Geography

Requirements for Concentration: 11 units, including an introductory course (Earth Science and Society 100 or Geography 102); a geographic methods course (Geography 220, 224, or 230); the Senior Seminar (Geography 304); and another 300-level geography seminar. With the approval of the major adviser, two of the required 11 units may be taken at the 200- and 300-levels in cognate fields—such as anthropology, earth science, environmental studies, international studies, or urban studies, if the courses relate to the student’s focus in geography. After declaration of the major, no required courses may be taken NRO.

Senior-Year Requirement: An optional senior thesis (Geography 300-301 or 302) or another 300-level geography course; and 304 (Senior Seminar). Majors must write a senior thesis to be considered for departmental honors.

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

The following core courses are highly recommended as they represent the key areas of geographical theories: Geography 250, Urban Geography: Built Environment, Social Space and Sustainability; Geography 266, Population, Environment and Sustainable Development; Geography 276, Economic Geography: Spaces of Global Capitalism; Geography 260, Conservation of Natural Resources.

Students interested in focusing their geography program in areas such as social justice, political ecology, land-use planning, sustainable development, politcial economies of globalization, or historic preservation should see faculty in the department to discuss 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 earth science may be selected. The six courses taken for this concentration may be selected from the following recommended list:

  • Geography 100 Earth Resource Challenges (1)
  • Geography 102 Global Geography (1)
  • Earth Science 111 Earth Science and Environmental Justice (1)
  • Earth Science 151 Earth, Environment, and Humanity (1)
  • Geography 220 Cartography: Making Maps with GIS (1)
  • Geography 224 GIS: Spatial Analysis (1)
  • Geography 230 Geographic Research Methods (1)
  • Geography 250 Urban Geography: Built Environment, Social Space, and Sustainability (1)
  • Geography 258 Sustainable Landscapes: Bridging Place and Environment (1)
  • Geography 260 Conservation of Natural Resources (1)
  • Geography 266 Population, Environment, and Sustainable Development (1)
  • Geography 304 Senior Seminar: Issues in Geographic Theory and Method (1)
  • Geography 356 Environment and Land-Use Planning (1)
  • Geography 372 Topics in Human 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 100 Earth Resource Challenges (1)
  • Geography 102 Global Geography (1)
  • Geography 220 Cartography: Making Maps with GIS (1)
  • Geography 224 GIS Spatial Analysis (1)
  • Geography 230 Geographic Research Methods (1)
  • Geography 236 The Making of Modern East Asia (1)
  • Geography 238 China and the World (1)
  • Geography 242 Brazil: Society, Culture, and Environment in Portuguese America (1)
  • Geography 248 The U.S.-Mexico Border: Region, Place, and Process (1)
  • Geography 250 Urban Geography: Built Environment, Social Space, and Sustainability (1)
  • Geography 266 Population, Environment, and Sustainable Development (1)
  • Geography 272 Geographies of Mass Violence (1)
  • Geography 276 Economic Geography: Spaces of Global Capitalism (1)
  • Geography 304 Senior Seminar: Issues in Geographic Theory and Method (1)
  • Geography 340 Advanced Urban and Regional Studies (1)
  • Geography 372 Topics in Human Geography (1)

I. Introductory

100b. Earth Resource Challenges:Food and Farming (1)

(Same as Earth Science and Society 100b., Earth Science 100b. and Environmental Studies 100b.) Ms. Cunningham.

102. a and b. Global Geography: People, Places, and Regions (1)

Places and regions are fundamental parts of the human experience. From our hometowns to the Vassar campus, the United States, and the world beyond, we all inherit but then actively reproduce our geographies through the ways in which we lead our lives—by our social practices and spatial movements, and by the meanings we ascribe to people, places, and regions. In this manner, people shape their cultural landscapes and create the spatial divisions that represent global power relations, ideologies, socioeconomic differences, and the uneven distribution of resources. In this course we study the making of the modern world at different scales, ranging from the local to the global—through case studies drawn from the Hudson Valley and around the world—with an emphasis on the ways people, places, and regions relate to socio-economic inequalities. In addition to learning about specific places and regions, we focus on major themes and debates in geography, including mapping and cartographic communication, culture and landscape modification, population and sustainable development, agriculture and urbanization, and political divisions of the globe. The department.

