Centering Students' Cultural Geographies as Content and Process in an Introductory Course




DeMuynck, Erin

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The Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education


Studying Cultural Geography can provide opportunities for students to develop nuanced insight into how places are created, perceived, experienced, resisted, and re-made. It can sensitize students to diverse experiences and perspectives. However, teaching complex concepts that highlight the fluidity and messiness of culture in ways that introductory-level students relate to can be challenging. This article presents an approach that takes students' perspectives and experiences seriously as course content and evaluates its outcomes. An analysis of students' reflective writing reveals it can help make Cultural Geography accessible and relevant to introductory-level students and non-majors, while simultaneously offering benefits associated with culturally responsive pedagogy. Exploring students' own experiences through the lens of Cultural Geography and promoting humanizing and collaborative dialogue on these topics can have multiple benefits. It can help students feel validated, which encourages engagement and a sense of belonging in the classroom. It can also inspire curiosity and a sense of discovery as students learn to use Cultural Geography as an approach to understanding the world around them and the people with whom they share it in new ways.



geography, culturally responsive pedagogy, dialogue, student subjectivities


DeMuynck, E. (2019). Centering students' cultural geographies as content and process in an introductory course. Research in Geographic Education, 20(1), pp. 9-25.


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