Geography

The following modules are available to incoming Study Abroad students interested in Geography.

Alternatively you may return to the complete list of Study Abroad Subject Areas.

LEC.114: Society and space - Human Geography

  • Terms Taught: Full Year Course.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: This course must be taken with LEC.115

Course Description

The course focuses on the interactions between people and places at a variety of spatial scales, and in varied parts of the globe. Key issues include the social and cultural impacts of current demographic trends, processes of urbanisation, globalisation of the world economy, the spatial dimensions of social and economic inequalities, the influence of different political systems on contemporary society, and the ways in which different societies adapt and react to issues of sustainability and risk. These themes are explored within the context of different theoretical approaches current within human geography and are illustrated by examples from both rich and poor parts of the world.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Discuss key processes of geographical change affecting society, economy and environment in different parts of the globe
  • Critically analyse key theories and arguments that inform the geographical analysis of society, economy and environment
  • Apply appropriate models of geographical change to a range of topics in human geography
  • Demonstrate sufficient knowledge in human geography to proceed to Part 2 of the Geography degree course
  • Use and communicate key geographical concepts effectively

Outline Syllabus

  • Introduction to course; Geographies of human populations: migration, mortality and fertility
  • Urbanisation over time and space: processes and impacts
  • Globalisation: economic restructuring, global processes and local impacts
  • Social and spatial inequalities: race, gender, age, community and social justice
  • Geopolitics: the nation state, geopolitical systems and the New World Order
  • Sustainability and risk: climate change and society; environmental justice; environmental disasters and human vulnerability; social, spatial and political implications of environmental change.

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 60%
  • Coursework: 40%

LEC.115: Geographical Skills in a Changing World

  • Terms Taught: Full Year Course.
  • US Credits: 6 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 12 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: This course must be taken with LEC.114

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to the skills used by geographers to analyse problems in both human and physical geography. It begins by reviewing the principles of cartography and recent developments in the electronic delivery of map-based information through mobile devices and web-based services. This is followed by an introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) which have greater capabilities for the capture, storage, analysis and display of spatial information. Later in the course Remote Sensing is introduced and its relationship to GIS explained.

The course also considers quantitative and qualitative techniques of analysis (which are taught within the context of contemporary conceptual approaches), with emphasis placed on the study of both environmental and societal processes. These lectures are supported by fortnightly tutorials and two field days designed to allow you to develop geographical skills in a real-world setting. Assessment includes an oral presentation, field and project research, all designed to assess the application of geographical skills in the context of contemporary environmental issues.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to...

  • Use Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to effectively present and interpret geographical data;
  • Use a range of techniques to collect, analyse and interpret quantitative and qualitative geographical data;
  • Design and execute a research project based on the critical use of secondary data sources
  • Conduct field research using selected geographical skills
  • Demonstrate sufficient knowledge of geographical skills to proceed to Part II of a Geography degree course

Outline Syllabus

Key elements of the syllabus include:

  • Cartography and Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
  • Statistical and mathematical analysis in Geographical research
  • Interpreting remotely sensed images
  • Qualitative methods in Geographical research
  • Multi-methods approaches to geography
  • Introduction to group research projects (based on the use of secondary sources of information)

One field day in Summer Term. This will be designed to introduce students to practical research problems in NW England. Locations will include the Lake District, Lune Valley, Fylde Coast, Lancaster District and Manchester.

Assessment Proportions

Coursework: 100%

LEC.211: Spatial Analysis and Geographic Information Systems

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: College geography or equivalent subject preferred.

Course Description

More data has been generated in the last 2 years than over whole history of humanity prior to this. Of this data, 80% has spatial content. This module is about understanding properties of spatial data, whether derived from the map, an archive or the field or from space. The module will explore how these data are represented in computer systems and how, through spatial integration, new forms of information may be derived. There will be a focus on major sources of spatial data (topographic, environmental, socio-economic) and their properties, major forms of analyses based on spatial relationships, and on effective communication of spatial data through adherence to principles of map design.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will:

  • Understand what makes spatial data special - through exposure to data from a variety of sources (primary and secondary, contemporary and historic) across the breadth of the geographic discipline
  • Have an appreciation of common forms of spatial analysis and an understanding of which to use under given situations Understand the principles of map design and effective cartographic communication and practical experience of critiquing digital outputs
  • Have had significant 'hands-on' experience of using state-of-the-art GIS software to capture, integrate, analyse and present geographic information

Outline Syllabus

Lectures/Practicals

Broad themes and running order as follows:

  • What makes data spatial?
  • Basic spatial data modelling
  • Scale and generalisation
  • Coordinate systems
  • Data sources
  • Topographic
  • Thematic
  • Socio economic
  • Environmental
  • Data capture
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Big data
  • Data analysis
  • Proximity
  • Interpolation
  • Overlay
  • Networks
  • Cartography
  • Effective communication
  • Onscreen versus print

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 50%
  • Exam: 50%

LEC.212: Research Project Skills

  • Terms Taught: Lent Term only
  • US Credits: 4 Semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits
  • Pre-requisites: Suitable for Geography majors

Course Description

This module is to provide students with knowledge and understanding of:

  • How to scope and review existing literature and formulate research projects aims that are novel, substantive and achievable
  • How to situate research projects within relevant conceptual frameworks
  • How to design research methodologies that will enable project aims to be achieved
  • How to execute data collection
  • How to collate, process, analyse, discuss and interpret in the context of existing literature such that the project aims area achieved
  • How to take full account of safety and ethical issues in executing research projects
  • How to incorporate skills and knowledge gained in this and other modules into effective materials to support post-graduation job applications

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module, students will have demonsrtated their ability to:

  • Situate specific research projects within the wider context of the discipline of geography.
  • Utilise a variety of conceptual and methodological approaches to geographical enquiry, and select appropriate approaches to given situations
  • Apply a variety of techniques for data collection and analysis to geographical enquiry, and use knowledge of their strengths and limitations to interpret their outcomes in a relevant and appropriate manner
  • Use a variety of tools for data collection, processing and analysis to aid the application of the techniques in (3)

Assessment Proportions

Coursework: 100%

LEC.213: Earth Surface Processes

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: College geography or equivalent subject preferred.

Course Description

The aim of this course is to provide an advanced level overview of the processes that determine the nature of the Earth’s surface features and their interactions with human society, following from material covered in LEC 103. The course will cover atmospheric, hydrological, sedimentary, oceanic and glacial processes and will take a theoretical, process-based perspective, but will illustrate concepts with case studies and examples throughout.  It will be assessed via laboratory and fieldwork exercise reports and a written examination.

