GEOG20170 Global Historical Geographies

Academic Year 2023/2024

Historical geography focuses on the dynamic relationship between space and time offering a geographical analysis of the past and an historical analysis of geographic patterns. A knowledge of the past and the long reach of historical processes is vital to an understanding of the modern world in terms of both physical landscapes and the evolution of economic, social and cultural landscapes. Past imperial and colonial practices and their legacies are key to understanding contemporary global inequalities (e.g. uneven economic development, resource access, population structures) and the societal challenges facing developing countries. This module will chart the evolution of human society across the globe examining the emergence of regions and places with distinctive identities and characteristics in an increasingly globalising world. In doing so it will introduce key concepts in historical geography that illuminate processes of continuity and change, linkages and ruptures and the intersections between power and society.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
- identify key themes and concepts in historical geography;
- understand the emergence of regional and place specific identities and landscapes;
- demonstrate an ability to use and analyse a range of historical geography source material; and
- analyse how the past shapes contemporary global practices and can be read in modern political, socio-economic and cultural landscapes.

Indicative Module Content:

Wk 1: Introducing Global Historical Geographies
Wk 2: Ancient Civilisations [Rome]
Wk 3: Competing Explorations [Portugal / China]
Wk 4: Imperialism [The Americas]
Wk 5: Age of Discoveries
Wk 6: Colonialism [Australia]
Wk 7: Doing Historical Geography (i)
Wk 8: Doing Historical Geography (ii)
Wk 9: 19th C Colonialism [Africa]
Wk 10: Decolonialism [Kenya]
Wk 11: Postcolonialism [Java]
Wk 12: Historical Legacies Today

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours




Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Teaching and learning on this module will include:
- Lectures
- Active / task-based learning through peer and group work in a practical workshop and in 'break-out' sessions during lectures
- Inquiry and case-based learning through a case study based assignments
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Assignment: 1000 word 'wiki' style assignment examining the role of climate change in the fall of ancient empires. Week 5 n/a Graded No


Examination: One hour end of trimester exam 1 hour End of Trimester Exam No Graded No


Project: Project focused on early Australian settlers designed to develop skills in working with and analysing archival sources based on practical in class workshops in Wks 6 and 7. Week 9 n/a Pass/Fail Grade Scale No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

- Group feedback on common issues arising from the written assignment will be provided during lectures. - Timely individualised feedback will be provided via Brightspace on the written assignment. - Students are welcome to meet with the module coordinator during office hours if more detailed feedback / further clarification is required.

The following items will provide a general introduction to Historical Geography issues. More focussed readings will be suggested and/or uploaded to Blackboard as appropriate. You are also expected to read widely in conjunction with this course.

• Baker, A.R.H., (2003) Geography and History: Bridging the Divide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
• Bentley, J.H., (ed) (2011) The Oxford Handbook of World History. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
• Boxer, C.R., (1991) The Portuguese seaborne empire, 1415-1825, 2nd ed. London: Carcanet.
• Butlin, R.A., (1993) Historical Geography: through the gates of space and time. London: Edward Arnold.
• Butlin, R. A., (2009) Geographies of Empires. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
• Butlin, R.A. and Dodgshon, R.A., (eds) (1998) An Historical Geography of Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
• Cloke, P., Crang, P., & Goodwin, M., (eds) (2005) Introducing Human Geographies, 2nd ed. Oxon, UK: Hodder Arnold – especially Part 2 Section 1: Cultural Geographies and Section 5: Historical Geographies.
• Cunliffe, B., (ed) (2001) The Oxford illustrated history of prehistoric Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
• Domosh, M., Heffernan, M., & Withers, C.W.J. (2020) The SAGE handbook of historical geography. London: Sage.
• Graham, B. J., and Nash, C., (eds) (2000) Modern Historical Geographies. Harlow: Prentice Hall.
• Morrissey, J, Nally, D., Strohmayer, U and Whelan, Y., (2014) Key Concepts in Historical Geography. London: Sage.
• Ogborn, M., Global Lives: Britain and the World, 1550 – 1800. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

• Historical Geography
• History Workshop
• Journal of Historical Geography
• Journal of World History
• Progress in Human Geography
• Social and Cultural Geography
• Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers