Introduction to Human Geography

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
GEOG 1100
Introduction to Human Geography
Geography and the Environment
Humanities & Social Sciences
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Course Designation
Certificate in Global Competency
Industry Designation
Contact Hours

Lecture: 4 hrs/week, or Hybrid Format: 2 hrs/week in class with 2 hrs/week online

Method(s) Of Instruction
Learning Activities

The course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of the following: 

  • lectures
  • small group discussions
  • visual presentations – PowerPoint and videos
  • individual and team projects and/or presentations
  • feld assignments
  • practical in-class exercises
Course Description
Human geography examines the spatial organization of our interactions with each other and with the non-human environment. It focuses on intersections and connections as well as differences and divisions among people and places. GEOG 1100 introduces students to major traditions, themes, and theories of human geography by focusing on the patterns and processes of globalization and the interdependence of people and places around the world. While the emergence of global trade and transport networks, financial systems, and the internet are connecting us across great distances, we can also see growing income inequality, food insecurity, border nationalism, and the varied impacts of climate change dividing us more and more. In this course, students will investigate the processes that shape the spatial patterns in our world to ‘tell the story behind the map,’ examining the links between the global and local, the unevenness of political and economic development, the spatiality of cultural and social identities, the relationships between nature and society, and the material impacts of our ideas about - and representations of - the world. Topics may include economic and cultural globalization, political geographies, population dynamics and migration, human impacts on the environment, cultural landscapes, economic development, agriculture, and urbanization, among others.
Course Content


  1. Introduction to human geography
  • The importance of “thinking geographically”
  • Themes and subdisciplines in human geography
  • Key geographical concepts (place, scale, landscape, and mobility)
  • Mapping the world
  • Processes of globalization
    • World System Theory
    • Colonialism and Neocolonialism
    • Contemporary globalization
      • Definitions and types of globalization (economic, political, and cultural)
      • Debates and perspectives on globalization
      • Globalization and inequality
  • Political geographies
    • Colonial impacts, decolonization, and settler colonies
    • States, nations, and nation-states
    • Geopolitics and international relations
      • North-South political geographies
      • East-West political geographies
      • Borders and rising nationalisms
  • Population geographies
    • Population dynamics
      • Patterns of settlement
      • Density and distribution
      • Fertility and mortality
      • Population projections
      • Population-resource debates
      • Population policies
    • Global migrations
      • Mapping people on the move
      • Regional versus global flows
      • Voluntary versus forced categories of migration
      • Barriers to movement
  • Human activities and the environment
    • What is nature?
    • Taking stock of global ecological health
      • Water, soil, and land
      • Deforestation
      • Biodiversity decline
      • Global fisheries collapse
      • Climate change
    • Measuring ecological impacts
    • Perspectives on the environment, sustainability, and biodiversity
  • Cultural and social geographies
    • Cultural regions and landscapes
    • Spatial diffusion of cultural practices: language and religion
    • Geographies of social identity: race, gender, sexuality, and class
    • Consumer cultures and geographies of consumption
      • Theories and debates over cultural globalization
      • Processes of homogenization and differentiation
    • Cultural imperialism
  • Economic geographies
    • Regional economic patterns and the role of place and location
    • Classifying economic activities
    • Theories of economic development
    • Mapping globalized economic systems
    • Moving beyond First/Third World or Global North/South dichotomies
  • Agriculture and food security
    • Theories of the origin and diffusion of agriculture
    • Food geographies: cultural shifts and biological impacts
    • Agricultural industrialization, globalization, and agribusiness
    • Mapping malnutrition and obesity around the world
    • Food security and sustainable agricultural practices
  • Urban geographies and urbanization
    • Definitions of “urban”
    • Mapping urban forms
    • Urbanization as a process
    • Factors driving urbanization
    • Economic and social changes
    • Changes to the built environment
    • Urbanization trends
      • Challenges for post-industrial cities
      • Challenges of overurbanization
    Learning Outcomes

    At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:


    1. Collect, display and analyze geographical data using a variety of techniques.
    2. Explain the spatial distribution of human phenomena (language, economic activities, religion, etc.).
    3. Analyze the origin and diffusion of culture traits such as language and religion.
    4. Examine and explain the characteristics of cultural landscapes.
    5. Analyze the complex relationships between people and their environments.
    6. Understand interactions between different aspects of culture.
    7. Describe and explain similarities and differences among the peoples and places of the world.
    8. Explain the impact of globalization upon the patterns of human activities and landscapes.
    9. Demonstrate analytical reasoning and map interpretation skills.
    10. Assess geographical issues using proper written and spoken communication skills.
    Means of Assessment

    Evaluation will be based on course objectives and will be carried out in accordance with the Douglas College Evaluation Policy. The instructor will provide a written course outline with specific criteria during the first week of classes.


     An example of a possible evaluation scheme would be:

    Lab assignments  10%
    Field assignments         15%
    Tests  50%
    Term project  20%
    Participation    5%
    Total 100%
    Textbook Materials

    Texts will be updated periodically. An instructor's Course Reader may be required. Typical textbook examples are:

    Fouberg, E. H. and Murphy, A. B. (2020). Human geography?: People, Place, and Culture, 12th edition. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. 

    Knox, P. L., Marsden, S. A., and Nash, A. (2019). Human Geography: Places and Regions in Global Context, 5th Canadian Edition. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.

    Mercier, M. and Norton, W. (2020). Human Geography,  10th edition. Don Mills: Oxford University Press. 

    Neumann, R. P. and Price, P. L. (2019). Contemporary Human Geography: Culture, Globalization, Landscape, 2nd edition. New York: W. H. Freeman.

    Which Prerequisite