Geography

The following information is from the 2016-17 Vassar College Catalogue.

Geography: I. Introductory

100 Earth Resource Challenges 1

(Same as ESCI 100, ESSC 100, and ENST 100) This course combines the insights of the natural and social sciences to address a topic of societal concern. Geographers bring spatial analysis of human environmental change, while Earth scientists contribute their knowledge of the diverse natural processes shaping the Earth's surface. Together, these distinctive yet complementary fields contribute to comprehensive understandings of the physical limitations and potentials, uses and misuses of the Earth's natural resources. Each year the topic of the course changes to focus on selected resource problems facing societies and environments around the world. When this course is team-taught by faculty from Earth Science and Geography, it serves as an introduction to both disciplines.

Open only to freshmen; satisfies college requirement for a Freshman Writing Seminar.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

102a and b. Global Geography: People, Places, and Regions 1

Places and regions are fundamental parts of the human experience. From our hometowns to the Vassar campus, the United States, and the world beyond, we all inherit but then actively reproduce our geographies through the ways in which we lead our lives---by our social practices and spatial movements, and by the meanings we ascribe to people, places, and regions. In this manner, people shape their cultural landscapes and create the spatial divisions that represent global power relations, ideologies, socioeconomic differences, and the uneven distribution of resources. In this course we study the making of the modern world at different scales, ranging from the local to the global---through case studies drawn from the Hudson Valley and around the world---with an emphasis on the ways people, places, and regions relate to socio-economic inequalities. In addition to learning about specific places and regions, we focus on major themes and debates in geography, including mapping and cartographic communication, culture and landscape modification, population and sustainable development, agriculture and urbanization, and political divisions of the globe. The department.

Two 75-minute periods.

111 Science and Justice in the Anthropocene 1

(Same as ESCI 111 and STS 111) Geoscientists have proposed a new designation in the geologic time scale for our current time period, "the Anthropocene." The designation reflects the fact that human beings are acting as geological agents, transforming the Earth on a global scale. In this freshman seminar course we explore the possibilities of reconfiguring the actions of humans in the Anthropocene so as to lead to a flowering of a new Era once called 'the Ecozoic' by cultural historian Thomas Berry. Jill Schneiderman.

Open to freshmen only; satisfies college requirement for a Freshman Writing Seminar.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

151a and b. Earth, Environment, and Humanity 1

(Same as ESCI 151) Catastrophic events such as hurricanes and tsunamis and the specter of global climate change affirm the centrality of Earth Science in a well-rounded liberal arts education. This course explores three intertwined questions: 1) How do Earth's different systems (lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, biosphere) function and interact to create the environment we live in? 2) What are the causes of, and how can we protect ourselves from, geologic hazards such as earthquakes, flooding, and landslides? 3) How are human activities modifying the environment through changes to the composition of the atmosphere, biogeochemical cycles, and soil erosion, among other factors? While serving as an introduction to the Earth Science major, this course emphasizes those aspects of the science that everyone should know to make informed decisions such as where and where not to buy a house, whether to support the construction of an underground nuclear waste repository, and how to live more lightly upon the Earth. The department.

Several lab exercises take place in the field. Satisfies the college requirement for quantitative reasoning.

Two 75-minute periods; one 4-hour laboratory/field period.

Geography: II. Intermediate

220a. Cartography: Making Maps with GIS 1

(Same as ESCI 220) Cartography, the science and art of map-making, is integral to the geographer's craft. This course uses GIS to make thematic maps and to acquire and present data, including data fitting students' individual interests. In addition, we explore the culture, politics, and technology of historic cartography, and we examine techniques in using maps as rhetoric and as political tools. Throughout the course, we focus on issues of clear, efficient, and intentional communication through graphic presentation of data. Thus, the course integrates problems of graphic design and aesthetics with strategies of manipulating quantitative data. ArcGIS is used in labs for map production and data analysis. Mary Ann Cunningham.

Prerequisite: one 100-level Geography or Earth Science course, or permission of the instructor.

Satisfies the college requirement for quantitative reasoning.

Two 75-minute periods; one 2-hour laboratory.

221 Soils 1

(Same as ESCI 221) Soils form an important interface between the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. As such, they are critical to understanding the functioning of ecosystems. This course studies soil formation, and the physical and chemical properties of soils critical to the understanding of natural and constructed ecosystems. Field trips and laboratory work focus on the description and interpretation of local soils. Jeffrey Walker.

Prerequisite: one introductory course in Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science; or ENST 124.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods; one 4-hour laboratory/field period.

