Geography Courses

Courses offered in the past 2 years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

GEOG 0100 - Place And Society      

Place and Society: Local to Global
This course is an introduction to how geographers view the world and contribute to our understanding of it. Where do the phenomena of human experience occur? Why are they there? What is the significance? These questions are fundamental for explaining the world at different scales from the global to the local. Throughout, we will focus on the spatial basis of society, its continual reorganization through time, and how various human and environmental problems can be usefully analyzed from a geographic perspective. (Open only to first-year students and sophomores) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab DED SOC

Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020

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GEOG 0120 - Human Geography with GIS      

Human Geography with GIS
How do geographers study spatial interactions between people, society, and the environment? How do factors like race, ethnicity, age, and income relate to spatial cognition, movement, settlement, and social organization? How can geographic information systems (GIS) help geographers describe, understand, and explain these spatial patterns and processes? In this course we will study applications of GIS in human geography from local to global scales. Readings and case studies will introduce and contextualize methods for using mental maps, big data, regional statistics, and network models for inquiries of gerrymandering, gentrification, spatial justice, and other topics. Students will learn to gather geographic evidence, conduct analyses with GIS, and critically present results with cartographic layouts. 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab. DED SOC

Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020

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GEOG 0150 - ENV Geography with GIS      

Environmental Geography with GIS
How do geographers study spatial interactions between humans and the natural world? How do patterns and processes of climate, hydrology, biogeography, geology, and geomorphology interact with human societies? How can geographic information systems (GIS) help geographers describe, understand, and explain these spatial interactions? In this course we will study applications of GIS in environmental geography from local to global scales. Case studies will introduce methods for using elevation models, remotely sensed imagery, and environmental data for inquiries of environmental change, environmental hazards, and natural resource conservation. Students will learn how to gather geographic data, perform spatial analyses, critically interpret results, and communicate findings with cartographic layouts. 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab. DED

Spring 2019, Fall 2019

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GEOG 0202 - Border Geographies      

Border Geographies
We live in an age of intense globalization with near instantaneous transfers of information and unprecedented movements of goods and people across the world. At the same time, there are more walls constructed between countries today than ever before. How do we explain this paradox of increasingly restrictive borders in an age of globalizing flows? In this course we will trace the history of political borders, critically evaluate theories in the scholarly literature about borders and flows, and investigate strategies, experiences, and imaginaries that produce different border-scapes and representations. Students will be actively engaged in unraveling the paradox of walls and flows through group research projects on specific border regimes around the world. 3 hrs. lect. CMP HIS SOC

Fall 2019

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GEOG 0208 - Land and Livelihoods      

Land and Livelihoods - From Local to Global
How do flows of money, people, materials, and ideas connect local livelihoods to distant sites and global processes? How do geographers study patterns of poverty and inequality at different scales? How do we define human development and wellbeing, how do we determine who participates, and why does it matter? In this course we will draw from perspectives in fields ranging from development geography and political ecology to post-colonial studies to examine livelihood dynamics in the Global South. We will use texts, interviews, writing assignments, problem sets, and mapping exercises to explore relationships between economy, identity, and place in an increasingly connected world. 3 hrs. lect. AAL CMP SOC

Fall 2018, Fall 2019

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GEOG 0209 - Human Geography of Hazards      

Human Geography of Hazards
Why do storms, earthquakes, and other hazards result in disastrous loss of life in some places, and only minor losses in others? In this course we will study human geographies of population, economic development, politics, and culture to explain the diverse outcomes from biophysical hazards. We will compare hazard geographies at the global, regional, and local scales using diverse approaches, including quantitative analysis, geographic information systems (GIS), and comparative case studies. We will examine how geographic analysis and technologies are used in disaster planning and response. We will practice applying human geography theory and methods to hazards research through practical exercises, exams, and research projects. 3 hrs. lect./lab CMP SOC

Fall 2018

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GEOG 0210 - Geo Perspect on Internat'l Dev      