Educational Aims

On completion of this module a student should be able to:  

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the environmental process theories covered.
  • Synthesise and manipulate these theories in order to elucidate complex environmental systems, and critically assess the efficacy of the theories in explaining those systems.
  • Use effectively the quantitative tools and practical skills covered in the coursework.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the approaches adopted in models of the environment, and of their outcomes.
  • Identify the key environmental processes that affect human-environment interactions in a variety of situations and explain their effects.
  • Critically assess ways in which society might respond to these interactions.

Outline Syllabus

Lectures will be supported by background reading and web-based support material.  Practical skills and application of course content will be practised through two 2-hour practical sessions on campus, and one full-day field trip.  The end of year examination will test students' abilities to integrate, synthesise, critique and apply course content.

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 60%
  • Coursework: 40%

LEC.214: Interacting Landscapes: Biogeography and Geomorphology

  • Terms Taught: Lent Term Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: College geography or equivalent subject preferred.

Course Description

This course will explore the interaction between biogeography and geomorphology in four contrasting but contiguous environments, namely: mountains and moorlands; lake basins; lowland plains; estuaries and coasts.

Educational Aims

On completion of this module a student should have:  

  • A good understanding of key concepts related to the interaction between biogeography and geomorphology in three related environments.
  • The ability to critically appraise the conceptual base used in research articles and books that they read.
  • The ability to communicate knowledge of biogeographical and geomorphological concepts.
  • The ability to link conceptual ideas with real world examples examined in the field

Outline Syllabus

Lectures will be devoted to biogeography and geomorphology while later ones will bring these two themes together and examine their interactions.

The lectures will be supported by two compulsory fieldtrips. One will examine upland environments and lakes, the other coastal and estuarine environments.

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 70%
  • Coursework: 30%

LEC.216: Environment and Society

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: College geography or equivalent subject preferred.

Course Description

This course deals with the ways in which the environment is perceived, understood, valued and managed in developed societies. Beginning with the examination of the historical evolution of ideas and concerns about the environment, the course considers how environmental decision-making is carried out, how environmental management strategies are developed and how the greening of politics has evolved in different contexts. The challenges faced by society in dealing with problems that are complex, uncertain and ‘messy’ are particularly considered. The roles for members of the public as ecological citizens and as participants in more open and inclusive decision-making processes are evaluated, drawing on concepts of justice, ethics and responsibility. The course will examine various ways in which conflicts between the many different stakeholders interested in environmental and resource management issues can be addressed.  

Educational Aims

On completion of this module a student should be able to:  

  • Know about a selection of important historical, contemporary and emerging themes within environmentalism and environmental management.
  • Have a broad understanding of the history of environmentalism and the different ways in which environmental concerns and interests are expressed.
  • Understand how different management approaches and strategies can be used to deal with change, complexity, uncertainty and conflict.
  • Appreciate the relevance of environmentalism and environmental management in contemporary society.
  • Have further developed practical skills for secondary research using published and web resources.
  • Have further developed the ability to think critically about the nature of environmentalism and environmental management, and the ability to express and defend these thoughts through the medium of essay and examination questions.

Outline Syllabus

The learning and teaching strategy is to introduce students to some of the major issues and debates related to the environment-society relationship through a series of lectures.  The lecture series will provide explanations of key ideas, concepts and theories and also provide examples of their practical application. Each lecture will be supported by a reading list, which will include relevant research papers, textbooks and web-based material.  Students will be actively encouraged to think critically about environmentalism and environmental management and to consider the lessons and the implications of the subject matter covered in each lecture.  Group work will involve analysis of how a major environmental controversy is presented to the public.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 100%

LEC.218: Development, Geography and the Majority World

  • Terms Taught: Lent Term Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: College geography or equivalent subject preferred.

Course Description

The course will explore how to interpret contemporary international changes in political and economic systems from the perspective of developing and developed world economies. You will be encouraged to relate the changes that are evident in the world political-economic system to deeper historical and geographical causal mechanisms that produce systematic changes in the organisation of work, commodities, consumption and production in different contexts, countries and times. The consequences of these changes for the lived realities of communities, producers and workers will also be examined.  All of the above are explored in lectures and through a one day field trip to Manchester.

Educational Aims

Students will be able to identify key contemporary development challenges (e.g., poverty, inequality, environmental change) and the ways in which development initiatives seek to address these problems, as well as critically evaluate the differential impacts (e.g., along gender lines, or rural vs. urban areas) these initiatives may have.  

  • Students will be able to articulate key changes in development thinking over time and relate these to changes in the global political economy. They will also develop an awareness of the ways in which development has been contested and challenged.    
  • Students will be able to identify different approaches to development and critically evaluate the potential impacts of development initiatives.
  • Students will be able to identify how particular initiatives reflect different understandings of development.
  • Students will appreciate the role of geographic imagination in creating categories such as North/South or developed/developing.
  • Students will build on their fieldwork experience by designing a field trip on a similar theme to a new location.   

Outline Syllabus

Lectures

Political economies of the developing world  

  • Geographical Political Economy: An Introduction  
  • Political Economy of Development  
  • Governing development  
  • Rising Powers  
  • Labour and Livelihoods in the Global South   
  • Gender and Development  
  • Non-state actors in development policy  
  • Colonizing Geographies' and Post-Development

Political economies of the developed world 

  • Industrial economies and Fordism I: the golden age of manufacturing  
  • Industrial economies and Fordism II: decline and its impacts  
  • Industrial economies and post-Fordism I  
  • Industrial economies and post-Fordism II  
  • Post industrial economies  
  • Post-industrial cities  
  • Uneven political economy

Lecture and seminar in preparation for fieldtrip 

  • Manchester: geographies of political economy at work  
  • One day field trip to Manchester. 

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 80%
  • Groupwork: 20%

LEC.222: Political Geography

  • Terms Taught: Lent Term only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: College geography or equivalent subject preferred.

Course Description

The contemporary world is full of intriguing political developments. Examples range from questions of national independence in the UK, through geopolitical concern with nuclear arms development, to humanitarian crises brought on by civil war. These political moments and their historical trajectories are united by an engagement with space and power; two themes that largely frame what might be called political geography. Against this background, this course will examine both the importance of politics to human geography and, indeed, geography to the study of politics.

