Geography

Requirements for Concentration: 10 units, including an introductory course (Geography 105a or b, or 115), 220, 222, 300 (optional senior thesis, if not elected an additional 300-level course during the senior year), 301 and at least one additional 300-level seminar. With the consent of the adviser, 2 of the required 10 units may be taken from cognate fields, such as anthropology, geology, urban studies, environmental studies or international studies, if the courses are clearly related to the student’s focus within geography. After the declaration of the major, no required courses may be elected NRO.

Senior-Year Requirement: Geography 300 (or another 300-level course), 301. Majors must write a senior thesis to be considered for departmental honors.

Recommendations: Geology 151; Field Work (290); and a study-abroad experience.

Students interested in focusing their geography program in areas such as environmental design, cultural ecology, global studies, land-use planning, or historic preservation should see the department for a list of recommended course sequences in geography and related disciplines.

Advisers: Ms. Cunningham, Mr. Godfrey, Mr. Nevins, Ms. Zhou.

Correlate Sequence in Geography: Geography offers correlate sequences which designate coherent groups of courses intended to complement the curricula of students majoring in other departmental, interdepartmental, and multidisciplinary programs. Students pursuing a correlate sequence in geography are required to complete a minimum of six courses in the department, including an introductory course and at least one 300-level seminar. The two suggested concentrations are outlined in detail below:

Environmental Land-Use Analysis: The correlate sequence in geography with a concentration in land-use analysis is intended for students interested in Environmental Studies. It offers a succinct program in physical geography for students interested in science education, urban planning, or environmental policy. With the consent of the adviser, one unit of geology may be selected. The six courses taken for this concentration may be selected from the following recommended list:

Geography 105. Global Geography (1)

Geology 111. Earth Science and Environmental Justice (1)

Geography 115. Reading the Landscape (1)

Geology 151. Earth, Environment, and Humanity (1)

Geography 220. Cartography: Making Maps with GIS (1)

Geography 222. Geographic Research Methods (1)

Geography 225. GIS: Spatial Analysis (1)

Geography 250. Urban Geography (1)

Geography 255. Environmental Perception and Conservation History (1)

Geography 260. Conservation of Natural Resources (1)

Geography 265. Population, Environment, and Sustainable Development (1)

Geography 301. Senior Seminar (1)

Geography 355. Environment and Land-Use Planning (1)

Geography 370. Topics in Social and Urban Geography (1)

Society and Space: The correlate sequence in geography with a concentration in regional analysis is intended for students interested in area studies. It offers a succinct program in world regional geography for students interested in social studies education, international studies, or foreign language or area study. The six courses taken from this concentration may be selected from the following recommended list:

Geography 105. Global Geography (1)

Geography 220. Cartography: Making Maps with GIS (1)

Geography 222. Geographic Research Methods (1)

Geography 225. GIS Spatial Analysis (1)

Geography 230. Africa (1)

Geography 236. East Asia (1)

Geography 238. China (1)

Geography 240. Latin America (1)

Geography 242. Brazil (1)

Geography 245. American Landscapes (1)

Geography 247. The U.S.-Mexico Border (1)

Geography 265. Population, Environment, and Sustainable Development (1)

Geography 270. Political Geography (1)

Geography 272. Geographies of Mass Violence (1)

Geography 275. Economic Geography (1)

Geography 301. Senior Seminar (1)

Geography 340. Advanced Regional Studies (1)

Geography 370. Topics in Social and Urban Geography (1)

Related Links

I. Introductory

105a or b. Global Geography: Cultural, Political, and Economic Systems (1)

An introduction to human geography through the spatial analysis of cultural, political, and socioeconomic systems. Geographical perspectives on contemporary world issues are studied at the local, regional, and global scales. Geography’s major themes are introduced, including population growth and distribution, land use and settlement, cultural landscapes, natural resources, urbanization, economic development, and geopolitics, along with the analytical tools of mapping, cartographic communication, and spatial data analysis. The impacts of increasing global interdependence are examined in case studies of selected world regions. The department.

[111a. Earth Science and Environmental Justice] (1)

(Same as Geology 111)

115a. Reading the Landscape: Exploration, Travel, and Sense of Place (1)

Using the literature of “discovery,” encounter, travel, and regional description, the course examines a variety of primary resources, including journals, travelogues, maps, essays, photographs, regional novels, and field observation-and secondary resources as well. By studying such resources, students gain insight into dominant ways of seeing various peoples and places across the globe, and associated ways of life. The course also investigates major topics in world regional geography, with an emphasis on how geographers use varied sources of information to analyze spatial patterns and processes. Mr. Nevins.

