CULP 346 - Crit Geog: Theory and Practice

This course provides an introduction to critical geography in two parts: “Critical Mappings” and “Spatial Tools.” In the first section, we will deconstruct cartographic representation, exploring maps and mapping as forms of social practice. We will trace a genealogy of geography’s investments with empire, including: the cartographic gaze and visual cultures; cadastral maps, capitalism, and property; mapping geo-bodies of state, territory, and nation; and the politics of digital mapping, geosimulation and models. The second part of the course will examine the emergence of "space" as a dominant paradigm in modernity and postmodernity. We will survey key spatial thinkers in the field of critical geography, and practice "thinking spatially" in a variety of applications. Featured spatial tools incorporate place, space, landscape, nature, waste, scale, and a glance at alternative spatial ontologies. In the final weeks, students (in small groups) will design and administer a course session organized around an application of spatial concepts and tools. Students will have an opportunity to creatively experiment with geographical approaches and analysis, representational strategies, and interactive classroom formats. Course work involves weekly readings and conceptual map exercises; two critical papers, including an analytic-synthetic paper and a case study; administration of one class on select geographical concept and site; final take-home exam that involves student-directed creative re-working of the "Map of the Modern World" or some aspect of (your) geographic imagination and education.
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