Introduction to Geography [CRN 77145]

Discipline: Geography
Instructor: introduction-geography-crn-77145
Credits: 3
Day: A
Start: 1340
End: 1500
Field Work: Day 1 - Civitavecchia - Monday, 26 September | Italy
Prerequisites: None Download Syllabus

In this course students will be introduced to how geography straddles natural and social sciences in understanding people’s reciprocal relations to their environments. The aim of the course is to offer students insight into the conceptual terms used in geography and how these are deployed in research. Space, place, global, local, scale, culture, nature, identity and image are but a few of these terms to be introduced. These will be placed in the context of societal and environmental processes that equip the student to understand and come to terms with observable phenomena in different locations on the Earth. Throughout the course some key tools of geographical analysis will be introduced and through fieldwork students will be required to demonstrate skills in using the introduced concepts and tools.

Course objectives (learning outcomes)

  • Understand the breadth of the discipline of geography.
  • Be able to describe the differences and complementarities of human and physical geography
  • Recognize the interconnectedness of people, places, and environment.
  • Learn about the tools that geographers use.
  • Develop map-reading skills
  • Perceive the role that geography plays in our day‐to‐day lives.

Field Work

Country: Italy
Day: 1 - Civitavecchia - Monday, 26 September

The aim of this field class is to understand the role of the port facilities in Civitavecchia through its history and geography. The field class draws on historical geography and spatial theory and develops an understanding of space as historically layered. A key notion to be worked with and explored is that of a “palimpsest”, basically grasping how former times permeate the spatial structures of each subsequent era. In the city of Civitavecchia maritime history is the key to the cities spatial structures and layout. Combining an understanding of the developments of navigational techniques, map-mapping, the history of conquest from Romans, through the Saracens to the Italian kingdoms, and the environmental history of the region, students will be required to elaborate on explanatory diagrams that grasp forces at play in a chosen era and the related spatial structures. Diagrams, pictures from the scene and explanatory text will be the outcome of this field class, which the students will elaborate upon during their stay in port. Learning objectives:

  1. Grasping the interplay of the physical environment and human history through its spatial manifestations
  2. Understanding “palimpsest” in the context of historical geography
  3. Mediating the dynamics of change through diagrams and maps