nl en

World Regional Geography




Admissions requirements

Birth of the Modern World


First and foremost this course approaches the world as a collection of regions. Second, it investigates the complex nature of what regions are and how they are defined. Third, it focuses on major themes in human geography within a number of regions as well as relevant global challenges, as appropriate. The thematic elements may include cultural, urban, environmental, , agricultural, and political geography; sustainable cities, human health, and migration. 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 at times apply a regional approach in their work. A number of 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 which relate to global challenges will be used as focal points for each selected region, for example we could focus on the illicit drug trade across Middle and South America. 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


  • Students will work on their group-work and presentation skills while involving an audience in the presentation.

  • Students will build on their knowledge of mapped locations and use of visual tools to communicate spatial information.

  • Students will work on writing a clearly formed narrative about geographic concepts.


  • To be able to articulate the concept of regions, their complexity, and why scholars choose to organize space in this way.

  • Student will be able to apply spatial thinking in different contexts, such as mapping.

  • Students will improve their understanding of academic geography and its importance in understanding and addressing global challenges, such as developing sustainable solutions to current environmental challenges.


Once available, timetables will be published in the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

This course will proceed primarily as a seminar, meeting for two 2-hour sessions per week. Each class will center on discussion of the assigned reading, group work and may include some introductory remarks or a lecture. Students may be given a prompt related to the reading to thinking about in preparation for the class discussion and/or in class writing tasks.


Participation 10%
2 short essays @15% each
Group presentation: Region definition 12.5%
Mapping and use of visual tools exercise(s) 12.5%
Final essay 35%

Please note:

  • In accordance with article 4.8 of the Course and Examination Regulations (OER), within 30 days after the publication of grades, the instructor will provide students the opportunity to inspect their exams/coursework.

  • There is a no re-sit policy at Leiden University College.


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

(subject to change) Matthews, John A. and David T. Herbert. 2008. Geography: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Other readings are listed in the weekly outline and will be made available digitally. These will include chapters from stand-alone academic books, edited volumes, and journal articles.


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Sarah E. Hinman