A range of ‘classic’ staples of political geography will be covered including engagements with geopolitics, nationalism and border studies. Additionally, we will examine social movement activism and mobilisation, security and what it means to be a ‘superpower’. In all cases, theoretical grounding in these core themes will support empirical engagement with a range of case studies, both historical and contemporary.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Describe the emergence of political geography and articulate its place within the broader field of human geography
  • Think critically about key concepts such as space, power and governance from a geographical standpoint
  • Critically assess contemporary political developments through an understanding of the ways in which politics and (representations of) geographies intersect
  • Orally communicate core ideas such as nation, governance and geopolitics with confidence and in a critical manner

Outline Syllabus

Following an introductory lecture, there will be three thematic sections of the course broken down as follows:

Making and un-making states

  • Governance and security
  • Nationalism and post-nationalism
  • Colonialism and postcolonialism

Power and space

  • Hegemony and superpower
  • Classical geopolitics
  • Critical geopolitics and the importance of discourse

Borders, conflict and resistance

  • Borders and migration
  • Conflict and post-conflict
  • Social movements: resistance and negotiation

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 50%
  • Exam: 50%

LEC.223: Cultural Geography

  • Terms Taught: Lent Term only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: College geography or equivalent subject preferred.

Course Description

This course consists of an advanced introduction to cultural geography. Cultural geography is a discipline that studies culture from a geographical perspective, while, at the same time, understands space and the spatial from a cultural point of view. The course focuses on the key geographical concepts of landscape, place, space, region, scale, together with ideas of justice, equality, fairness and aesthetics. Throughout the course these concepts will be explained and discussed in relation to contemporary understandings of culture, nature, nation, cosmopolitanism, multiculturalism, community, colonialism and postcolonialism.

The course is designed to give students an understanding of the practical utility of theories about culture, space, identity and power. The aim of the course is to provide students with a broad and critical understanding of theoretical concepts and debates in contemporary cultural geography. The idea is to give students a good knowledge of spatial concepts and of their related implications in terms of geographies of the present. The course will provide the students with the tools to critically assess and interrogate situations that they will encounter in the future in their professional activities.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Critically analyse, evaluate, and apply the concepts of landscape, place, space, scale and body
  • Distinguish and criticize different theoretical traditions in cultural geography
  • Criticize and assess contemporary debates in cultural geography in relation to previous research traditions in the discipline
  • Critically analyse the relevant literature in geography and the social sciences and apply it selectively to the methodologies at the core of specific assessment

Outline Syllabus

This module examines cultural practices and associated politics in diverse contexts. This course explores the importance of variegated representations such as cultural materials, texts, art, landscapes, everyday objects, performances, etc. and how they interact and impact upon with e.g. race, class, gender and sexuality

Geography and Humanities

  • Landscape
  • Scissors, tea ceremonies and wind turbines: functional beauty and everyday aesthetics
  • Narratives and cartography: mapping indigenous peoples stories
  • Urban art
  • Creative geographies

Post-colonial theory

  • Foreign bodies: performance art in Africa and cultural translations
  • Beauty and ugliness: representation of the African in museums
  • Desert blues: guns and guitars in the Sahara

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework:  50%
  • Exam: 50%

LEC.224: Globalizing Food: A Field Course of Food Politics and Culture in Paris

  • Terms Taught: Weeks 2-5 Lent term and Easter vacation
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: LEC.114 and LEC.115

Course Description

This field module takes students to the historical European city of Paris where we investigate the social, political and environmental impacts which are globalizing food. Students engage in a geographic inquiry into the temporal and spatial links between production and consumption and discover how food, culture and politics are interwoven into daily life and that of the dinner table.

The module will allow you to build on and apply conceptual skills acquired from LEC.114 Society and Space, LEC.210 Geographical Skills and Concepts, LEC.218 Development, Geography and the Majority World and will prepare you for the third year modules, LEC.329 Global Consumption and LEC.331 Food and Agriculture in the 21st century. Some of the skills you will acquire can be used for the methods that you might use for the data collection for your dissertation.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Recognize the economic, cultural, political and culinary complexity of Paris as a result of the layering of historical, local and global influences.
  • Illustrate the relevance of doing first hand observation and interviews to formulate a critical understanding of the political, socio-economic and cultural context.
  • Demonstrate the ability to synthesise culinary history, current food trends and link it to contemporary economic, social, and food policies.
  • Appraise the relevance of selected theoretical approaches to global and local food regimes for the analysis of web based material, literature and data collected during the field excursion.
  • Conduct interviews, observations, debates, group discussions and presentations.
  • Demonstrate reflective skills in both written and oral presentations.
  • Develop a strong critical argument based on evidence (academic literature, web based material, observations and interviews).

Outline Syllabus

Pre-Field Excursion Seminars

There will be 4 x 2 hour seminars during the Lent Term before the residential field component of the module. Each of these will have a different purpose.

  • Session 1: General orientation seminar and introduction to the history of urban culinary traditions and ‘globalizing food’ concept and theories; overview of main course concepts. Some issues we will cover include (non-exhaustive):
  1. Fast food versus slow food
  2. Capitals of cultural accumulation - how Paris has become a focus point of cultural diffusion
  3. Commodity chains of production and consumption
  4. Regionalization and cultural protectionism
  5. Genetic modification of food
  6. Green economies
  • Session 2: Introduction to the global economy, and French and EU agriculture. This will take a cultural and political ecological approach
  • Session 3: Theoretical framing (materialism and cultural theory)
  • Session 4: Basic language and cultural sensitivity training; methods to be used in the course

Paris Field Excursion

This seven-day field excursion will include visits to urban food settings (e.g. meat, fruit and vegetable markets); industrial food production sites (e.g. cold chain storage, dairy/cheese processing), and ethnic foodstands. We will conduct qualitative research with different actors in selected sites. We will also visit a regional viticulturalist outside Paris. In Paris we will meet and discuss labour issues with migrant workers and union associations for fruit and vegetable growers.  Each day will start with a short lecture which outlines the day’s theme and learning objectives. These lectures will be hosted by host-country scholars and by LEC's academic staff.

Assessment Proportions

  • 100% coursework

LEC.225: People and the Sea

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits

Course Description

Oceans are central to peoples cultures and identities, generate significant wealth, and are vital to securing food. However, the oceans, and associated benefits, are increasingly under threat from human impacts. This module will examine the various relationships that people have and have developed with the marine environment, the threats facing these environments, and the policy narratives that have emerged.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Describe in detail the cultural significance, meanings, and relationships formed between people and the sea for a particular area.
  • Interpret fisheries and ocean policy documents produced by different sectors (e.g. private, civil society, government) to identify the underlying values and assumptions contained, and evaluate the legitimacy of the proposed solution.
  • Contrast two or more perspectives on ocean governance and coherently argue and defend the merits of a chosen perspective.

