Course content

This course addresses the so-called ‘spatial turn’ in the humanities and offers PhD candidates theoretical and methodological tools to critically analyse space and its cultural significance from an interdisciplinary perspective and across time periods. The students acquaint themselves with a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches related to spatial aspects applied in humanistic research earlier and at present. This includes, for example, natural and culturally constructed spaces, urban and rural places, private, imaginary or sacred spaces, and the relation between different spatially defined communities such as ethnicities, digital communities, and exiled groups and individuals. Attention is also given to issues such as how spaces are constructed, how the organization of space interplays with social structures and questions of identity, as well as different practices. Also, how changes in the natural landscape – for instance elevation of land or climate changes – affect the perception and apprehension of space.

Multidisciplinarity and method exercises with teachers from different disciplines are integrated in the course. Thereby the course sponsors a critical understanding of space, how space and place work, how they are constructed and named, how they interplay with social relations and identities, how the concept of space has affected contemporary research in different research areas, and how it can be a tool for the participants’ own analysis and research.

Learning outcomes

For a grade pass on the course, students should be able to:

  • describe and in an analytical manner account for ways in which spatial perspectives and materials influenced and were applied within different fields in the humanities
  • analyse and discuss, orally and in writing, how place and spatiality interplays with social phenomena such as memory and identity, and how this was used for political purposes under different physical and temporal contexts
  • critically discuss key concepts in the field and reflect upon them in relation to their own and fellow students’ doctoral work
  • independently apply theories, methods and empirical material related to the concepts ‘space’ and ‘place’ on their own doctoral work

Practical information

The course has the following obligatory elements: lectures, seminars, method exercises, field studies (excursion), and completion of written and oral presentations and peer assessment in connection with course assignments and the examination.

The course is examined through a written learning journal, an oral presentation, and completed seminar exercises.

Instruction is given in the form of lectures, seminars, method exercises and field studies (excursion).

NB. The course is offered on campus and includes study visits in and around Stockholm

Period: 2023-03-21 - 2023-06-04

Course dates: Weekly, Tuesday or Thursday.

Language of instruction: English

Course director: professor Kurt Villads Jensen och docent Nanouschka Myrberg Burström

Course title in Swedish: Rumslighet och plats i modern humaniora: Teorier och tillämpningar

The course is offered by the Department of History in collaboration with the Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, the Department of Culture and Aesthetics, the Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, and more.