Landscape, Society and Meaning

Dr. Kenneth E. Foote, Instructor

Class: 9:00 to 11:50 am, MTWThF GUGG 2, GUGG 201E and GUGG 8

Office Hours:  MTWThF, 12-12:30 pm and by appt. in Guggenheim 102B, Phone: (303) 492-6760, E-mail:

On this page: Overview | Assignments & Grading | Textbooks | Policies on:  Disabilities Assistance | Religious Observances | Classroom BehaviorDiscrimination and Harassment | Honor Code

Related pages: Schedule | Lecture and Discussion NotesCourse Homepage | CU Geography Homepage | CU Homepage |


This course focuses on several themes in contemporary human geography: the analysis of ordinary, day-to-day environments; public memory and commemoration; emblems of power and authority; tourism; gendered environments; race and landscape; and media representations of place.  These themes all relate to a rich tradition of landscape studies in geography--the careful, systematic and often critical examination of the way humans modify and transform environments through time and across space at a variety of scales. In this course we will be concentrating on:

1) Monuments, memory and the politics of place.  Here we will focus on examining the social, political and cultural dynamics of public memorials, as well as the tensions underlying the marking of some events of violence and tragedy.   We will set this discussion in the context of broader debate about the politics of public space, gender, and the politics of memory. Also considered will be gender

2) Racialized landscapes in time and space.  This theme relates to the way that Japanese American, Chinese American, African American and Native American history are marked and remembered in landscape.  Considerable change is currently underway and we will look at some of the important sites now in debate.

3) Tourism and tourist guides.  As part of our examination of racialized landscapes we will also consider how tourist guides and sites are sometimes organized and segregated by race, class, and other interests.  In considering these theme, we will create a mashup of tourist guide in Google Maps.  

4) Place and place-making in literature and film. Media representations of space and place are a major ways people learn about the world.  Though we will consider how place is portrayed in a range of media, including advertising, photography, landscape painting, and poetry, we will spend more time investigating literature and film.

5) Digital research, writing and presentational skills. As part of the class, we will also be working in the web as a research, analysis and presentational tool.  You will create web pages, map mashups, and presentations.

Assignments and Grading

1) Short papers, web pages, or PowerPoint presentations (50%). 

A. Monuments, memorials and the inscription of meaning (due 23 May)

B. Your choice of: i) Mapping tourism and tourist guides or ii) Place and place-making in film and literature (due 1 June)

2) Creating a map mashup of a section of the Green Guide (20%)

3) Leading one in-class discussion of a reading (15%)

4) Short homework assignments and class participation (15%)

The deadlines for assignments are given in the course schedule.  Please contact me as soon as possible if you will miss a deadline owing to a health, medical, or family emergency.  Assignments handed in late lose 10% of their point value per day late.  Participation is based on attendance, participation in discussions, and completion of short activities given as homework or assigned in class.  


We will be using a variety of paper and digital sources in class.  I have scanned a number of articles and book chapters and put them on e-reserveThe is only one book I'd like you to buy and read and it can be purchased bookstore or an online bookseller.  Look around for used copies.

Foote, Kenneth. 2003. Shadowed Ground: America's Landscapes of Violence and Tragedy, revised edition. Austin: University of Texas Press..

Disabilities Assistance and Accommodation

If you qualify for accommodations because of a disability, please submit to me a letter from Disability Services in a timely manner so that your needs be addressed. Disability Services determines accommodations based on documented disabilities. See http://www.Colorado.EDU/disabilityservices

If you have a temporary medical condition or injury, see guidelines at

Disability Services' letters for students with disabilities indicate legally mandated reasonable accommodations. The syllabus statements and answers to Frequently Asked Questions can be found at

Religious Observance

Campus policy regarding religious observances requires that faculty make every effort to deal reasonably and fairly with all students who, because of religious obligations, have conflicts with scheduled exams, assignments or required attendance.  In this class, please make arrangements with me at least ten days in advance of the observance so that plans can be made for your participation. See full details of CU policy at at

Classroom Behavior

Students and faculty each have responsibility for maintaining an appropriate learning environment. Those who fail to adhere to such behavioral standards may be subject to discipline. Professional courtesy and sensitivity are especially important with respect to individuals and topics dealing with differences of race, culture, religion, politics, sexual orientation, gender, gender variance, and nationalities.  Class rosters are provided to the instructor with the student's legal name. I will gladly honor your request to address you by an alternate name or gender pronoun. Please advise me of this preference early in the semester so that I may make appropriate changes to my records.  See policies at and at

Discrimination and Harassment

The University of Colorado at Boulder policy on Discrimination and Harassment, the University of Colorado policy on Sexual Harassment and the University of Colorado policy on Amorous Relationships apply to all students, staff and faculty.  Any student, staff or faculty member who believes s/he has been the subject of sexual harassment or discrimination or harassment based upon race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status should contact the Office of Discrimination and Harassment (ODH) at 303-492-2127 or the Office of Judicial Affairs at 303-492-5550.  Information about the ODH, the above referenced policies and the campus resources available to assist individuals regarding discrimination or harassment can be obtained at

Honor Code

All students of the University of Colorado at Boulder are responsible for knowing and adhering to the academic integrity policy of this institution. Violations of this policy may include: cheating, plagiarism, aid of academic dishonesty, fabrication, lying, bribery, and threatening behavior.  All incidents of academic misconduct shall be reported to the Honor Code Council (; 303-735-2273). Students who are found to be in violation of the academic integrity policy will be subject to both academic sanctions from the faculty member and non-academic sanctions (including but not limited to university probation, suspension, or expulsion). Other information on the Honor Code can be found at

Last revised 2012.5.26.