Outline Syllabus

Through a series of lectures that feed into seminars, this module will expose you to a range of topics that have informed ocean policy narratives. By digging deeper into the foundations of environmental thinking about the relationship between people and the sea, this module will facilitate an understanding of the key issues facing ocean policy and management.

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 50%
  • Essay: 50%

LEC.314: Geographical Information Systems: Principles and Practice

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: College geography, including introductory GIS

Course Description

This course covers both the principles of GIS and GIScience and practical experience in the use of GIS using ArcGIS, a leading windows-based package.

Lecture topics address theoretical issues, such as the problems of representing real world phenomena in GIS databases. We also consider emerging trends within the discipline such as the growth of location-based services and related developments in data sharing. Also explored is the use of GI in government, commercial and academic sectors and related employment opportunities.

Lectures are complemented by a series of practical sessions in ArcGIS. Initial exercises are concerned with creating and manipulating spatial databases using the core functionality of the software. Subsequent exercises demonstrate more sophisticated forms of spatial analysis using a range of extension products including spatial analyst and network analyst.

You will devise and undertake an individual project. A handbook on project design and implementation is issued midway through the course

Educational Aims

On completion of this module students should be able to:

  • Understand how data may be captured, stored, manipulated and retrieved from with a GIS and be familiar with simple and advanced forms of spatial analysis.   
  • Developed practical skills in the use of GIS through the design and implementation of a GIS project.
  • Been made aware of the latest developments in GIS and GIScience, and emerging issues.
  • Gain an insight into careers in GIS.

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 50%
  • Coursework: 50%

LEC.315: Environmental Remote Sensing and Image Processing

  • Terms Taught: Lent Term only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: College geography or equivalent subject preferred.

Course Description

The course has four aims:   

  • to illustrate the increasing importance of remotely-sensed data in extending our understanding of environmental processes;  
  • to enable students to understand the principles on which remote sensing systems operate and how we can derive useful environmental information from remotely sensed data;  
  • to compare the information provided by remote sensing to that from other means of sampling;
  • to develop the image processing skills of students taking the course.  

The aims are fulfilled by initially examining the physical basis of remote sensing, electromagnetic radiation and its interactions with the Earth's atmosphere and surface and the sensors and systems, which are used to acquire data.  The techniques used to analyse and interpret imagery are then explored.  

This is followed by an examination of the environmental applications of remote sensing.  Here, examples are used from several areas, in order to illustrate the increasing importance of remotely sensed data in extending the scope of existing studies.

Educational Aims

On completion of this module a student should be able to:  

  • Understand the basic principles of remote sensing, in terms of the characteristics of electromagnetic radiation and its interactions with the Earth's atmosphere and surface and how sensors and systems operate.  
  • Recognise the increasing importance of remotely-sensed data in extending our knowledge of environmental processes.
  • Be able to critically evaluate the information from RS, particularly by comparison with that from other means of sampling.
  • Understand and apply a range of image processing techniques in order to analyse and interpret remotely sensed imagery.

Assessment Proportions

Coursework: 50%

Exam: 50%

LEC.316: Water, Society and the Istrian Landscape

  • Terms Taught: Easter Vacation and Lent term only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: College geography or equivalent subject preferred

Course Description

This field course will focus on the environmental management of the Istrian Peninsula at the northern end of the Adriatic, a part of Croatia which avoided any military action during the wars of the 1990’s.  This environment is strongly governed by its position as a transition zone between humid temperate and desert climates, making it particularly sensitive to global climate changes.  This presents difficult challenges for environmental managers in this region, particularly regarding the provision of water and water-related resources to the public.  For these reasons, the emphasis of the course will be on the management of water-related resources, although the course will not focus exclusively on these issues. 

Croatia's newly independent status, rich history and distinctive physical character will also act as cross-cutting themes.  The course will feature a combination of field trips to provide understanding of the socio-economic and environmental context of Istria, presentations and site visits led by Croatian water authority staff, research into environmental problems in and around natural water bodies, and research on human aspects of water and environmental management.  The course will begin with a short period of introductory work in Lancaster, followed by a nine-day trip (including travel days) in Croatia during the Easter vacation.  Assessment will consist of reports and presentations completed entirely in Croatia. 

Please note: this field course has limited places and there is a fee.

Educational Aims

On completion of this module a student should be able to:

  • A thorough insight into the ways water-related issues in the Mediterranean present management problems characterised by an indivisible interweaving of humanity and the environment.
  • Experience of the distinctive environmental, cultural and socio-economic nature of the Istrian peninsula, and thus been given a broader perspective on the material in all these areas of their degree course.  In particular the location of the course provides an ideal opportunity to investigate a region with a very different geographical and historical context from Britain, which nevertheless is likely to become part of an expanded and ever more coherent European Union in the near future.
  • An appreciation of the influence of a Mediterranean climate on the landscape and, given the northward migration of climatic zones predicted under global warming, have gained insight into the sort of climatic changes that could be expected in Northern Europe over the next century.
  • Improved competence and confidence in using a wide range of geographical fieldwork techniques.
  • Experience of fieldwork data collection, analysis and presentation in a teamwork environment.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 100%

LEC.317: Quaternary Environmental Change

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas term only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: College geography or equivalent subject preferred.

Course Description

The Quaternary geological period has been a time of enormous environmental changes, on both a global and a local scale.  The most obvious is the growth and decay of ice sheets in mid-latitudes, but this went hand in hand with many other changes throughout the globe.  As the lectures and practicals proceed, you should try to relate each topic to the 'big picture' of associated global changes, keeping in mind six great interlinked 'themes' of environmental change during the Quaternary, as follows: 

  • the growth and decay of ice sheets;
  • the changing level of the sea;
  • changes in atmospheric and oceanic circulation;
  • terrestrial biological changes;
  • human influences;
  • the engine of the ice ages.

