL COMMODITY CHAINS
Lecture 10. The emergence of ethical trade
Lecture 11. Alternative trading organisations: the case of fair trade
Lecture 12. Environmental commodity chains
Lecture 13. Workshop on ethical trade I
Lecture 14. Workshop on ethical trade II
Lecture 15. Putting ethical/fair trade in place: economic and geographical impacts
Lecture 16. Ethical commodity chains in an age of austerity
Lecture 17. Clinic session for Assessment 1 I
Lecture 18. Clinic session for Assessment 1 II

PART IV: SPACES OF COMMODITY CULTURE AND CONSUMPTION
Lecture 19. Commodities and material culture
Lecture 20. Geographical knowledge and commodity culture
Lecture 21. Geographical knowledges exercise
Lecture 22. Commodification and spaces of tourism
Lecture 23. Advertising commodities: manipulating commodity culture?
Lecture 24. Advertising and consumerism: ‘Selling the Sixties’
Lecture 25. Commodity culture and the body
Lecture 26. Ethical consumerism and commodities

PART V: GEOGRAPHIES OF WASTE, RECYCLING AND DISPOSAL
Lecture 27. Exploring geographies of waste, recycling and disposal: electronics, ships and textiles
Lecture 28. Challenging theories of commodity chains through waste

PART VI: COURSE CONCLUSION
Lecture 29. Clinic session for Assessment 2 I
Lecture 30. Clinic session for Assessment 2 II

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture281:0028:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching61:006:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops31:003:002 sessions only; 1x2hr, 1x1hr.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery41:004:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1591:00159:00N/A
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures introduce, develop and illustrate theories and case studies of commodity geographies, global commodity chains, ethical commodity chains, commodity cultures and geographies of recycling.

Seminars and workshops provide opportunities for student-led critical analysis, discussion and presentation of case study material that illustrates commodity geographies, global commodity chains, ethical commodity chains, commodity cultures and geographies of recycling.

Drop-in surgery sessions allow students to ask questions and/or engage in academic discussion about the assessed coursework.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M451,800 word essay
Essay1M451,800 word essay
Prof skill assessmnt1M10Seminar Participation (assessed) - Seminars are arranged to ensure an element of participation from each student
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

RESIT INFO: 100% unseen examination 3 hour 3 Questions

Both assessments (the two course essays) will allow students to demonstrate the following:

Ability to abstract and synthesise information on real world commodities, global commodity chains, ethical commodity chains, commodity culture and geographies of recycling;
Ability to assess and critically evaluate the merits of contrasting theories that attempt to explain geographies of commodities, global commodity chains, ethical commodity chains, commodity culture and geographies of recycling;
Ability to analyse critically case studies of commodity geographies, global commodity chains, ethical commodity chains, commodity culture and geographies of recycling;
Ability to develop reasoned arguments surrounding commodity geographies, global commodity chains, ethical commodity chains, commodity culture and geographies of recycling.
Ability to communicate all of the above effectively in writing.

Reading Lists

Timetable