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GAP3004 - Knowledge, Space and Power


Christopher Columbus


Taylor's map of migration and evolution of the races



A history of geographical knowledge & practice from the Renaissance to the present day. Throughout, attention will be paid to the ways in which geographical knowledge has exerted political and social power at different points in times and in different spatial locations. The contributions of particular individuals, schools of thought, institutions, theories & methodologies are therefore interpreted in their broader social, intellectual & political contexts. Among the topics we examine are: the voyages of discovery / reconnaissance and their social and intellectual consequences; the expansion and uses of geographical knowledge during the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment; geography, society and the Darwinian Revolution; geography and empire; British and American geography in the modern period; geography in Nazi Germany; geography and social thought since the second world war.

Learning Outcomes

On completing this module students should be able to: specify major theoretical perspectives on the history of geographical knowledge and practice; critically evaluate a variety of historiographical perspectives; evaluate the work of major figures in the history of geography; identify major features of geographical knowledge in different times and places; appreciate connections between geographical knowledge and the exercise of social power; grasp the major theoretical turns the discipline has undergone.


Prof David Livingstone



Intellectual history; theory and practice of geographical knowledge; the work of key geographers and scholars in cognate fields; links between geographical knowledge and social conditions.

Key skills

Conduct independent research on the history of geography; critically evaluate different theoretical positions in geograph; use a range of different kinds of resource materials - textual, visual, cartographic; appreciate the ways in which geographical knowledge has served social interests.

Employability skills

Learning & study; written communication; oral communication; information handling & retrieval.



Supplementary notes

It will be assumed that students taking this module are familiar with and understand the material addressed in GGY1005 and GGY2028. Students who have not taken these modules are advised to undertake the necessary additional preparation prior to taking this module.


 Exam (120 minutes)