GEOG30180 Critical Ideas in Geography

Academic Year 2022/2023

This module surveys key paradigms in the discipline of Geography, both in human and physical geography. Each week is taught by a member of staff who is an expert on the material presented on that week. The module will examine a range of ideas and themes that have been key to the evolution of Geography. It provides students with a general overview of the history and philosophy of the discipline, and will encourage students to situate their current geographical knowledge within a broader context. In particular, there will be a focus on how the discipline has engaged with important social and public policy issues over time. Students will be expected to engage critically with a range of literature and ways of thinking and substantial independent reading will be required.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this module, students should have developed:

1. A critical knowledge of the history, philosophy and practice of geography.
2. Gained a critical and personal understanding of different key theoretical and methodological approaches in human and physical geography and to be able to choose which are the most appropriate to use in different circumstances.
3. Gained familiarity with group discussion and with the interaction of different views and opinions, developing respect and inclusiveness in class discussion.
4. Developed critical reading, analytical and research skills related to both scholarly and journalistic texts on relevant social and environmental matters.
5. The capacity of writing academic pieces dealing with geographical theory and scholarship.

Indicative Module Content:

Why theory matters
Spatial science
Humanistic geographies
Anarchist geographies
Alternative geographical traditions and geographers' politics engagement
Feminist geographies and scholarship on gender
Queer geographies
Postmodern geographies
Poststructuralist geographies
Physical Geography
Environmental science

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Autonomous Student Learning






Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The module will be delivered by a different academic from the School of Geography every week. Each academic is an expert on the material presented during that week. This is beneficial because students will be exposed to a range of approaches, philosophies and substantive research going on in the School of Geography. It is also a great opportunity for students to familiarise themselves with all staff members in Geography and to explore the possibilities for postgraduate studies at UCD Geography in a field of their choice.
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
Examination: Final exam, essay based. 1 hour End of Trimester Exam No Graded No


Assignment: Mid-term written individual assignment. Week 7 n/a Graded No


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

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

There is one recommended textbook for this module: Cresswell, T. (2013) Geographic thought: a critical introduction. Chichester, Wiley-Blackwell. This textbook is available in the UCD Main Library for loan and as an e-book for free consultation with your UCD username and password. It can be accessed through UCD Library online catalogue:
Name Role
Dr Christine Bonnin Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Kath Browne Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Arlene Crampsie Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Jacky Croke Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Ainhoa Gonzalez Del Campo Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Alun Jones Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Niamh Moore Cherry Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Tobi Morakinyo Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Rosana Pinheiro-Machado Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Jonathan Turner Lecturer / Co-Lecturer