Geography W10

Geograpy W10 - Worldings: Regions, Peoples and States

Geography is a way of thinking deeply and expansively about the world we inhabit and this course is designed to transform how you think about, understand and engage in its makings and remakings. Concepts central to Geography pepper the pages of newspapers almost every day – in stories of toxic waste sites, immigration policies, international finance capital, the military industry, genetic engineering, global warming, surveillance, racial profiling, sexuality, poverty, and terrorism. Ideas are central to the field of geography such as space, nature, empire, and globalization animate the histories and politics of each of these issues and many other cases. Our approach will not be to simply learn about the regions of the world but to think critically and geographically about how region's, peoples and states and other foundational concepts have come into being and how they might be otherwise. The unifying theme of the class is the contested relationships, practices, and processes in the making of these central geographic concepts (space, nature, and inequality) that often go unexamined.

Starting with the concept of space, such as the world, the region, and the nation, we will examine the politics and power of space not as an empty stage upon which events happen but as a deeply contested field with specific histories and profound consequences. This course will take the map seriously by learning the empirical order of our day via map quizzes throughout the semester; however, we will also seek to disrupt the maps authority at objectively representing space and to disrespect its seeming fixity by exploring some of the politics of the broader concepts of space, region, territory, and nation. Next, we will examine the idea of nature, both as a concept of the external environment but also as an internal essence such as human nature. We will look at the work that ideas of nature have in our lives from our understandings of the global environment to our most intimate formations of race, gender, and sexuality. Ultimately, we hope to demonstrate how the concept of nature, that is often presented as the opposite of that which is social and political, is anything but. The third section of the class deals with global inequalities. Here we will discuss modern disparities between and within regions, nations, states, and communities. We will begin this section by studying economic globalization starting with its history and component parts such as property, the commodity, and labor and then explore the processes and institutions that have shaped the modern form of global production and exchange and the contemporary consequences of these formations. We will then raise key geographical questions about the politics of indigeneity, race and sexuality and how political economy and identity become intertwined as people make claims to rights, resources, and redistribution in powerful and significant ways.

Class Number: TBD
Final Exam: TBD (Final exam date is tentative; subject to change by professor)
Register/Add Deadline: TBD (Pacific Time)