Geography, Earth and environment at Brighton

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Critical Digital Geographies – a new module

We’re excited to announce that we have a new second year Geography, the Earth and Environment undergraduate module starting in the 22/23 academic year – Critical Digital Geographies. The use of digital technologies to transform work, homes, cities, romantic relationships, exercise, health and transport (to name a few), is one of the most pressing contemporary societal challenges, providing exciting possibilities but also new power struggles. The module, led by Dr Carl Bonner-Thompson, critically explores opportunities that ‘the digital’ (devices, data, spaces and discourses) provides by exploring social, cultural and political changes and challenges.

Students who opt to take this module, will learn about the different ways digital technologies shape everyday lives by examining key challenges such as digital inequality and poverty; surveillance and security; living with social media; increasing use of digital data and algorithms; and the creating of smart and sustainable cities. Examples from the global north and global south will be drawn upon to do so. The module is designed to help students learn from one another, where ideas and responses will be worked through in lectures, seminars and workshops. It also uses innovative assessments, asking students to write a reflective essay on their own relationships with digital technologies and record a podcast on the key ideas and concepts. The students will be supported to do these in workshops and tutorials.

The module is shaped by Dr Bonner-Thompson’s extensive research in digital geographies, that has explored queer men’s dating apps (Bonner-Thompson, 2020); relationships between austerity and the digital (Bonner-Thompson & McDowell, 2021); digital technologies and LGBTQ+ youth work (ongoing); and everyday relationships with digital data and algorithms (ongoing).

 

Bonner-Thompson, C. (2020). Anticipating touch: Haptic geographies of Grindr encounters in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers (on-line), n/a. https://doi.org/10.1111/tran.12417. Accessed 15 December 2020.

Bonner-Thompson, C. and McDowell, L. (2021). Digital geographies of austerity: Young men’s material, affective and everyday relationships with the digital. Geoforum, 120: 113–121.

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Stephanie Thomson • March 10, 2022


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