GEOG-105 World Regional Geography
This course surveys the major geographic regions of the world in terms of environmental features and resource distributions, economic mainstays, population characteristics, cultural processes, social relationships, and patterns of urbanization and industrial growth. In addition to these topical foci, we use various sub-fields of geography to animate different regions. This approach provides a sense of depth while we also pursue a breadth of knowledge about the world.
GEOG-107 Introduction to the Physical Environment
A systematic introduction to the ecological processes operating on the surface of the earth, their spatial variation and their contribution to the spatial patterning of life on earth. The course stresses interactions among the earth's energy balance, weather, ecological resources and human impacts on environmental systems.
GEOG-202 Cities in a Global Context
Cities are dynamic landscapes informed by myriad economic, political, social, environmental, and cultural processes. This course delves into the forces of urbanization and examines how cities have been investigated, built, experienced, and lived in throughout history and around the globe. By accenting a geographic perspective and drawing upon an array of theoretical ideas and empirical examples, this class grapples with the fascinating complexities of the urban context.
GEOG-204 Human Dimensions of Environmental Change
Using regional case studies from across the world, this course examines some of the causes and consequences of human-induced environmental changes. The course explores the fundamental relationships and processes involved in human-environmental interactions; the various impacts that humans have had over time upon soils, water, flora, fauna, landforms, and the atmosphere; and possible alternative development strategies that could create a balance between human needs and environmental sustainability
GEOG-205 Mapping and Spatial Analysis
Provides a comprehensive introduction to maps, including their design, compilation, and computer production. Introduces students to the principles of abstracting the Earth's surface into spatial databases using GIS, remote sensing, and Global Positioning Satellites.
GEOG-206 Political Geography
Systemically studies political phenomena and their geographic expression, at a variety of spatial scales -- national, regional, and international. Major themes include nation-state formation, boundary, territory, and ethnic issues, regional blocs and spheres of influence, and conflicts over access to and use of resources.
GEOG-208 Global Movements: Migrations, Refugees and Diasporas
The voluntary and involuntary movement of people around the globe is the focus of this course on migrations, refugees, and diasporas. Questions of borders, nativism, transnationalism, the global economy, and legality thread through this course as we consider the many social, cultural, environmental, economic, and political factors shaping decisions to leave a home or homeland. Historical and contemporary case studies, compelling theoretical texts, and geographic perspectives on these topics collectively animate our discussions.
GEOG-210 GIS for the Social Sciences and Humanities
This course introduces the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and other geospatial technologies in the social sciences and the humanities. The student will learn to collect, process, and analyze quantitative data within the spatial (geographic) context where they occur. Course content may include research topics from current faculty.
GEOG-223 Development Geography
This course explores the major trends and changes in development theory and their bearings on development policy and practice, critically discussing concepts of development and the emergence and evolution of paradigms in development thinking. We will explore what and who drives (under)development, where (location and scales), and what can be done. The course integrates hands-on experiential learning through case studies and guest lectures to enable students to analyze what theoretical foundations informed past and current development thinking and their prospects and limits.
GEOG-224 Atmosphere and Weather
This course provides a detailed introduction to the earth's atmosphere with particular emphasis on the troposphere extending from the surface to 10km in elevation. Topics include the earth's solar energy budget, atmospheric pressure and wind systems, global and local meteorological processes, and weather forecasting. The class will make significant use of meteorological data and satellite imagery taken from NOAA's National Weather Service to study seasonal weather patterns, rain and snow events, and catastrophic hurricanes.
GEOG-230 Environmental Soil Science
Introduction to the physical, chemical, and biological properties of soils and their relationship to environmental quality, agricultural production, and land management. This course will also describe the processes of origin and development of soils as natural entities and how they affect the different ecosystems where they are located. Some field work required.
GEOG-241GR Topics in Geography: 'Global Radical Geographic Imaginaries: 19th Century to Present'
This survey of radical geographic thought highlights liberatory geographic imaginaries from across the globe from the past two centuries. Radical geographers have developed powerful critiques of capitalism, empire, and modernization. They have also reimagined places capable of supporting deeply democratic social formations. This course will examine the political, economic, and cultural geographical concerns embedded in these critiques and counter-proposals. Among them, we will study 19th century Euro-Asian anarchism, Marx's late work on the "archaic commune," state resistance in Asia, post-colonial nation building in Africa, and feminist re-imaginings of sex, gender, and domesticity.
