GEOGY209-23B (NET)

Health, People, Place

15 Points

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What this paper is about

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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, native 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 are analysed through various scales, starting with the body, homes, neighbourhoods and their wider geographical context, including institutions (such as schools, workplaces, gyms and caring spaces). The third scale is focused on urban and rural perspectives to analyse localities; and the fourth and last scale consider national and trans-national health geographies.

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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How this paper will be taught

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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.

Recognising the importance of such scales, this paper is organised in four modules which connect in sequence: Modules 1) and 2) 1 focus on the body and the home, including wider spaces and areas which are part of the sense of place, neighbourhood, village, locality or/city. The first two modules focus on intimate geographies that contribute to shaping people’s sense of self and place. After teaching recess, the two final modules of the paper focus on macro geographies that contribute to shaping overall environments and community health and well-being - 3) urban and rural perspectives, and 4) national and transnational geographies. An additional module is composed by student presentations at the end of the trimester.

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. This also includes weekly, collective reflections via Moodle. Second, through a programme of directed reading and activities which is your responsibility to structure and should feed into discussions, activities, assignments and the final test. In other words, while the contact time of the course is 2 hours per week, the same amount of time will be expected that students spend studying and preparing for assignments in the scope of this paper.

The paper consists of:

  • two one hour weekly zoom meetings (i.e two hours per week), concerning content in Moodle, online activities, readings and discussion of the relevant health geographical literature.
  • two to three hours per week of self-directed study, including preparation for assignments and weekly activities in preparation for class.

All content - including readings - contribute to each piece of assessment, including the final test (15%).

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Required Readings

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Required readings are found in our Moodle page. There are readings for each topic and a forum to discuss the content.
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You will need to have

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Curiosity and criticality.
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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • Be able to illustrate the ways in which health and well being is related to issues of spatial social justice
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  • Develop skills of constructive criticism and analysis
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Understand the mutual construction of bodies, societies, health, well being, and place
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How you will be assessed

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Read all assignment instructions carefully. Seek clarification if you are not sure what is expected.

How achievement will be measured

Assessment Criteria:
In order to be eligible for top marks you need to:
• Communicate relevant ideas in written form;
• Devise a clear argument and focus;
• Demonstrate an ability to draw on published geographical literature;
• Provide an analysis of the ways in which your identity and school spaces affect each other;
• Demonstrate an ability to write clearly, proof-read work and present ‘clean’ copy, and follow protocols for referencing material (access the library subject portal for geography).

The schedule of grades used by the University and the range of marks represented by each grade is as follows:

Passing gradesFailing Grades
Grade range %Grade Range %
B+75-79Applies if a student
B70-74does not:
B-65-69(a) submit an essential document
C+60-64(b) sit a formal examination
C55-59FUngraded Fail
RPRestricted Pass
PUngraded Pass

A grades (80% and over)

Excellent work. There is a clear focus on what the assignment should achieve, and it is structured accordingly. The assignment is well written and free of all but very trivial errors. There is clear evidence of a thoughtful and original approach. The student has developed opinions on the issues being considered and can explain and support these opinions persuasively with evidence. The relevant literature and class material has been considered and integrated into the work, with appropriate referencing.

B grades (65 to 79%)

From a little below average (B),average (B), to somewhat above average (B+). Reasonably organised and written. The student understands the topic and has read enough to be familiar with the key material. There is some evidence that the student has understood ideas, concepts, can handle evidence, and can explain and present these adequately. But there are weaknesses either in essay organisation, use of evidence, or reference to the literature. Usually this means that the student could have done better with more time and effort.

C grades (50 to 64%)

Just adequate to adequate. The basic requirements of the assignment have been carried out but there are quite substantial gaps and weaknesses. The student has a very general understanding of the topic and has written the assignment so that it can be understood. Some use of relevant material is made. Reading has been adequate but may not have been sufficient to do justice to the topic.

D grades (40 to 49%)

The student has not done what was required for the assignment. The topic is not well understood, little reading has been done and often the assignment is poorly written.

E (under 40%)

Unacceptable work. Usually little or no understanding of the topic is demonstrated, and ideas are unstructured and badly expressed.

Assignment submission and collection procedure

Assessments are to be uploaded into Moodle on the due date unless an extension has been approved by Lynda Johnston or Rita Dionisio. Assessment 3b has two parts. The first part is a presentation in zoom, and the second part (one page of notes about the presentation) is to be uploaded into zoom on the day of the presentation.

Assignments do not have to meet the word limit requirements exactly. As a general rule, students may work within a margin of +/- 10 %.

Process for requesting extensions, special consideration and for appealing marks

Late assignments require approval of Lynda Johnston, or Rita Dionisio.
Late work will not be accepted for an assignment in which marked work has already been returned to students. Extensions are granted according to health and welfare criteria.

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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
  • Online: Moodle Forum Discussion
2. Assessment 2: Walking Diary and Report on Bodies, Health and Place
18 Aug 2023
12:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Assessment 3a: Mapping health, wellbeing and place
22 Sep 2023
12:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
4. Assessment 3b: Designing healthy places (presentation)
  • Presentation: In Class
5. Assessment 4: Final Moodle test
25 Oct 2023
No set time
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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