GEO-23306 Cultural and Historical Geography


Studiepunten 6.00

Excursion (one day)10
Course coordinator(s)dr. R van Beek
Lecturer(s)dr. A Aceska
dr. R van Beek
MPCP Paulissen
Examiner(s)dr. A Aceska
dr. R van Beek

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

GEO-10306 Human Geography.


This course provides critical knowledge of the natural and cultural processes that shape landscapes produced in historical and cultural geography and the related disciplines. In order to understand contemporary cultural landscapes and their heritage, this course specifically takes into account their historical genealogies together with their modern day material, symbolic and social uses and impacts. Key landscape-oriented concepts and approaches from a variety of scientific disciplines are introduced. A broad overview is offered of how past spatial practices, ideas, policies and technologies are embedded in present day landscapes. Besides that, the focus is on learning practical skills and methods to understand the history of landscapes and analyze how these may contribute to landscape architecture and planning in increasingly diverse societies with diverse demands. Attention will be given to developing debating skills pertaining to practical, political and ideological issues that confront people when coping with the historical legacy of landscapes in current design and planning interventions. Examples are drawn from the Netherlands, Europe and other parts of the world generally.
The course will begin with a an historiographic overview of key concepts and approaches present in scientific disciplines related to landscape research. This entails a critical discussion of the theories and methods that form the backbone of this module, that of 'landscape'. We address how and why historical and cultural geographers are concerned with these landscapes and how knowledge and interpretation of its past is relevant for landscape architects and planners. After an introduction to the analysis of prehistoric, historic and early modern landscape formation processes, using a wide variety of sources, we gradually move towards modern landscapes. This part of the course introduces a selection of key concepts, methods and tools from cultural geography and the related disciplines and focuses on the interplay between landscapes and the processes of identity-formation, memory-construction and social change. The course includes two important practical components: a (written) assignment in which groups of students unravel the landscape history of a designated area near Wageningen, and a (smaller) assignment in which we practice debating skills and public speaking. Additionally, we will make excursions to an archive (Tiel or Arnhem), the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (Amersfoort) and the areas that are central in the first assignment.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- apply key theories, concepts and methods within sub-disciplines of historical and cultural geography towards the ‘reading’ and analysis of landscapes;
- map out and interpret the material, social and symbolic elements that make up landscapes, with specific focus on 'traces' of history;
- analyse how historical processes influenced landscape character/identity and how knowledge of its past can contribute to landscape architecture and planning;
- evaluate the importance of different stakeholders associated with landscape management and planning;
- develop a critical attitude towards scientific sources on landscape history;
- formulate balanced arguments and putting their point across via debating.


- lectures; tutorials; literature study; consultation;
- group project.


- written exam (50%);
- group assignment (40%);
- argumentation and debating skills (10%).


Will be announced in the course guide.

Keuze voor: BLPLandscape Architecture and PlanningBSc5AF