Geographic Perspectives on International Development
This class is an exploration of some of the key concepts, theories, ideologies, and practices of international development as they relate to issues of environmental and social change. We will approach these “ways of knowing” about development and the environment through three topics: (1) “natural” disasters; (2) oil; and (3) waste. For each of these topics we will draw on multiple case studies across the world including Haiti, New Orleans, Pakistan, India, Nigeria, and South Africa. These case studies will help us to more fully discuss and understand the dynamics of who does development, how, where, why, and with what results. With each of the themes we will examine different practices of international development, including post-disaster international aid, the shipping and dumping of waste, and environmental conflicts in the everyday lives of people in oil-rich areas of the world. This approach will allow us to break down mainstream discourses of development and “sustainability,” critically examine development practice, and imagine alternative approaches to development. 3 hrs. lect. AAL CMP SOC

Fall 2019

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GEOG 0211 - The Global Economy      

The Global Economy
Today’s economy is increasingly global, as business functions are dispersed across many diverse spaces and at different spatial scales. In this course we will gain an understanding of the forces that combine to shape contemporary economies across space through an examination of both theoretical approaches to economic geography as well as empirical case studies. Students in the course will learn: neoclassical theories from economic geography that describe the spatial distribution of various economic activities at a local scale; how regional economies develop over time and gain/lose competitive advantage; and the origins of globalization and different strategies corporations use to expand into different areas. This course will combine lectures, hands-on exercises, and discussions/debates so that students have the opportunity to engage the material in a variety of ways. 3 hrs. lect. AMR NOR SOC

Spring 2018

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GEOG 0212 - Urban Geography      

Urban Geography
Urban landscapes are the expression of economic, political, and socio-cultural processes layered on top of each other in particular time-space contexts. In this course, students will theoretically and empirically examine the complex and dynamic urban landscape. Students will gain a theoretical understanding of the location of cities within a larger global economic system of cities, along with the internal organization of economic, cultural, and social functions within cities. We will also examine the processes behind contemporary urban issues such as homelessness, boosterism, urban renewal, gentrification, poverty, and crime. 3 hrs. lect. AMR NOR SOC

Fall 2017, Spring 2019, Spring 2020

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GEOG 0213 - Population Geography      

Population Geography
Through a combination of lectures, readings, and exercises, this course provides background and analytical experience in the spatial dimensions of population dynamics. Students will theoretically and empirically examine geographic variations in natural increase, domestic and international migration, infant mortality, disease, and hunger. Topics will include the intersection of settlement-environment-disease, circular migration systems, cultural influences on demographic processes, and linkages between international and domestic migration flows. We will also assess various policy options and their effectiveness in addressing important demographic issues. The exercises will expose students to the vast amount of population data publicly available and introduce them to techniques used to examine and assess population related issues. AMR DED NOR SOC

Spring 2018, Spring 2019

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GEOG 0216 - Rural Geography      

Rural Geography
This course explores the intersection between demographic, economic, cultural, and environmental forces on the rural landscape in both advanced economies and LDCs. Students will be exposed to theoretical and empirical approaches to rural development in different international and regional contexts, as well as problems associated with these development paradigms. Particular attention will be paid to neoliberal economic policies and their impacts on rural areas, and the course will frequently draw on examples from New England and North America. Additionally, the world is becoming increasingly urbanized, so we will examine the ways people come to know rural areas through the media, literature, and travel. This course includes opportunity for service learning. (Formerly GEOG 0221) 3 hrs. lect. AMR NOR SOC

Fall 2019

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GEOG 0219 - Historical Geog of N. America      

Historical Geography of North America
North American society and landscape have been shaped by powerful forces over the last 500 years: conquest, disease, war, migration, the railroad and the farmer's plow, urban growth, and industrial transformation. In the process, new regional cultures formed while older societies were profoundly changed. In this course we will examine the geography of historical change in the United States and Canada, focusing on the themes of territorial control, human settlement, the inscribing of cultural and economic systems on the land, and North Americans' attitudes toward the places they inhabit. 3 hrs. lect. AMR HIS NOR SOC

