|COURSE SYLLABUS for GEOGRAPHY 151
(AN INTRODUCTION TO HUMAN GEOGRAPHY)
128 Natural Science, MW 12.40 pm - 2 pm
Assistant Professor, Department of Geography
110 Natural Science (office); Geography office is room 315 NS
Office hours: M 4-5, Th 11-12 and by appointment
This course is designed to introduce students to the issues and processes that have led to the diversity of places and people in the world today. With increased globalization it is imperative that students become aware of the patterns and processes that are occurring in regard to global change, and to be able to evaluate and think critically about current events. This course will systematically explore cultural geography by looking at a variety of topics: population patterns and dynamics, religious and language diversity, economic development, agricultural systems, urban geography, and geopolitics. Within these topics attention will be focused on the current patterns and processes of global change, the geographical variability of these patterns and processes, and on the ways in which changes at the global scale are affecting, and in turn affected by, local and regional event and conditions. Essentially, we look at the ‘outer’ workings of cultures, the influences and pressures that form and impact cultures from the outside.
NB This course is NOT Geo 204, World Regional Geography, which is a systematic descriptive overview of the world’s regions.
There are no prerequisites but it is assumed that students have a working knowledge of where places are located and have the ability to find out if they do not. It is helpful to have access to an atlas during the semester, your own, your roommate’s, or the library’s (the Map Library on the 3rd floor of the Main Library has many).
By the end of this course you will have a solid understanding of how the world works today. You will be aware of the diversity of peoples and places and of the complex processes that influence this diversity.
This course will consist primarily of lectures, but will be enhanced through the use of audiovisuals such as videos and slides. Guest lectures and small group discussions will vary the lecture format. I use several collaborative learning strategies throughout the semester and you will be asked to engage in discussions with your classmates and with the instructor during the semester. Engagement in these discussions will enhance your comprehension of the material.
Your performance in this course will be evaluated by a combination of three equally weighted exams, two short exercises, and one short writing assignment.
These will be based on a combination of lecture and textbook material. The exams will be held during the regular class periods (9/29 and 11/3), except for Exam 3 which will be held during the final exam slot (Monday 12/13/04 from 12.45-2.45). There will be no cumulative exam. Exams will consist of a mixture of multiple choice, short answer, map, and slide questions.
A note on cheating: I consider cheating to be the copying of other student’s answers, assisting others when an exam should be completed individually, as well as the use of materials such as books and notes (including crib sheets) when those are not permitted. I do NOT tolerate cheating. Cheating will result in a failed grade for the course as well as being reported to the appropriate college.
Exam make-up policy: Make-up exams are offered ONLY to those who have made previous arrangements with me. Should a life circumstance occur at exam time, you need to contact me by email or telephone to let me know you will miss and need a make-up AS SOON AS YOU CAN BUT NO LATER THAN 24 hrs AFTER THE EXAM WAS ADMINISTERED. Sleeping-in or ‘forgetting’ an exam are not excuses for which make-ups are offered.
Exam review: During the class period before an exam I will hold a short ‘review’ session. You need to bring the questions, and I will answer them. A short review sheet will also be provided. After the exam I do not go over the questions in class. Instead, I post the exam questions with their correct answers for a period of 48 hours outside my office (room 110 NS) after the exam scores have been released to you. Contact me directly with specific issues after class, during office hours, or via email.
Two short (1-2 page) exercises will be assigned during the semester, the first at the very beginning of the semester, the second during the middle part of the course. These exercises will ask you to reflect on certain topics and concepts discussed in the course. The first will be due on 9/8 and the second on 10/20.
One short writing assignment (2-3 pages) will be assigned during the second half of the semester and will be due on 12/1. The second assignment involves finding and discussing a newspaper article relevant to the course. This assignment will involve a peer review cycle. Details of the assignments will be handed out and discussed in class. The paper will be evaluated on content and writing quality.
A note on plagerism: Plagerism is the use of other people’s work presented as one’s own. I do NOT tolerate plagerism and anyone who plagerizes their paper or parts thereof will be subject to a FAILED grade for the course and a report filed with their respective college.
Honors options are available for Honors students. Please contact me and we will work out the details. Projects need to be based on your own initiative. A short contract will be written up and adhered to. NO honors option requests will be accepted after Exam 1 has been completed.
Extra-credit can be earned by attending a lecture or other event that is relevant to the class outside of class and then writing a one page summary and reflection about the experience. The paper needs to be thoughtful and well written. A maximum of 5 points each can be earned and you are permitted to complete 2 of these in the semester. Relevant lectures will be announced in class and posted on ANGEL.