Open to freshmen only: satisfies college requirements for Freshman Course.

Two 75-minute periods.

151b. Earth, Environment, and Humanity (1)

(Same as Geology 151)

II. Intermediate

The prerequisite for 200-level courses is 1 unit of introductory geography.

220a. Cartography: Making Maps with GIS (1)

(Same as Geology 220) Cartography, the science and art of map making, is integral to the geographer’s craft. This course uses GIS to make thematic maps and to acquire and present data, including data fitting students’ individual interests. In addition, we explore the culture, politics, and technology of historic cartography, and we examine techniques in using maps as rhetoric and as political tools. Throughout the course, we focus on issues of clear, efficient, and intentional communication through graphic presentation of data. Thus, the course integrates problems of graphic design and aesthetics with strategies of manipulating quantitative data. ArcGIS is used in labs for map production and data analysis. Ms. Cunningham.

Prerequisite: by permission, preference given to students concentrating in geology or geography and those pursuing an independent program with a member of the departmental staff serving as advisor.

Two 75-minute periods; one 2-hour laboratory.

221a. Soils and Terrestrial Ecosystems (1)

(Same as Geology 221)

[222b. Geographic Research Methods] (1)

A comprehensive overview of the most widely used research methods in collecting, analyzing, and presenting geographical data, including both qualitative and quantitative techniques. The course emphasizes hands-on experience in applying these research methods, and also critically examines their utilities and limitations. The topics include archival research, survey design, intensive interview, preliminary statistical analysis and an introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Satisfies college requirement for quantitative reasoning. Ms. Zhou.

Not offered in 2004/05.

225b. GIS: Spatial Analysis (1)

(Same as Geology 225) Geographic information systems (GIS) are increasingly important and widespread packages for manipulating and presenting spatial data. While this course uses ArcGIS, the same software as Cartography, the primary focus here is the analytical tools provided in the software, rather than issues of design and presentation. Spatial analysis involves a variety of techniques, including overlay, map algebra, hydrologic modelling, surface interpolation, and site selection. Issues of data collection through remote sensing and sampling are addressed. It is advised that students consider taking Cartography (Geography 220) before taking GIS, unless students have some experience with computer software and data. Ms. Cunningham.

Two 75-minute periods; two-hour laboratory.

[226a. Remote Sensing] ( 1/2)

(Same as Geology 226) Remote sensing is an increasingly important source of data for mapping and modeling earth systems. Surface features such as elevation, hydrography, soil moisture, greenness, snow cover, and urban growth are among the many factors that are monitored and measured by satellite‑borne sensors. A basic understanding of remotely sensed data is, therefore, of great value to students of geography, geology, environmental science, and other fields. This 6‑week course introduces the student to data collection from satellite sensors, the nature and structure of remotely sensed data, and methods of using and analyzing these data. The course uses a combination of lecture and laboratory to introduce and practice the methods of using remotely sensed data. Ms. Cunningham.

One 3‑hour period for six weeks of the semester.

Not offered in 2004/05.

231a. Geomorphology: Surface Processes and Evolution of Landforms (1)

(Same as Geology 231)

[236a. East Asia: People, Culture and Economic Development] (1)

(Same as Asian Studies 236) An examination of the common and contrasting experiences of East Asian countries since the late nineteenth century. It emphasizes the regional contexts in which various environmental, cultural, social, political and economic forces overlay and interact, constituting the unique path of each country. Major themes include Japanese industrial organization, economic development in newly industrialized countries, transformation of the Chinese economy after 1978, and regional integration of East Asia. Ms. Zhou.

Not offered in 2004/05.

[238b. China: Political-Economic Transformation] (1)

(Same as Asian Studies 238) China, one of the world’s oldest cultures, has nourished a large portion of the global population. The country thus provides invaluable wisdom and lessons concerning the human-environment relations learned through a long history and various modern transformations. The course examines China’s diverse physical environments, its cultural traditions, and human interactions with nature and society. The major part of the course, however, is devoted to its modern political economic transformation since 1949. We analyze China’s experiment with state socialism in the post-World War II era, and the dramatic changes that occurred in rural and urban China after, the reform policies since 1978. Controversial issues regarding China’s policies on human rights, minority regions, and China’s foreign relations come into focus at various points of the course. Ms. Zhou.

Not offered in 2004/05.