Spring 2018

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GEOG 0220 - Geopolitics of the Middle East      

Geopolitics of the Middle East
This course examines the Middle East from a geographical perspective with emphasis on the historical and political underpinnings of the region. The Middle East, the cradle of civilization, has been, due to its geography, one of the major arenas for political and ideological conflicts. It has been subject to an unequal power relationship with the West, which, together with Islam, has affected the level of its political, social, and economic development. This course will provide an analytical introduction to the historical, political, social, and economic geography of the region and will analyze the major transitions this region has undergone. 3 hrs.lect. AAL CMP MDE SOC

Fall 2018

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GEOG 0225 - Environ Change Latin America      

Environmental Change in Latin America
This course examines Latin America from a geographical perspective with emphasis on the social, political and ecological underpinnings of change in the region. Building upon the theme of global environmental change in the context of human-environment geography, we will explore urgent challenges linked to the agricultural and extractive industries, urban expansion, land grabs, land reform, indigenous rights, and rural and urban poverty. 3 hrs. lect. AAL AMR SOC

Fall 2017, Spring 2019, Spring 2020

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GEOG 0251 - Landscape Evolution      

Landscape Evolution
In this course we will investigate processes that shape the Earth's surface, including weathering, mass movements, and the effects of water, wind, and ice. Students will examine how such processes govern the evolution of landforms in differing climatic, tectonic, and lithologic settings. Field and laboratory study will focus on the role of active surficial processes, as well as glaciation and other past events, in development of the landscape of west-central Vermont. We will also discuss implications for human activities and maintenance of natural systems. (GEOL 0112 or GEOL 0161 or GEOL 0170 or by waiver) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab DED SCI

Fall 2018

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GEOG 0255 - Surface & Ground Water      

Water Resources and Hydrogeology
Fresh water is the most fundamental resource sustaining life on the continents. This course is an introduction to the study of water and its interactions with the geologic environment. Basic hydrological processes such as precipitation, stream flow, and the subsurface flow of ground water are analyzed by quantitative methods. Climatic and human-induced changes in the hydrological cycle are examined, and current issues and policies are discussed in light of the increasing demands and impacts of a technological society on water resources and associated natural systems. (ENVS 0112 or any 0100-level Geology course) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab DED SCI

Spring 2020

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GEOG 0310 - Conservation Planning with GIS      

Conservation Planning with GIS
Conservation planners try to identify and protect places with natural and cultural values. In this course we will investigate different methods for using geographic information systems (GIS) at local to regional scales to evaluate scenic landscapes, wetlands, wildlife habitat and connectivity, land use and energy suitability, and other topics. For each, we will consider the contributions and shortcomings of using GIS for conservation planning through a combination of computer-based analyses, field investigations, readings, and discussions. The Town of Middlebury will provide a case study to learn methods with GIS, and students will develop independent projects that compare Middlebury to other towns in Vermont. (GEOG 150). 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab. DED

Fall 2019

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GEOG 0323 - Open Source GIScience      

Open Source Geographic Information Science
In this course we will study geographic information science (GIS) with open-source software and critical GIS scholarship. In labs, we will practice techniques to include: data acquisition and preparation for analysis, spatial SQL database queries, automating analysis, spatial interpolation, testing sensitivity to error and uncertainty, and data visualization. We will read and apply critical research of GIS as a subject and with GIS as a methodology. Spatial data sources for labs and independent research projects may include remote sensing, micro-data, smart cities and open government data, and volunteered geographic information (e.g. OpenStreetMap and social media). (GEOG 0120) 3 hrs. lect./disc./3 hrs. lab DED

Fall 2019

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GEOG 0325 - Cartographic Design      

Cartographic Design
In this course we will study principles of cartographic design in the digital era. Major topics will include cartography before computing, reference map design, thematic map design, and atlas production. Laboratory exercises will develop workflows for cartographic design with geographic information systems and graphics software. Through authentic projects and group critiques, students will learn to design cartographic products that facilitate spatial thinking and effectively communicate geographic information to specialist and lay audiences. 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab ART SOC

Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020

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GEOG 0326 - GIS: Environmental Sci & Mgmt      

GIS Applications in Environmental Science and Management
GIS has become an important tool for supporting spatial decisions in environmental science and management. In this course we will explore applications of GIS related to current ecological and social issues such as biodiversity conservation, invasive species, and watershed management. Students will discuss articles highlighting the benefits and limitations of GIS in conducting meaningful scientific research to inform real-world management problems. Students will gain hands-on experience with GIS in the lab and in the field, collecting environmental data, conducting spatial analyses, and using results to test hypotheses and guide the decision-making process. The course will end with a student defined research project. (GEOG 0120) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab SCI

Fall 2017, Fall 2018

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GEOG 0328 - GIS for the Developing World      

GIS for the Developing World
In this course we will explore the opportunities and challenges of using geographic information systems (GIS) to study population and environmental change in least developed countries. Students will learn techniques to overcome the digital divide in countries with scarce data and low technological capacity, drawing on examples from Africa. In labs and independent projects, we will use open source software and data, learn how to control for data errors and quality, digitize and classify satellite images, analyze change over time, and practice participatory GIS. Throughout the course, we will critically reflect on how GIS affects our understanding and governance of society and the environment. (GEOG 0120) 3 hrs. lect./disc./3 hrs. lab AAL DED SAF SOC

Spring 2018

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GEOG 0339 - Practicing Human Geography      

Practicing Human Geography
Whether you are planning to do your own research or want to be a more savvy consumer of research produced by others, it is useful to develop an understanding of the process of creating, discovering, and interpreting information about the world. In this course, students will explore quantitative and qualitative methodologies and the ways they can be used in human geography research. Through examples, exercises, and readings, students will learn the types of questions different techniques are designed to answer, how they work, and how to interpret the results. Students will gain hands on experience conducting surveys, generating and interpreting qualitative data, selecting and implementing statistical analyses, and writing research reports, to build competence and critical awareness in the practice and communication of research. (At least one course in geography, AP human geography credit, or instructor approval) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab CW DED

Fall 2017, Spring 2019, Spring 2020

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GEOG 0406 - Sem in Human-Environment Geog      

Seminar in Human-Environment Geography: Landscapes in Transition
What will Vermont look like in 100 years? What about the Brazilian Amazon, the Albertine Rift, or your home town? In this seminar, we will explore the ways that processes of change discussed in our thematic Geography classes like urbanization, climate change, gentrification, commoditization, 'globalization', and more may interact and play out in the future. We will discuss studies of historic and ongoing landscape transitions and conduct our own studies of student-selected places, focusing both on the changes most likely to occur given existing trajectories, and attempting to imagine and articulate what changes would be desirable. (Open to senior majors only; others by waiver) 3 hrs. sem. SOC

Fall 2019

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GEOG 0413 - Seminar: Population Geography      

Seminar in Population Geography: Migration in the Twenty-first Century
On average, 20 percent of the U.S. population changes residence in any given year, yet the scale, geography, motivations, and impacts of these movements are highly variable, making migration an incredibly pervasive and complex phenomenon. Furthermore, international immigration continues to attract considerable academic, political, and media attention. This course will explore contemporary approaches to migration studies emphasizing the important insights and contributions of geographers. How have geographers examined migration, and how have geographical approaches changed over time? In what ways has technology influenced the motivations, frequency, and implications of migration behavior? What are the different impacts of migration on individuals, households, and communities? And, what are the new innovations in scholarly approaches to migration? Through a combination of readings from contemporary migration literature, discussions, and analyses, students in this seminar will gain an appreciation for and understanding of this incredibly rich and complex phenomena of migration. (Open to second semester juniors and seniors only; others by waiver) 3 hrs. sem.

