APL8000 : Conceptualising Landscape (20 credits)

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This is an innovative module that focuses on the relations between landscape, culture and society, and on the various ways that landscape is represented, imagined and practiced, which brings together various aspects of landscape studies that are normally isolated from one another. The module provides a general introduction to landscape theory, introducing students to the various, and sometimes competing and opposed, ways in which landscape has been conceptualised, defined and understood. It highlights the philosophical theories, critical positions and political agendas which underpin different approaches to landscape. It draws upon recent writings in cultural geography, environmental ethics and heritage studies. It explores the theme of utopian and dystopian imaginaries of landscape, relating these to the interlinked crises of our times: globalisation, urban sprawl, population growth, climate change, resource depletion, pollution, loss of biodiversity, mass migration of population etc. The module considers the various ways that future landscape conditions are being imagined and projected in the present, ranging from dystopias of anticipated climate change and securitized urban environments, through visions of restoration ecology and rewilding, to contemporary design discourses such as Landscape Urbanism and Ecological Urbanism.

The module provides the principal introduction to landscape theory for the MALAS programme.

Outline Of Syllabus

1 Imaginary landscapes
2 Utopias and dystopias
3 Detachment and immersion
4 Phenomenology
5 Landscape and power
6 Urban utopias
7 Nature, rewilding and restoration
8 Heritage, memory, belonging and imagination
9 The crises of our times (1)
10 The crises of our times (2)

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1160:00160:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture102:0020:00Including seminar discussions and workshops
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical102:0020:00Film Series. Includes discussion time.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Students will be introduced to a range of different definitions and understandings of landscape, the aim being to stimulate their own critical responses to landscape issues, regardless of their original disciplinary backgrounds, and thus to prepare them to produce their own creative responses to landscape issues in the latter part of the programme.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Reflective log1A50A response diary, each student to keep a diary or notebook in which personal responses to the topics will be assessed
Essay1A50An essay (which will be illustrated) related to one of the themes explored in the module (2500-3000 words)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The coursework and essay elements are intended to assess understanding of the material presented in the module and to provide an opportunity to respond critically to this material.

Reading Lists