224b. GIS: Spatial Analysis 1

(Same as ESCI 224) Geographic information systems (GIS) are increasingly important and widespread packages for manipulating and presenting spatial data. While this course uses ArcGIS, the same software as Cartography, the primary focus here is spatial analysis (calculating patterns and relationships), rather than map design for data visualization. We explore a variety of techniques for answering questions with spatial data, including overlay, map algebra (math using multiple input layers), hydrologic modeling, surface interpolation, and site selection. Issues of data collection through remote sensing and sampling are addressed. GIS involves a more rapid introduction to the software than Cartography does; it is useful to take both Cartography and GIS (preferably in that order) to gain a more complete understanding of spatial data analysis and manipulation. Neil Curri.

Satisfies the college requirement for quantitative reasoning.

Two 75-minute periods; one 2-hour laboratory.

228b. Web Mapping: Advanced Approaches to Publishing 0.5

Web maps, map apps, story maps, and other emerging applications offer new opportunities to publicize and share spatial data. Other applications such as the Collector app and Open Street Map promote group sourcing of data. This half-unit course introduces several of these techniques and asks that students make and present several of their own online maps, using data sources of their choice. The main aim of this course is to gain further experience with GIS and to learn effective ways of communicating spatial data to an online audience. As a short course, it is less thorough than the standard GIS and Cartography courses, but it offers an opportunity to explore special topics that build on those classes. We use class time to learn and compare applications and to evaluate strategies and designs for web-based mapping. We also explore some of the broader implications of data publishing. Mary Ann Cunningham.

Prerequisite: GEOG 220 or GEOG 224, or permission of the instructor.

First six-week course.

Two 75-minute periods.

230 Geographic Research Methods 1

How do we develop clear research questions, and how do we know when we have the answer? Focusing on qualitative approaches, this course examines different methods for asking and answering questions about the world, which are essential skills in geography and other disciplines. Topics include formulation of a research question or hypothesis, research design, and data collection and analysis. We examine major research and methodological papers in the discipline, design an empirical research project, and carry out basic data analysis. Students who are considering writing a thesis or conducting other independent research and writing are encouraged to take this course. The department.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

231b. Geomorphology: Surface Processes and Evolution of Landforms 1

(Same as ESCI 231) Quantitative study of the physical, chemical, and biological processes that create Earth's many landforms. Topics include weathering and erosion, landsliding and debris flows, sediment transport by rivers and glaciers, the role of climate in landscape modification, and the use of landforms to document earthquake hazards. Lab exercises emphasize fundamental skills in geomorphologic analysis such as mapping, surveying, interpretation of aerial photography, and use of Geographic Information Systems software. Kirsten Menking.

Prerequisite: ESCI 151 or permission of the instructor.

Satisfies college requirement for quantitative reasoning.

Two 75-minute periods; one 4-hour laboratory/field period. An overnight weekend field trip may be required.

235 Water 1

(Same as ESCI 235) Sixty to seventy percent of Dutchess County residents depend on groundwater supplies to meet their daily needs. Industrial pollution and road salt have contaminated many of these supplies, spawning legal actions and requiring costly remediation. Ensuring adequate and safe groundwater supplies for humans and ecosystems requires extensive knowledge of the hydrologic cycle and of how contaminants may be introduced into water resources. We explore how rainfall and snowmelt infiltrate into soils and bedrock to become part of the groundwater system, learn what factors govern subsurface flow, and discuss the concept of well-head protection, which seeks to protect groundwater recharge areas from contamination. Using Vassar's teaching well at the field station we perform a number of experiments to assess aquifer properties, water chemistry, and presence of microbial contaminants. Comfort with basic algebra and trigonometry is expected. Kirsten Menking.

Prerequisite: ESCI 151, ENST 124, or permission of the instructor.

Satisfies the college requirement for quantitative reasoning.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods; one 4-hour laboratory/field period.

236 The Making of Modern East Asia: Empires and Transnational Interactions 1

(Same as ASIA 236) East Asia--the homeland of the oldest continuous civilization of the world--is now the most dynamic center in the world economy and an emerging power in global politics. Central to the global expansion of trade, production, and cultural exchange through the span of several millennia, the East Asian region provides a critical lens for us to understand the origin, transformation and future development of the global system. This course provides a multidisciplinary understanding of the common and contrasting experiences of East Asian countries as each struggled to come to terms with the western dominated expansion of global capitalism and the modernization process. The course incorporates a significant amount of visual imagery such as traditional painting and contemporary film, in addition to literature. Professors from Art History, Film, Chinese and Japanese literature and history will give guest lecture in the course, on special topics such as ancient Chinese and Japanese arts, East Asia intellectual history, Japanese war literature, post war American hegemony, and vampire films in Southeast Asia. Together, they illustrate the diverse and complex struggles of different parts of East Asia to construct their own modernities. Yu Zhou.

