Go to the Fall 2022 Course Schedule page to see the schedule for all Fall 2022 courses and who the instructors are. This page is a large subset of available courses (most, but not all, courses are announced here).
Note: Continuing Education (CE) Classes are Billed Separately. If you enroll in both Main Campus and CE classes in the same term, CE tuition will be billed in addition to your Main Campus tuition. CE courses are not COF eligible.
Environmental Systems: Climate and Vegetation
The objective of this course is to provide you with an introduction to the Earth’s climate system and patterns of world vegetation. We will emphasize the many linkages and feedbacks between the non-living (abiotic) and living (biotic) components of the earth system.
Topics we will cover include radiation, temperature, winds and pressure, the water cycle, climate change, and biomes. This course will prepare you for subsequent, more specialized courses in climatology, hydrology, ecology, and biogeography (ecosystems and cycles). This is a natural science course, and graphs and basic algebra-level math calculations will be used to help understand the concepts covered.
Environmental Systems: Landscapes and Water
Earth’s landscapes – the natural surfaces composed of rock, soils, water and vegetation – are always changing. These landscapes host life and human activity. Knowledge of how the Earth’s surface changes is necessary to ensure public safety, provide food and water security, and support ecosystem management – and thus this knowledge is relevant to diverse career pursuits.
Topics covered include the basic geologic processes of plate tectonics, volcanoes, and earthquake. We then explore how the land surface is shaped by water and physical processes, focusing on weathering, soils, hydrology, fluvial processes, glaciers, climate change, and human impacts. By the end of the course, you will be familiar with the primary physical processes involved in the formation of the Earth’s landscapes. You should also be able to generally describe how these natural sciences are related to important scientific and societal issues.
Geographies of Global Change
Some geologists argue we live in an epoch in which humans are the main geological agent on the planet’s surface, or what they call the Anthropocene. However, such a term does not explain which humans, where, and since when brought about such a significant transformation. Moreover, it evades discussions of intra-human differentiation, power, and scale. As such, we ask: how does our understanding of our current epoch define how we conceptualize contemporary issues, such as climate change, transnational migration, geopolitical conflict, and environmental pollution? In this course, we introduce and critique the notion of the Anthropocene through specific perspectives in human geography and political ecology. We also build a conceptual toolbox to analyze current affairs, such as labor mobilities and migration patterns, war and peace building, and the creation and spread of toxic environments. Through key concepts in Marxist and More-than-Human geographies, the course will allow you to engage critically and rigorously with mainstream narratives about globalization and interpret social, economic, political, and environmental changes from the planetary to the international to the molecular scale.
The study of global environmental issues evokes one of the most profound questions of our times: What is, and what ought to be, the relationship between humans and the environment? To answer this, we must also ask: What is “nature” and how do people of different cultures conceptualize it differently? What drives human modification of the earth and its non-human inhabitants, and how are specific groups of people differentially affected by these modifications? What kinds of assumptions have led to the creation of certain environmental problems, and for whom or what are they problems? Topics we will cover include anthropogenic climate change; population and consumption; hazards, ethics, and environmental justice; conservation; food/agriculture, water, and waste. We will draw from examples around the world to critically examine how environmental problems are defined and tackled and what this tells us about nature-society relations more broadly.
This class fulfills a MAPS requirement and a requirement for the Geography Major; it is also a great introduction to “Environment-Society” Geography Track.
Examines social, political, economic, and cultural processes creating the geographical worlds in which we live, and how these spatial relationships shape our everyday lives. Studies critical geopolitics, ecological change, international development, population dynamics, urbanization, and migration to explore how these processes work at global scales as well as shape geographies of particular places.
This class fulfills a MAPS requirement and a requirement for the Geography Major; it is also a great introduction to the “Human Geography” Track.
Mapping a Changing World
Do you know how to read maps, know what different types are used for, and where to find data to make maps? Do you want to know when you can trust the information on a map is correct, current, or relevant to some question you have about the world around you? Then this class is for you!