[240b. Latin America: Regional Development, Environment, and Urbanization] (1)

A study of developmental disparity, environmental change, and urbanization in shaping the regional geography of modern Latin America. Now overwhelmingly urbanized with some of the world’s largest mega‑cities, Latin America presents both the problems and promise of contemporary sustainable‑development programs by governments and non‑governmental organizations Geographical perspectives enrich our understanding of uneven patterns of regional development, environmental impact, and urban growth at various scales of analysis. Topics for study include the following: development theory, colonialism’s impact on native societies, race and gender relations, land tenure and rural modernization, problems of rapid urbanization, natural resource use, and contemporary development schemes in the Amazon Basin. Overall, the course examines the prospects for sustainable and socially equitable development in this increasingly important world region. Mr. Godfrey.

Alternate years: not offered in 2004/05.

[242b. Brazil: Development, Urbanization, and Environment in Portuguese America] (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 242 and Latin American Studies 242) Brazil, by far the largest and most populous country in Latin America, is a global leader among advanced emerging markets with an economy twice as large as Russia’s, almost as large as China’s, and twice India’s. After decades of military rule, Brazil now sustains a vibrant open society with a lively media and a participatory civil society in the midst of vast disparities of income and power. Contemporary democratic reforms have sought, with mixed success, to achieve more equitable and sustainable forms of development in this overwhelmingly urban country with some of the largest mega‑cities in the world. Even remote parts of Amazonia are now being urbanized at rapid rates. This course examines the legacies of colonial Brazil; race relations, Afro-Brazilian culture, and ethnic identities; issues of gender, youth, violence, and poverty; processes of urban-industrial growth; regionalism and national integration; environmental conservation and sustainability; the history and continuing controversies surrounding the occupation of Amazonia; and long‑run prospects for democracy and equitable development in Brazil. Mr. Godfrey.

Alternate years: not offered in 2004/05.

[245b. The American Landscape: From Wilderness to Walmart] (1)

The cultural landscape of the United States and Canada is examined through studies in historical, physical, regional, and social geography. The natural environment of North America, as perceived in early descriptions and as a formative basis for resource and economic development, is studied with relation to historical settlement patterns, agriculture, urbanization, and transportation. Regional diversity is shown both through physical habitat differentiation and cultural-ethnic patterns. Spaces of production and consumption, including the metropolis, suburbia and ex-urban, are examined with an emphasis on the sociospatial relations of race, class, gender and ethnicity. The department.

Not offered in 2004/05.

247a. The US-Mexico Border: Region, Place, and Process (1)

The United States-Mexico border region is the site of the only land boundary uniting and dividing the so-called First and Third worlds from one another. Barely older than 150 years, the border has become a highly significant bi-national region in terms of economic development, demographic growth, and ethno-cultural exchange. It has also evolved from an area of relatively low importance in the national imagination of the United States (and, to a lesser extent, of Mexico) to one of great significance. Yet, the making and the regulating of the international boundary and the territorial conquest and dispossession it involved have long been central to nation-state-making in both countries, as well as to the production of various social categories-especially race, ethnicity, citizenship, and nationality, but also class, gender, and sexual orientation. This course investigates these developments, while illustrating that the boundary has profound effects on people’s lives throughout North America as it embodies a set of processes and practices that help define, unite and divide people and places. Mr. Nevins.

Two 75-minute periods.

[250b. Urban Geography: Social Space and the Built Environment] (1)

(Same as Urban Studies 250) A geographical exploration of the modern metropolis, focusing on the socio-spatial development of city‑regions. Emphasis is given to how changes in geographies of production, consumption, transportation, residence, and recreation have repeatedly reshaped urban society. Specific topics for study include: the evolution of urban form and land‑use patterns; globalization, global cities, and the international urban hierarchy; urban renewal, redevelopment, and gentrification; cognitive geography and mental mapping; impacts of urban change on gender, race, ethnicity, and culture; suburbanization and issues of “sprawl”; urban design, the “New Urbanism,” public space, and community planning. As much as possible, specific case studies illustrate theories so as to provide empirically grounded urban analysis. Overall, the course endeavors to give students the analytical and theoretical tools to “read” the cityscape as an urban geographer. Mr. Godfrey.

Not offered in 2004/05.

[255b. Environmental Perception and Conservation History] (1)

An exploration of the complex interrelationships and interpretations of nature, society, space, and place. The history of the United States and international conservation and environmental movements, including legislation and NGOs, is examined through literary, philosophical, and scientific works on conservation, wilderness, preservation, ethics, and aesthetics. In addition, a focus on environmental issues and cultural landscapes of the Hudson River Valley includes field trips to representative sites throughout the bioregion. The department.

Not offered in 2004/05.

