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Study information

Digital Geographies

Module titleDigital Geographies
Module codeGEO3146
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Sam Kinsley (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

Digital technologies are an important part of our lives and shape our everyday activities and environments in complex and sometimes surprising ways. In this module we explore how‘the digital’ is bound up in how we relate to one another and to the world around us. From the cards in our wallets to the cameras in our smart phones, we use digital technology to augment our bodies, minds and memories and through increasingly complex architectures and infrastructures to adapt and order our surroundings. Cutting edge geography and social science research have begun to explore how our senses and spatialities are transformed through digital media, and thereby shape the relationship between our bodies and the senses of place. 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 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 and self-directed workbook activities. 

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module has two principal aims: to explore the role of the digital in how we relate to one another and experience the world, and to critically interrogate the role of the digital in the production of geographical knowledge. 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 2019, 2016). In addressing these aims the module will introduce you to the ways in which geographers have addressed the role of the digital 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 discussion within the philosophy of technology and science and technology studies concerning the production of knowledge with and about digital technologies. 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 mixture of lectures, independent learning 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).

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Discuss the ways geographers have studied digital technologies
  • 2. Articulate how ‘digital geographies’ have emerged within the broader discipline of geography
  • 3. Assess the importance of digital mediation for our understandings of our bodies and our spatial experiences
  • 4. Creatively and critically reflect on the role of digital technologies in how we relate to one another and the world around us
  • 5. Apply some of the ways digital geographies are being performed, produced and studied to your own case studies

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 the digital
  • 7. Take responsibility for independent learning and articulate and communicate personal views about geographical issues

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 8. Communicate ideas, principles and theories effectively in writing and through the production of audiovisual media
  • 9. Develop independent/self-directed study/learning skills, including time management

Syllabus plan

The module addresses the following thematic sections that are composed of : 

Conceptualising ‘the digital’ and digital geographies 

  • What is (digital) technology?
  • Digital spaces
  • Digital mapping
  • Digital identities
  • Digital community
  • Digital infrastructure
  • Digital homes
  • Digital work
  • Popular culture
  • Digital memory

Topics in digital geographies

  • Difference in the digital
  • Sex and the digital
  • Digital innovation
  • Digital economies
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Robots
  • Digital games
  • Smart cities
  • Digital futures
  • The big questions’

The workbook reflections and a dedicated video coursework workshop address your ideas and concerns in developing the individual 8-minute videos and completing the exam.

There are timetabled, but optional, coursework surgery sessions for the coursework, which you are strongly encouraged to join.

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 teaching2Assessment support surgeries
Guided independent study46Preparation and reading
Guided independent study36Assessment workbook
Guided independent study46Wider reading

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Individual video plan2-pages1-7Oral

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
In person exam401 hour1-7, 9Written
Video project608-minute video1-9Written

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
In person ExamEssay1-7, 9Referral/Deferral period
Video projectVideo project1-9Referral/Deferral period

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

Core reading:

  • Ash, James, Kitchin, Rob and Leszczynski, Agnieszka (Eds.) 2018 Digital Geographies, Sage, London.
  • McLean, Jessica 2019 Changing Digital Geographies: Technologies, Environments and People. Palgrave, London.

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.
  • Kinsley, Samuel, 2012, “Futures in the making: practices to anticipate ‘ubiquitous computing”, Environment and Planning A 44: pp. 1554-1569.
  • 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.
  • Shields, Rob, 2003 The Virtual. Routledge, London.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

  • ELE -department to advise

Key words search

digital, geography, technology, work, automation, infrastructure, body, memory

Credit value15
Module ECTS


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