You will learn how maps are used for all sorts of applications (news stories, social media, travel diaries, historical documents, hiking and navigation, web mapping, etc.) You’ll learn how to read a topographic map, how to work with map scale and map projections, and about using Internet mapping services, such as creating online maps. You’ll work with maps showing the human and physical landscape including population parameters, soils, topography, and much more. We’ll talk about maps as propaganda, and as tools of social and political power.
The course does not assume previous experience with geographic information systems, statistics or mapping technologies. This course satisfies the mapping requirement for the Geography major, and serves as a great introduction for students considering a Geography major or minor.
Introduction to the Arctic Environment
The Arctic plays a key role in the global climate system and is a region in the midst of rapid change, encompassing the land, ocean and the atmosphere. In this course you will learn about the highly varied climates and landscapes that characterize the Arctic, the Arctic Ocean and its floating sea ice cover, the Greenland ice sheet, Arctic tundra, snow and permafrost.
The course will also emphasize the dramatic changes that are taking place in the Arctic, including rapid warming and a shrinking sea ice cover, and what these changes mean for the rest of the planet.
Foundations in Public Health
This course provides a comprehensive overview of public health as well as an in-depth review of specific public health-related topics. Beginning with historical overview, students will explore major public health concepts such as the basic principles of epidemiology, the biomedical basis of disease, social and behavioral determinants of health, and systems thinking. Students will be introduced to the concepts of measuring and evaluating the health of the populations, principles of communicable and non-communicable diseases, environmental and occupational health, the economics of health, and the role of public health workers in society.
Statistics and Geographic Data
From fitness trackers to Facebook to polls on politics and other issues, our world is flooded with data. Careers in Data Science are in high demand, and technological and societal changes make data available on nearly everything.
In this course, we teach you how to understand and model the relationships between data and your world. You'll learn how to collect data, learn modeling techniques, and develop questions that we can answer with statistical methods. The course is hands-on and will guide you in using the latest statistical software to produce graphics, answer questions, and find patterns about the world around us.
This course does not assume any previous experience with statistics. It satisfies the statistics requirement for the Geography major, and serves as a great introduction to data modeling for any Geography major or minor.
Geographic Information Science: Mapping
Mapping and data visualization supports many tasks in Geography, Environmental Studies, Earth Sciences and Human and Social Sciences. Maps can help you explore spatial data, perform analysis, and present meaningful results. Knowing how to put together a database and process layers of terrain, water, roads, and thematic data (vegetation, population, etc.) in order to make a map is an extremely useful skill that many employers are seeking. Come learn what it is all about!
This course provides a technical introduction to mapping and information design in a GIS environment. We’ll cover principles of scientific visualization, graphical design, and mapping. You’ll learn how to manipulate scale, work with and change map projections, how to select informative colors, how to classify map data, and how to symbolize data, and how to quantify patterns of error on maps. In lab, you will design maps and create a working cartographic database. By the end of this course, you will be capable of creating high quality cartographic displays and work comfortably with Desktop ArcGIS software to process spatial data.
Some prior experience with Apple or Windows computing is expected. No previous experience in ArcGIS or mapping technologies is required. GEOG 3053 is a prerequisite for the Geography GIS courses. A beginning course in statistics is strongly recommended and may be taken concurrently.
The world’s mountains are fascinating and mysterious landscapes. Created by geologic activity, shaped by water and ice, and transformed by vegetation and human activity, mountain landscapes offer a unique perspective into historical and current events. Using mountain landscapes as our study area, this course will examine the interactions and connections among key topics in physical and human geography. Daily presentations and frequent hands-on activities will apply geographic concepts to the Colorado Rockies as well as mountain ranges around the world. To explore our mountain landscapes, local examples will be used to examine how wildfire impacts local forests and human communities, and investigate how historic mining and continuing human activities have shaped the mountain landscapes in our backyard.
