What does the bicycle tell us about the historical, political and cultural geographies of the Anthropocene?

Your final coursework essay will take the object you submitted to the Museum and use it as the basis of a discussion of the following question:
What does [your object] tell us about the historical, political and cultural geographies of the Anthropocene?
This is where you can really showcase your ability to synthesise, evaluate and communicate arguments from different parts of the discipline of human geography. Using your chosen object as a focal point, you will demonstrate a sure grasp of the three geographical ‘lenses’ we have been using in the module, as well as an ability to engage critically and creatively with the ongoing debate about the Anthropocene and the transformation in human-environment relationships.
The kinds of questions you might address include:
• How significant is your object for understanding the historical evolution of the Anthropocene?
• How does your object contribute to the debate about when the Anthropocene began?
• What is the significance of your object for the emerging politics of the Anthropocene – for example, what does it tell us about the nature of political power, or about changing geographies of environmental governance?
• What is the cultural significance of your object? Has it brought into being – or does it symbolise – particular cultures of consumption, of knowledge-making, of relationships to ‘Nature’, or new aesthetic traditions?
• To what extent are objects, such as yours, able to tell us anything much at all about the Anthropocene?
These are big questions, and you don’t need to address them all. However, the essay does require comprehensive coverage of the materials presented throughout the course, as well as showing an engagement with the wider academic literature. Successful essays will intertwine discussion of the big, academic questions around the Anthropocene and its geographies with discussion of your object and its relationship to the Anthropocene. This relationship might be explanatory – e.g. your object may explain something significant about the Anthropocene – or it may be exemplary – e.g. your object may exemplify or illustrate something important about the Anthropocene.
We don’t want to see essays which fall into two parts – one which discusses the Anthropocene’s historical, political and cultural geographies, and another which discusses your object. The key to getting a good mark is to integrate those two discussions, zooming in and out from your object to the ‘big picture’ and back again. This is how you can show your ability to analyse, synthesise and evaluate, as well as your ability to creatively make new and original arguments. Consult the mark scheme to see how these higher-level cognitive skills will get you the top marks.

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