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What Has the Geography of Sleeping Arrangements Got to Do with the Geography of Our Teaching Spaces?

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As geographers we are used to researching and teaching about those other than ourselves and it is timely to turn our gaze on the social and spatial practices of our own teaching spaces. One particular teaching space is the overnight geography field trip, a context in which geography fieldwork is ostensibly the main focus for two or more consecutive days. Teaching spaces such as classrooms and field trips, like all social spaces, are imbued with spoken and unspoken assumptions about sexuality, gender and 'race'. Geography field trips are one site in which to examine how social space is constituted via spoken and unspoken assumptions and how these assumptions shape field trip participants' understandings of themselves within these spaces. Simultaneously, field trips offer a site for the consideration of the socio-spatial relations of the reproduction of contemporary geographic knowledge. This article is one response to what Jon Binnie identified as an urgent need for geographers to understand how geography is being taught. Although sleeping arrangements are 'not formally notified' as part of fieldwork activity, the author demonstrates how sleeping arrangements conveyed important messages about sexuality, gender and cultural practices during seven overnight field trips held by two universities and two high schools in New Zealand. The concern is how apparently mundane arrangements such as the organisation of sleeping might reveal the ongoing hegemonic social and spatial relations of teaching and learning geography, as these are shaped by sexuality, gender and 'race', so that we might be better informed to challenge and change these practices.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Otago, Aotearoa/New Zealand

Publication date: March 1, 2003

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