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POL8044 : Critical Geopolitics

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Mori Ram
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


1.       To analyse and examine the concepts of critical geopolitics
2.       To analyse and examine the theories and debates that surround concepts in critical geopolitics
3.       To acquaint students with the most important literature on these subjects
4.       To locate this literature in its appropriate historical context
5.       To develop students' ability to think cogently, rigorously and critically about the political causes, consequences and discourse of contemporary geopolitics

This module introduces students to how to think and analyse the spatial dimensions of politics. It explores the interdisciplinary nature of contemporary geopolitical thought. The myriad connections between identity, culture, security and space are running themes throughout the module topics.

Outline Of Syllabus

Topics vary year on year. In recent years, topics covered have included:

Critical methodologies and geopolitics
Space in geopolitical thought
Orthodox geopolitics
Sovereignty and territory
Borders and biopolitics
Vertical geopolitics
Popular geopolitics
Climate change and the environment
Planetary and outer space in geopolitical thought
War on Terror
Global war on Drugs
Infrastructure and geopolitics

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching112:0022:00PiP seminar session
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1178:00178:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

A seminar format will be used so that students can
•       give their own presentations on aspects of each major subject heading
•       engage in critical discussion which is an essential part of this discipline
•       receive instruction, guidance, advice, and help in identifying issues and critical questions from the seminar leader.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Research paper2M20750-word article review
Research paper2M653250-word research paper
Prof skill assessmnt2M15Answering engagement questions in seminars
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

750-word article review (20%) Students will write a review discussing a contemporary theme/s relating to one of the topics the module covers. Students will be asked to identify and engage with two to four articles or books that explore a theme related to the issues we discuss during the sessions.

3250-word research paper (65%) The module’s substantive assessment is a research paper, the topic of which is to be devised by the student in consultation with the module leader. Topics can vary and can be linked to one of the themes we deal with in the module or to a topic of your choosing as long as it can be connected to a discussion on the relationship between space and power.

Engagement (15%) - Students will be asked questions during seminars to encourage engagement with the module throughout the semester.

These modes of assessment will test students’ ability
•       to address a significant question in the area of geopolitics and critical geopolitics
•       to draw upon and engage critically with the relevant literature
•       to show analytical rigour in their use of concepts and their examination of theories and arguments
* to enhance participation during sessions

Reading Lists