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World Regional Geography




Admission Requirements

Similarly tagged 200-level and 300-level courses. Students that do not meet this prerequisite should contact the instructor regarding the required competencies before course allocation.


First and foremost this course approaches the world as a collection of regions. Second, it focuses on major themes in human geography within those regions, including, but not limited to, urban, environmental, economic, agricultural, and political geography. As a way of dividing the world, regions are not always clear or easy to define which provides room to explore how and why geographers frequently apply a regional approach in their work. Six selected world regions will form the focus of the course during which we will discuss characteristics that define these places as well as connections between regions in the past and/or the present. Relevant themes in human geography will be used as focal points for each selected region (ie. the region of Middle and South America focus upon urbanization), but as with all things spatial, to understand the process of urbanization in one place you need the dynamic connections it has to economics, demographics, and politics in that region and likely beyond. The goal of this course is for each student to walk away with a better understanding of the world as a whole particularly with regard to geography and culture, and generally how different and distant places all fit together from the past into the present to inform a larger picture of our world.

Course Objectives

  • To understand the concept of regions, their complexity, and why geographers choose to organize space in this way.

  • Student will be able to apply spatial thinking in different contexts.

  • Students will deepen their understanding of academic geography, particularly the differences and integrations of physical and human geography.

  • Students will be able to evaluate different modes of mapping and map interpretation thus strengthening spatial cognition.

Mode of Instruction

This course will primarily follow a seminar format with short lectures, discussion of the assigned readings and other course materials. Students will prepare for time in-class by reading the assigned material and post a weekly response related to the region under consideration to Blackboard. There is the possibility of a mini field trip in The Hague to illustrate the idea of cultural landscape interpretation.


This course emphasizes the integrative ways in which regional geographers approach the world. As such, in addition to an expectation of active engagement with the material during class sessions assignments include three other categories. Weekly web-postings focused on course readings and current events to illustrate how to frequently observe geographic themes. Two short exercises of a landscape interpretation essay providing students with practice in geographic observation and a mapping exercise presenting the opportunity to explore thematic material while demonstrating the power of cartographic choices. To compile the geographic skills and knowledge gained about world regions the course will culminate in a final research paper focused upon a world region or sub-region not discussed in the course.

Learning Aim: Interactive engagement with course material
Assessment: In-class participation and preparation
Percentage: 20%
Deadline: Ongoing Weeks 1 – 7

Learning Aim: Individual engagement with core concepts of geography
Assessment: Newspaper Journal (Weekly 250 word web postings)
Percentage: 20%
Deadline: Weeks 2 – 7 (Mondays at 11:00)

Learning Aim: To apply spatial thinking and mapping skills
Assessment: Landscape and Mapping Exercises
Percentage: 20%
Deadline: Week 4 and 6 (Thursday at 12:00)

Learning Aim: Demonstration of understanding of the entire course
Assessment: Final research essay (3000 words)
Percentage: 40%
Deadline: Week 8 (Wednesday at 17:00)


There is no set textbook for the course. Assigned readings will be made available on Blackboard.

Contact Information

Dr. Sarah E. Hinman: s.e.hinman@umail.leidenuniv.nl

Weekly Overview

Week 1: Big Concepts: Regions, Spatial Thinking, and Human Geography
Week 2: North America, Human Environment Interaction
Week 3: Middle and South America, Urbanization
Week 4: Russia and the post-Soviet States, TBA
Week 5: Sub-Saharan Africa, Health and Population
Week 6: South Asia, Agriculture
Week 7: Southeast Asia, Globalization and Transportation

Preparation for first session