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Developing Geographers through Photography: Enlarging Concepts

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Abstract:

This paper explores how photographs can be used to teach urban social geography to second- and third-year university students. In it the author describes her work acquainting students with the skill of 'directed observation'. She argues that teaching geography through photography is not merely asking students to take pictures but rather, the process of looking with intention. Capturing what is seen on film encourages students to engage with geography by seeing how ideas ground themselves on the landscape. This work also challenges how geographers think about what they require of students and calls into question normative classroom practices. Most importantly, it adds to our understanding of concepts that are central to geographic analyses and heightens our awareness of how well students understand. Photographs provide an opportunity to hear multiple voices in multiple ways. The author suggests that the methodological and pedagogical contributions of photographs have been overlooked in geography.

Keywords: Conceptual photography; geographic education/college-university; urban social geography

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03098260601033118

Affiliations: Department of Geography & Urban Studies, Temple University, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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