260a. Conservation of Natural Resources (1)

(Same as Geology 260) Natural resources are perennially at the center of debates on sustainability, planning, land development, and environmental policy. The ways we conceptualize and understand resources are as important to understanding these issues as their actual distributions. This course provides a geographic perspective on global ecology and resource management, using local examples to provide deeper experience with resource debates. The focus of the course this year is forest resources: biodiversity, forest health, timber resources, and forest policy, and the ways people have struggled to make a living in forested ecosystems. We discuss these issues on a global scale (tropical timber piracy, boreal forests and biodiversity), and we expIore them locally in the Adirondacks. This course requires that students spend October Break on a group trip to the Adirondacks. Students must be willing to spend long, cold days outside and to do some hiking (unless special permission is arranged with the instructor). Ms. Cunningham.

Two 75-minute periods.

265b. Population, Environment and Sustainable Development (1)

(Same as International Studies 265) This course examines major issues, myths, theoretical debates, and real‑life controversies regarding population change and the environment from a political‑ecology perspective. Political ecology studies the changing physical environment through the lens of political‑ economic institutions and social discourse. The first part of this course visits the theoretical debates on population and environment through demographic analysis and critical evaluation of healthcare and family planning policies. The latter half offers lessons on issues related to food scarcity and security, environmental and social movements in many developing regions such as China, India, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America.

[270. Political Geography: The Nation-State System and the Rise of American Nationalism and Patriotism] (1)

One of the most striking features of the modern world is the division of the global map into nominally sovereign nation-states. This course investigates the origins and evolution of this politico-geographical form of organization, along with its various manifestations including territorial boundaries, nationalism, and changing conceptions of space. At the same time, the course introduces students to the study of political geography-the inter-relationship between socially constructed space(s) and political practices, structures, identities, worldviews, processes, and outcomes. As such, it also treats matters such as geopolitics, imperialism, and state-making. In the second half of the course, students focus on the rise and development of nationalism and patriotism in the United States in the context of an increasingly globalized world. Mr. Nevins.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2004/05.

272a. Geographies of Mass Violence (1)

Violence has been an integral part of the making of landscapes, places, and the world political map. This course examines theories of violence, explanations of why it happens where it does, and how mass violence has come to shape local, national, and international geographies. In doing so, it analyzes how violence becomes embedded in geographical space and informs social relations. The course draws upon various case studies, including incidents of mass violence in Rwanda, Indonesia, East Timor, Guatemala, and the United States. Mr. Nevins.

Two 75-minute periods.

[275b. Economic Geography: Globalization and Regional Development] (1)

The spatial patterns and dynamics of the world economy are examined in diverse industrial and regional settings. The focus is on the spatial distribution of economic activities, the use of resources, and development of regional economies. Topics may include the global shift of manufacturing activities, the spatial organization of post-Fordist production, the spread and impact of agribusiness, globalization of services, foreign direct investment and multi-national corporations, and the interdependency between developed and developing economies. Ms. Zhou.

Alternate years: offered in 2004/05.

Not offered in 2004/05.

290a or b. Field Work ( 1/2 or 1)

The department.

Reading Courses

[297.01a or b. Geography in the Elementary and Secondary School Curriculum] ( 1/2)

An introduction to the study of geography in both elementary and secondary schools as part of the social studies curriculum, stressing world regional differentiation, and in the earth sciences curriculum with a focus on the field of environmental education. The department.

Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

Not offered in 2004/05.

[297.02a or b. Geography, Ecology, Culture] ( 1/2)

A geographic perspective on the environment and man, examining primitive and peasant subsistence patterns, their processes of resource utilization, and the resulting modification of the landscape. The department.

Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

Not offered in 2004/05.

298a or b. Independent Work ( 1/2 or 1)

Open to qualified students in other disciplines who wish to pursue related inde-pendent work in geography. The department.

III. Advanced

300b. Senior Thesis (1)

The department.

301a. Senior Seminar: Issues in Geographic Theory and Method (1)

A review of the theory, method, and practice of geographical inquiry. The seminar traces the history of geographic thought from early episodes of global exploration to modern scientific transformations. The works and biographies of major contemporary theorists are critically examined in terms of the changing philosophies of geographic research. Both qualitative and quantitative approaches are discussed, along with scientific, humanist, radical, feminist, and other critiques in human geography. Overall, alternative conceptions of geography are related to the evolution of society and the dominant intellectual currents of the day. The student is left to choose which approaches best suits his or her own research. The seminar culminates in the presentation of student research proposals. Mr. Godfrey.

One 2-hour period.

