GY315      Half Unit
Geographies of Race

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Austin Zeiderman STC 601D


This course is available on the BA in Geography, BSc in Economic History and Geography, BSc in Environment and Development, BSc in Environmental Policy with Economics and BSc in Geography with Economics. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

Course content

This course will critically analyze the intimate relationship between race and geography in the modern world. Through a range of historical and contemporary cases, it will examine how interconnected forms of racial and spatial difference are produced, reproduced, and transformed. Focusing on the material and cultural formation of racialized geographies, students will learn to recognize how racially inflected discourses and practices shape the production of space and how geographical location matters to racial classification, identification, and discrimination. The course will be organized around a series of archetypal spaces: for example, the body, the nation, the colony, the city, the home, the laboratory, the prison, the plantation, or in ‘nature’. In each case, students will examine the confluence of race and space within broader themes, such as colonialism, capitalism, urbanization, globalization, environmentalism, and incarceration. Since race intersects with other forms of power and difference, students will learn to interrogate gender, class, sexuality, geographical location, and religion together with race in the production of space and place. Texts from human geography and particularly black geographies, critical race theory, postcolonial studies, history, sociology, and anthropology in addition to other media, such as film, literature, journalism, and photography, will provide students with conceptual resources and methodological tools. The ultimate objective is to advance a comparative, critical analysis of the relationship between geography and race, past and present, and to explore the conditions of future anti-racist possibility and spatial justice.


In the Department of Geography and Environment, teaching will be delivered through a combination of classes/seminars, pre-recorded lectures, live online lectures and other supplementary interactive live activities. 


This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and classes in Michaelmas Term.


Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce one formative essay outline in the Michaelmas Term.

Indicative reading

A detailed reading list will be provided at the beginning of the course, including works such as: Stuart Hall, “Race, Articulation and Societies Structured in Dominance” (1980); Michael Omi and Howard Winant, “Racial Formation” (1986); Kimberlé Crenshaw, “Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women of color” (1991); Katherine McKittrick and Clyde Woods, Black Geographies and the Politics of Place (2007); Paul Gilroy, There Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack: The Cultural Politics of Race and Nation (1987); Edward Said, Orientalism (1978); Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth (1961); Cedric Robinson, Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition (1982); Laura Pulido, “Rethinking Environmental Racism: White Privilege and Urban Development in Southern California” (2000); bell hooks, “Homeplace: A Site of Resistance” (1991); C. L. R. James, The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution (1938); Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (2010); Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California (2007); Paul Gilroy, Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness (1993).


Essay (100%, 3000 words) in the LT.

Key facts

Department: Geography & Environment

Total students 2020/21: 41

Average class size 2020/21: 18

Capped 2020/21: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication