World Regional Geography (section 1)

Discipline: Semester at Sea Seminars
Instructor: Doughty
Credits: 3
Day: A
Start: 1050
End: 1205
Field Work: Day 3 - Monday, 1 September | Russia
Prerequisites: None Download Syllabus

The World Regional Geography course explores how human beings have fashioned the face of the earth into various regions. Beginning historically, and paying close attention to the ports class members will visit, we shall discuss how people (notably agricultural, urban-industrial, and post-industrial societies) have transformed and continue to transform and re-organize the physical make up of earth. Through population growth and technology, human beings are transforming vast areas of the globe into cultural landscapes. These humanly produced landscapes consist of multifaceted places with special identities that may be generalized into regions. We shall study and explore the character of these regions on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Our aim is to understand what economic motivations and cultural beliefs have produced different regions and how these regions may interact as spatial systems.  Class discussions and field experiences will help us understand how through settlement and ongoing development people are continually transforming the size, shape, character and functions of regions around the Atlantic Ocean basin.

Field Work

Country: Russia
Day: 3 - Monday, 1 September

We shall make our way to the Pavlovsk Palace, enter the palace and survey interior spaces and the grounds. The purpose is gain an insight into both official and domestic spaces of Tsarist era buildings, and also explore their gardens and parks in order to note the range and variety of elements upon which the landscape aesthetic of the period was based.  It will be interesting to contrast the Continental and English landscape features represented in St Petersburg. Time permitting, we shall move on to the larger Alexander palace to compare its formal plan with the one we have just visited. Associated Assignments:  Journal sketches, notes, and entries will reflect upon the roles of the planners, sponsors, and artisans, as well as the status of the occupiers, who fashioned such monumental structures. It is important to look closely at often taken-for-granted elements in the visible landscape in order to tease out various relationships between people and place in both urban and rural landscapes. Learning to “read” a landscape is a useful habit, and this excursion will explore the how these buildings, so unlike ones we usually visit, have their own iconic language that reflects the status and prestige of their occupants. The type of architecture, building form, color, location and position are details we can think about, especially in terms of comparing these features to similar buildings and monuments we visit in our own home areas. Academic Objectives:

  1. To understand how Tsar Peter and his successors sought to emulate and attract the attention of other European aristocrats and officials to his city as the “window on the west”
  2. To describe how buildings, gardens and parks in general and ones we shall visit represent and reflect the power and prestige of their regal occupants.
  3.   To explore the aesthetics of landscape garden design exemplified by the expression and construction of the buildings and grounds we shall visit, and to speculate why such monuments have so much appeal as to be listed as World Heritage sites.