24,000 miles around with a life support system only a few miles thick- that is the Earth. What matters to all of us, however, is how the nearly six and a half billion people scattered in about 190 countries live. Our course will try to explain the patterns observed on the planet, focusing on the features of the physical and human worlds that may be responsible for those patterns.
The overarching theme for our course is Development. Our focus will be on what the rich countries can or should do to help the process of development in various world regions.
We will start by establishing some of the basic competencies of the Geographer; we need to understand what we mean by Development, what we mean by Demography, what we mean by Political Geography. We will then move to the selected world regions and apply some of these competencies to an understanding of the patterns we observe. For example, we will learn that the Middle East turmoil has its roots in social, political, and economic geography. We will learn that the chaos of Africa has many of the same roots, and that the collapse of the USSR can be best explained using a geographic analysis.
Geographers try to explain how and why things are distributed as they are over the surface of the earth- spatial patterns, as we say. As we study Europe, the former USSR, Japan, India, the Middle East, and a few other regions, that should be your focus: what happened here to create the patterns we now observe.
Sometimes I hear people saying that what happens in Asia or Africa is of little consequence to us here in the USA; how misguided these people are !!! We live, like it or not, in a world of Interdependence, where what happens in Kuwait or Rwanda or India very much matters to those of us in Albany, Saratoga, or Kingston.
“Original document by Peter Turner licensed CC BY”