This class examines the interaction of society and natural extremes, with particular attention to exposure, vulnerability, preparedness, mitigation, and recovery from natural disasters. Our social science approach differentiates this class from courses on natural disasters taught as natural science, where the emphasis is on the physical processes (like tectonics and volcanism). We treat the subject as both an academic field of inquiry that provides insight into social structures, human behavior, and environment and society relationships, and as a professional field in which students learn methods and skills that can be applied to careers in environmental and hazards management. While we will briefly cover the physical science of hazards like hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes, the focus is on human geography: how people and institutions perceive and respond to hazards and how development in hazardous areas increases risk. Given the time, we will also briefly examine technological hazards and disasters.
This is a lecture class, with exercises and exams. The material is in four main categories: (1) concepts and principles, including material on the nature of extreme events, social exposure and vulnerability, trends in hazard impacts, and ways to measure and characterize hazards and risks; (2) specific hazards like hurricanes, floods and earthquakes; (3) hazard impact reduction, including mitigation, warning systems; land use; insurance; and recovery; and (4) special topics such as events in the news.
Conservation Practice and Resource Management
In an ever-urbanizing world, having an understanding of the systems that support, maintain, and optimize human conditions will be critical in responding to a changing climate. Through the lens of Resilience, this course looks at the nexus represented by urban settlements: where the demand for productive energy, water, and food systems all come together in support of human endeavors.
This course will utilize lecture, discussion, and exercises to explore both the nature of urban systems, and the primary drivers affecting their look and operation in the future. Students will learn from the Instructor and Guest Professionals, to identify and analyze the forms and functions of different systems, factors leading to their optimization, and trends affecting how they’ll look and operate in the future.
Introduction to Hydrology
This course is about learning both the principles of hydrology as well as the techniques which can be used to solve hydrologic problems.
In practice, hydrologists have to quantify rates at which water is exchanged between the atmosphere, land surface, and the oceans. This often involves processing data and solving sets of equations. It is fairly easy to lose sight of the conceptual part of the problem once you focus on techniques.
Thus, one of our other goals is to give you a balanced view of hydrology--one that includes a description of the physical processes as well as a coherent presentation of the theories and techniques which are used in practice.
Geography of International Development
Today, amid rising global debates about migration, regional instabilities from the Mediterranean to the South China Sea, and transnational corporations increasingly involved in everything from poverty to governance to climate change, the politics of international development could not be more urgent.
What is the role of international assistance in a world marked by imperialism and inequity? How do actors in the “global South” deal with livelihood and governance issues that crosscut economics, politics, history and tradition? How is “Development” itself changing as the United State's place in the world is increasingly unsettled?
This course uses the lens and tools of human geography to explore these questions. Examining cases from Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, the Middle East and the Pacific Rim, this course surveys the changing terrain of international development at the dawn of the twenty-first century.
Introduction to Global Public Health
This course explores critical issues in global public health through a biosocial lens, incorporating the biological, economic, political, social and cultural influences on health. We take a candid look at the challenges of quantifying health as well as the issues of past health and development initiatives (with a focus on developing countries). We examine the tensions between intellectual property rights and the fundamental need for affordable medicines as played out in the cases of TB and HIV. We delve into the roles of the World Health Organization, nongovernmental organizations and ministries of health in addressing both infectious and non‐ communicable diseases. We explore health care systems and consider the essential elements of systems which improve accessibility and quality of care for its citizens. We look at the future priorities of global health, including the impact of climate change on health. Students will read and discuss case studies on global health, conduct a guided semester-long research project on the health of a developing country, and take 3 non-cumulative exams. This is a 4-credit course.
Place, Power, and Contemporary Culture
What is ‘power,’ and how are spaces produced through relationships of power? GEOG 3742 introduces students to key theories and contemporary debates in critical and feminist geography through a focus on the themes of power, space, and culture as conceptual frameworks. We will apply critical geographic perspectives on power to the topics of: colonialism and imperialism; states and territoriality; transnational migration and human rights; conflict and nationalism; environmental politics and social movements; and connections between local and transnational activism.
The course is structured around four units:
i) feminist geographies;
ii) postcolonial geographies;
iii) environmental injustice and queer ecologies; iv) decolonial geographies.