Prerequisite: at least one 100-level course in Geography or Asian Studies.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

238 Environmental China: Nature, Culture, and Development 1

(Same as ASIA 238 and INTL 238) China is commonly seen in the West as a sad example, even the culprit, of global environmental ills. Besides surpassing the United States to be the world's largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, China also experiences widespread pollution of its air, soil and water--arguably among the worst in the world. Yet, few will dispute the fact that China holds the key for the future global environment as it emerges as the largest economy on earth. This course examines China's environments as created by and mediated through historical, cultural, political, economic and social forces both internal and external to the country. Moving away from prevailing caricatures of a "toxic" China, the course studies Chinese humanistic traditions, which offer rich and deep lessons on how the environment has shaped human activities and vice versa. We examine China's long-lasting intellectual traditions on human/environmental interactions; diversity of environmental practices rooted in its ecological diversity; environmental tensions resulting from rapid regional development and globalization in the contemporary era; and most recently, the social activism and innovation of green technology in China. Yu Zhou.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

242b. Brazil in Crisis: Continuity and Change in Portuguese America 1

(Same as AFRS 242, INTL 242, and LALS 242) Brazil, a giant of Latin America and the Global South, has long been known as the "land of the future." Yet frustrating political-economic crises have repeatedly followed periods of rapid growth and social progress. Taking current crises as a point of departure, this course examines Brazil's contemporary evolution in light of the country's historical geography, the distinctive cultural and environmental features of Portuguese America, and the political-economic linkages with the world system. Specific topics for study include: the legacies of colonial Brazil; race relations, Afro-Brazilian culture, and ethnic identities; issues of gender, youth, violence, and poverty; processes of urban-industrial growth; regionalism and national integration; environmental devastation and sustainability; controversies surrounding the occupation of Amazonia; and long-run prospects for democracy and equitable development in Brazil. Brian Godfrey.

 

Two 75-minute periods.

250a. Urban Geography: Space, Place, Environment 1

(Same as URBS 250) Now that most of the world's population lives in urban areas, expanding city-regions pose a series of social, spatial and environmental problems. This course focuses on the making of urban spaces, places, and environments at a variety of geographical scales. We examine entrepreneurial urban branding, sense of place and place making, geographies of race and class, urbanization of nature, environmental and spatial justice, and urban risk and resilience in facing climate change. Concentrating on American urbanism, case studies include New York City, Poughkeepsie, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Students also research specific issues in cities of their own choice, such as land-use planning and public space, historic preservation, transit-oriented development, urban ecology and restoration, urban sustainability programs, and citizen movements for livable cities. Brian Godfrey.

Two 75-minute periods.

252 Cities of the Global South: Urbanization and Social Change in the Developing World 1

(Same as URBS 252 and INTL 252) The largest and fastest wave of urbanization in human history is now underway in the Global South---the developing countries of Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Most of the world's urban population already resides here, where mega-cities now reach massive proportions. Despite widespread economic dynamism, high rates of urbanization and deprivation often coincide, so many of the 21st century's greatest challenges will arise in the Global South. This course examines postcolonial urbanism, global-city and ordinary-city theories, informal settlements and slums, social and environmental justice, and urban design, planning, and governance. We study scholarly, journalistic, and film depictions of Mexico City and Rio de Janeiro in Latin America; Algiers and Lagos in Africa; Cairo and Istanbul in the Middle East; and Beijing and Mumbai in Asia. Brian Godfrey.

Prerequisite: a previous Geography or Urban Studies course.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

256a. Geographies of Food and Farming 1

Farming and food production connect us to the landscapes in which we live, and they shape the geographies of our communities. Increasingly, farming and food also connect us to processes of globalization. The world produces more food than ever before, yet factors such as centralization of production and competition from biofuels lead to food shortages in developing regions and continuing losses of rainforests from Brazil to Indonesia. One key strategy for understanding these connections is to examine the biogeographic patterns that shape food production. In this course, we focus first on the physical environmental factors (including water resources, climate patterns, and biodiversity) that characterize agricultural regions of North America. As part of this discussion, we consider ethical, political, and cultural aspects of food production. We then use these frameworks to examine global production and exchanges of food. We use case studies, such as land conversion in Brazil and Indonesia, to understand prominent debates about food and farming today. Mary Ann Cunningham.

