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Social Geography

Course Code: GEOG 2213
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture, Hybrid
Typically Offered: Winter
course overview

Social geographers study the ways that space and place mediate the production and reproduction of social categories such as class, race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexuality, and disability. Social geography is the study of how society and space are mutually constituted. This course will discuss issues such as homelessness, sexualities, youth mobilities, and inclusion/exclusion, and key social institutions and places like the home, street, public park, internet, school, and nation that (re)produce social norms and inequalities in our everyday lives. The course is grounded in feminist critiques and theories of intersectionality and examines how feminist geographers have engaged with queer theory, Marxism, anti-racist practices, anarchical thinking, more-than-human geographies, and other frameworks.

Course Content

  1. Introduction
    • Traditions in social geography
    • Different social geography theories
    • Social geography and everyday life
    • Restructuring society and space
  2. The body
    • "The geography closest in” (Rich, 1986)
    • Body as surface
    • Body as project
    • Cartesian dualism
    • Marked bodies: gender, sexualities, race, and disabilities
  3. Geography of identity and difference
    • Definitions and classifications
    • Social construction of place
    • Social meanings of the built environment
    • In place/out of place
  4. Public/Private Space
    • Urban morphology and the social arrangement of cities
    • Public space, private space, quasi-public space, and the public realm
    • Homelessness and housing
    • Regulating sex work
  5. Urban life
    • Urban life in Western places
    • The neoliberal city and social life
    • Patterns of socio-economic inequality
    • Social interaction and community
    • Online-offline geographies
  6. Place and power
    • Theories of power and control
    • Public institutions and private life
    • Governance structures
    • Places of exception
    • Social justice
  7. Fear, crime, and disorder
    • Geographies of fear and crime
    • Role of the built environment
    • Neoliberalism and the carceral state
  8. Race, ethnicity, and ‘the Other’
    • Race vs. ethnicity
    • Spatial discrimination of racialized groups
    • Colonies, enclaves, congregations, and ‘ghettos’
    • Nationalism and internal Orientalism
    • Colonialism and Indigeneity
  9. Identity and struggles for place
    • Defining agency
    • Conflict and transgression
    • Place and resistance
    • Speaking from the margins
  10. Spaces of hope
    • Social activism and civic responsibility
    • Transnational activism
    • Online and offline social networks
    • ‘The Power of Place’

Methods of Instruction

This course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of

the following:

  • Lecture
  • In-class activities, such as mental maps
  • Fieldwork and/or field trips
  • Videos/DVDs/digital media
  • Individual and/or team projects
  • Small groups discussions
  • Map analysis

Means of Assessment

The evaluation will be based on course objectives and will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College Evaluation Policy.  The instructor will provide a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria during the first week of classes.

An example of an evaluation scheme would be:

Quizzes  30%
Poster presentation  25%
Project  15%
Preparation & participation   10%
Final exam  20%
Total 100%

Learning Outcomes

  1. Synthesize the concepts, techniques, and theories of social geography.
  2. Communicate effectively orally, graphically, in writing, and using quantitative methods.
  3. Describe the development of social geography and explain the alternative paradigms of social geography.
  4. Explain the concept of the spatial structuring of social differences and inequalities.
  5. Apply the concepts, methods, and theories to different scales of geographic analysis.
  6. Describe and analyze the arrangements and patterns of different types of groups within a given society.
  7. Evaluate the most relevant issues and needs confronting different groups within a given society.
  8. Describe and analyze the concepts and spatial patterns of social transformation through the collection, interpretation and presentation of relevant geographic data.

course prerequisites

GEOG 1100

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.