Module Catalogue 2019/20

GEO2047 : Political Geography

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Ms Olivia Mason
  • Lecturer: Dr Craig Jones, Dr Matt Benwell
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



This course aims to give students a thorough grounding in the concepts, practices and disciplinary traditions of political geography. In doing so, students will be equipped with the skills to critically analyse the spatialities of political life from local to global scales.

Outline Of Syllabus


Introduction: visions of political geography

Part I: Space and sovereignty
Sovereignty and territory I: making states
Sovereignty and territory II: unmaking states
Indigenous sovereignties
Proto-states, quasi-states and 'non-places'
International boundaries I: making boundaries
International Boundaries II: Trumped! politics and identity

Part II: Geopolitics, classical and critical
Geopolitics, classical and critical: was Sir Halford Mackinder right
Cold War
Popular geopolitics
Geopolitics of the War on Terror I&II
Resource geopolitics
Dividing up the world: geopolitics of regions
Geopolitics, Donald Trump, and peace

Part III: State and citizenship
Geographies of citizenship
Nationalism I&II
Young people, geopolitical agency and participation
Citizen diplomacy and statecraft
The nonviolent revolution

1 x practical/seminar on making public interventions: letters-to-editors workshop (assessed essay resulting from this)

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

By the end of the course the student will:

1. Have a sound knowledge and understanding of the tenets and background of political geography and will be able to critically evaluate the position of the sub-discipline in relation to broader geographical enquiry.
2. Have a sound knowledge and understanding of the relationship between sovereignty claims and space and will have a background in a broad range of case studies.
3. Be able to critically assess the production of geopolitical knowledge and will have an understanding of the various means by which this knowledge is communicated and reproduced.
4. Be able to critically evaluate concepts such as state, nation and territory.

Intended Skill Outcomes

By the end of the course the student will have developed:

1. The ability to summarise, assess, explain and critically evaluate different theories and arguments.
2. The ability to formulate, present, defend and revise reasoned arguments in the contexts of individual writing, group discussion, and the public sphere.
3. The ability to engage in public debate by writing letters for publication in national, regional and local newspapers
4. The ability to recognise, interpret and critically evaluate the political geographic content of everyday life, as experienced across a range of quotidian sites including landscapes, news media, films, novels, and places of work.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture212:0042:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical21:002:00Assessment 1 introduction session (1hr) Doing a Political Geography Dissertation (1hr)
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1156:00156:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship


Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A60Take home exam
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report1M40‘Political Geography in the Media’ essay - 2,000 word
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Exam – will assess knowledge and understanding of political geographic concepts and ability to summarize, assess, explain and evaluate different theories and arguments.

Essay – ‘Political Geography in the Media’ – will assess knowledge and understanding of political geographic concepts and application, and ability to summarise, assess, explain and evaluate different theories and arguments. Twinned to this, students are asked to use this knowledge to interpret and analyses contemporary news stories.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes

As per geography policy, introductory and revision lectures will be recapped and made permanently available. All other lectures will be recapped and made available for a period of two weeks only. This is to allow students to catch up and revisit material at the time, but to prevent reliance on them as a substitute for proper revision and wider reading for assessments.

Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2019/20 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2020/21 entry will be published here in early-April 2019. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.