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.
- Introduction to human geography
Processes of globalization
- The importance of “thinking geographically”
- Themes and subdisciplines in human geography
- Key geographical concepts (place, scale, landscape, and mobility)
- Mapping the world
- 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
- 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
Human activities and the environment
- 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
Cultural and social geographies
- What is nature?
- Taking stock of global ecological health
- Water, soil, and land
- Biodiversity decline
- Global fisheries collapse
- Climate change
- Measuring ecological impacts
- Perspectives on the environment, sustainability, and biodiversity
- 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
Agriculture and food security
- 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
Urban geographies and urbanization
- 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
- 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
Methods of Instruction
The course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of the following:
- small group discussions
- visual presentations – PowerPoint and videos
- individual and team projects and/or presentations
- feld assignments
- practical in-class exercises
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:
At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:
- Collect, display and analyze geographical data using a variety of techniques.
- Explain the spatial distribution of human phenomena (language, economic activities, religion, etc.).
- Analyze the origin and diffusion of culture traits such as language and religion.
- Examine and explain the characteristics of cultural landscapes.
- Analyze the complex relationships between people and their environments.
- Understand interactions between different aspects of culture.
- Describe and explain similarities and differences among the peoples and places of the world.
- Explain the impact of globalization upon the patterns of human activities and landscapes.
- Demonstrate analytical reasoning and map interpretation skills.
- Assess geographical issues using proper written and spoken communication skills.
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.
Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system.
A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.
For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.
If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.