Two 75-minute periods.

111. a and b. Earth Science and Environmental Justice (1)

(Same as Earth Science 111)

Not offered in 2011/12.

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

(Same as Earth Science 151a). Ms. Schneiderman.

181a. Meteorology (1)

(Same as Earth Science 181a.). Mr. McAdoo.

II. Intermediate

218a. Global Asia. (1)

(Same as Asian Studies 218a). Ms. Zhou.

Not offered in 2011/12.

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

(Same as Earth Science 220a) 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: one 100-level geography or earth science course, or instructor's permission.

Satisfies college requirements for quantitative reasoning.

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

Not offered in 2011/12.

221a. Soils and Sustainable Agriculture (1)

(Same as Earth Science 221a.). Mr. Walker.

224b. GIS: Spatial Analysis (1)

(Same as Earth Science 224b) 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 modeling, 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 Earth Science 226a) 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, earth science, 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 2011/12.

230a. Geographic Research Methods (1)

How do we develop clear research questions, and how do we know when we have the answer? This course examines different methods for asking and answering questions about the world, which are essential skills in geography and other disciplines. Topics include formulation of a research question or hypothesis, research design, and data collection and analysis. We examine major research and methodological papers in the discipline, design an empirical research project, and carry out basic data analysis. We review qualitative approaches, interviewing methods, mapping, and quantitative methods (data gathering, descriptive statistics, measures of spatial distribution, elementary probability theory, simple statistical tests) that help us evaluate patterns in our observations. Students who are considering writing a thesis or conducting other independent research and writing are encouraged to take this course. Ms. Zhou.

Two 75-minute periods.

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

(Same as Earth Science 231a.).

Not offered in 2011/12.

235b. Water (1)

(Same as Earth Science 235)

Sixty to 70% of Dutchess County residents depend on groundwater supplies to meet their daily needs. Over the past 15 years, industrial pollution and road salt have contaminated many of these supplies, spawning several legal actions and requiring costly filtration systems and/or in situ treatment of contaminated groundwater. Ensuring adequate and safe supplies for humans and ecosystems requires extensive knowledge of the hydrologic cycle and of how contaminants may be introduced into water resources. We begin by studying precipitation and evaporation, making use of Vassar's meteorological station housed at the farm field station. We also explore how rainfall and snowmelt infiltrate into soils and bedrock to become part of the groundwater system and discuss the concept of well-head protection, which seeks to protect groundwater recharge areas from development. Using Vassar's groundwater teaching well at the field station we perform a number of experiments to assess aquifer properties such as hydraulic conductivity, water chemistry, and presence of microbial contaminants. Comfort with basic algebra and trigonometry is expected. Ms. Menking.

Two 75-minute periods and one 4-hour laboratory.

Prerequisite: ESCI 151.

Not offered in 2011/12.

236a. The Making of Modern East Asia (1)

(Same as Asian Studies 236a) East Asia--the homeland of the oldest continuous civilization of the world--is now the most dynamic center in the world economy and an emerging power in global politics. Central to the global expansion of trade, production, and cultural exchange through the span of several millenniums, the East Asian region provides a critical lens for us to understand the origin, transformation and future development of the global system. This course examines the common and contrasting experiences of East Asian countries as each struggled to come to terms with the western dominated expansion of global capitalism and the modernization process. The course incorporates significant amounts of visual imagery such as traditional painting, contemporary film, and literature. Professors from art history, film, Chinese and Japanese literature and sociology will give guest lectures in the course, on special topics such as East Asian art, Japanese war literature, post war American military hegemony, and vampire films in Southeast Asia. Together, they illustrate the diverse and complex struggles of different parts of East Asia to construct their own modernities. Ms. Zhou.

Prerequisite: at least one 100-level course in geography or Asian Studies.