340a. Advanced Regional Studies (1)

This seminar examines a selected world region, regions, or global regional interactions. Topics may vary from year to year. Previous seminar themes include: culture clash in Latin America; Central Asia in transition; Art, Ethnicity, and Environment in the American Southwest; and the Asian diaspora. May be repeated for credit if the region or topic has changed.

Topic for 2004/05: Mega-Cities of Latin America: Contested Heritage, Public Space, and Environment. With many of the world’s largest metropolises, Latin American mega-cities face severe socioeconomic, political, ecological, and other challenges. This seminar examines contemporary debates over planning, preservation, and sustainability in the increasingly sprawling urban environments of the region. We study several emerging research themes linking the past, present, and future of Latin American cities: the definition and development of heritage sites in central areas; popular access and policing of plazas, streets, and other public spaces; and efforts to conserve deteriorating urban environments. We ask to what degree such programs achieve ideals of participatory citizenship and social equity. Special attention is given to case studies of Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, and selected other metropolises. Students also have the opportunity to apply seminar materials to research on a Latin American metropolis of their choice. Mr. Godfrey.

One 3-hour period.

[341a. Oil] (1)

(Same as Geology 341 and Environmental Studies 341)

[350a. New York City as a Social Laboratory] (1)

(Same as Urban Studies 350 and Sociology 350) In a classic essay on urban studies, sociologist Robert Park once called the city “a laboratory or clinic in which human nature and social processes may be conveniently and profitably studied.” The scale, dynamism, and complexity of New York City make it a social laboratory without equal. This seminar provides a multidisciplinary inquiry into New York City as a case study in selected urban issues. Classroom meetings are combined with the field-based investigations that are a hallmark of Urban Studies. Site visits in New York City allow meetings with scholars, officials, developers, community leaders and others actively involved in urban affairs.

Prerequisite. Geography 250 or permission of instructor.

One 3‑hour session; field trips to New York City.

Alternate years: not offered in 2004/05.

355b. Environment and Land Use Planning (1)

(Same as Geology 355 and Environmental Studies 355) This seminar focuses on land-use issues such as open-space planning, conservation, agriculture, and social effects of urban planning policies. The topic of the course this year is farmland preservation. We examine the economics, demographics, landscape values, and social, environmental, and planning concerns surrounding both the disappearance of farmland in the mid-Hudson Valley and ongoing efforts to slow the loss of working farms in the area. Ms. Cunningham.

Prerequisite: one 200-level course in Geography, Geology, or Environmental Studies.

One 3-hour period.

[360b. Asian Diasporas] (1)

Focusing on Asian diasporas, this course engages the current surge of interest in diaspora studies from both anthropological and geographical perspectives. Attention is given to issues of colonial and post-colonial struggles, formation and transformation of ethnic identities, roles of middlemen minorities, and nationalism and transnationalism of Asian diasporas. The principal cases are drawn from East Asian and South Asian communities in Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, and the U.S. Ms. Kaplan, Ms. Zhou.

One 2-hour period.

Alternate years: not offered in 2004/05.

370b. Topics in Human Geography (1)

This seminar focuses on advanced debates in the socio- spatial organization of the modern world. The specific topic of inquiry varies from year to year. Students may repeat the course for credit if the topic changes. Previous seminar themes include the urban-industrial transition, the urban frontier, urban poverty, cities of the Americas, segregation in the city, and global migration.

Topic for 2004/05: Terrorism and Imperialism and the Making of the Modern World. What is terrorism and what is its relationship to empire? Is imperialism (in a benign manner carried out by the United States and its powerful allies) the proper response to terrorism? Does imperialism give rise to terrorism? Or, is imperialism a more systematic form of violence, one that brings about far more human suffering, than terrorism? How have terrorism and imperialism influenced global geography historically, as well as in the post-Cold War and post- 9-11 eras? This seminar addresses these questions by investigating debates surrounding what is conventionally defined as terrorism, with a particular focus on the Middle East. The course also examines the growing literature that perceives the United States as an imperialist power of various types-from beneficent to malignant-and sometimes champions an American empire for diverse reasons. In doing so, the seminar analyzes the exercise of American power in various sites across the globe. Mr. Nevins.

One 2-hour period.

[386a. Senior Seminar] (1)

(Same as Urban Studies 386a) This course concentrates on advanced debates in Urban Studies and is designed to encourage students to produce research/grant proposals for projects in Urban Studies. Topics vary according to instructor. This seminar is required of all Urban Studies majors.

Not offered in 2004/05.

399a or b. Senior Independent Work ( 1/2 or 1)

The department.