GEOGY209-19B (HAM)

Health, People, Place

15 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
School of Social Sciences


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Paper Description

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This course introduces new developments in health geography. It examines the contested nature of health as an aspect of social and spatial relations and identities. The paper draws on critical social theories, including feminist, Marxist, postmodernist, anti-racist, kaupapa Māori, post-colonial and queer theory, to explore the ways in which gender, sexuality, ethnicity, class, (dis)ability, body size/shape and so on are integral to the social and cultural ordering of, and thinking about, health and place. What unites these various theories is precisely their critical stance vis-à-vis contemporary cultural, social, economic and political relations, and their resulting commitment to changing these relations for the better.

Drawing on new developments within contemporary health geography, this paper explores socio-spatial relations through examples drawn from a range of scales. Places discussed include the body, homes, neighbourhoods, institutions (such as schools, work and caring spaces), cities, rural spaces, and the globe. Particular attention is paid to the multiple ways in which places create and reflect social and physical well-being. These health geographies are discussed in relation to such things as the morphology of environments, the determination of personal safety, the experiences of marginalised communities, and the environmental and social aspects of spatial well-being. Instruction takes place through lectures and workshops. Discussion is encouraged, as is the formation of critical, independent ideas and opinions. Students are given the opportunity to learn independently and collaboratively in group settings via lectures, class activities and videos.

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Paper Structure

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During the semester we will pay attention to a range of places including: ‘the body’, homes, institutions, communities, neighbourhoods, streetscapes, cities, rural spaces, tourism, and the globe. These spaces (people and places) have health and wellbeing values that are diverse and can be contested. Contestation and resistance often erupts because certain cultural values exclude, marginalise and oppress particular social groups. These ideas are worked through in relation to various aspects of health, place and identity such as gender, sexuality, ethnicity, class, (dis)ability, and body size/shape at a range of scales from the local to the global.

The information you need to help you complete this course will be delivered in two main ways. First, through a series of lectures and activities carried out in class which will alert you to the main themes and ideas associated with this particular study of health geographies. You will be able to think about these ideas individually but also explore them in a group setting, drawing on observations, experiences and readings. Second, through a programme of directed reading which it is your responsibility to structure and which should feed into in-class discussions, activities, assignments and the exam.

The paper consists of:
  • two two-hour slots which offer a combination of lectures, workshops and discussion of the relevant geographical literature
The lectures, workshops and discussion of readings all cover different material and all contribute to the content of the final (30%) exam.
The detailed schedule of dates, times and rooms for all classes and the topics for all classes is available later in this course outline.
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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • understand the mutual construction of societies, health, well being, and place
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  • provide a broad understanding of core concepts and current debates in critical health geography, which will provide a foundation for more specialised 300 and 500 level papers;
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  • recognise the importance of embodied identities – gender, sexuality, ethnicities, race, age, social class and so on – are crucial to experiences of health, well being and place.
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  • be able to illustrate the ways in which health and well being is related to issues of spatial social justice
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  • encourage and develop both oral and written communication skills, including, in particular, discussion in groups and the development of writing skills;
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  • develop skills of constructive criticism and analysis;
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  • encourage the formation of independent opinions as well as a capacity to know when these opinions are worth defending and when they might better be revised.
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The final piece of assessment will be an exam. There is an opportunity for you to take part in a revision exercise in the final class on Thursday 10th October. This will help prepare you for the exam. The exam is worth 30% of the overall grade.

Format for exam:
• Section A: Short answer - definition of ten key terms (20 marks)
• Section B: Paragraphs - short explanations of five key concepts with examples (30 marks)
• Section C: Essay - choice of two topics (50 marks)

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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 70:30. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 30% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 70:30 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 30% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Assessment 1: participation and reading questions
8 Jul 2019
No set time
  • In Class: In Lecture
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
2. Assessment 2: walking diary and report on health and place
31 Jul 2019
4:30 PM
  • Hand-in: Department Office
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Assessment 3a: Essay on Foucault, power and institutions
11 Sep 2019
4:30 PM
  • Hand-in: Department Office
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
4. Assessment 3b: Poster and idea pitch based on essay content
3 Oct 2019
2:00 PM
  • Hand-in: In Lecture
  • In Class: In Lecture
5. Exam
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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There is a weekly list of crucial readings for this course on Talis Aspire (Reading list link in Moodle) as well as recommended readings available for this course and for assessment.

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Online Support

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Lecture notes are available on Moodle for this paper. Also, we use Moodle to get in touch with class members about upcoming sessions or assignments etc. Therefore, we appreciate if you could please check Moodle regularly.

The University of Waikato is committed to upholding the highest degree of academic excellence for students enrolled in all its papers and programmes.
It is important that academic work submitted by students conforms to the Assessment Regulations which state that it is necessary to acknowledge the work of others used in an assessment item.
The Turnitin® software ascertains levels of academic integrity by checking for examples of plagiarism. The University of Waikato defines plagiarism as the presentation of one's own work as the work of another, and includes the copying or paraphrasing of another person's work in an assessment item without acknowledging it as the other person's work
Assignments that have been designated to go through Turnitin® are submitted electronically via Moodle.
Once submitted to Turnitin®, student work is compared with material in academic databases and with student work previously submitted at the University of Waikato.
Once the comparison is complete, the lecturer receives a report from Turnitin®, where any matches found to other texts are highlighted, numbered and colour coded depending on the level of the match.

Moodle Help Files Assignments Activity page shows how to upload an assignment to Turnitin® via Moodle:
Additional information on Turnitin® may be found here:

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This paper has four contact hours weekly. Students are expected to attend sessions and complete the required readings. If we consider that the ‘normal’ annual load for a BSocSc is seven papers we can then calculate that on the basis of a 16 week semester (including recess and study periods) the student should spend around 10-12 hours a week on average working on the paper. This includes attending lectures, completing assessed work and reading.
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Linkages to Other Papers

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It provides a useful, but not imperative, platform for GEOGY309 because it builds on some of the key concepts taught in that paper such as ‘difference’, identity, power, and social/spatial relations. Other papers in Human Geography such as: GEOGY101; and papers in in Sociology; Social Policy; Community Health; Health Communication; and, Health, Sport and Human Performance also feed usefully into material taught in GEOGY209.
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Restricted papers: GEOG209

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