While many of our readings are theoretical, we will draw from contemporary examples from different regions of the world – Canada, India, Iran, Lebanon, Mexico, Russia, Tajikistan, South Africa, Ukraine, United Kingdom – to ground our studies.
GEOG 3822 Geography of China
China is one of the fastest changing countries on earth. With hundreds of new cities under construction, rapidly accumulating wealth among the middle and upper classes, a precarious environment and resource-base, and rising geopolitical ambitions, understanding a changing China is more important now than ever before. Yet as China’s influence grows, it seems to become more misunderstood than ever.
This course aims to explore China’s changes, as well as dispel common myths about contemporary China, through the lens of human geography.
We explore China’s diverse environmental and cultural landscapes, its historical geography, and the challenges of rural development, urbanization, environment, energy, and climate change.
Geographies of South Asia
This course will examine the Geographies of South Asia through four interrelated themes: Territory, Trade, Transportation, and Tributaries. Territory will cover the physical geographic characteristics of South Asia, along with the social and political histories that have transformed South Asian geographies. Trade will focus on the economic geographies of South Asia prior, during, and after colonization. Transportation examines the changing geographies of mobility in South Asia from roads to railroads and airports. Tributaries address the politics of water resources among nations in South Asia and the social/cultural significance of water bodies.
We will investigate gender roles and relations as a lens through which to examine the diverse identities and cultures of South Asia. The course will begin with a general overview of the region followed by more extensive study of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Burma/Myanmar, and Bhutan.
Geography of Africa
Africa is a continent encompassing an extraordinary amount of diversity— ecologically, socially, and culturally. Yet Africa is often misrepresented as one homogenous place (often misunderstood as one country!). Africa is often presented as a continent in crisis (politically, economically, and environmentally). In this class you will be asked to continuously challenge what you already know (and think you know) about Africa as a place, and about Africa’s place in the world, today and historically. You will learn about the extraordinary diversity that exists within Africa from various perspectives, but also about particular trends that may appear across the continent. General overviews at the continental scale on particular topics will be matched up with case studies from specific places.
Want to make the most of your summer? This course offers students the opportunity to apply, and further develop, skills and Geographic knowledge by working in a professional capacity as an intern. The internship course is designed to help you expand your professional network and deepen your learning through on- or off-campus.
If you are a Geography major or minor, with at least a 2.0 GPA, you are eligible for the Geography internship program. Send a completed Internship Agreement Form, signed by you and the internship sponsor to Dr. Bruckner, by June 15, 2022.
Topics in Physical Geography: Climate Change Cause & Impacts
Climate change is one of the most important and contentious issues impacting every aspect of our society. So what is climate change? What evidence do we have? What are the effects of human activity on global climate change? How do we mitigate or even adapt to climate change in the future? What about the spatial patterns? What are the different impacts we expect to environments and societies around the world?
This course will address these questions and more as we explore climate change throughout Earth’s history, the factors effecting climate, evidence for human-caused climate change, the impacts, and what we expect for our future including the environmental and societal consequences.
This class will have a lecture and lab component as we explore the physical and societal aspects of climate change. You will graph, map, and view satellite data to provide evidence of climate change around the world. In these efforts, you will be introduced to basic graphing, GIS, and remote sensing skills.
Topics in Human and Environment/Society Geography: Global China
This course will explore China’s emergence as a global development actor. We will study geographical patterns of China's global capital investments in infrastructure construction, e-commerce and digital infrastructure development, logistics hubs and special economic zones, labor management practices, finance, and urban development. Regional case studies in Africa, Southeast, South, and Central Asia, as well as Africa will be examined. The course will, in particular, focus on the question of whether a ‘China Model’ of development can be identified as distinct from ‘Western’ models of development and, if so, what characterizes such a model. Other issues explored will include, among others, the ‘decentered internationalism’ of the Chinese state, the ‘Shenzhen model’ of SEZ development, the Belt & Road Initiative and its various spin-offs including the ‘Digital Silk Road’, how socialist legacies inform China’s current development practices abroad, and the myths of Chinese development (such as the ‘debt trap’ and the ‘enclave model’). This course will be highly relevant for students in development studies, international affairs, and international business.
