Cultural Geography (4 credits)
The objective of this course is to provide knowledge and understanding of the cultural patterns created through human interactions with the environment and the processes responsible for cultural change. Topics will include: origins of culture in prehistory, human adaptations to the natural environment, the impact of different resource systems (hunting-gathering, agrarian, industrial) on nature in historical and spatial perspective, the creation of culture areas of the world, how states influence cultural survival, and the impact of globalization. The course will follow a lecture/discussion format to enhance critical thinking and writing abilities. Prerequisites: None.
Physical Geography (4 credits)
Climate, vegetation, soils, and landform formation processes all influence human activity in any region; they are the focus of this process-oriented study of the physical environment. Heat and water budgets and their influence upon ecosystem development as well as fluvial, glacial, and coastal land shaping processes will be studied. Relationships between human activity and various physical environments of the world provide a central theme. Evaluation will be based on four exams and numerous in-class lab exercises. Prerequisite: Math Placement 22.
Weather and Climate (5 credits)
Climate patterns pose fundamental limits to ecosystem development, and therefore control the ways people can interact with the environment. Global climate patterns are the focus of this course, and there are two main goals. In the first part of the course, we will seek an understanding of the processes responsible for climate through study of atmospheric dynamics that create weather patterns across the globe. Then we will consider climatic classifications, and relate them to real-world responses of vegetation regimes to global climate patterns. Laboratory work is scheduled for Thursdays from 8:30AM to 11:30AM. Ten lab exercises and four exams will be the basis for evaluation. Prerequisite: Math Placement 22.
Urban Geography (4 credits)
World urbanization has increased dramatically in the course of the 20 th century. About 50% of the global population lives in cities now verses to 5% in the 1800s. Developed countries are 73% urbanized, with Europe and Russia facing shrinking population. Developing countries with large portion of their population in rural areas face an extremely fast rate of urbanization, and lead the world in number of mega-cities, often surrounded by shanty towns. What is the origin of urban growth and decline? What is the spatial organization of a settlement's network? What is the structure of the land use in North American cities, and how different it is from European, Russian, and Latin American, and Asian centers? All these questions require that cities be constantly rediscovered. The emphasis will be on American cities with their long standing inner-city/suburb dichotomy. A lecture/discussion format is anticipated. Field assignments connect theories to the real world. There will be two exams, one oral report, a final paper, and several field and computer assignments. Prerequisite: Math Placement 22.
This course is on WebCT.
GEOG 250 C
Russian and Central Eurasian Geography (4 credits)
For the first time in all Russian history geography speaks for itself. After the disintegration of the Soviet Empire regions became exceedingly important in this highly centralized state. The current government is trying to reestablish control over the regions. Who will win in this geo-political game? Will Russia become a democratic state or it will pull back to the dictatorship? Will newly independent states like Ukraine , Belarus , and Kazakhstan gravitate to Russian economic and political domain or create new alliances with other bordering countries?
We will discuss it throughout the course. The class will be focused on changing space economy, environmental and population issues, national identity problems, political orientation in different regions of the post-Soviet space. This course has a lecture-discussion-project format. Students are expected to complete several map assignments, participate in class discussions, and to write a final paper on major topics.
This course is on WebCT.
GEOG 250 C
Middle America Geography (4 credits)
One of the most geographically complex regions of the Americas is located in the middle of north and south. It is a region rich with history, tradition, tropical climates, unstable political and economic systems, which are each unique to various parts of the region. From the indigenous to the colonial to the globalized, this area has seen a tremendous amount of influence and change from the outside over the years. Today, it is a complex land that is being exploited for its resources and depleted of its culture. It contains the fastest growing population on the planet, high rates of rural to urban migration, and some of the potential cures for disease in its diminishing rainforests. This class will systematically explore the early to the late civilizations, and compare, perhaps, which were more civilized. It will compare subsistence agriculture to agri-business and see which is more effective. It will look at the social stratification of the people who live there and see why there is much discontent. Students will be asked to do a research project that is of interest to them in their field of study. Additionally, the class will explore some of the food, music, and religious traditions that make this part of the world one of the most fascinating yet highly misunderstood regions of the world.
GEOG 250 C
East Asia Geography (4 credits)
Medvedkov, Lenz, Keiffer
Welcome to the most populated region of the World. East Asia is composed of China , Japan , North and South Korea , Mongolia , and Taiwan . It offers a very diverse environmental and cultural realm. Its geographic area extends from deserts of Central Asia to the Pacific islands of Japan , Taiwan , and Hainan . It combines the most advanced economies of Japan , Taiwan , and South Korea with the most backward economies of North Korea and Mongolia . China is undergoing a tremendous economic transition resulting in huge disparities between the interior of the country and its coastal frontier.
Parts of this region are among the main players of World globalization. This regional course will examine the interrelationships between environmental, cultural and economic patterns in East Asia .
Research Methods (2 credits)
This methodology course is required for all geography majors. It will include coverage of research design, sampling, use of some statistical techniques, and SPSSX. Prerequisites: Math Placement 22; GEOG 101 and 220, 230, 240, or 292.
Architectural Geography: Interpreting the Ethnic and Environmental Influences on the Cultural Landscape
This topic of this course is geography
and landscape studies. It will focus on how the influence of ethnic traditions
and environmental factors shape what we see on the visible landscape. Many of
the cultural artifacts that we pass on a daily basis have their roots in some
type of symbolism that is derived from various entities. The shape, style and
materials of the buildings we use can be traced back to the earliest civilizations.
It can be argued that many are simply modified versions of what was built, on
a monumental scale 4000 years ago. As humans migrated, they took their cultural
practices with them and, along with changing environmental conditions, shaped
what we think of today as modern. The pure essence of architectural design,
its symbolism and its function, results in its form. This is contrary to the
usual dictum that form follows function. This class will examine the geography
of architecture, and compare basic architectural design with what we see today
in the cultural landscape. Is our landscape a newer version of the modern, or
an older version of the traditional? It is hoped students will be able to answer
this question as they learn to read the landscape and see what they are looking