GV3ENT-Geographies of Enthusiasm

Module Provider: Geography and Environmental Science
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Hilary Geoghegan

Email: h.geoghegan@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

Universities, think-tanks and government departments around the world are bubbling with discussions of motivation, happiness and subjective well-being. Our individual and collective enthusiasm, curiosity and creativity are being called upon as important factors in successful adaptation to social and environmental change. The audacity to think differently and imagine alternative futures has been suggested as key to this process. This cultural geography module explores this fascination through the lens of ‘enthusiasm’ – an underlying force and fundamental character of human existence – and its geographies. Defined as an emotional affiliation to an activity, cause or interest that influences people’s actions, passions and performances in the world, we will explore current geographical theories and ideas of emotion, enchantment, curiosity, play and the more-than-human, in order to: (1) explore the ways in which geographers are making sense of other ways of knowing, being and doing in the world that exceed representation; (2) embrace emotion and more cheerful ways of being in the world that free us from the paralysis often experienced in the face of repressive or negative narratives; and (3) understand the role played by non-humans, such as animals, plants and objects, in these lively encounters.


To provides students with an appreciation of the theoretical and empirical links among enthusiasm, emotion, enchantment, curiosity, play and the more-than-human through social and environmental examples; to develop a critical understanding of the geographies of emotion, play and the more-than-human; to explore the need for more-than-human approaches in order to tackle many of the grand challenges we face, including climate change; to develop a critical awareness of enthusiastic ways of knowing and experiencing the world; and to gain skills imagining the world differently through attention to people’s enthusiasms and emotions.

Assessable learning outcomes:

At the end of the module students will: 1) have a critical understanding of the geographies of enthusiasm; 2) have an awareness of a number of different theoretical approaches relating to emotion, enchantment, curiosity, play and the more-than-human; and 3) have developed the skills to imagine the world differently.

Additional outcomes:

Ability to develop a coursework question and project; development of skills of critical thinking and the presentation of arguments in oral and written form, specifically through students’ individual reading, research, and contribution to seminars.

Outline content:

This module will combine the critical discussion of theories surrounding the geographies of enthusiasm, with the analysis and evaluation of the application to case studies in diverse geographical contexts. Themes will include: emotional geographies; (re)enchanting geography; ludic geographies; amateurs as experts; more-than-human geographies.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Lectures, seminars, discussions, visiting speakers, community visits.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Fieldwork 10
Guided independent study 160
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 50

Other information on summative assessment:

Formative assessment methods:

Students will be given opportunities to complete small, practical tasks in every lecture and seminar. They can check their understanding of key concepts though these tasks.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Two hours

    Requirements for a pass:

    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Resubmission of coursework and/or re-examination

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 31 March 2017

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