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Human Geography 12

DEPT: Social studies                                    INSTRUCTOR: Gloria Nachreiner
COURSE TITLE: Geography 12                  OFFICE PH: (507) (home)                 Academic Year: 2015-2016
Geography studies the Earth, its people and environments. It asks "where" and "why" questions about social life, about the physical world, and about the cultural meaning of places and environments. Geography thus asks questions that integrate the physical sciences, social sciences, and humanities. How have societies modified the physical environment and what effect has that had on both the environment and society? How do different societies and cultures shape and use space differently? How do opportunities and challenges differ for people living in different places? What meanings do significant places have for people who value them? Moreover, the kinds of questions that geography seeks to answer are directly relevant to some of the largest challenges we face as a society in the 21st century. How will we respond to the challenge of global warming? How do we resolve and prevent geopolitical conflicts, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan among others? How can we effectively confront segregation and other problems created through racism? How will we be able to most effectively use our limited natural resources to be able to feed the world's people? How can we design cities that provide for a good quality of life and opportunities for all and that are environmentally sustainable? To be sure, these are questions asked in other disciplines, but geography has a unique role as an integrative discipline that seeks to answer questions by combining information and perspectives from multiple disciplines. What allows geographers to do so is their interest in the spatial aspects of these problems, because it is in specific spaces and places where these issues play out and where their solutions are to be found. World Human geography asks many of these questions as it introduces students to the major themes of human geography and as it helps them acquire important skills in thinking geographically. Such skills are increasingly important for helping to solve problems in an increasingly interconnected and complex world.
As you will learn this quarter, everything and everyone has a geography. Thus you will likely find that this course directly connects with your own interests, If you are not convinced of this after the third class period, then you should come talk with me and I will help you understand what to look for. You will certainly find what you learn in this class to be useful in your career if you make an effort to notice and pursue connections between class material and your own interests. At the same time, the class will also prepare you to be a more informed citizen and will enrich your life by making you aware of the fascinating world that can be found just outside your door.
This class, as with all classes, is taught from a definite point of view that you may or may not agree with. Because different people do not necessarily view the world from the same place, knowledge of the world can never be narrowly objective. Your job is not to see the world from the same point of view as your professor or even your classmates, but rather to think through the implications of the material presented to you and come to your own conclusions. There will be many times when you will not agree with the teacher. That is good! At these times, you should interrupt, object, and make a claim for what you know is right. Your teacher has even been known to change her own thinking based upon such objections from students! But be prepared also to listen to the objections to your own position and to offer support for your position. That is how we all learn. That is, in this course we are less concerned with what your position is than upon how well you can explain and support it. Expect your teacher and your fellow students to challenge what you have to say. Ideally you will come out of this course having learned more about why you believe the things you do. You will be asked to think and write critically, to develop your own ideas about the course material, and to learn to express those ideas in a meaningful and insightful way. For many of you, even juniors or seniors, this may be a new experience.
Course Goals
By the end of this course students will…
Understand major concepts in human geography including place, space, scale, landscape, etc.
Understand the geography of population, the environment, culture, identity, the economy, politics, agriculture, and of cities.
Understand that human landscapes are not simply an inevitable product of nature but are planned, constructed, and contested by identifiable people working within historically and geographically specific social, cultural, political, and economic situations.
Be able to interpret everyday landscapes and understand some of the spatial processes that help to structure them.
Be able to participate knowledgeably in discussions with other people about world events and about the importance of geography for these events.
Be able to identify what is geographical about a given issue discussed in the media.
Be able to integrate knowledge about population, the environment, culture, economics, politics, and agriculture to understand specific places or types of places (cities for example).
Develop a greater awareness of how their lives are interrelated with the lives of people in other places.
Develop an improved appreciation for the places and landscapes encountered in every day life.
Understand the relevance of geography to their chosen vocation in life (whether they ultimately decide to major in geography or not.)
Be able to state a position on an issue in writing or orally and effectively support it with evidence.
Develop strategies for studying and good study habits that will benefit them throughout the rest of their college career.
Be able to read and critically interpret a wider range of writing on current events and world affairs than when they started the class
The Student's Responsibility for Learning Course Content
It is your responsibility to learn the content of the course (theories, concepts, ideas, etc.) by doing the reading, thinking about it before class, taking notes on the material in class, and by talking to the teacher about gaps in understanding. Our class sessions will be devoted to reviewing the material you have read in order to solidify your understanding, answering questions prompted by the reading, introducing new material where appropriate, applying what you have learned to understand specific cases, and critically analyzing the material you have read. You should expect to do two to three hours of work outside of class for every hour in class. You should review the material continuously throughout the quarter and ask questions about material you do not understand. That is, sit down for at least 15 minutes after each class period and review what annotating your notes, filling in a lecture outline from memory, or other similar means, covered. While you may be a super talented student who can do well enough on tests just by coming to lecture and taking notes, your goal should not simply be to do well on tests, but to really and truly learn the material so that you can use it in the future. To get the full value out of the course you need to do all of the work including the reading.
Budget enough time in your week for reading and for reviewing the material in this class!
?Course Grading?
Your final grade will be based on the following:

94-100             A
90-93               A-
89-87              B+
86-84               B
83-80               B-
79-77               C+
76-74               C
73-70              C-
69-67              D+
66-64              D
63-60               D-
Below 70         F
Grade Weights:
Test                50%
HW                  15%
Oral                 15%
Quizzes            10%
Notes              10%