Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Population Geographies B:Space, Sex and Death GEOG4114

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2 (Alternate Years)
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

Population Geographies 2: Space, Sex and Death is a 10-credit Honours Geography option course designed to build upon Population Geographies 1: Past and Present, a pre-requisite for this course. Acknowledging the critical perspective recently advanced by some population geographers, but also bringing in arguments from historical/political geographers and cognate fields of inquiry inspired by theorists Foucault and Agamben  The focus hence becomes the many ways in which different societies in different times and places have sought actively to know/manage/regulate their human populations.


3 hours of classes per week in the latter half of semester 2

Requirements of Entry

Students should have completed Level 2 Geography at minimum of grade D3

Excluded Courses



Population Geographies A: Past and Present.


Presentation on individual research topic (15%)

Written exam (85%)

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

■ To explore a version of Population Geography that centralises the 'biopolitics' of population and the processes of 'making live and letting die' (and occasionally 'making die').

■ To explain a range of concepts which illuminate processes of knowing, managing and regulating human populations, drawing in particular upon both the French theorist Michel Foucault and the Italian theorist Giorgio Agamben.

■ To critically explore the range of possible ways in which different societies in different times and places have sought to know, and then to intervene in, matters of population fertility, mortality, morbidity, movement, interaction, sexuality, etc.

■ To critically discuss the range of possible mechanisms, tools, devices, etc. - most of which have necessarily implicated purposeful spatial strategies - through which such interventions have been enacted.

■ To discuss a range of real world examples, both historical and contemporary, of such interventions (instances of what might be termed 'applied' population geographies).

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Explain why Population Geography, as academic sub-discipline, should include within its compass the critical study of 'biopolitics'.

■ Discuss the connections between 'biopolitics', 'population', 'space' and 'place', understanding the relevance here of ideas derived from the writings of Foucault and Agamben.

■ Debate the ways in which societies have sought to know, and then to intervene in, the fertility, mortality, morbidity, movement, interaction, sexuality, etc., of their human populations.

■ Demonstrate the ways in which spatial practices - of delimited territories, of inclusion and exclusion, of 'camps' and 'experiments', etc. - are often central to 'biopolitical' interventions.

■ Research and represent their own examples of such 'biopolitical' interventions, deploying diverse 'popular' sources alongside relevant academic literature.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.