Two 75-minute periods.

258 Sustainable Landscapes: Bridging Place and Environment in Poughkeepsie 1

(Same as URBS 258) Geographers have long understood the relationship of aesthetic landscapes and place to include concepts of identity, control, and territory. Increasingly we consider landscape aesthetics in the context of sustainability and environmental quality. How do these contrasting sets of priorities meet in the process of landscape design and land use analysis? In this course we begin by examining regional and local histories of landscape design and land use planning and their relationship to concepts of place, territory, and identity. We consider landscape ecological approaches to marrying aesthetic, land use planning, and environmental priorities in landscapes. We investigate local issues such as watershed quality, native plantings, and storm water management in the context of local land use planning in order to consider creative ways to bridge these once-contrary approaches to understanding the landscapes we occupy and construct. We focus on projects and topics related to the greater Poughkeepsie area. Susan Blickstein.

Prerequisite: one 100-level course in Geography.

Not offered in 2016/17.

One 3-hour period.

260 Conservation of Natural Resources 1

(Same as ESCI 260) Natural resources are perennially at the center of debates on sustainability, planning, land development, and environmental policy. The ways we conceptualize resources can be as important to understanding these issues as their actual distributions are. This course provides a geographic perspective on natural resource conservation, using local examples to provide deeper experience with resource debates. We focus particularly on forest resources: biodiversity, forest health, timber resources, forest policy, and the ways people have struggled to make a living in forested ecosystems. We discuss these issues on a global scale (such as tropical timber piracy and forest conversion), and we explore them locally in the Adirondacks of New York. This course requires that students spend October Break on a group study trip in the Adirondacks. Students must be willing to spend long, cold days outside, including some strenuous physical activity (unless special permission is arranged with the instructor). Mary Ann Cunningham.

Students wishing to register under Earth Science must have had at least one previous earth science course.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

266b. Population, Environment, and Sustainable Development 1

(Same as INTL 266) Concerns about human population are integral to debates about matters of political stability, socio-economic equity, ecological sustainability, and human wellbeing. This course engages these debates via an examination of environmental change, power and inequality, and technology and development. Case studies include: water supplies, fishing and agriculture and the production of foodstuffs. Being a geography course, it highlights human-nature relations, spatial distribution and difference, and the dynamic connections between places and regions. Joseph Nevins.

Two 75-minute periods.

270 Gender and Social Space 1

(Same as URBS 270 and WMST 270) This course explores the ways in which gender informs the spatial organization of daily life; the interrelation of gender and key spatial forms and practices such as the home, the city, the hotel, migration, shopping, community activism, and walking at night. It draws on feminist theoretical work from diverse fields such as geography, architecture, anthropology and urban studies not only to begin to map the gendered divisions of the social world but also to understand gender itself as a spatial practice. Lisa Brawley.

Prerequisite: one of the following: URBS 100, GEOG 102, or WMST 130, or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

272 Geographies of Mass Violence 1

Violence has been an integral part of the making of landscapes, places, and the world political map. This course examines theories of violence, explanations of why it happens where it does, and how mass violence has come to shape local, national, and international geographies. In doing so, it analyzes how violence becomes embedded in geographical space and informs social relations. The course draws upon various case studies, including incidents of mass violence in Rwanda, Cambodia, Vietnam, and the United States. Joseph Nevins.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

274 The Political Geography of Human Rights 1

Human rights have a deep history and varied geographical origins. This course examines the highly contested making and representation of human rights in regards to their content and emphases, and the various practices and institutions deployed in their name--with a focus on the post -1945 era. In doing so, the course interrogates human rights in relation to a variety of settings--from anti-colonial and anti-imperial struggles to social movements championing racial and gender equality to humanitarian interventions. Throughout, the course seeks to analyze how these various human-rights-related endeavors flow from, produce, and challenge spatial inequality, places and geographical scales, and articulate with a diverse set of political geographical agendas. Joseph Nevins.

Prerequisite: one 100-level Geography or Earth Science course, or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

276b. Economic Geography: Spaces of Global Capitalism 1

(Same as INTL 276) This course analyzes the shifting economic landscape of globalization. It covers classic location theories in economic geography, but also the recent trends of industrial reorganization in agriculture, manufacturing and services. Two areas of focus in this course are the globalization of the world economy and regional development under the first and third world contexts. We analyze the emergence of the global capitalist system, the commodification of nature, the transformation of agriculture, the global spread of manufacturing and the rise of flexible production systems, and restructuring of transnational corporations and its regional impacts. The department.

