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King’s College London, Department of Geography

5SSG2056 – Cultural and Urban Geography: Society, Space and Culture
Module co-ordinator: Dr Johan Andersson
Electronic Mail: johan.andersson@kcl.ac.uk
Office Telephone 0207–848–2625
Office Location: Strand: King’s Building, K7.42
Office Hours: Thursdays 11-12

Lecturer(s): Dr Johan Andersson

Module value: 15 credits

Teaching arrangement: 20 hours of lectures during Term 1 (Thursdays 1-3pm in room FWB1.62).

Assessment: Two 2000 word essays (worth 50% of the module mark each). See below for specific details on your
essay assignments.

Module Aims and Outcomes

Aims: This is the core course in the second year Cultural and Urban Geography stream. It takes a predominantly
cultural approach to the study of Western cities and draws on a range of artistic sources (cinema, literature, art and
music for example) to analyse urban change since the 1850s. Specific emphasis is placed on how identity
categories such as class, gender, race and sexuality inform cultural and urban landscapes and students will be
introduced to theoretical perspectives such as Marxism, feminism, queer and postcolonial theories.

Learning outcomes:
1) To develop a cultural understanding of the city by considering representations of space and place in a wide range
of artistic mediums including painting, photography, literature, cinema and music
2) To reflect critically on how identity categories such as class, gender, race and sexuality inform cultural aesthetics
and urban landscapes
3) To enable students to analyse different “cultural texts” through a spatial perspective
4) To familiarise students with key work and recent developments in cultural and urban geography
5) To introduce students to key concepts such as modernity, modernism and postmodernism

Your participation: This module relies on student participation in two principal ways. Students will be expected to
cover one core reading each week and to engage in discussions in class about this reading and the topic of the
lecture more broadly.

A failure to submit all required assessed work or to meet other module obligations, such as attending classes and,
for example, making formative presentations, may be regarded as lack of due industry and may result in failure to
progress and/or graduate through the degree, in accordance with the Academic Regulations – Section B –
Regulations concerning students.

Skills developed: Knowledge of key aspects of urbanisation, visual and textual analysis, critical reflection.

Module Structure
The module is delivered in weekly 2-hour lectures, with the following schedule:

1: Modernity, Modernism, and the City

2: The Creative City
3: Necropolis: the City in Ruins
4: Fordism and Post-War Suburbanisation
5: Modernist Architecture and Urban Planning
6: Post-Fordism and the New Urban Social Movements
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7: Postmodernism
8: Gentrification/Regeneration
9: Memory and Urban Landscape
10: The Postcolonial City

Key Readings
There is no core text for this module, but students are asked to read one text for each week (distributed separately).
It may also be a good idea to consult some of these books for reference.

Berman, M. (1983) All That is Solid Melts Into Air: The Experience of Modernity, Verso.
Bridge, G., & Watson, S. (eds.) (2010) The Blackwell City Reader, John Wiley & Sons.
Bridge, G., & Watson, S. (eds.) (2011) The New Blackwell Companion to the City, Wiley. com.
Hall, P. (1998) Cities in Civilization, New York: Pantheon Books.
Hughes, R. (1981) The Shock of the New, New York: Alfred A.
LeGates, R. T., & Stout, F. (eds.) (2011) City Reader, Taylor & Francis.
Pinder, D. A. (2005) Visions of the City: Utopianism, Power and Politics in 20th-century Urbanism, Edinburgh:
Edinburgh University Press.
Rose, G. (1993) Feminism and Geography, Cambridge: Polity Press.
Walkowitz, J. R. (2011) City of Dreadful Delight: Narratives of Sexual Danger in Late-Victorian London,
University of Chicago Press.

Assessment Overview
Two 2000 word essays (50% each)

The coursework assignments provide the opportunity to gain a specialist and deep understanding of particular
cities, aspects of urban culture, and key debates in urban geography.

Assignment Details

Coursework Assignment #1:

This assignment comprises 50% of the TOTAL MARK for this module.
The WORD LIMIT is 2000 words.
The submission deadline is Due BEFORE 12:30 on 24/10/2017

Answer one of the following questions:

Use visual (e.g. photography, painting or cinema) and/or literary material from one decade in the twentieth-century
to discuss the representation of a city of your choice.

Discuss how women and men have used the city differently in a period and urban context of your choice.

Discuss the symbolic significance of the destruction of cities.

Is the anonymity provided by the city a source of alienation or emancipation? Discuss.

Discuss the term Fordism in relation to post-war urbanisation.

Coursework Assignment #2:

This assignment comprises 50% of the TOTAL MARK for this module.
The WORD LIMIT is 2000 words.
The submission deadline is Due BEFORE 12:30 on 16/1/2018

Answer one of the following questions:

Cities are haunted by their history. Discuss.

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In Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies, Reyner Banham divides LA into four spatial typologies.
Deploy the same approach to analyse a city of your choice.

Use the notion of “urban encounter” to discuss the relationship between different groups in the city.

Discuss the relationship between a particular city and an artistic trend/movement in the 20 th or 21st-century.

Use the term “postcolonial” to analyse a contemporary city of your choice.

All instructions on word limits, formatting, structure, and online submission procedures are specified in the
official Coursework Submission Requirements, available online at:

It is your responsibility to familiarise yourself with this document, and by submitting an assignment you
acknowledge that you have read and understood the instructions. The general marking criteria for assignments are
available online at:

This module handbook was updated on 11 September 2017 by Dr. Johan Andersson