Exam I 50 points
Exam II 50 points
Exam III 50 points
Exercise 1 15 points
Exercise 2 15 point
Short paper 20 points
TOTAL 200 points (divide by 2 to obtain percentage)
I will use the following grading scale in this class:
94 –100% 4.0
86 - 93% 3.5
78 - 85% 3.0
72 - 77% 2.5
65 - 71% 2.0
58 - 64% 1.5
50 - 57% 1.0
< 50% 0.0
How to do well in this class:
* Attend lectures in a mindful manner.
* Bring lecture outlines to class if this is helpful to you.
* Take notes.
* Review notes after each lecture.
* Read the textbook as assigned.
* Read more than just the assigned pages as this will give you
greater depth and context.
* Review specific figures referred to in lecture.
* Find a study partner from class.
* Read newspapers while thinking of class material.
* Ask questions in class or during office hours.
Text (required): An Introduction to Human Geography: The Cultural Landscape, by James M. Rubenstein (8th ed.). Available at bookstores. One copy is on reserve at the Main Library.
News: It is highly recommended that you read the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, or the Washington Post on a regular basis. Reduced subscriptions are available to students and the newspapers are readily accessible on-line and via MSU libraries. Your short paper is based on a newspaper article.
Supplemental readings: Will be provided by the instructor as necessary.
Readings serve to offer background material and to supplement and enhance lecture materials. General readings are listed by week below, specific sections will be assigned on a week by week basis.
This course uses the ANGEL course management tool. If you are enrolled in this course you are automatically included in ANGEL for Geo 151. Point your browser at the following URL: https://angel.msu.edu/
and log-in with your MSUNet ID and password. Do not enter your entire MSU e-mail address as a log-in, your MSUNet ID is the part of the address that precedes the @ symbol. Please note that you can ONLY use your pilot account to access materials. All emails from me to you will also use the pilot system. If you use a different email system, be sure to forward you pilot account to that other address. All assignments, handouts, assignment scores, and lecture outlines will be available through ANGEL. Lecture outlines will be available 24 hrs before the scheduled lecture and will remain posted throughout the semester. Specific readings, assignments and events will be posted on the announcements page. Be sure to check ANGEL frequently.
(Please note – this schedule is subject to change.)
Week 1 8/30 Housekeeping; introduction to geography and the course
9/1 Worldviews and globalization; mental map exercise
(Exercise 1 assigned)
Readings from Chapters 1
Week 2 9/6 LABOR DAY (no class)
9/8 Cultural landscapes
(Exercise 1 due)
Readings from Chapter 4
Week 3 9/13 Population issues I – Dr. DeBlij
9/15 Population issues II
Readings from Chapter 2
Week 4 9/20 The impact of AIDS on populations
9/21 Migration in the age of globalization
Readings from Chapter 3
Week 5 9/27 Population debates/ Catch up and review for Exam I
9/29 EXAM I
Readings from Chapter 2 and 3
Week 6 10/4 Geography of language
10/6 Geography of religion
(Exercise 2 assigned)
Readings from Chapters 5 and 6
Week 7 10/11 Islam in the world today
Readings from Chapter 6 and 7
Week 8 10/18 Political patterns and processes I
10/20 Political patterns and processes II
(Exercise 2 due)
Readings from Chapters 8
Week 9 10/25 Economic development I
10/27 Economic development II
Readings from Chapter 9
Week 10 11/1 Digital divide/ Review for Exam II
11/3 EXAM II
Readings from handout
Week 11 11/8 The Columbian Exchange
(Short Paper assigned)
11/10 Agriculture and food production
Readings from Chapter 10
Week 12 11/15 Industry and services
11/17 Urbanization and industrialization (Dr. Vojnovic)
Readings from Chapter 11, 12, and 13
Week 13 11/22 Urban explosion
11/24 ALMOST THANKSGIVING (no class)
Readings from Chapter 13 and 14
Week 14 11/29 Detroit and Toronto (Dr. Darden)
12/1 Urban structure
(Short Paper due)
Readings from Chapter 13
Week 15 12/6 Resource issues
12/8 Future geographies/ Review for Exam III
Readings from Chapter 14
Exam III will be given during the final exam slot, Monday December 13, from 12.45-2.45 pm.
1) Please inform the instructor as soon as possible if you will have any conflict with class meetings, exam periods, and paper deadlines due to religious, athletic, or other reasons.
2) I will accommodate necessary changes to scheduled assessments due to life’s circumstances only if you inform me of those happening as they happen or immediately thereafter!!! Emails during finals week disclosing a semester-long problem will not garner much sympathy.
3) If you have special needs, please inform me as soon as possible.