Two 75-minute periods.

282b. Democracy and Community Development: from New Orleans to New York 1

(Same as URBS 282) How will we live together in this century? Will we pursue the "just city" for all, or will we merely seek cities that are pleasant for some? Centered on post-Katrina New Orleans but also drawing broadly from 20th century urban U.S. history, this course examines planning and politics in the decade-plus since the levees broke in August 2005. Utilizing political and spatial theory as well as real-life scenarios of urban policymaking and governance, we see how the past informs not only the present, but also our many possible futures. Coursework compares and contrasts the everyday practice of urban planning and policymaking with theoretical concepts such as locality and scale, autonomy, property, community, economy, democracy, resilience, and development. Over the semester there are several film screenings, individual written work on theoretical concepts, and final group projects on applied policy proposals. Mr. Futterman.

Prerequisite: one 100-level Geography course, or permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

286b. Energy and Nature 1

(Same as STS 286) This course explores how modes of energy production and ideas about nature have influenced one another. We begin with the emergence of Europe and the United States as industrial powers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and we explore how different ideologies of nature emerged and facilitated industrialization. We then consider ways the U.S. rise to global power involved the manufacturing of new landscapes through water projects such as Hoover Dam and Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Finally, we analyze the contemporary period of conservationism and globalization, including the expansion of renewable energies, dam removals, and the construction of massive energy projects in emerging economies. To understand the ways concepts of nature have changed, we also examine how engineers, politicians, tourists, community members, and indigenous groups have approached these projects differently and helped to forge new ideologies of nature as a space for energy production.

Prerequisite: one 100-level Geography course, or permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

288a. Political Geography 1

This course explores fundamental concepts of space and politics, helping us to deepen our understanding of how a geographic or spatial lens enriches the study of the political world. In the class, we look at political-economic processes of globalization, the relationship between the nation-state and markets, and the various ways that politics and spatial scales interact, are mutually constituted, and reproduced. Concepts of 'the global,' locality, nationalism, borders, scale, hegemony, and geopolitics are paired with case studies from history and from the present day. Evan Casper-Futterman.

Two 75-minute periods.

290a or b. Field Work 0.5 to 1

The department.

297a or b. Readings in Geography 0.5

298a or b. Independent Work 0.5 to 1

Open to qualified students in other disciplines who wish to pursue related independent work in geography. The department.

Geography: III. Advanced

300a. Senior Thesis 0.5

A 1-unit thesis starting in the fall semester, with 1/2 unit graded provisionally in the fall and 1/2 unit graded in the spring. The final grade, awarded in the spring, shall replace the provisional grade in the fall. The department.

Yearlong course 300-GEOG 301.

301b. Senior Thesis 0.5

A 1-unit thesis starting in the fall semester, with 1/2 unit graded provisionally in the fall and 1/2 unit graded in the spring. The final grade, awarded in the spring, shall replace the provisional grade in the fall. The department.

Yearlong course GEOG 300-301.

302a or b. Senior Thesis 1

Students may elect a 1-semester, 1-unit thesis only in exceptional circumstances. Usually, students adopt GEOG 300-GEOG 301. The department.

304a. Senior Seminar: Issues in Geographic Theory and Method 1

A review of the theory, method, and practice of geographical inquiry. The seminar traces the history of geographic thought from early episodes of global exploration to modern scientific transformations. The works and biographies of major contemporary theorists are critically examined in terms of the changing philosophies of geographic research. Both qualitative and quantitative approaches are discussed, along with scientific, humanist, radical, feminist, and other critiques in human geography. Overall, alternative conceptions of geography are related to the evolution of society and the dominant intellectual currents of the day. The student is left to choose which approaches best suits his or her own research. The seminar culminates in the presentation of student research proposals. Mr. Nevins.

One 3-hour period.

340b. Advanced Urban and Regional Studies 1

(Same as ENST 340 and ESCI 340) Topic for 2016/17b: Arctic Environmental Change. Arctic environments define a geographic region that is important to understand both in terms of its distinctive biogeographic patterns and functions and because it is subject to some of the most dramatic and far-reaching environmental consequences associated with climate change. This course examines the biogeographic and climate patterns of the region to understand how it contributes to global biodiversity, and why it contributes disproportionately to the regulation and change of the earth's climate system. What characteristics define these environments and make them especially vulnerable to positive feedbacks in a changing climate? How might climate changes alter the distribution of plants and animals in the region? How do environmental changes at high latitudes influence the global climate system? We examine current literature and data, including reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to explore these questions about ongoing and anticipated environmental change in arctic regions. Some background in understanding earth systems or climate change is helpful. Mary Ann Cunningham.

