Course Unit Profile

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Basic Information


Course Unit Code: 369MM

Level of course unit

Second Cycle Degree Programme in Sciences for peace: international cooperation and transformation of conflict

Year of study

First year

Semester when the course is delivered

Second semester

Number of ECTS credits allocated: 6

Name of Lecturer(s):

Prof.: Chiara Certoma'

Language of instruction

Italian or English according to request

General Information

Learning outcomes

The student who successfully completes the course will have the ability to:
handle the appropriate theoretical tools for examining space, environment and society relationships;
adopt appropriate theoretical tools for conducting a basic independent cultural geographical investigation;
understand and be able to assess the strengths and weaknesses of a number of key intellectual debates that are shaping contemporary cultural geography;
be capable of autonomously examining original socio-spatial issues in the context of contemporary cultural geography references.
They will be able to demonstrate a solid knowledge of:
the principal theories, models and authors in Cultural Geography since the origins of the discipline to the contempory outcomes and a reasonable understanding of the differences between these traditions;
the theoretical aspects of the contemporary environmental thought and practices as far as pertaining to the relation between society and environment.

Course contents

The Cultural Geography course is intended to provide students with the adequate theoretical and methodological tools to analyse the spatial aspects of the environment and society relationship. The principal areas of research explored in the course crosscut some of the most recent philosophical, political, sociological, urbanistic, anthropological and economic research on the globalization process; the relation between power, knowledge and space; the matter and information fluxes; the environmental issues and the rise of the political ecology; the socio-political relevance of territorial and particularly urban structures. The course is articulated in three sections, plus a methodlogical appendix.The complementary shorter methodological section on doing social science research (with particular emphasis on creating literature background, elaborate research questions and framework, participatory data collection and writing research reports) will be provided.

Specific Information

Prerequisites, co-requisites, as a prerequisite for further study





Prerequisite for


Further Information

The first section will consider the evolution of Cultural Geography thought by presenting the principal theories, models and authors; these includes the romantic, colonial and post-colonial theories, the structuralist geographie culturelle, the post-structuralist humanist and early marxist geography, the new cultural geography and the post-modern critical and radical approaches. The second section will present some of the most critical issues in the post-modern cultural geography dealing with the society-environment relationship. The third section will include a collective research leading to individual elaborations on the link between environmental justice and urban space. A preliminary introduction of urban studies as part of the broader cultural geography discipline will be offered, by presenting the topic of race and gender spatialisation, ghettoization and gentrification, territorial planning and distinction between global cities, metropolis, mid-size cities, peri-urban areas.

Mode of delivery


face to face



Teaching methods

Learning activities

Recommended or required reading

All the sections foresee an active participation of the student in analysing, presenting and debating selected readings; the theoretical issue covered in the section are: nature/culture; techno-nature; cyborg identity, space and politics; material semiotic and Actor-Network theory; place, belonginess and identity; authenticity/hybridity; environmental (and spatial) justice and conflicts.

A list of required and recomended readings will be provided with the course syllabus.
Amongst the other, selected chapter from the following books will be considered:
Atkinson D., Jackson P., Sibley D., Washbourne N. (eds) (2005), Cultural Geography. A Critical Dictionary of Key Concepts.I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd, London
Anderson, K. Domosh, M. Pile S., Thrift N. (eds.), Handbook of Cultural Geography, Sage, London, 2003
Murdoch, J., Post-structuralist geography, Sage, London, 2006
Massey D. , Jess P.(eds), A Place in the World?, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1995
Blunt, A. et al (eds) (2003) Practising Cultural Geography. Arnold, London
Minca, C. (ed) Postmodern Geography: Theory and Praxis. Oxford, Blackwell.

Assessment methods and criteria

Assessment methods

Further information

Attendance: 20 Active participation in collective works and discussions: 20 Final oral exam: 20 Final written essay: 40

Assessment criteria

The student are required to attend and actively take part in class discussions. They will be required to read at least one complementary paper a week during the second section of the course and will be evaluated on the ability to present and comment the content of the readings themselves. In the third section they will be required to collectively work on the design and development of a collective research. This will provide the base for individual research whose topic will be defined with the help of the professor.

Work placement


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