13710 - Geography (1) (M-Z)

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

No poverty Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will possess the geographic expertise to handle historical and geographic atlases, as well as using IT tools and surfing the web to gain information and cartographic material or images. They will be organized and independent in their work, possess a spirit of self-criticism and an ability to spot connections by having dealings with experts from other subjects.

Course contents

By the end of the module, students will acquire skills in the fields of critical geographies and the history of geography, including their application to cases such as globalization, postcolonial and decolonial debates, migrations and the interpretations of landscape. They will be able to find their way in relevant written and online literatures, and will be able to read critically and autonomously elaborate on the aforementioned themes.

The course comprises five parts:

1. The first will introduce some basic notions of geography such as the definitions of place, space, geographical thought and geohistory.

2. The second will introduce the notion of critical geography starting from the construction of the idea of landscape according to classical authors such as Alexander von Humboldt and their successive readings by authors including Franco Farinelli. 

3. The third will introduce the concepts of political geography and critical geopolitics with a special emphasis on the notions of state and territory.

4. The third will discuss postcolonial, decolonial and feminist geographies, through a critical look at the history of explorations, of European expansion and to the construction of the Other.

5. The fifth will focus on population geographies especially related with current political and scholarly debates on global migrations.



For students attending at least the 80% of the classes there will be two texts to read, in addition to other shorter readings that will be indicated in class.  

First book: Franco Cassano, Il pensiero meridiano, Roma/Bari, Laterza, 2021 [chapter 6 excluded]

Second book: choose one between

* Federica Morelli e Sofia Venturoli (eds.) Geografia, razza e territorio. Agostino Codazzi e la Commissione Corografica in Colombia. Bologna, Il Mulino, 2021.


* Massimo Livi Bacci, In cammino, breve storia delle migrazioni, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2019.



Students who did not attend class must prepare three books for the exam:

First book: Claudio Minca (a cura di) Appunti di geografia, Padova, CEDAM, 2022. Chapters 2,3,4, 6, 7, 8, 9.

Second book: Franco Cassano, Il pensiero meridiano, Roma/Bari, Laterza, 2021 [chapter 6 excluded]

Third book: choose one between

* Federica Morelli e Sofia Venturoli (eds.) Geografia, razza e territorio. Agostino Codazzi e la Commissione Corografica in Colombia. Bologna, Il Mulino, 2021.


* Massimo Livi Bacci, In cammino, breve storia delle migrazioni, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2019.

Teaching methods

The module is delivered through traditional classes. In the first class, the teacher will give details on the syllabus, on the assessment criteria, on the course's bibliography.

Those who wish to pass the exam as "attending students" must attend at least the 80% of the classes.

Given the presence of an option for non attending students, the recording of the classes is not authorized under any form.

Active and critical participation in class with questions and interventions is strongly encouraged. 

Assessment methods

There will be an end-of-semester written exam. It will consist in discursive questions (no short answers, no MCQ) which will be different for attending and non-attending students. For those who attended, questions will focus on the themes addressed in class and will include the readings on specific parts of the course that will be discussed in class. For those who did not attend, the questions will focus on the contents of the textbook and books assigned in the bibliography.

I will especially consider:

1) Your level of in-depth knowledge and critical understanding of the module's themes.

2) Your capacity of building arguments and doing connections between different themes

3) Your capacity of using an adequate phrasing and an appropriate terminology.

I will assess with excellence grades the evidence of your acquisition of an exhaustive view of all the themes addressed and the capacity of dealing critically with them, in addition to the mobilization of a good written expression and correct use of specific terminology. 

A mnemonic knowledge of the themes, accompanied by the capacity of analysis and synthesis expressed in appropriate language, will lead to average/good grades.

Lacunas in the key contents, and/or inappropriate language, in the context of a basic knowledge of the course's themes, will lead to grades that will not exceed the pass-mark (18 or so).

Lacunas, inappropriate language, lack of understanding of the course's materials will be assessed negatively. In case of fail grade, you will need to repeat the exam. 

For attending students, active participation in class with questions and critical remarks will be appreciated. 

The results will be notified by email

Teaching tools

PowerPoint, websites, teaching materials in pdf for attending students. 


Complementary bibliography

Braudel, Fernand, Il mediterraneo. Lo spazio, la storia, gli uomini, le tradizioni, Milano, Bompiani, 2017.

Camus, Albert, L’uomo in rivolta, Milano, Bompiani, 2010.

Deleuze, Gilles e Guattari, Félix, Che cos’è la filosofia? Torino, Einaudi, 2002.

Farinelli, Franco, I segni del mondo, Firenze, La Nuova Italia, 1992.

Farinelli, Franco, Geografia, Torino, Einaudi, 2003.

Farinelli, Franco, L’invenzione della terra, Palermo, Sellerio, 2017.

Febvre, Lucien, La terra e l’evoluzione umana, Torino, Einaudi, 1981.

Ferretti, Federico, Da Strabone al cyberspazio. Introduzione alla storia del pensiero geografico, Milano, Guerini, 2014.

Gambi, Lucio, Una geografia per la storia, Torino, Einaudi, 1973.

Kothari, A et al., Pluriverso, dizionario del post-sviluppo, Nocera, Orthesis, 2021.

Kropotkin, Peter, Il mutuo appoggio, un fattore dell’evoluzione. Milano, Eleuthera, 2020.

Humboldt, Alexander von, Viaggio alle regioni equinoziali del Nuovo Continente, Macerata, Quodlibet, 2014.

Livi Bacci, Massimo, Storia minima della popolazione del mondo, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2016.

Livi Bacci, Massimo, Conquista, la distruzione degli Indios americani, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2009.

Matvejević, Predrag, Breviario mediterraneo, Milano, Garzanti, 2020.

Mignolo, Walter, L'idea di America Latina : geostoria di una teoria decoloniale, Milano: Mimesis, 2013.

Reclus, Elisée, Storia di un ruscello, Milano, Eleuthera, 2020.

Reclus, Elisée, Scritti di geografia sovversiva, Milano, Eleuthera, 2022.

Said, Edward, Orientalismo, l’immagine europea dell’Oriente, Milano, Feltrinelli, varie edizioni.

Sousa Santos, Boaventura de, Epistemologie del Sud : giustizia contro l'epistemicidio, Roma, Castelvecchi, 2021.

Zwer, Nepthys e Rekacewicz, Philippe, Cartographie radicale, explorations. Paris, La Découverte, 2021.

Office hours

See the website of Federico Ferretti