Educational Aims

After participation in this module, a student should:  

  • Know about global and regional scales of the dramatic environmental and climatic changes over the Quaternary; be aware of the possible drivers, both natural and anthropogenic, of such changes, and be familiar with the techniques and resultant datasets that inform us of these changes. 
  • Understand that the responses of the Earth system to Milankovitch forcing are complex and non-linear, with ramifications for our understanding and prediction of present and future climatic and environmental change; recognise the paradigm shifts that have occurred over the last few decades in Quaternary science. 
  • Have developed intellectual skills in: critical reading and evaluation of a range of published journal literature; handling of data; synthesis of concepts and data; oral contributions.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 33%
  • Exam: 67%

LEC.318: New York Field Course

  • Terms Taught: Lent term and Easter vacation only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: College geography or equivalent subject

Course Description

The intention of this field course is to engage students with, amongst other things, the cultural, economic, political and social geographies of New York City.  Few other cities offer the opportunity to examine such issues in an environment that has been extensively written about by Human Geographers.  The combined expertise of the staff involved offers the opportunity to examine the intersection of a range of different elements of the existing Part II course.  Furthermore, students will develop valuable skills through the planning and execution of a research project.

 Please note: this field course has limited places and there is a fee.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to...   

  • Apply theoretical ideas and knowledge from previous courses in the context of New York City.
  • Critically evaluate writings on the human geography of New York City;
  • Explain the cultural, economic, political and social context of New York City and related patterns of inequality and difference
  • Provide reflections based on first hand experience on the complex fabric of life in New York City and explain this in terms of the writings of other academics;
  • Unpack in detail one element of New York City's geography (e.g. economic geography and the financial industry; geographies of race and religion; geographies of inequality) and provide a detailed and empirically grounded discussion of its causes and manifestations;
  • Identify and discuss the complex overlaps between cultural, economic, political and social processes in the city and weave these together in an analysis of the city's characteristics.
  • Develop awareness of the challenges of overseas fieldwork on an urban environment.

Outline Syllabus

The field course will be organised as follows:

Pre-departure preparation: four x two hour meetings to:  set the context of the field course; introduce key themes of identity, inequality and difference; arrange project groups; discuss existing geographical writing on New York City; introduce appropriate research methods for use in New York City; and complete pre-departure preparation.

The field course: Six nights in New York City. Day-by-day activities will consist of several of the following (activities may vary by year): 

  • Visits to groups involving in local activism and organisation in different parts of the City;
  • Self-planned project work
  • Study of the 'Ground Zero' area;
  • Subway transects leading students through New York's different districts, students producing commentary of changes;
  • Visit to the tenement museum and community gardens on the Lower East side
  • Observational work of New York as a city of consumption e.g. retail areas, Central Park to examine different forms of consumption;
  • Guest lectures
  • Visit to Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty
  • Visit to UN
  • Visit to the 'Highline' linear park

Assessment Proportions

Coursework: 100%

LEC.320: Africa:Geographies of Transformation

  • Terms Taught: Lent Term Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: College geography or equivalent subject preferred.

Course Description

The aim of this course is to examine the processes of socio-economic, political, environmental and legal transformations of African societies. The course provides a critical assessment of colonial and post-colonial theories involving the study of rural and urban African landscapes and acknowledges the many challenges to be faced in areas of political, socio-economic and environmental governance. The challenges and crises that African countries are facing are explored and also the resilience and resurgence that characterises the African experience. You will learn to critically assess different methods of development ranging from high-tech market-based Western solutions to programmes that strengthen indigenous and local skills and knowledge systems.  The course is designed in such a way that you will experience the huge cultural, political, economic and social diversity of Africa though engaging with voices that have so far been kept subdued such as women and indigenous peoples through a diverse set of case studies. 

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate in writing (exam and coursework) a concise understanding of the topic   
  • Analyse news facts from Africa in different sorts of media by applying the learned material
  • Effectively learn practical skills such as debating and group discussion
  • Synthesise the pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial history of Africa  
  • Understand different models of development
  • Critically engage with current perceptions of Africa in newspapers, film, television, visual art, literature, etc.
  • Evaluate different sources of academic writings and research; specifically understand the different approaches towards the subject from a Euro-American versus African perspective.

Outline Syllabus

Each week will consist of an introductory lecture followed by a linked class workshop/seminar discussion based around key readings and case studies.

  • Introduction to the course
  • Global Health in sub-Saharan Africa (guest lecture by Dr Ulrike Beisel)
  • Transformations and change (Pre, Colonial and Post-Colonial Africa)
  • Representations of Africa
  • Postcolonial theory
  • Urban landscapes
  • Rural landscapes
  • Land Tenure Reform
  • Geo-power, governance and politics (role of the chief)
  • Geo-power, governance and politics (identity and violence)

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 50%
  • Coursework: 50%

LEC.321: Glacial Systems

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: College geography or equivalent subject preferred.

Course Description

The aim of this course is to give insight into the physical dynamics and ecological interactions within glacial systems.  Understanding begins with the concept of glacial mass balance; glacial energy balance;  thermal regime and glacial hydrology; glacier dynamics; glacial geomorphology; glacier hydrochemistry; the concept of the glacial ecosystem; Ice core records of palaeoclimate; the response of glacial systems to climatic change. 

Specific skills include: being able to manipulate raw data sets for use in solving models of energy balance and mass balance calculations; using raw data to analyse the hydrochemical regime of meltwater within a glacial catchment; interpret this in terms of reconstructing melt water flowpaths through a glacier and potential chemical weathering reactions; using isotopes to interpret palaeoclimate records from ice cores.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to demonstrate in-depth understanding in the following areas of glacial processes:  

  • Glacial mass balance
  • Glacial energy balance
  • Thermal regime and glacial hydrology
  • Glacier dynamics
  • Glacial geomorphology
  • Glacier hydrochemistry
  • The concept of the glacial ecosystem
  • Ice core records of palaeoclimate  
  • The response of glacial systems to climatic change. 

Specific skills include being able to manipulate raw data sets for use in solving models of energy balance and glacier dynamics. Using raw data to analyse the hydrochemical regime of meltwater within a glacial catchment and interpret this in terms of reconstructing melt water flowpaths through a glacier and potential chemical weathering reactions. Using isotopes to interpret palaeoclimate records from ice cores.

Outline Syllabus

The course consists of 25 contact hours comprising lectures, seminars and computer practicals. The structure is designed as follows (subject to minor change):

Week 1

  • The formation, distribution and mass balance of glaciers
  • Energy balance and melt processes

Week 2

  • Computer practical; Energy balance modeling
  • Thermal regime, Supraglacial and englacial hydrology

Week 3

  • Subglacial hydrology Part 1
  • Mass balance

Week 4

  • Computer practical; Ice flow dynamics
  • Subglacial hydrology Part 2

Week 5

  • Dynamics of glaciers Part 1

Week 6

  • Computer Practical; Thermal forcing
  • Dynamics of glaciers Part 2 

Week 7

  • Energy balance / hydrology
  • The glacial legacy in the landscape  

Week 8

  • Computer Practical; Glacial Hydrochemistry
  • Glacial hydrochemistry and weathering
  • The glacial ecosystem 

Week 9

  • The interactions of fire and ice - Guest Lecturer Dr. Hugh Tuffen
  • Glaciers in palaeoclimate reconstruction 

Week 10

  • Glacier dynamics

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 50%
  • Coursework: 50%

LEC.322: Environment, Politics and Society in Amazonia

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: College geography or equivalent subject preferred.

