Exploring Power and Space through Cross-Disciplinary Course Design: Linking Critical Geography and Technical Communication

Authors: Dugan Meyer*, University of Arizona - Geography & Development, Marisa Pesa*, University of Arizona
Topics: Geography Education, Urban Geography, Qualitative Methods
Keywords: geography education, pedagogy, interdisciplinary research, critical research methods
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2020
Start / End Time: 5:35 PM / 6:50 PM
Room: Director's Row H, Sheraton, Plaza Building, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper discusses an ongoing pedagogical collaboration spanning critical geography, rhetorical theory, and technical communication. In describing the rationale and theory driving our complementary course design for a 300-level urban growth and development course and a 300-level technical communication course, we highlight linkages between issues of power and positionality as they intersect with the production and distribution of space, knowledge, and technical documents. Our goal is to explore the potential of such interdisciplinary linkages for critical geographical education. To this end, we draw from qualitative data produced in our own classrooms to describe and analyze how our students—urban inhabitants and technical communicators—respond to texts and activities asking them to consider how user-centered design, naming practices, public texts, visual storytelling methods, affective orientations, and more influence how people produce and understand cities. Our work to introduce such linkages has changed how we pursue and perceive the production of spatial knowledge in our own classrooms, and we hope that our research might inspire more interdisciplinary collaboration between our respective fields as well as more classroom-based research in geography.

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