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Courses : Syllabi : 102

Geography 102 Principles of Cultural Geography


Dr. Kate Swanson

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to cultural geography by exploring pressing global issues including environmental decline, population growth, food security, economic crises, migration, identity politics, war and urbanization. In an increasingly globalized world, these issues have impacts upon all of our lives, whether we live in San Diego, Bogotá, Mumbai or Tokyo. By exploring these topics through the lens of cultural geography, we will uncover how spatial interconnections and geographical interdependence shape the world as we know it. We will further understand how individual actions at the local scale have social, cultural and environmental impacts around the world.




Your grade in this course will be based on the following elements:

You will be responsible for all material covered in the lectures, readings, tutorials, class discussions and videos. Exam One will be based on Parts I & II of the course, while Exam Two will be based on Parts III & IV. No make-up exams will be given.

No extensions will be given on papers. All papers must be turned in during class on the due dates. Emailed papers will not be accepted. Late assignments will be penalized at twenty percent per day. After assignments have been graded and returned, you’ll have one week to dispute grades. Beyond this, grade modification will not be possible.

Attendance and participation at all scheduled classes should go without saying. A small portion of your grade will come from randomly assigned in-class exercises. If you miss an in-class exercise, you forfeit the grade. Please note that this class is not designed for memorization and regurgitation. Rather, in this class, I want you to think critically about how the issues we discuss affect your lives outside and beyond university life.

Books and Materials

Knox, Paul and Sallie Marston. Human Geography: Places and Regions in Global Context, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Access to a good atlas and keeping up to date on the news and current events will assist you with this course.

Weekly Topics

Week Topic
Week One
Part I
Intro to class
Principles of Cultural Geography
Week Two Principles of Cultural Geography (cont)
Week Three Globalization (cont)
Commodity Chains
Week Four
Part II
World Population Growth
Week Five Nature and Society
Paper One
Week Six Agriculture and Global Food Crisis
Week Seven Exam Review
Exam One
Week Eight
Part III
Movement and Migration
Week Nine Movie - Mi Familia
Week Ten Migration
Culture and Globalization
Week Eleven Culture and Globalization (cont)
Week Twelve
Part IV
Nations, States and Borders
Paper Two
Week Thirteen Urbanization (cont)
Week Fourteen Postmodern Cities and Global Urbanism
Week Fifteen Exam Review
Exam Two

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