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Geographies of Technology

Module titleGeographies of Technology
Module codeGEO3139
Academic year2018/9
Module staff

Dr Sam Kinsley (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

Technologies are an increasingly important part of our lives and shape our everyday activities and environments in complex and sometimes surprising ways. In this module we explore the ways technologies are bound up with how we relate to one another and to the world around us. From the pen and pad to the cameras in our smart phones, we use technology to augment our bodies, minds and memories and through increasingly complex architectures and infrastructures to adapt and order our surroundings. Cutting edge geography research has begun to explore how our senses and spatialties are transformed with technologies, and thereby how our relationships between our bodies and the senses of place develop. This module invites you to explore how what is to be human is inescapably bound up with technological development.

To take this module you will normally be expected to have achieved appropriate levels of knowledge and understanding in cognate subject areas.  It is suitable for anyone with a broad interest in how technology shapes our experience of the world. However, the module does involve a significant amount of discussion in seminars that entails a commitment to individual preparation and learning. The module also has a creative production component, which involves producing a short video that illustrates and critically responds to a particular issue taken from the seminar discussion sessions.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module has two principal aims: to explore the role of technology in how we relate to one another and experience the world, and to critically interrogate the central role of technology in the production of geographical knowledge. In addressing these aims the module will introduce you to the ways in which geographers have addressed technology in relation to understandings of space and place, political economic activities, identity and difference, and community, society and world. Further, the module will draw upon longstanding discussions within the philosophy of technology and science and technology studies concerning the production of knowledge with and about technology. It is hoped that through regular discussion and independent learning you will relate your studies of technology to your everyday experiences of everyday life. The module will also introduce transferable skills through the video coursework.

The weekly seminars and completing the assessments will support you to further develop the following academic and professional skills:

  • problem solving (developing own ideas with confidence, identifying and using appropriate sources of information, selectively collecting and collating appropriate information)
  • managing structure (identifying key demands of the task, setting clearly defined goals, conceptualising central issues within the task, developing strategies to ensure individual and group progress)
  • time management (managing time effectively individually and within a group)
  • collaboration (respecting the views and values of others, taking initiative and leading others, supporting others in their work, maintaining group cohesiveness and purpose)
  • and audience awareness (presenting ideas effectively in multiple formats, persuading others of the importance and relevance of your views, responding positively and effectively to questions).

Embedded in the module are two elements of the module convenor’s research: the forms of spatial imagination produced by and through innovation practices (such as: Kinsley 2012); and, the role of digital media in contemporary spatial experience (for example: Kinsley 2014) and how this might be studied by geographers (Kinsley 2016).

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Give an in depth account of key thinkers on the development and uses of technology
  • 2. Explain comprehensively how different forms of spatial experience both involve and are produced by technology
  • 3. Assess the relationship between technology, the body and the self
  • 4. Creatively and critically reflect on the role of technology in how we relate one another and the world around us
  • 5. Engage with the various ways technology is used in the creation of geographical knowledge

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 6. Apply different geographical concepts to the interpretation and analysis of technology
  • 7. Take responsibility for independent learning and articulate and communicate personal views about geographical issues
  • 8. Contribute to discussion through reading and preparation within workshops, seminars and written assessment
  • 9. Use a range of academic skills such as analysis, synthesis, argument and critique in project work
  • 10. Communicate geographical ideas, principles and theories effectively using oral, written and visual means

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 11. Communicate ideas, principles and theories effectively and fluently orally and in writing
  • 12. Develop independent/self-directed study/learning skills, including time management
  • 13. Formulate a sustained and reasoned argument
  • 14. Identify, acquire, evaluate and synthesise data from a range of sources
  • 15. Formulate and evaluate questions and identify and evaluate approaches to problem-solving
  • 16. Reflect on the process of learning and evaluate personal strengths and weaknesses
  • 17. Use ICTs effectively and appropriately to select, analyse and present information

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

The module addresses the following thematic sections that are composed of one-hour lectures:

Conceptualising technology for geography

  • What is technology?
  • Technology tropes in geography
  • Geography’s technologies


  • Technology (and) futures
  • Spaces of innovation

Researching the ‘digital’

  • An internet of people, places and things
  • Work in a digital age
  • Digital community?
  • Attention and ‘truth’
  • Digital intimacy
  • AI and algorithmic imagination

Mediated geographies

  • Infrastructures
  • Bodies and technologies


  • Writing worlds and external memory
  • Recorded images and music

These thematic sections are supported by five seminars and one workshop (which prepares you for the video coursework), which have complimentary themes:

  • What does technology mean for geography?
  • Networked urbanism (an outdoor practical)
  • Are there digital geographies?
  • What is a human?
  • The fifth seminar offers the opportunity to watch a topically appropriate film.

The video coursework workshop addresses your ideas and concerns in developing your individual 5-minute videos.

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 teaching20Lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching10Seminars
Guided independent study20Lecture preparation and reading
Guided independent study40Assessment preparation
Guided independent study60Wider reading


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Individual essay plan2 pagesAllWritten

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
Essay602000 wordsAllWritten
Video project402-5 minute videoAllWritten


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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEsayAllAugust Ref/Def
Video projectPosterAllAugust 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 sit a further examination or in place of the video project submit a poster. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Barry, Andrew, 2001 Political Machines: Governing a technological society. Athlone, London.
  • Baym, Nancy, 2015 Personal Connections in the Digital Age, Polity, Cambridge.
  • Brunn, Stanley D., Cutter, Susan L., Harrington Jr., Susan L. (Eds.), 2004 Geography and Technology. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht.
  • Feenberg, Andrew 1999 Questioning Technology, Routledge, London.
  • Kline, Stephen 1985 “What is technology?” Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society 5: pp, 215-218.
  • Kinsley, Samuel, 2014, "The matter of 'virtual' geographies" Progress in Human Geography 38 (3), pp. 364-384.
  • Kitchin, Rob, Dodge, Martin, 2011 Code/Space: Software and Everyday Life. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.
  • Mackenzie, Donald, Wajcman, Judy (Eds.), 1999 The Social Shaping of Technology. Open University Press, Buckingham.
  • Nye, David E., 2006 Technology matters: questions to live with. MIT, Cambridge, Mass.; London.
  • Shields, Rob, 2003 The Virtual. Routledge, London.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Geography, technology, work, automation, infrastructure, body, memory, digital, code

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


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NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


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Last revision date