Two 75-minute periods.

238a. China: National Identity and Global Impact (1)

(Same as Asian Studies 238a. and International Studies 238a.) As recently as the 1980s, China was widely regarded as an exotic, mysterious and closed continent with marginal influence on world affairs. Today, it is a region deeply tied to every consumer and every global policy maker. China is at the center of an intellectual attempt to recast global history away from a long-held Eurocentric model. It also is a vital region in on-going global efforts to combat poverty, injustice, climate change, and achieve peace, economic stability and sustainable development. This course is dedicated to introducing China both as a vast and complex territory with a distinct cultural history, and as a constantly changing place with sustained but varied interactions with the rest of the world. The course critically examines the role of geographical knowledge in shaping our international perspectives. It introduces the history and geography of China, discusses the formation of Chinese national identity and examines its relationships with its external and internal "others." We also engage with the current debates on economic changes, environmental crises, and the international relations of China. Ms. Zhou.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2011/12.

242b. Brazil: Society, Culture, and Environment in Portuguese America (1)

(Same as Latin American and Latino/a Studies 242b and Africana Studies 242b) Brazil, long Latin America's largest and most populous country, has become an industrial and agricultural powerhouse with increasing political-economic clout in global affairs. This course examines Brazil's contemporary evolution in light of the country's historical geography, the distinctive cultural and environmental features of Portuguese America, and the political-economic linkages with the outside world. Specific topics for study include: 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; continuing controversies surrounding the occupation of Amazonia; and long-run prospects for democracy and equitable development in Brazil. Mr. Godfrey.

Two 75-minute periods.

248b. The US-Mexico Border: Region, Place, and Process (1)

(Same as Latin American and Latino/a Studies 248b) 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.

Not offered in 2011/12.

250b.Urban Space/Place/Environment (1)

(Same as Urban Studies 250b) Now that most of the global population lives in urban areas, the unprecedented size and interdependence of megacities pose pressing socioeconomic, political, and environmental problems. This course focuses on the making of urban spaces, places, and environments at a variety of geographical scales (local, regional, and global). Major course themes include: urbanization and global cities; public space and urban life; transit-oriented development; urban political ecology and sustainability; spatial justice and social equity; and citizen movements for livable cities. Mr. Godfrey.

Two 75-minute sessions.

254b. Environmental Sciences in the Field (1)

(Same as Biology 254b. and Earth Science 254b. and Environmental Science 254b.) The environment consists of complex and often elegant interactions between various constituents so that an interdisciplinary approach is required to understand how human interactions may affect it. In this course, we study a variety of aspects of a specific environment by considering how biological, chemical, geological, and human factors interact. We observe these interactions first hand during a weeklong field trip. Some of the questions we may consider are: How does a coral polyp create an environment that not only suits its particular species, but also helps regulate the global climate? How has human development and associated water demands in the desert Southwest changed the landscape, fire ecology, and even estuary and fisheries' health as far away as the Gulf of California? How have a variety of species (humans included) managed to survive on an island with the harsh environment of the exposed mid-ocean ridge of Iceland? The course is offered every other year, and topics vary with expertise of the faculty teaching the course.

By special permission.

Topic for 2011/12: Louisiana's Coastal Processes and Environmental Quality. Coastal Louisiana's dynamic environment has endured repeated disturbances, such as hurricanes, oil and gas drilling, contamination from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and other spills, and channelization of the Mississippi River. We examine the processes that shape this fragile coastline and its potential for recovery. The fieldtrip may include visits to Mississippi River levees and dams, coastal wetlands, barrier islands, and petrochemical refineries. Ms. Cunningham.

256b.Geographies of Food and Farming (1)

Farming and food production connect us to the landscapes in which we live, and they shape the geographies of our communities. Increasingly, farming and food also connect us to processes of globalization. The world produces more food than ever before, yet factors such as centralization of production and competition from biofuels lead to food riots in developing regions and continuing losses of rainforests from Brazil to Indonesia. One key strategy for understanding these connections is to examine the biogeographic patterns that shape food production. In this course, we focus first on the physical environmental factors (including water resources, climate patterns, and biodiversity) that characterize agricultural regions of North America. As part of this discussion, we consider ethical, political, and cultural aspects of food production. We then use these frameworks to examine global production and exchanges of food. We use case studies, such as land conversion in Brazil and Indonesia, to understand prominent debates about food and farming today. Ms. Cunningham.