Fall 2018

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GEOG 0414 - Seminar in Political Geography      

Seminar in Political Geography: Radical Geographies
Geography has always been associated with the exercise of power and came into being as an academic discipline because it supported imperialism, nationalism, and war. However, the field of geography also has a lesser-known emancipatory tradition that emphasizes social justice, empowerment, and resistance to oppression. Early radical voices—anarchists, socialists, and pacifists—were silenced and often forced into exile. It was only in the context of the protest culture of the 1960s that radical geographies started to find an audience. In this seminar we will examine how geography and geographers have engaged in revolutionary activism, education for justice, social mobilization, and theorizations of alternative models of society. (Open to senior majors only; others by waiver) 3 hrs. sem.

Spring 2018, Spring 2020

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GEOG 0428 - Geog of Climate & Development      

Seminar in Geographies of Climate Change Adaptation and Development
Rapid anthropogenic climate change cannot be fully mitigated, requiring humans to adapt to changing climate conditions. How will developing countries with high sensitivity and few resources manage to adapt to a changing climate? Geography is uniquely suited to research social dimensions of climate change by integrating human and physical geography in the traditions of hazards, human-environment systems, and political ecology research. In this seminar we will contrast approaches to three related concepts: resilience, vulnerability, and adaptation. We will review their use in current academic research and literature, international climate negotiations, and adaptation planning and financing in least developed countries. We will culminate the seminar with independent research into a particular case of planned climate change adaptation in a least developed country. (Senior majors only, or by approval) AAL CMP SAF SOC

Spring 2019

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GEOG 0436 - Terrorism      

Terrorism
Terrorism, the act of violent resistance against real or perceived oppression, has taken on new dimensions in an age dominated by mass media and technology. Can we make reliable distinctions between terrorism, anarchism, guerrilla warfare and random mass murder? What are the political, social, and cultural conditions that favor terrorism? What makes an individual a terrorist? How have governments coped with terrorist movements? What is "state terrorism"? Looking at terrorist movements across the globe, as well as the historical evolution of terrorism, this course will examine explanations for this disintegrative phenomenon given by social scientists, historians, writers, and filmmakers. This course is equivalent to IGST 0436. 3 hrs. sem.

Fall 2017

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GEOG 0500 - Independent Study      

Independent Study
A one-credit intensive research project developed under the direction of a faculty member. Junior majors only. (Approval Required)

Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020

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GEOG 0700 - Senior Research      

Senior Research
A one-credit intensive research project developed under the direction of a faculty member. Senior majors only. (Approval Required)

Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020

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GEOG 0701 - Senior Thesis      

Senior Thesis
Students with a departmental GPA of 3.3 or higher are eligible to complete a two-credit senior thesis. In order to complete a senior thesis, students must have a proposal approved by a primary thesis advisor and a secondary departmental reader prior to registering for the first 0701 credit. Upon completion of the thesis, thesis students will present their work in a public seminar and defend the thesis in front of the departmental faculty. Thesis presentations and defenses will typically take place during the final week of classes or the examination period. Upon completion of the presentation and defense, the primary advisor and secondary departmental reader will be responsible for evaluating and grading the thesis. It is strongly encouraged that students considering a thesis discuss their ideas with an advisor during the semester prior to registering for formal thesis credits. (Approval only)

Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020

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GEOG 1025 - Geographies Urban Abandonment      

Geographies of Urban Abandonment
Abandoned properties are a ubiquitous feature of post-industrial U.S. cities, markers of the 2008 housing crisis, and perennial sources of socio-political, economic, and environmental concern. In this course we will explore the complex processes that contribute to property abandonment, and the ways that city governments and grassroots organizations are conceptualizing urban vacancy as a ‘problem’ and an ‘opportunity.’ Combining critical perspectives such as Neil Smith’s The New Urban Frontier with films such as Requiem for Detroit? and The Garden, we will analyze representations and processes of urban abandonment. Students will engage in primary research to examine specific case studies. SOC WTR

Winter 2018

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Department of Geography

McCardell Bicentennial Hall
287 Bicentennial Way
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753