Topics in Geographic Skills: Machine Learning & Spatial Data
The ever-increasing volume and heterogeneity of data made available through high-resolution sensors, field observations or crowdsourced data create unique challenges and opportunities for generating information and knowledge. In the last decade, data science has emerged as an interdisciplinary field leveraging data-driven scientific methods and systems to extract insight from such large volumes of structured and unstructured data. Central to data science, machine learning-based approaches are increasingly utilized in the sciences and industry for data integration, analysis and prediction. The advances and accessibility of cloud-based hardware and libraries have made these methods even more accessible to practitioners and researchers in every domain, including geospatial, social and environmental sciences.
Building on the latest advances that make data science and cloud infrastructure available to non- experts, this course will focus on applied machine learning in the geospatial sciences. We will cover novel data-driven approaches to analysis, modeling and prediction using conventional and novel spatial data. Specific topics covered include machine learning basics, model evaluation and comparison, random forests, support vector machines, and various flavors of deep learning, all from an applied perspective. We will also use accessible cloud computing infrastructure for spatial analysis of remote sensing satellite imagery.
Spatial Data Science will be a hands-on course, with lectures to explain the concepts and interactive lab components to implement the methods and apply to real-world data via Python in Jupyter Notebooks, Google Colab environment, and Google Earth Engine.
Topics in Geographic Skills: UAS for Earth Observations
aka “The Drone Course”
Earth observations are the basis for scientific endeavors across many diverse disciplines. The recent ubiquity of small, inexpensive UAS (Uncrewed Aircraft Systems) allows for people to obtain timely datasets worldwide with minimal expense. Scientific data products obtained from UAS include: digital elevation models, three- dimensional structure mapping, insitu atmospheric measurements, thermal maps, and more.
This course instructs students how to successfully carry out a UAS mission from beginning to end, such as incorporating ground control points needed to geo-reference UAS data, qualifing as a CU Boulder UAS Pilot & Visual Observer, and creating point-cloud data from imagery. The course will have a field component where students will fly UAS to collect original datasets and then create the associated data products.
Student Learning Outcome: Ability to run a successful UAS Earth Observation mission from project concept to product delivery.
Advanced Geovisualizaton and Web Mapping
The goal of this course is to provide students with both the conceptual understanding and practical experience needed to design effective geographic representations.
A key focus of the course is on "dynamic" and "interactive" representations of geographically referenced information. Dynamic representations are those that change as a result of user actions or data updates. Topics include: animated and interactive (web) maps, exploratory multivariate spatial data analysis, geovisual analytics, map- enabled decision-support, collaborative geovisualization, dynamic maps to enable learning, and semiotic principles for design of dynamic maps.
Remote Sensing of the Environment
Global environmental change is one of the most pressing international issues of this century. There is a need to monitor the earth’s vital signs from atmospheric ozone to sea level change.
Satellite data sets are critical for monitoring regional and global changes, determine natural variability of Earth systems and addressing fundamental global change issues.
The course is designed to introduce students to the techniques of remote sensing measurements of environmental parameters from aircraft and satellite platforms. The course is based on the application of simple physical principles of electromagnetic radiation. Different sensing systems such as electro-optical systems, passive microwave systems, ranging systems, and scattering techniques will be discussed with applications for the atmosphere, cryosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere.
GEOG 4103 / 5103
Geographic Information Science: Spatial Analytics
Prerequisites: GEOG 3053 (GIS: Mapping) or similar, GEOG 3023 (Statistics and Geographic Data)
Are you ready to bring your GIS skills up to the next level? This course introduces the theoretical concepts and advanced use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). It focuses on the nature of geographic information, the management of geospatial data and available methods for geographic analysis and geoprocessing to perform advanced and complex modeling in a GIS environment. Lectures focus on the theoretical basis of GIScience, the understanding of spatial algorithms and the development of a critical attitude toward GIS operations and model outputs. During lab sessions students will be able to apply the concepts and techniques presented in lectures and become well-trained in using GIS software. The aim of this course is that students understand elementary GIS theory, have a working knowledge of ArcGIS, and be able to develop GIS-based solutions for spatial problems, independently. In short: You will be ready for starting your professional GIS career.
