Faculty: see Geology-Geography

Requirements for Concentration: 11 units, including an introductory course (Earth Science and Society 100, Geography 102, or Geography 104); a geographic methods course (Geography 220, 222, or 224); a 300-level geography seminar; an optional senior thesis (Geography 300), or another 300-level geography seminar; and the Senior Seminar (Geography 302). 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, environmental studies, geology, international studies, or urban studies, if the courses are clearly related to the student’s focus in geography. After declaration of the major, no required courses may be taken NRO.

Senior-Year Requirement: Geography 300 (or another 300-level course), 302. 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 102 Global Geography (1)

Geography 104 Reading the Landscape (1)

Geology 111 Earth Science and Environmental Justice (1)

Geology 151 Earth, Environment, and Humanity (1)

Geography 220 Cartography: Making Maps with GIS (1)

Geography 222 Geographic Research Methods (1)

Geography 224 GIS: Spatial Analysis (1)

Geography 250 Urban Geography (1)

Geography 256 Environmental Perception and Conservation History (1)

Geography 260 Conservation of Natural Resources (1)

Geography 266 Population, Environment, and Sustainable Development (1)

Geography 302 Senior Seminar (1)

Geography 356 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 102 Global Geography (1)

Geography 220 Cartography: Making Maps with GIS (1)

Geography 222 Geographic Research Methods (1)

Geography 224 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 246 American Landscapes (1)

Geography 248 The U.S.-Mexico Border (1)

Geography 266 Population, Environment, and Sustainable Development (1)

Geography 270 Political Geography (1)

Geography 272 Geographies of Mass Violence (1)

Geography 276 Economic Geography (1)

Geography 302 Senior Seminar (1)

Geography 340 Advanced Urban and Regional Studies (1)

Geography 370 Topics in Human Geography (1)

Related Links

I. Introductory

100a and b. Earth Resource Challenges (1)

(Same as Earth Science and Society 100 and Geology 100)

102a and b. Global Geography: Place-Making and the Modern World (1)

Places, as geographical locations and sites of significance, are a fundamental part of the human experience. This introduction to human geography examines how people make places through social practices that ascribe meanings to environments at scales ranging from the local to the global. Geographical case studies illustrate how human beings shape cultural landscapes and create spatial divisions on the earth’s surface that in turn reflect and reproduce power relations, ideologies, socioeconomic differences, and resource distributions. Topics for study may include mapping and cartographic communication, population dynamics and spatial distributions, land-use and settlement patterns, urbanization and global cities, global political divisions, regional economic development, and cultural landscapes from the Hudson Valley and around the world. The department.

Two 75-minute periods.

104a. 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. Cunningham.

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

Two 75-minute periods.

110b. Asian Studies Study Trip (1)

(Same as Asian Studies 110)

111a. Earth Science and Environmental Justice (1)

(Same as Geology 111)

151a. 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: one 100-level geography or geology course, or instructor’s permission.

Satisfies college requirements for quantitiative reasoning.

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

[221a. Soils and Terrestrial Ecosystems] (1)

(Same as Geology 221)

Not offered in 2005/06.

224b. GIS: Spatial Analysis (1)

(Same as Geology 224) 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 2005/06.

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

(Same as Geology 231)

Not offered in 2005/06.

[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 2005/06.

[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 2005/06.

240b. Latin America: Regional Development, Environment, and (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. Ms. Martin.

Two 75-minute periods.

[246. 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 2005/06.

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

(Same as Latin American and Latino/a Studies 248) 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 2005/06.

250b. Urban Geography: Built Environment, Social Space, and (1)


(Same as Urban Studies 250) Focusing on the uneven geographical development of metropolitan regions in the United States, this course investigates the socio-spatial processes shaping urban built environments, social areas, and patterns of sustainability. Specific topics for study include the historical geography of urban location, city form, and land-use patterns; the contemporary restructuring of America’s global cities; problems of suburban sprawl, edge cities, and growth management; urban renewal, redevelopment, and gentrification; spatialities of gender, race, ethnicity, and culture; urban design, cognitive geography, and public space; and movements for the “New Urbanism” and livable cities. Case studies provide theoretical tools to “read” the urban landscape as an urban geographer. Mr. Godfrey.

Two 75-minute sessions.

[256b. 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 2005/06.

[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.

Not offered in 2005/06.

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

(Same as International Studies 266) 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. Ms. Martin.

Two 75-minute periods.

[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 2005/06.

[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.

Not offered in 2005/06.

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

(Same as International Studies 276) 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 2005/06.

290a or b. Field Work (1⁄2 or 1)

The department.

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.

Reading Courses

300b. Senior Thesis (1)

The department.

302a. 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.

340b. Advanced Urban and Regional Studies (1)

(Same as Latin American and Latino/a Studies 340 and Urban Studies 340) This seminar examines selected urban and regional issues at various geographical scales, ranging from the local to the global. Topics may change from year to year, in which case the seminar can be repeated for credit. Previous seminar topics include culture clash in Latin America; Central Asia in transition; Art, Ethnicity, and Environment in the American Southwest; the Asian diaspora; and Mega-Cities of Latin America.

Topic for 2005/06: Preserving Whose City? Heritage Sites, Historic Districts, and Public Space. This seminar examines urban heritage preservation as an increasingly important source of cultural identity, tourist development, and political symbolism in our globalized world. People generally agree that historic landmarks should be preserved for future generations, but conflicts occur when different classes, ethnic and racial groups, nationalities, and global interests lay claim to heritage sites. Controversies also arise as preserved historic districts gentrify and displace less affluent residents and merchants. For example, street vendors and others of the informal sector commonly face eviction as authorities renovate deteriorated heritage sites. We consider both the theory and the practice of how urban heritages emerge through complex interactions at local, regional, national, and global scales. After considering the cases of such historic cities as Athens, Istanbul, Berlin, New York, San Francisco, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador da Bahia, and Havana, students carry out research in heritage sites of their own choosing. Mr. Godfrey.

One three-hour period.

[341a. Oil] (1)

(Same as Geology 341 and Environmental Studies 341)

[356b. Environment and Land Use Planning] (1)

(Same as Geology 356 and Environmental Studies 356) 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.

Not offered in 2005/06.

370a. Topics in Human Geography (1)

(Same as Urban Studies 370) 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 2005/06: Ethnic Geography of America. Are today’s immigrants different from the previous generations? Is the assimilation model no longer workable or desirable? Do the locations of immigrants affect their social mobility? How does globalization affect contemporary immigrants? These are the questions this seminar addresses. The seminar is a multidisciplinary discussion of the changing theoretical discourses on studying ethnic groups in America from the perspectives of assimilationism to multiculturalism and transnationalism. We contrast the historical experiences of the European immigrants and the experiences of contemporary Hispanic and Asian populations in different areas of the U.S., particularly in New York and Los Angeles. The topics include immigrant social mobility, political organization, cultural assimilation, changes in gender relations, and transnational linkages. Ms. Zhou.

One 2-hour period.

380b. Gender, Globalization and Democratization (1)

Globalization and democratization are two contemporary processes that have had significant impact on societies across the globe. However, as recent debates have highlighted, such impacts are both ambiguous and socially and spatially uneven. In order to confront such ambiguity, this course examines the processes of globalization and democratization from the specific perspective of gender. This course draws on feminist theory as an analytical tool to examine women’s experiences with contemporary global political and economic circumstances. Topics range from women’s work in the global economy, to women’s roles in formal and informal politics, to the global feminist and human rights movement. Ms. Martin.

One 3-hour period.

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

The department.

III. Advanced