Not offered in 2011/12.

258b. Sustainable Landscapes: Bridging Place and Environment(1)

(Same as Urban Studies 258) Geographers have long understood the relationship of aesthetic landscapes and place to include concepts of identity, control, and territory. Increasingly we consider landscape aesthetics to involve environmental quality as well. How do these contrasting sets of priorities meet in the process of landscape design and analysis? In this course we begin by examining regional and local histories of landscape design and their relationship to concepts of place, territory, and identity. We then consider landscape ecological approaches to marrying aesthetic and environmental priorities in landscapes. We investigate local issues such as watershed quality, native plantings, and runoff management in order to consider creative ways to bridge these once-contrary approaches to understanding the landscapes we occupy. We focus on projects on topics related to the ongoing Vassar campus landscape study. Ms. Cunningham.

Not offered in 2011/12.

260a. Conservation of Natural Resources (1)

(Same as Earth Science 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 explore 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.

Students wishing to register under Earth Science must have had at least one previous earth science course.

Not offered in 2011/12.

266a. Population, Environment, and Sustainable Development (1)

Same as International Studies 266ba) Concerns about human population are integral to debates about matters of political stability, socio-economic equity, ecological sustainability, and human wellbeing. This course engages these debates via an examination of environmental change, power and inequality, and technology and development. Case studies include: water supplies, fishing and agriculture and the production of foodstuffs. Being a geography course, it highlights human-“nature” relations, spatial distribution and difference, and the dynamic connections between places and regions. Mr. Nevins

Two 75-minute periods.

270a. Gender and Social Space (1)

(Same as Urban Studies 270a. and Women's Studies 270a.). Ms. Brawley.

272b. 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.

276b. Economic Geography: Spaces of Global Capitalism (1)

(Same as International Studies 276b) 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.

Two 75-minute periods.

280b. Sexuality and Space (1)

Modern cities are generally the products of normative expectations and imaginations. As such they leave little room for individuals and groups whose identities fall outside of mainstream social constructs. At the same time, the complexity and anonymity of urban experiences can create space for the enactment of alternative identities and practices. This course explores how sexual identity both shapes and is shaped by contemporary urban form and urban life. Through readings in social history, feminist and queer theory, geography and urban studies, we examine the role space, place and the built environment play in the production, maintenance and contestation of sexual identity and understanding.

Two 75-minute periods.

282b. US-Mexico Border: Nation, God, & Human Rights in AZ-Sonora (1)

(Same as American Culture 282b. and Latin American and Latino/a Studies 282b.). Mr. Nevins.

290a or b. Field Work (1/2 or 1)

The department.

297a or b. Readings in Geography (1/2)

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

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

III. Advanced

300a. Senior Thesis (1/2)

A 1-unit thesis starting in the fall semester, with 1/2 unit graded provisionally in the fall and 1/2 unit graded in the spring. The final grade, awarded in the spring, shall replace the provisional grade in the fall. The department.

Year long course 300-301.

301b. Senior Thesis (1/2)

A 1-unit thesis starting in the fall semester, with 1/2 unit graded provisionally in the fall and 1/2 unit graded in the spring. The final grade, awarded in the spring, shall replace the provisional grade in the fall. The department.

Year long course 300-301.

302a or b. Senior Thesis (1)

Students may elect a 1-semester, 1-unit thesis only in exceptional circumstances. Usually, students adopt 300-301. The department.

304a. 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.

340. a and b. Advanced Urban and Regional Studies (1)

(Sames as Urban Studies 340) Previous topics include:Ethnic Geography and Transnationalism and World Cities: Globalization, Segregation, and Defensive Urbanism.