One 3-hour period.

352 Medicine and (Dis)order: A Social Geography of Healthcare 1

(Same as STS 352) The healthcare industry is a central component of the modern world. In the case of the United States, it has co-evolved with capitalism, inequality, mass incarceration, and urbanization-among other phenomena. Using a social and historical geographic lens, this course examines the development of medicine as it relates to these phenomena as well as matters of social difference (e.g., gender, sexuality, class, and race) and associated social struggles. Topics include the development of healthcare institutions and related labor regimes, race and medical experimentation, and transgender identity and the healthcare system. In exploring these topics, the course also engages alternative understandings of health and wellness, and organized efforts "from below" to realize alternative, more democratic forms of healthcare.

Not offered in 2016/17.

One 3-hour period.

356 Environment and Land Use Planning 1

(Same as ENST 356 and URBS 356) This seminar focuses on land-use issues such as open-space planning, urban design, transportation planning, and the social and environmental effects of planning and land use policies. The focus of the course this year is impacts of planning policies (such as transportation, zoning, or growth boundaries) on environmental quality, including open space preservation, farmland conservation, and environmental services. We begin with global and regional examples and then apply ideas in the context of Dutchess County's trajectory of land use change and planning policies. Susan Blickstein.

Prerequisite: one 200-level course in Geography, Urban Studies or Environmental Studies.

Not offered in 2016/17.

One 3-hour period.

372 Topics in Human Geography 1

Topic for 2016/17a: Placing Collective Action:  Geography & Social Movements. Why does collective action emerge in some contexts but not others?  How do social movements mobilize support for their agendas? How are space and place integral to and reproduced through political struggle?  This seminar explores these central questions through exploration of sociological approaches to the study of social movements developed both in the US and Western Europe.  Geographical critiques of these theories are also explored, with an emphasis on the role of space and place in structuring collective action, as well as on the production of urban space through political struggle.  We start with classical works on the production of space and place, including selections by Lefebvre, Harvey, Massey, Agnew, and Don Mitchell.  This is followed by an overview of the major theoretical approaches to the study of social movements within sociology, drawing on work by McCarthy and Zald, McAdam, Tarrow, Benford and Snow, and Habermas, among others.  We then turn to geographically-informed explanations of collective action and explore emerging trends in the study of collective action such as the role of new technologies in activists' efforts to control urban space, the rise of zero tolerance approaches to policing urban protest, the increasingly transnational character of movements, and what this all means for emerging alternatives to territorially-bound citizenship. Susan Blickstein.

Topic for 2016/17b: Political Ecology. The relationship between environmental change and the livelihoods of peoples across the planet has long been a central concern of geographers. Political ecology is a particular, albeit multifaceted, approach to such matters. Broadly concerned with the dialectical ties between nature and society, it centers its analysis on social relations, power and difference; geographic unevenness; positionality, and issues of social justice. Course readings explore myriad themes that political ecologists focus on: resource exploitation, conflict and violence, race and gender, governmentality, rural development, and urban and industrial phenomena. In engaging such themes, the course interrogates vari- ous theoretical approaches ranging from actor network theory, to cultural studies, to Marxism and post-coloniality. Joseph Nevins.

 

One 3-hour period.

384 Community GIS 1

Geographers contribute to vitality and equity in their communities by examining the spatial dynamics of socioeconomic and environmental problems. Strategies used to interrogate these problems include mapping and geographic information systems (GIS), or computer-aided mapping and spatial analysis. For example, community access to transportation and housing, differential access to food or health care, or distributions of social services are often best understood in terms of mapped patterns. These patterns both reflect and influence the social dynamics of a community. In addition to affecting quality of life, these issues give insights into the ways we decide as a society to allocate resources. In this course we take on subjects of concern in the local area and use mapping and spatial data to examine them. Projects may involve work with groups in the Poughkeepsie area as well as library research, readings, some GIS work. Course activities and projects vary according to subjects studied. Because this course focuses on collaborative research projects, rather than on the technology, GIS and cartography are useful but not prerequisite courses. The department.

Not offered in 2016/17.

One 3-hour period.

399a or b. Senior Independent Work 0.5 to 1

The department.