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World Regional Geography



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Admission Requirements



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, cultural, 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 improve 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 will be a mini field trip in The Hague to illustrate the idea of cultural landscape interpretation.


Assessment: Class participation, including Web Postings for 10 of the 13 sessions
Learning aim:
Percentage: 20%
Deadline: Tuesday web postings are due by 9 a.m. Friday web postings are due by 7 a.m.

Assessment: Newspaper Journal
Learning aim: Students will use current events to discuss how geographical relationships play a role in daily life.
Percentage: 20%
Deadline: First 3 entries via Blackboard on Friday 15 November by 23.59hrs.
Remaining 3 entries via Blackboard on Friday 13 December by 23.59hrs

Assessment: Mapping Exercises
Learning aim: Using (and creating) thematic maps to draw conclusions about spatial patterns
Percentage: 20%
Deadline: Friday 22 November by 23.59hrs and Friday 6 December by 23.59hrs

Assessment: Final research project
Learning aim: Writing a regional geography analysis.
Percentage: 40%
Deadline: Friday 20 December by 23:59hrs


Matthews, John A. and David T. Herbert. 2008. Geography: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Other assigned readings will be made available digitally.

Contact Information

Dr. Sarah E. Hinman:

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, Political Geography
Week 5: Sub-Saharan Africa, Health and Population
Week 6: South Asia, Agriculture
Week 7: Southeast Asia, Globalization and Transportation

Preparation for first session

Chapter 1: Matthews, John A. and David T. Herbert. 2008. Geography: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.