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Cultural Geographies of Landscape

Module titleCultural Geographies of Landscape
Module codeGEO3121
Academic year2021/2
Module staff

Professor John Wylie (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

Why do we consider some landscapes to be beautiful and others not? What cultural and historical trends and ideas have influenced our perceptions today? How do people encounter landscapes – through what types of activities and practices do people landscape their lives? Who does the landscape belong to, and why? Conversely, who does not belong? How are landscapes haunted – by voices from the past, and from elsewhere? What kinds of creative and affective approaches can we use to talk about, depict and intervene in our experiences of landscape? If you opt to take this module, you will learn answers to these questions.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This is a cultural geography module which uses landscape as a lens to study topics such as the visual arts, performance, creativity, embodiment, nature and selfhood. We will firstly examine linkages between landscape, vision, aesthetics and knowledge in a variety of geographical and historical contexts, including for example picturesque, romantic and sublime landscape art. We will then move on to focus upon the embodied practice and affective experience of landscape, (experiences of walking, watching, driving, drifting, remembering etc), upon landscape and haunting, and will consider the production of creative, affective and therapeutic geographies in contemporary poetry and nature writing. Throughout the module arguments will be grounded in discussions of specific paintings, performances, photographs, works of fiction, poems and travel and nature writing.

In addition, this module aims to enhance your employability through the encouragement and development of personal skills, self-presentation and confidence and by increasing your awareness of how the module content contributes to positive graduate attributes.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Explain the landscape concept
  • 2. Discuss the historical linkages between landscape, art, vision, aesthetics and knowledge
  • 3. Describe the wider role of art, literature and performance in presenting and communicating geographical imaginations
  • 4. Assess the relationship between landscape, the body and the self
  • 5. Outline the main themes of post-structural and nonrepresentational analyses of landscape
  • 6. Engage with and discuss landscape in the mediums of art, literature and performance

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Evaluate specialised research using qualitative methods adapted from the social sciences
  • 8. Acknowledge and assess the importance of contested meanings and practices within geography
  • 9. Take responsibility for independent learning and articulate and communicate personal views about geographical issues
  • 10. Contribute to discussion through reading and preparation within workshops, seminars and written assessment
  • 11. Illustrate and discuss the contested and provisional nature of knowledge and understanding
  • 12. Use a range of academic skills such as analysis, synthesis, argument and critique in project work
  • 13. Communicate geographical ideas, principles and theories effectively

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 14. Evaluate contrasting theories, assimilate data from a range of sources, and provide a clear synthesis of defined topics
  • 15. Evaluate research-based articles within the wider context of the topic as a whole
  • 16. Provide an assessment of topics showing consistency of argument with adequate illustration from a range of sources
  • 17. Communicate and present pertinent ideas, theories and principles
  • 18. Present material to support a reasoned and consistent argument, both verbally and in writing
  • 19. Develop independent/self-directed study/learning skills, including time management

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

  1. Introduction: Landscape as a way of seeing, landscape as dwelling
  2. Landscape art: picturesque, romantic and sublime landscape
  3. Landscape phenomenology: embodiment and atmosphere
  4. Therepeutic landscapes
  5. Land and environmental art
  6. Haunted landscapes
  7. Creative geographies and contemporary landscape research

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching22Lectures (11 x 2 hours)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching11Seminars (11 x 1 hour)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching2Revision lecture
Guided Independent Study120Reading and research


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Coursework plan10 minute oral discussionAllOral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay 1502000 wordsAllWritten
Essay 2502000 wordsAllWritten


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay 1EssayAllAugust Ref/Def
Essay 1EssayAllAugust Ref/Def

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

The majority of wider readings will be drawn from journals such as cultural geographies, Society and Space, Performance Research, Emotion, Space and Society.

Some notable book sources include:

  • Hawkins, Harriet. (2013) For creative geographies: Geography, visual arts and the making of worlds (Routledge)
  • Howard, Peter, Ian Thompson, Emma Waterton, and Mick Atha, (2013) eds. The Routledge companion to landscape studies. (Routledge)
  • Smith, J (2017) The New Nature Writing: Rethinking the Literature of Place
  • Wylie, J (2007) Landscape (Routledge)
  • Cosgrove, D (1998) Social Formation and Symbolic Landscape (Univ of Wisconsin Press)
  • Ingold, T. (2001) The Perception of the Environment (Routledge)

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Landscape, performance, cultural, geography, art

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date