One 3-hour meeting.

Not offered in 2011/12.

341a. Oil (1)

(Same as Earth Science 341a. and Environmental Studies 341a.) Mr. McAdoo.

356b. Environment and Land Use Planning (1)

(Same as Urban Studies 356b and Environmental Studies 356b) This seminar focuses on land-use issues such as open-space planning, urban design, transportation planning, and social effects of urban planning policies. The topic of the course this year is transportation and land use planning. We examine the economics, demographics, mobility and access issues, as well as the social, environmental, and planning concerns surrounding transportation planning in the mid-Hudson Valley, with emphasis on the history of the "arterial" and potential opportunities for re-envisioning this important transportation resource within the City. Ms. Blickstein.

Prerequisite: One 200-level course in Geography, Urban Studies or Environmental Studies.

One 3-hour period.

372. a and b. 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, global migration, and reading globalization.

Topic for 2011/2012a: Political Ecology. The relationship between environmental change and the livelihoods of peoples across the planet has long been a central concern of geographers. Political ecology is a particular, albeit multifaceted, approach to such matters. Broadly concerned with the dialectical ties between nature and society, it centers its analysis on social relations, power and difference; geographic unevenness; positionality, and issues of social justice. Course readings explore myriad themes that political ecologists focus on: resource exploitation, conflict and violence, race and gender, governmentality, rural development, and urban and industrial phenomena. In engaging such themes, the course interrogates various theoretical approaches ranging from actor network theory, to cultural studies, to Marxism and post-coloniality. Mr. Nevins.

Topic for 2011/2012b:Capital Imperatives: Spaces in Global Political Economies.Globalization is at the center of intellectual and public debates of our time. While there are passionately held positions on all sides of the debates, what often gets lost are the lineages of the discourse and the diverse geographical manifestations of what is frequently mistakenly construed as an homogenous process. This seminar provides an opportunity to do advanced readings on the roots and trajectories of globalization discourses from selected classics and influential writings. In particular, we explore the role of space and spatial dynamics in the formation and uneven development of the global political economic system. The following topics are discussed: the origins and evolution of global capitalism, the development of American economic hegemony, and challenges to it, the transformation in Latin America and East Asia and restructuring of the global system. Ms. Zhou.

One three-hour period.

Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor required.

384a. Community GIS (1)

Geographers contribute to vitality and equity in their communities by examining the spatial dynamics of socioeconomic and environmental problems. Strategies used to interrogate these problems include mapping and geographic information systems (GIS), or computer-aided mapping and spatial analysis. For example, community access to transportation and housing, differential access to food or health care, or distributions of social services are often best understood in terms of mapped patterns. These patterns both reflect and influence the social dynamics of a community. In addition to affecting quality of life, these issues give insights into the ways we decide as a society to allocate resources. In this course we take on subjects of concern in the local area and use mapping and spatial data to examine them. Projects may involve work with groups in the Poughkeepsie area as well as library research, readings, some GIS work. Course activities and projects vary according to subjects studied. Because this course focuses on collaborative research projects, rather than on the technology, GIS and cartography are useful but not prerequisite courses. The department.

One 3-hour period.

Not offered in 2011/12.

387a. Risk and Geohazards (1)

(Same as Earth Science and Environmental Studies 387a.)

The world is becoming an increasingly risky place. Every year, natural hazards affect more and more people, and these people are incurring increasingly expensive losses. This course explores the nature of risk associated with geophysical phenomena. Are there more hazardous events now than there have been in the past? Are these events somehow more energetic? Or is it that increasing populations with increasingly disparate incomes are being exposed to these hazards? What physical, economic, political and social tools can be employed to reduce this geophysical risk? We draw on examples from recent disasters, both rapid onset (earthquakes, tsunamis, cyclones), and slow onset (climate change, famine) to examine the complex and interlinked vulnerabilities of the coupled human-environment system. Mr. McAdoo.

One 4-hour meeting.

Prerequisites: Earth Science 121, 151, or 161.

Not offered in 2011/12

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

The department.