Courses : Syllabi : 701
Geography 701 Development of Geographic Thought
This graduate-level seminar examines the key concepts, theories, and larger philosophies that define what the discipline of geography is today. The seminar centers on discussion of readings that have been assigned to illustrate, explain and offer a critical perspective on the evolution of geographic thought over time. The seminar covers different overlapping and interconnected themes. In this seminar:
- Students will learn about the different ways in which geography has been defined over time and positioned uniquely among the physical sciences, the social sciences and the humanities. The goal is to obtain a clear sense of what the discipline has been in the past, what it is now (and how it is debated and contested) and the issues that will play an important role in its future development.
- Students will become familiar with key concepts that are at the core of geographic thinking and geographic research. Students will critically examine key geographic concepts in both human and physical geography to understand the way in which they have been differently constructed and invoked in geographic research over time and presently. The goal is to learn how to bring discipline-defining concepts into research projects.
- Students will learn about the different theories and philosophies that are part of geography today. Students will confront some complex theoretical issues that should be of interest to all geographers. The goal is to understand how different philosophies and conceptual approaches create new possibilities for thinking geographically about a range of phenomena. Another goal is to emphasize the unity of a diverse discipline despite different interests and approaches.
- Students will have the opportunity to meet some of the faculty of Department of Geography at SDSU. Some professors will be invited to the seminar to briefly discuss their research approaches and engage in a short discussion with the students. The goal is to create a sense of community among graduate students and faculty members as a group of intellectual peers with shared interests and goals.
Weekly attendance and participation is required. Students are expected to come to class prepared to discuss all assigned readings. Attendance to the Department of Geography Colloquia Series (Friday afternoons) is also required and it is also part of the assessment for this seminar.
Assignments are due at the beginning of the class on their due date. Late papers will be penalized (half a letter grade for each day the paper is late). Please talk to me if you are having difficulties completing an assignment, but do not wait until it is too late.
This seminar meets only once a week. There will be a 15-minute break each class period. Make every effort to be in the classroom at the scheduled beginning time and plan on staying until class ends. Late arrivals or early departure from the seminar will negatively affect your final grade.
Your grade in this course will be based on the following elements:
- Two (2) Short take home essays: 15% each
- Key Concepts and Philosophies Research Paper: 30%
- Reflection paper “Positioning the Friday Colloquia in Geographic Thought”: 20%
- Class attendance, colloquia attendance, class preparation and participation: 20%
Books and Materials
Aitken, S. and Valentine, G., eds. (2006). Approaches to Human Geography. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage
Bauder, H. and Engel-Di Mauro, S. (2008) Critical Geographies: A Collection of Readings. Praxis (e)Press
Clifford, N., Holloway, S., Rice, S., and Valentine, G. (2009) Key Concepts in Geography. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. (2nd edition)
There are additional journal articles and book chapters that are also required reading. These readings will be assigned throughout the semester and, when possible, will be made available in electronic format through the Blackboard class website.
|Week One||Introduction to the Development of Geographic Thought|
|Week Two||Defining geography and histories of geography|
|Week Three||Relevance: applied geography and critical geographies|
|Week Four||Space and Scale|
|Week Five||Key Concepts and Philosophies paper proposal due
Research resources presentation
|Week Six||Place and Landscape|
|Week Seven||Positivistic geographies and spatial science|
|Week Eight||The Marxist and Humanist Critique|
|Week Nine||Critical reactions: Feminism, Identity and Difference|
|Week Ten||Representing and Visualizing Geographic Phenomena|
|Week Eleven||The “Post” and Relational Turns|
|Week Twelve||Nature and Risk|
|Week Thirteen||Key Concepts and Philosophies Paper Due|
|Week Fourteen||Development and Globalization|
|Week Fifteen||Final thoughts and reflections|