Course Description

This course aims to introduce you to the human (indigenous and non-indigenous) and natural complexity of the Amazon as a region currently at the centre of debates in environmental politics. Whilst the focus will be upon social, political, economic and environmental issues which are currently topical, it will encourage you to observe contemporary Amazonia as the outcome of intertwined histories of humans and non-humans (animals, forests and rivers). The course will draw upon literatures from social anthropology, human geography and ecological science and, in so doing, provide you with different but related approaches to the relationships between human social and political organisation and styles of natural resource.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Refined their intellectual, practical and discursive skills by preparing for and practicing individual presentations and group discussions  
  • Demonstrated an ability to weigh up and consider the array of sometimes polemic accounts of past and current approaches to human-natural relationships in the Amazon.
  • Demonstrate in writing (exam and essay) a sophisticated understanding of a range of topics which relate human social, political and economic organisation to environmental management strategies and politics in the Amazon.
  • Develop a critical appreciation of the Amazon as firmly located in and shaped by global political and economic forces.

Outline Syllabus

Lectures will draw upon and illustrate the readings selected for each week.  Given the complex nature of some of the topics introduced during lectures, students will be challenged to engage critically with the recommended literature in order to develop further insights on the material delivered during the lecture.  This process will be facilitated by discussion and debate during seminar sessions which will be organised around particular problem-based issues.  Seminars will often involve group work and sometimes students will be expected to prepare a presentation (either individually or in a group) through which they will be expected to learn to critique academic positions on specific issues and to critically analyse concerns of current interest. Films will be occasionally used as complementary and sometimes provocative material for further analysis.

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 50%
  • Coursework: 50%

LEC.325: Urban Infrastructure in a Changing World

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term Only
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: No pre-requisite, but college level Geography preferred

Course Description

As the world becomes increasingly urbanised, the power of urban infrastructure to shape the dynamics of cities and the experience of everyday life also increases. Urban infrastructure is key to sustaining much that we take for granted, for example travel, food, water, energy, communications, waste. It follows that changes to the way infrastructure is managed will impact both the city as a whole and the experience of everyday urban life. This course examines ways of understanding urban infrastructure as a socio-technical assemblage, including exploring the role that disruption can play in revealing the hidden, taken for granted, logics of infrastructure management. Using case studies from around the world you will engage with the changing pressures on infrastructure and the challenges of building resilient futures. You will learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, and a workshop and field course.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • explain and understand the process of transition from the integrated ideal to forms of splintered urbanism
  • describe and review case studies that illustrate the processes of transition across a range of infrastructures (water, energy, transport, telecommunications)
  • identify and discuss the different challenges facing different sorts of infrastructures
  • demonstrate an ability to identify the different pressures facing the future of infrastructure and the different drivers
  • Analyse the relationship between infrastructure change and the impacts on everyday life
  • Apply knowledge from the course to new areas
  • Critically discuss academic and policy literature on infrastructure change  

Outline Syllabus

Part 1 – Thinking about urban infrastructure

  • Introduction and overview
  • The city as a socio-technical assemblage
  • The modern city, the “integrated ideal” and liberalisation
  • Infrastructures in transition and the power of disruption
  • FIELD COURSE: Lancaster: a transition town?

Part 2 – Case studies

  • Energy and the production/consumption nexus
  • Networked society: IT and Telecommunications
  • Mobile cities
  • Urban metabolism and Waste
  • City of flows and the profitability of water

Part 3 - Futures

  • WORKSHOP: Designing the perfect city
  • Review: Resilience and transformation

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 100%

LEC.326: Cities and Globalization

  • Terms Taught: Lent Term Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: No pre-requisite, but college level Geography preferred

Course Description

All cities are shaped by flows and forces that connect them to other places. These connections help make cities vibrant and creative: sites where strangers meet, new associations take shape, and cultural expressions emerge. But these same connections also generate problems. Increasingly, cities face challenges that are far-reaching or even global in scope – such as economic instability, environmental change and security threats. These predicaments put pressure on individual places to adapt and remake themselves. How then might the cultural and political life of cities contribute to the process of urban transformation? Using case studies from across the globe, this module looks at the ways in which cities are attempting to reinvent themselves in response to the challenges and opportunities of a globalizing world. Through a combination of readings, lectures, group activities and fieldwork, students will learn how critical spatial thinking can help make sense of complex urban issues.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • demonstrate how critical spatial thinking can help make sense of complex urban issues.
  • identify the deeper causes of problems or challenges that cities face in a globalizing world
  • understand  and explain how cities are shaped by far-reaching flows and connections to other places
  • analyse how cultural processes contribute to urban politics
  • discern the forms of agency by which urban actors are able to make a difference in the world
  • describe and  compare the experiences of cities in different parts of the world
  • apply knowledge from the module to explore urban problems and issues of their own choosing

Outline Syllabus

  • Introduction: Urban issues in a global context
  • Critical spatial thinking and the city
  • Assembling the urban: flows and materials
  • Embodied citizens and everyday life
  • City life and political issue formation
  • Circulating models for urban transformation
  • Urban securitization and the globalization of risk
  • Movements in transition: dissent, uprising, social change
  • Transnational connections,  mobile solidarities
  • Review: Experimental urbanism  in an uncertain world

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 50%
  • Coursework: 50%

LEC.327: Geographies of Health

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: No pre-requisite, but college level Geography preferred

Course Description

This module deals with different theoretical and methodological approaches to understanding the role of space and place for health provision, health-seeking behaviour and health outcomes. Conceptual debates will be explored through a range of cases and current concerns in health geographies, both from the industrialised world and economically deprived countries. Students will learn about some key challenges (eg poverty, inequalities, environmental change) and core concepts (eg therapeutic landscapes, social and spatial determinants of health, structural violence) in geographies of health. A number of topics are presented in depth in relation to challenges and concepts: the HIV/AIDS epidemic, neglected diseases, reproductive health, the role of new technologies for health care provision, disease ecologies and the impact of environmental change on health.

