Course Description & Syllabus

Please note: This seminar is for graduate students. It does not include any GIS software applications or training - for this, please see the Geography Department's GIS/geospatial technologies curriculum (Geog 258, Geog 360/560, Geog 461/561, Geog 462/562, Geog 469, and others).

In this seminar, we will explore a range of theorizations and literatures that geographers and other scholars have used to examine relationships between space, technologies, and society. We emphasize digital spatial technologies/practices, such as GIS, the geoweb, mobile spatial technologies, big data and their implications for digital subjectivities and inequalities, new forms of social control and exclusion, and (inter)disciplinary debates about epistemology and methodology. We will read work from some of the well-established historical materialist and political economic theorizations of space and technologies, as well as very new work by critical scholars that considers subjectivities, embodiments, and social relations that emerge from and with spatial technologies. The seminar reflects the diversity of ways that critical social scientists have theorized the societal significance of the digital and the spatial, including enduring concerns as well as issues raised by more recent tech/social developments. Our reading list is strongly influenced by my own interest in digitality, visuality, and poverty. In particular this seminar is structured to cross-cut these interests with the feminist, post-colonial and critical race theory that has been foundational to relational poverty studies. For more on this, see resources from the Relational Poverty Network (, an open network of thinkers and activists that I co-direct with Vicky Lawson. 

Send questions about this workspace to Sarah Elwood.