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The Cultural Production of Space


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 6
  • Convenor: Stephen Clucas
  • Assessment: two 2500-word essays (30% each) and one three-hour prior disclosed examination (40%)

Module description

This module explores a wide range of theories concerning the nature of space as something which is socially and culturally ‘produced’ rather than a given of the physical world. Topics studied on this module may include the cultural production of space in various contexts, and across various time periods, considering topics such as: public, private, communal and domestic spaces; urban and rural spaces; the designation of ritual or sacred space; military and civilian spaces and zones; the relationship between gender and space; queer spaces; safe spaces; racialised spaces and places; interactions between time and space; the relationship between space and place; ‘natural’ and human-made space; the impact of technology on the human sense of space and time; wilderness and civilisation; human and non-human spaces;  literary and cognitive mapping; and geo- and eco-critical approaches to space. The module will draw on materials from film, the visual arts, literary and non-literary texts and will critically examine theories of spatial representation.

Learning objectives

On this module you will:

  • become familiar with a range of contemporary theories concerning the social and cultural significance of a wide variety of spaces
  • be able to apply theories of spatiality to literary texts, visual culture and actual social spaces from the Middle Ages to the present
  • become aware of the historical complexity of notions such as ‘dwelling’, ‘domestic space’, ‘sacred space’ and ‘institution’
  • become aware of the role played by commodification and industrialisation in the production of modern and contemporary spaces.