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intro to human geography

Geography is more than maps and state capitals! It’s a way of looking at and understanding the world around us, over time. Geographers most simply ask: why do things happen where they do, and why not another way? We’ll study relationships between people and the environment (built, natural, cultural, and digital) and introduce key concepts in human geography. We will learn how the production of space, place, scale, and difference are important to understanding human societies across the world. We’ll also explore a number of ways (methodologies) that geographers think about and conduct research, in order to change the world for the better. Finally, we’ll survey subfields within human geography including, but not limited to: cultural, political, economic, urban, feminist, Black, and Indigenous, geographies.

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Images from left to right: Outkast Mural, 2019 (Straight from the A); Franz Josef Glacier, 2020 (Mia Bennett); Atlanta Police Foundation, 2023 (Mapping Atlanta).

Learning Objectives and Outcomes

  • Analyze the foundations and origins of the discipline; 

  • Identify and apply key concepts in human geography to analyze space, place, and power;

  • Understand current events and real world challenges such as inequality, hunger, urbanization, migration, and environmental injustice through a geographic lens;

  • Explore key subfields in human geography;

  • Understand similarities and differences between human geography and cognate disciplines of sociology, anthropology, and political science;

  • Develop and strengthen critical thinking, reading, and writing skills.

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