GEOG-241RE Topics in Geography: 'Geographies of Renewable Energy Transition'
This course explores the variety of ways renewable energy transitions are imagined, planned, implemented, and contested throughout the world. Through empirical case studies, we examine how renewable energies offer new possibilities for restructuring societies but can also perpetuate social practices and worldviews that sustain relations of inequality. We draw on the geographic concepts of landscape, scaling, and spatial embeddedness to investigate why energy transition dynamics vary across space, and consider how cultural frameworks influence climate policies and individual energy choices.
GEOG-295 Independent Study
GEOG-304 Planning and the Environment
GEOG-304UP Planning and the Environment: 'Urban Planning'
This course examines in detail the fabric of urban and suburban settlement and commerce in the pre and post WW II U.S. Field trips to the greater Springfield area are used to allow students to develop firsthand understanding of interactions between urban and suburban areas and to recognize the major changes to the human landscape driven by suburbanization and urban abandonment. This class will examine the section of Springfield slated for the MGM Casino Development.
GEOG-312 Seminar in Geography
These seminars present selected topics in geography that reflect contemporary problems, current geographical ideas, philosophical and methodological trends in geography, and/or the history and development of geographical thought.
GEOG-312NC Seminar: 'The Nature of Cities'
This course critically examines the past, present, and future of thinking about the city from an ecological point of view. For a century, urban ecologists have thought about the city as an ecosystem: it follows the laws of all natural systems. While illuminating, this naturalistic idea has obscured certain historical, social, and political economic forces of urbanization. This is evident today in efforts to make cities more "resilient" and "sustainable." By intersecting urban ecology, urban political economy, and environmental history, this course reassesses the prospects of the ecological city in light of contemporary environmental crisis. Examples will be from across the globe.
GEOG-313 Third World Development
Offers an interdisciplinary perspective on social, economic, and political features of contemporary development in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, regions referred to as the Third World or the South, and provides an introduction to theoretical origins and definitions of economic growth, development, and underdevelopment. It then addresses more specific aspects of development such as trends in population growth, migration, and urbanization; agrarian change; livelihood strategies and aspects of social welfare such as health, education, and shelter; poverty and the environment; and social justice. The latter part of the course draws extensively on selected case studies.
GEOG-314 China in the Global South
China is at the heart of development in the 21st century. In other words, it is impossible to understand the twenty-first century without understanding China. But is China a partner or a neocolonial exploiter in the Global South? How can we make sense of China's current record of infrastructure lending in Africa or the recent uptick in China-Africa trade? What is the geography of China's economic statecraft in Africa? To provide some answers, we will explore the on-the-ground realities of China's increasingly complex engagement with developing countries in aid, trade, investment, agribusiness, and technology transfer. We will examine China's emerging role by focusing on the spatial economic statecraft and geostrategic politics of Chinese capital flow.
GEOG-319 Africa: Problems and Prospects
This course intends to offer an interdisciplinary perspective on selected contemporary development problems in Africa south of the Sahara. Central to the course will be an examination of the social, economic, and political consequences of colonialism, the physical resource base and ecological crisis, agrarian systems and rural development, gender relations and development, urbanization and industrialization, and the problems and prospects of regional cooperation and integration.
GEOG-320 Research with Geospatial Technologies
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing are essential tools for geographic analysis in both the biophysical and social sciences. This course uses a semester-long project that includes field and laboratory instruction to allow students to develop hands-on skills with spatial data and analysis software. Students will be able to present potential employers with a portfolio containing examples of their ability to develop and execute a GIS/remote sensing application project.
GEOG-328 Climate Migration
This seminar focuses on climate change-induced human migration from both theoretical and applied perspectives. It examines the predicted scope of this population movement and considers international instruments that could shape responses to this growing category of migrants. A set of contemporary case studies from around the world animate our investigation into what it means to adapt to an altered environment and inform our questions about responsibility for climate change. Throughout the semester, students will grapple with the complex environmental, economic, cultural, and political intersections of migration and Earth's changing climate system.
GEOG-331 Water, People, and Politics in the Anthropocene
Water is not simply a natural biophysical element that flows neutrally through landscapes. In this course, we will focus on the political, ecological, and historical dimensions of human water use in a changing climate. Throughout the course, we will examine ways in which water crises are produced and play out at various scales, ranging from the macro (global) to the micro (household) and human body. We will begin by strengthening our foundational understanding of water resources and laws that affect distribution, quality, use, and sustainability. Then, we'll dig deeper into the complexities that link water, people, and politics. In the last weeks of the course, we'll work on applying these ideas to dissect real-world issues such as the Flint and the Jackson water crisis. We'll also think about how to harness the newest and best ideas to sustainably and inclusively meet societal and ecological water needs now and in the future.
GEOG-395 Independent Study