GEOGY209-21B (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 paper 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, the 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. 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 zoom, online activities and videos.

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Paper Structure

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During the trimester we pay attention to a range of places including: ‘the body’, homes, institutions, communities, neighbourhoods, streetscapes, cities, rural spaces 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 paper will be delivered in two main ways. First, through a series of online presentations and activities which will alert you to the main themes, concepts 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 groups, drawing on observations, experiences and readings. Second, through a programme of directed reading which is your responsibility to structure and should feed into discussions, activities, assignments and the final test.

The paper consists of:
  • two one hour weekly zoom meetings, content in Moodle, online activities, readings and discussion of the relevant health geographical literature.
All content - including readings - contribute each piece of assessment, including the final (30%) test.
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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the paper should be able to:

  • understand the mutual construction of bodies, 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, disabilities, 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 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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Read all assignment instructions carefully. Seek clarification if you are not sure what is expected.
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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Assessment 1: Reading Questions in Moodle Forum (weeks 1 - 10)
  • Online: Moodle Forum Discussion
2. Assessment 2: Walking Diary and Report on Health and Place
4 Aug 2021
11:30 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Assessment 3a: Essay on Foucault, health, power and institutions
15 Sep 2021
11:30 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
4. Assessment 3b: Webpage and idea pitch based on essay content
4 Oct 2021
No set time
  • Presentation: In Class
5. Assessment 5: Moodle Test
18 Oct 2021
11:30 PM
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 paper and for assessment.

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Online Support

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Learning materials are available on Moodle for this paper. Also, we use Moodle to get in touch with class members about upcoming sessions or assessments 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 two contact hours weekly plus online activities. Students are expected to attend zoom sessions and complete the required readings. This is a 15 point paper. One point equates to approximately 10 hours' total work. You are expected to spend about 150 hours in total completing this paper. This includes attending zooms, 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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