Contemporary Geographies of Monsoon Asia

Humanities & Social Sciences
Geography and the Environment
Course Code
GEOG 2281
Semester Length
15 Weeks
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Course Designation
Industry Designation
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This course examines the contemporary geographies of Monsoon Asia (South Asia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia) with both a regional and thematic approach. Students will explore the physical and human geographies of countries and subregions within the area in order to compare and contrast major geographic trends. Emphasis will be placed on key thematic issues including current environmental challenges, population and migration, urbanization and urban forms, economic and development policies, and geopolitics, along with an analysis of ever-changing cultural identities and competing nationalisms in order to consider the similarities and differences within and across countries in this region. Using concepts and methods of human geography, students will consider Monsoon Asia in global context and how different places in this area are changing as a result of ongoing globalization.
Course Content
  1. Introduction: What and where is Asia?
  • The myth of Asia: imagined geographies
  • Human and physical geographies of the Monsoon
  • Placing Monsoon Asia in global context
  • Understanding globalization and development trends in the region
    • Colonialism and globalization
    • Economic and social change since WWII
    • Globalization and shifts in cultural and national identities
  • A survey overview of South Asia
    • Physical and human contexts
    • Understanding regional dynamics in South Asia
    • South Asia in regional and global context
  • A survey overview of East Asia
    • Physical and human contexts
    • Understanding regional dynamics in East Asia
    • East Asia in regional and global context
  • A survey overview of Southeast Asia
    • Physical and human contexts
    • Understanding regional dynamics in Southeast Asia
    • Southeast Asia in regional and global context
  • Emerging dragons, tigers, and cubs: Economic models and shifts
  • Territory and politics: Border wars, geopolitics, and national identities
  • The politics of population control: Demographic shifts and consequences
  • Megacities: Urbanization and growth challenges
  • International migrations and Asian diasporas
  • Cultural shifts and identity: Fast versus slow worlds and social change
  • Environmental issues: Managing resources and pollution 
  • Food security: Localizing and globalizing agriculture
  • Conclusion
  • Learning Activities

    The course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of the following: lectures, individual and/or team projects, small group discussions, field assignments, videos and animations, practical in-class exercises and quizzes, and map analysis.

    Means of Assessment

    Assessment 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:

    Participation 5%
    Assignments 40%
    Map exercises 5%
    Mid-term exam  25%
    Final exam 25%
    Learning Outcomes

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

    1. Communicate effectively orally, graphically, and in writing about the geographies of Monsoon Asia.
    2. Explain the spatial distribution of human phenomena (e.g. population, cities, economic activities, agriculture, ethnocultural groups, borders, etc.) across the region.
    3. Interpret and utilize relevant maps, graphs, and charts, in assessing regional geographic patterns and phenomena.
    4. Describe and explain geographic similarities and differences among the countries of Monsoon Asia as well as the regions’ shifting place in the world over the past 50-100 years.
    5. Discuss the different economic, geopolitical, and development policies pursued in the region over the past 50-100 years.
    6. Demonstrate an understanding of the role of culture, nationalism, and ideology in shaping national and regional identities and policies.
    7. Explain the impacts of globalization on the patterns of human activities and landscapes in the area, with reference to a majority of key course content areas.
    8. Using geographic methodologies, concepts, and techniques, evaluate and make informed decisions about contemporary challenges facing people and places in Monsoon Asia.
    Textbook Materials

    This course will use a selection of required materials including textbook chapters, Open Education Resources, and a custom reading package. Required materials will be listed in the course syllabus. Texts will be updated periodically. A typical example is:

    Finlayson, C. (2018). World Regional Geography. Open Education Resource.

    Johnson, D.L., Harmann, V., and Johnson, M. (2015). World Regional Geography: A Development Approach, 11th ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall.

    Price, M., Rowntree, L., Lewis, M., & Wyckoff, W. (2020). Globalization and Diversity: Geography of a Changing World, 6th eds. Hoboken, NJ: Pearson.

    Rowntree, L., Lewis, M., Price, M, and Wyckoff, W. (2018). Diversity Amid Globalization: World Regions, Environment, Development, 7th ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall.

    Weightman, B.A. (2011). Dragons and Tigers: A Geography of South, East and Southeast Asia, 3rd ed. New York: Wiley.



    No prerequisite courses.


    No corequisite courses.


    No equivalent courses.

    Course Guidelines

    Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

    Course Transfers

    These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

    Institution Transfer Details for GEOG 2281
    Capilano University (CAPU) CAPU GEOG 205 (3)
    Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU GEOG 2XXX (3)
    Langara College (LANG) LANG GEOG 2XXX (3)
    North Island College (NIC) NIC GEO 2XX (3)
    Okanagan College (OC) OC GEOG 2XX (3)
    Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU GEOG 2XX (3)
    Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU GENV 2XX (3)
    University Canada West (UCW) UCW GEOG 2XX (3)
    University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV GEOG 2nd (3)
    University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC GEOG 2XX (3)
    University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC GEOG 2XX (1.5)
    Vancouver Island University (VIU) VIU GEOG 2nd (3)

    Course Offerings

    Summer 2023