Educational Aims

Knowledge and Understanding:

  • On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
  • Review, with limited guidance, key debates in Geographies of Health.
  • Analyse approaches to the role of space and place for health and appreciate the methods that underpin them.
  • Describe and evaluate different examples of theoretical work on the conceptualisation of health geographies.
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply theoretical knowledge to specific health problems, across different scales and country cases.

Skills:

  • On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
  • Manage and synthesise information, recognise relevance of literature and develop a sustained and reasoned argument, with some guidance, from a range of sources.
  • Illustrate and discuss, with some direction, the contested and provisional nature of knowledge of disease, illness and health
  • Articulate and communicate personal views about geographical issues in health

Outline Syllabus

  • Space, Place and Health: concepts and approaches in Health Geography
  • Health Inequalities – social and spatial determinants of health
  • Therapeutic Landscapes and the role of new Technologies for Health
  • Mobilities and Health
  • Gender, Sex and Bodies
  • Landscapes of Exposure: environmental pollution
  • Global Health Films Seminar
  • Diseases of Poverty
  • HIV/Aids Epidemic
  • Malaria and Disease Ecologies
  • Group workshop: Geographies of Health
  • Group Presentations

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 50%
  • Essay(s): 30%
  • Groupwork: 20%

LEC.328: Glacier- landscape interactions

  • Terms Taught: Summer Term only (field course in Iceland)
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: LEC.321 or equivalent

Course Description

The aims of this module are to: inculcate field skills and field observation and recording; and provide first hand experience of glacial process and their impacts on and interactions with the dynamic tectonic landscape of Iceland.

Key topics to be covered will include the ways in which glaciers interact with the surrounding landscape and will involve observation, recording and understanding of geomorphological features and ice-volcanic interactions.

Much of the learning will be of a practical nature, involving development of field observation and recording skills, mapping of geomorphological features in the landscape, logging of snowpack properties (density variations; degree of crystal metamorphism), observation and recording of glacial sedimentary features and properties (degree of consolidation, clast size, type and orientation, facies variations in the proglacial zone).

Please note: this field course has limited places and there is a fee.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an appreciation for the subject of glaciology and an enthusiasm for the study of physical geography based on first-hand experience of observing glacier landscape interactions within the field environment.  
  • Appreciate the fundamental principles of glaciology and understand how glaciers fit into the broader study of the physical environment.  
  • Demonstrate an appreciation for the enquiry-based approach to learning in the field environment and understand how this can be used across disciplines and in the development of dissertation research questions.  
  • Make accurate recordings of field observations and data, integrate these with available published information, and present data and interpretations to their peer group and lecturers.   
  • Demonstrate independent, critical thinking, fostered through an approach of problem based learning.
  • Understand how glaciers operate and interact with the surrounding landscape.  
  • Understand the influence of volcanic activity on glacier dynamics. 
  • Practise key skills associated with field methods, not only for glaciology but in the broader context of field techniques for physical science. 
  • Use field skills to select sites, make detailed observations and recordings of field data, and integrate their observations with the published literature. 
  • Recognise glacial and periglacial geomorphological features in the landscape. 
  • Map these features, observe, record and identify their source processes.   

Outline Syllabus

This is a week-long residential field course based in south Iceland. Please note that places are limited and there is an extra fee payable.

Typical timetable:

Pre-field course meeting: setting out aims of the course, dealing with logistical issues and equipment.

Day 1:

Travel to Thingvellir, Gullfoss and Geysir, for tectonic and geological context-setting.

Day 2:

Travel to Sandur plains, S. Iceland and Gígjökull glacier (outlet glacier draining Eyjafjallajökull). Evening: discussion of the day's work and introduction to sediment logging and data collection in the field.

Day 3:

Travel to Vatnajokull, visit Skaftafell glacier, walk to proglacial zone, examine glacial features (whalebacks, listric thrust faults, debris layers) and sedimentary environments. Travel to Jokulsaalon, discuss iceberg rafting, thermohaline circulation, N Atlantic deep water formation.

Evening: Student presentations of data.

Day 4:

Guided tour onto Svinafell glacier. Group work examining ice surface features and geomorphology (debris layers, surface sediments, debris cones, fault lines, surface drainage structure).

Evening: Poster presentations.

Days 5 and 6:

Travel to Solheimajokull glacier. Observe, record and measure sedimentological features of proglacial zone sediment facies, building on information gained throughout the week. Interpret these observations to construct an understanding of ice dynamics at this field site.

Evening: data analysis, discussions and presentations.

Day 7:

Travel back to Reykjavik. Geothermal hot springs. Flight back to UK.

Assessment Proportions

Coursework: 100%

LEC.329: Global Consumption

  • Terms Taught: Lent Terms only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: No pre-requisite, but college level Geography preferred

Course Description

This course begins by understanding consumption as a global phenomenon whereby products are part of globally embedded value chains. At each geographical scale, economic, social and environmental issues occur which are often hidden at the point of retail. This course is about understanding the sustainability challenges, issues and debates in moving towards a responsible form of global consumption. Through both theoretical and practical learning based not only on geographic but also broader social science literature, students will be able to analyse both existing and prospective value chains in a critical fashion. It will also analyse contemporary debates over the possibilities for consumption to be sustainable. In other words, how do companies, government, producers and consumers negotiate consumption’s relationship with, for example the environment, economic growth, justice and labour rights?

To this end, topics investigated in more detail will include: Fair Trade, commodity chain analysis, the commodification of nature, and corporate social responsibility. In-class debates and learning will draw upon key theories and use a range of case studies and empirical material from ‘real world’ examples and initiatives. These will be supplemented by a fieldtrip to Garstang (the world’s first ‘Fair Trade Town’) in order to see how ethical consumption can permeate across geographical scales and spaces.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to ...

  • Understand the ways in which commodities are embedded in the global trading system
  • Apply theoretical understanding to substantive, real-life ethical consumption practices
  • Evaluate and solve problems surrounding the emergence of ethical commodities and their geographies
  • Demonstrate understanding of the ways in which different factors respond to the key challenges of sustainable consumption

Outline Syllabus

Individual weeks’ content will include:

  • Sustainability and consumption: connections and discordances
  • Consumption and economic growth
  • Consumption and the environment
  • The justice of ethical consumption
  • Following ‘things’: analysing global supply chains
  • The politics of certification
  • Fair Trade and its discontents
  • Ethical consumption in practice (field visit to Garstang)

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 50%
  • Exam: 50%

LEC.330: Conservation and sustainable development in the Brazilian Amazon

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas term and Christmas Vacation only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: LEC.322 or equivalent

Course Description

This is a residential field course to Brazil, lasting 8 days plus travel time. Places are limited and there will be an extra fee of approximately £1580 to cover flights, travel within Brazil, accommodation, food and other activities. Portuguese language proficiency is not required.

