University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Geography

Undergraduate Course: Space, place and sensory perception (GEGR10116)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryIt has long been recognised that human experience and knowledge are mediated through the senses. The senses- sight, touch, taste, hearing and smell - play a vital role in shaping the way we interact with, and attune ourselves to, the world around us. This course will focus on understanding these everyday sensory worlds and their variation across various historical and geographical contexts. In so doing, it acknowledges that sensory perception is as much a social, cultural and political practice as it is a physical or biological function. The course will begin by examining the philosophical groundings of the scholarly study of the senses within geography and related disciplines, before moving on to look at the work of contemporary theorists on a range of topics such as silence and noise, darkness and light, pleasure and disgust, immersion and distance, atmosphere and affect. Whilst the structure of the course will be largely dictated by the traditional Western classification of the five senses, ample consideration will be given to other sensory modalities such as kinesthesia (the sensation of movement) and synaesthesia (subjective sensation).
Course description The lecture topics will include taste, touch, smell, hearing, vision, kinesthesia and synaesthesia, atmosphere, affect, disgust, phenomenology and post-phenomenology, sensory ethnographic methods.
The course will be organised around lectures (with some guest speakers), student-led discussions, and tutorials, and will attempt to be as sensorially engaging as possible in its pedagogy, providing numerous opportunities for students to physically explore their senses. For example, experiential learning will form a crucial component of the course's immersive tutorials, in which students will be invited to develop their own sensory dexterities by conducting mini-investigations on and through the senses.

Course aims:
To introduce the students to the broad range of scholarship on the senses currently circulating within geography and related disciplines.
To illustrate the ways in which our understandings of distinct sensory perceptions are historically, culturally and geographically situated.
To consider the methodological implications of geographers theorization of the senses and the challenge that new and emerging approaches present to older paradigms.
To encourage students to reflect upon their own sensory engagements and make connections between knowledge gained in class and the wider world.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2015/16, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  32
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 5, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 169 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 3000 word essay (60%); 2000 word blog (5 posts) (40%)
Feedback Feedback will be provided orally throughout the course during lectures, tutorials, and one-to-one meetings with students, and in written form via the formative learning exercises and degree assessments. Students are welcome to ask the course organiser for verbal feedback at any point during the semester.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Students will develop a critical understanding of sensory perception and relevant theory, and will become more aware of the multidimensionality of the human sensorium and develop their ability to analyse sensory hierarchies.
  2. Students will develop a critical understanding of the methodological implications of geographers┐ theorization of the senses and the challenge that new and emerging approaches present to older paradigms.
  3. Students will develop their capacity to reflect upon their own sensory engagements and make connections between the academic literature and the wider world.
  4. Enhance specialist knowledge and understanding, including a range of established techniques and research methodologies.
  5. Interpret, use and evaluate a wide range of specialist data.
Reading List
Texts will include:
Anderson, B. (2009) Affective atmospheres, Emotion, Space and Society 2:77-81.

Back, L. (2007) The Art of Listening. Berg.

Barbara, A. and Perliss, A. (2006) Invisible Architecture: Experiencing Places through the Sense of Smell. Skira Editore.

Bull, M. and Back, L. (2003) The Auditory Culture Reader. Oxford: Berg.
Bull and Les Back. Berg

Bull, M. (2013) Sound Studies. Routledge.

Constance, C., Howes, D. and Synott, A. (1994) Aroma: The Cultural History of Smell. Routledge.

Corbin, A. (1986) The Foul and the Fragrant: Odor and the French Social Imagination. Cambridge: Harvard University.

Drobnick, J. (2006) The Smell Culture Reader. Berg Publishers.

Erlmann, V. (ed.) (2004) Hearing Cultures: Essays on Sound, Listening and Modernity. Oxford: Berg

Howes, D.. (ed.) (2005) Empire of the Senses: The Sensual Culture Reader. Oxford: Berg

Howes, D. (2009) The Sixth Sense Reader. Berg.

Howes, D. and Classen, C. (2014) Ways of Sensing: Understanding the Senses in Society. Routledge.

Jones, C. (2006) Sensorium: Embodied Experience, Technology, and Contemporary Art. MIT Press.

Merleau-Ponty, M. (2002) Phenomenology of Perception. New York: Routledge.

Paterson, M. (2007) The Senses of Touch: Haptics, Affects, and Technologies. Oxford: Berg

Paterson, M. and Dodge, M. (2012) Touching Space, Placing Touch. Ashgate.

Pink, S. (2009) Doing Sensory Ethnography. Sage.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills By the end of the course the students will have developed their:
- Ability to undertake independent and self-directed learning, including time management.
- Capacity to work effectively in a group;
- Ability to identify and acquire data from a range of academic and non-academic sources.
- Written communication and critical analysis skills, including the ability to synthesize academic and non-academic material, write for a non-specialist audience (namely their peers), and write academically rigorous essays.
- Techniques of oral presentation and conversation through discussion leading and class participation.
- Ability to form independent opinions and to respond thoughtfully to the opinions of others.
Course organiserDr Nina Morris
Tel: (0131 6)51 4242
Course secretaryMiss Sarah Mcallister
Tel: (0131 6)50 4917
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information
© Copyright 2015 The University of Edinburgh - 18 January 2016 4:04 am