Biology + Meteorology = Biometeorology
Those with an interest in exploring how weather affects life will enjoy this course. We will explore how the atmosphere affects plants, animals, and people. Topics ranging from water flow through plants to heat stroke and windchill effects will be covered. Basic high school level mathematical skills are required.
Geographic Information Science: Spatial Modeling
- GEOG 4103/5103 or a comparable introductory course is required, OR instructor permission
- A basic course in statistics or quantitative methods; OR Instructor permission
- Working experience with ArcGIS
- Programming experience is not required
Did your first GIS class create an interest in learning more advanced skills? Are you getting ready to start an undergraduate or graduate research project that requires spatial modeling and analysis, but you’re not sure how to get started? This class is for you! You’ll extend skills and principles, gain confidence in your GIS knowledge, and get hands-on technical experience with the full spectrum of GIS modeling. You will learn to implement line-of-sight models, proximity models, design hydrologic and terrain analyses, and work with point interpolation and kriging, dasymetric small area estimation, weighted criteria estimation, sensitivity analysis, and modeling landscape change. You will learn best practices for exploring data and using models to search for patterns that will help you in many areas of physical and social geographic analysis and environmental modeling. You'll work with raster data in a visual programming environment, learning automation and GIS scripting methods that will help you in your own research or in a job or internship. This class provides an excellent transition between Introductory GIScience (GEOG 4103/5103) and GIS Programming (GEOG 4303/5303).
The class format includes lectures, weekly in-class demos and exercises, and weekly lab assignments, each on a specific modeling task. In the second part of the semester, students will work in small groups to design, run and evaluate GIS models for projects they choose, with guidance from the instructor and TA. Each group will present project results to the class and complete a report to be handed in the final week of term. Project leaders will design and manage the project and the group activities, learning basic project management skills by working one-on-one with the instructor.
Principles of Geomorphology
This class investigates the physical forms on Earth’s surface and the processes that shape those forms. The Earth’s surface is modified by water, ice, wind, and biota. Geomorphic science draws from many disciplines, including geology, geography, physics, chemistry, and biology. The lab portion of the course will include quantitative problem solving and field trips to collect and analyze geomorphic data on hill-slopes and streams.
Upon completion of the course, students will have mastered knowledge about diverse surficial geologic processes and landforms, implemented geomorphic analyses through lab exercises and in-class activities, and applied core geomorphic principles to diverse landscapes, including hill-slope, glacial, fluvial, eolian, and coastal environments.
The Arctic Climate System
The Arctic region plays a key role in regulating global climate and is in the midst of rapid change, with impacts on physical, biological and human systems both within and beyond the region.
This comprehensive assessment of the Arctic climate system begins with an overview of the Arctic's basic physical characteristics and climatic features.
Attention then turns to the atmospheric energy budget, the atmospheric circulation, the surface energy budget, the hydrologic cycle, and the fascinating interactions between the atmosphere, Arctic Ocean and its sea ice cover. Following an overview of numerical modeling of the Arctic system, we explore Arctic climate history over the past two million years. The final segment of the course explores the future of Arctic climate and potential impacts on society, including issues such as increased access to oil, gas and mineral wealth at the bottom of the ocean, commercial shipping and conflict between stakeholders.
Forest Geography: Principles and Dynamics
Are you interested in forest ecology and in getting hands-on field experience for a future career in the environment? Have you ever wondered how trees grow so large and live so long? Are you curious about how disturbances such as bark beetles and fire impact our Colorado forests?
If you answered yes, then you should register for Forest Geography!
In Forest Geography, we combine a mixture of field trips, in-class labs, critical thinking, and lectures to give you a strong foundation in forest ecology. When possible, we try to hold class outside because it is easier to learn about trees when you can see and touch them!