Student learning will comprise talks and seminars (both preparatory and reflective), observation in the field and the development of mini individual research projects towards the end of the trip. If appropriate, volunteering/shadowing could also be included with Grupo Orsa technicians (rural agricultural development or forestry planning) or with the environmental agency, IBAMA. As an interdisciplinary and interactive learning experience, students will be expected to participate in activities outside of their normal area of study. 

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate literature from conservation science and development studies.
  • Analyze evidence based on ecological indicators
  • Analyze evidence based on economic indicators of well-being
  • Develop research ideas for monitoring social and ecological systems in tropical forest regions
  • Develop informed viewpoints from the point of view of diverse actors
  • Evaluate the challenges and performance of protected areas
  • Show awareness of the influence of globalization on Amazonian ecosystems and societies
  • Identify potential solutions to conservation and development challenges

Outline Syllabus

Students will rotate between ecological and development-oriented activities, covering the following topics:

Conservation and ecology

  • Challenges of managing a strictly protected area in the Amazon
  • Sustainable forest management and certification
  • Biodiversity monitoring in primary forest and plantation landscapes (insects, vertebrates)
  • Measuring above-ground carbon stocks and forest condition

Development

  • Family agriculture and rural development: the role of migration and emerging land-uses
  • Forest livelihoods and the collection of non-timber forest products
  • Urban development in shantytown of Laranjal do Jari versus "westernized" Monte Dourado

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 100%

LEC.331: Food and Agriculture in the 21st Century

  • Terms Taught: Lent term only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: No pre-requisite, but college level Geography preferred

Course Description

This module will explore the social, political and environmental challenges facing food systems in the world today. We will look at the history, culture and development of contemporary food systems through a focus on our interactions with plants, animals and the landscape before bringing the discussion up to the present with an analysis of key debates surrounding food security and food sovereignty. Through an exploration of case studies from across the globe, we will consider the connections between changing diets, landscapes and agrarian reform and challenge you to develop innovative and alternative solutions for the future.

The knowledge and understanding on the history, contemporary debates, and future of food and agriculture that you develop in this module will be transferable to contemporaneous or further study across the spectrum of human-environmental relations. This is because food and agriculture have always been fundamental to society while at the same time being principal drivers of environmental change at multiple scales. Learning would hence be applicable elsewhere in examining the nature and evolution of 'global assemblages' and landscape-society inter-relationships. This module will develop your skills of debate and analysis drawing on environmental history, human geography, anthropology, sociology, historical and political ecology and cultural studies.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Debate current issues around the origins of food and agriculture and their relationships to human evolution and history
  • Describe how the post Columbian world system (e.g. post 1491) and colonialism profoundly transformed food and agriculture worldwide
  • Describe how conventional agriculture and the world food system emerged and how it functions today
  • Describe with the nature of and debates around alternative agricultures such as organic and agroecology
  • Describe the social, ethical, economic and environmental challenging facing food systems today
  • Understand the key differences between approaches based on food security and those based on food sovereignty, fair trade and food justice
  • Understand the connections between production and consumption and how these shape the food systems that we see in place today
  • Describe and evaluate some of the potential 'alternative' solutions to food security and how these sit in relation to more 'conventional' perspectives

Outline Syllabus

This 10 week course consists of 1 lecture and 1 hour of workshop per week for 9 weeks, with a local fieldtrip in week 8. Weekly topics are as follows:

  • The Origins of Food and Agriculture: Evolutionary, Archaeological and Historical Perspectives
  • Food and Agriculture in the Post-1491 World
  • Conventional Agriculture: Industrial Agriculture in Europe; the Asian Green Revolution; Biotechnology in Africa
  • The Global Food Economy 1: Hunger and Obesity
  • The Global Food Economy 2: Animals and Meat
  • Alternative Agricultures
  • Food Sovereignty, Fair Trade and Food Justice
  • FIELDTRIP: Food System Transformations in Practice
  • The Future of Food in the UK
  • The Future of Food and Agriculture Globally in the face of Climate Change

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework:  50%
  • Exam:  50%

LEC.378: Global Change and the Earth System

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas term only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: LEC.175 or equivalent

Course Description

This module is intended for students who wish to learn about the ways in which humans are affecting the chemical and physical composition of the Earth's atmosphere, and about the effects these changes are having on Earth's climate. The aim of the module is to introduce the principal sources, reactions, sinks, control methods and effects of the major air pollutants. This includes gases and aerosol particles. Some of these gases and aerosol particles in the atmosphere also affect global climate, and so the module starts with an examination of the global radiative balance (i.e., climate). The module aims to provide an introduction to the physical processes which control the atmospheric aerosol, and the chemical processes affecting gaseous pollutants, leading to a better understanding of the science behind climate prediction. Includes 9 hours of lab.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to demonstrate subject specific knowledge, understanding and skills and have the ability to:

  • Calculate a global 2-compartment radiative budget
  • Discuss the major parts of the Earth system and how they interact
  • Describe what an Earth system model is
  • Discuss pollutant sources and sinks

Outline Syllabus

Lectures

Fundamentals of climate change science:

  • Concept of the Earth system
  • Climate dynamics
  • Observations
  • Energy balance
  • Climate sensitivity

Earth system models

  • Construction and application
  • Forward and back projections

Atmospheric composition and climate

  • Tropospheric ozone as a greenhouse gas
  • Aerosols: nature and climate effects
  • Stratospheric ozone depletion and recovery
  • Acid rain

Earth system components and feedbacks

  • Atmosphere, oceans and biosphere
  • Links/feedbacks between the components
  • Volcanoes and atmospheric composition and climate

Practicals

  • Radiative balance of the atmosphere at the Hazelrigg field station
  • Computer exercise visualising climate model data
  • Short presentations related to main coursework

Fieldtrip

Visit the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester (industrial revolution, fossil fuels and climate change) in order to explore the history of carbon emission to the atmosphere as a result of industrial activity based on the exploitation of fossil carbon energy. The timescales of industrial activity and fossil carbon residence times in the atmosphere will be considered.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework:  33%
  • Exam:  67%