Course Description

This course will investigate the vital link between people and places through a series of comparative case studies of critical issues facing our world. Students will discuss a broad range of these global issues thematically, including the impact of commerce, communication, culture, and our relationship to the environment. At the end, students will learn to add a spatial dimension to their analysis of major social and cultural phenomena affecting our world, both in the past and today.


Course Outcomes

At the end of the course, students should be able to:


1. Critical Reading: Analyze, interpret, and synthesize diverse sources of information.

2. Critical Thinking: Consider problems in a clear, reasoned manner that is informed by evidence and recognizes bias.

3. Communication: Engage in intellectual debate and present ideas and arguments in a clear, logical manner in writing and speech.

4. Regions: Understand worldviews, experiences, and power structures from a variety of societies, cultures, and time periods.

5. Contexts: Analyze the impact of regional or global economic, political, geographic, and historical developments on specific regions.

6. Theory: Evaluate theoretical approaches and research methods from various social science disciplines.

Students will gain an appreciation of geography in the social sciences from reading a series of comparative case studies from around the world. Their understanding of these case studies will be tested through a mid-term and final exam asking for short responses to geographic questions. Students will be asked to assess an argument in their first essay response (500 words). In the next essay response, they will have to explicitly compare the similarities and differences in two or more case studies (500 words). In a final essay response, the students will have to adapt their reasoning to a large geographical or social question addressed in the advanced readings (2000 words). The grade for the final essay is broken down into three stages: outline, draft, and final essay. Students will be judged on their ability to collect relevant data, organize their research findings, and support an argument with evidence. 10% of a student's grade is based on map quizzes.