This course focuses on the international and cross-national perspectives of political geography. It deals with political, economic and social aspects of international relations from a geographical perspective and examines the post Cold War and post 9-11 world. As such, the course has an integrative character and requires basic knowledge about international affairs. Frequent reading of a substantive newspaper or magazine, such as The New York Times, The Guardian, Christian Science Monitor, the Economist or the BBC News webpage (news.bbc.co.uk) would help significantly to acquire (or develop) knowledge of global locations and current events.
The course is designed for the upper-division level. It surveys some important aspects of the discipline of political geography but does not engage in a systematic survey of regional issues and conflicts. Instead, case studies of contemporary developments, including the role of nationalism in global South states, the geopolitics of rising powers like China and India, and the causes of environmental and natural resource conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, are used to illustrate key concepts from the lectures and readings.
The Geography of Food and Agriculture
The central place of food in our lives has made food one of the major foci of human existence. How we grow, process, distribute, and consume our food often defines us as a society. In our society, the food system has become the target of enormous critique in the last ten years, and also enormous innovation. How does what we eat define us? What does it mean to eat food made in factories and advertised on television, or to seek out "fresh," local or organic food? How do we use food to define ourselves as men and women, as Americans or punks, or Chinese, as children or adults? What does it mean to eat too much, or too little, and how does it define us as social beings? These are the key questions we'll be asking in this course.
This course approaches food from two perspectives. The first is the political economy of food. We will look at food as a commodity, and study where it comes from, how it connects members of different societies and social groups as it travels along the commodity chain, and how it creates social and geopolitical inequalities. We will also study food as culture, including the symbolic meanings of different foods in various world cultures, the role of food in defining gender, national identity, and social class. We'll look at food, memory and place, the relationship between food spaces and gender/race, and the role of food in transnational culture.
Political Ecology & Latin America
This is a course for students interested in learning about relationships between environment and development in Latin America. We will explore the complexity of development practices and efforts to govern natural resource extraction and use, and how relationships between development and the environment shape the way we think of Latin America and its “place” in the world. We will use approaches from development geography, political ecology, and Latin American studies coupled with case studies, documentary film, and a series of guest speakers to learn about how development “works” in Latin America.
The course will expose you to theoretical and applied approaches to development. By the end of this course, you will gain a better understanding of development practices and the different opportunities and challenges that it presents in Latin America. Instead of thinking of Latin America as a homogenous region, we will focus on the ways development creates distinct places tied to the local environments and social responses to how development takes place “on the ground”. In that way the course asks you to think about how development can simultaneously be a process that may intend to improve peoples’ livelihoods and increase economic well-being, while also creating socio-economic inequality, environmental injustices, and conflict.
The course is organized around a series of issues that will take us around the continent as we consider the relationship between the environment and development.
Health and Medical Geography
Why is your health defined by where you live? How can geographical statistical analyses help us understand the drivers of ill health and also plan interventions to promote health?
Health and Medical Geography focuses on geographical aspects of health and disease such as the importance of “place” and history, access to healthcare, social relationships, and the physical environment. In general, the most important disease systems are complex and require interdisciplinary perspectives. This course is designed to develop a foundation in understanding the multifactorial determinants of health and an understanding of the role of spatial analysis in epidemiology. In this course, through lectures and in-depth case studies, you will gain an understanding of the multifactorial determinants of health and how to understand how geography plays a role in determining the location and spread of health and illness throughout the world.
Topics in Physical Geography: Fluvial Geomorphology
This graduate level course will cover aspects of fluvial geomorphology, which is the study of rivers and how they shape the landscape. In the course, we will link river channel forms with the processes that create those forms.
Topics covered include river hydraulics, sediment transport, drainage networks, channel forms and patterns, interactions between ecological and geomorphic processes in rivers, and some discussion of river restoration and management. The course will combine lectures, discussions, and field trips.
Students will gain a strong understanding of fluvial geomorphic processes, gain experience collecting and analyzing field data, and interpret and analyze literature on fluvial geomorphology.