Edited by Helen Walkington, Jennifer Hill and Sarah Dyer
Chapter 18: Teaching challenging material: emotional geographies and geographies of death
Geographies of death has become an increasingly visible within Emotional, Urban, Rural and Political Geography sub-disciplines, exploring the spatialities, practices, politics and policies around death and memorialisation, embracing issues of morbidity, mortality, extinction, gender, identity, culture, religion, ethnicity and the environment, to name but a few. Teaching geographies of death can be a challenging task, as alongside the academic value of the topic there must also be consideration of the associated personal reflections and experiences relating the subject matter for both students and teaching staff. This chapter draws on the reflections and experiences of staff and students in designing and delivering a new third year undergraduate module ‘Geographies of Death’, the first of its kind within the UK. The authors recommend a wide range of pedagogical approaches and modes of teaching including craft activities, café style discussions, cemetery fieldtrips and traditional lecture and seminar components. Additionally, this chapter contributes to debates around teaching challenging material, arguing that whilst the emotional aspects of the module should be approached with some care and consideration for emotional-affective sensitivities, educators should not try and remove emotion from the content altogether. Indeed, the emotional-affective dimension to such material can illustrate the significance of the topic and make for effective engagement and therefore effective teaching.
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