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Information on this website is posted for historical reference only. Please visit the Office of the Registrar for current requirements.


Chair: Francis J. Magilligan

Professors M. Domosh, F. J. Magilligan, R. A. Wright; Associate Professors L. E. Conkey, B. Forest, S. E. Freidberg; Assistant Professors X. Shi, C. S. Sneddon; Visiting Assistant Professors C. A. Fox, C. A. Medlicott; Visiting Instructor N. Rao; Adjunct Professor D. E. Lawson; Research Associate Professor G. R. Brakenridge; Research Associate: P. T. Hurley.


There are three major streams within the Geography curriculum: (1) Physical and Human Dimensions of Global Change, (2) Critical Urban and Identity Studies, and (3) International Development. The following courses within the curriculum correspond to the streams:

Physical and Human Dimensions of Global Change:

GEOG 3: The Natural Environment

GEOG 4: Landscape and Environments of New England

GEOG 5: Global Climate Change

GEOG 12: Environmental Alterations

GEOG 13:Population, Culture and the Environment

GEOG 14:Water Resources Management and Policy

GEOG 18:Urbanization and the Environment

GEOG19: Gender, Space, and the Environment

GEOG 31:Plant and Animal Geography

GEOG 33:Earth Surface Processes and Landforms

Critical Urban and Identity Studies:

GEOG 21: The North American City

GEOG 22: Urban Geography

GEOG 23: Power, Territoriality, and Political Geography

GEOG 24: American Landscapes and Culture

GEOG 25: Social Justice and the City

GEOG 26: Geographies of Gender

GEOG 27: Race, Identity and Rights: Geographic Perspectives on Law

GEOG 28: Immigration, Race, and Identity

GEOG 52: Urban Applications of GIS

International Development:

GEOG 15: Food and Power

GEOG 16: Political Economy of Development

GEOG 17: Geopolitics of Third World Development

GEOG 40: Africa: Ecology and Development

GEOG 43: Latin America

GEOG 44: Environment and Politics in Southeast Asia

GEOG 47: The Czech Republic in the New Europe

GEOG 81: Field Research in the Czech Republic

GEOG 82: Independent Study in the Czech Republic

The major in Geography consists of seven courses in addition to the prerequisite courses.

Prerequisite: Geography 1 or 3; and two from Social Science 10 (or its equivalent), Geography 11, 55, 58 or 59.

Required courses:

1. Geography 90; this serves as the culminating activity in the major.

2. One each from Geography 12-19, Geography 20’s, Geography 30s’ (includes Geography 4 or 5).

3. Three other courses.

NOTE: The Chair of the department is responsible for signing major cards and all major advising.


Because of its interdisciplinary nature, Geography lends itself to a wide combination of modified majors, such as Geography/Environmental Studies or Geography/Economics. Students contemplating careers in urban and regional planning, government service, medicine, law, business, or teaching should consult with the Chair in arranging modified major programs designed to best meet their professional objectives. Normally, the modified major program in Geography will include the following:

 Prerequisite: Geography 1 or 3; and two from Social Science 10 (or its equivalent), Geography 11, 55, 58 or 59.

Geography 90 and one each from Geography 12-19, Geography 20’s, Geography 30’s (includes Geography 4 or 5).

One other course.

Four courses beyond the other department’s prerequisites, chosen in consultation with the Geography Chair.


Prerequisite: Geography 1 or Geography 3; and one from Social Science 10 (or its equivalent), Geography 11, 55, 58 or 59.

Five courses from 12-19, Geography 20’s, Geography 30’s (includes Geography 4 or 5), 47, 82.


Upon application to and approval by the Department, qualified majors (pages XXX) will be accepted as members of a special honors group. Requests for admission to the honors group will normally be considered at the close of the fall term of the senior year. No application for participation in the Honors Program will be accepted from students with less than two full terms remaining before their expected graduation. The Honors Program in Geography will consist of the regular major program with the following modifications:

1. An Honors thesis (Geography 87) will be submitted.

2. There will be an oral examination on the research.

3. A special reading program related to the field of investigation covered by the research will be required.

4. Honors students will be required to present their research ideas in at least one formal meeting to be determined by the Chair.


The Department encourages able students to continue work in the field of geography. To this end the Department will give special assistance in planning a program and in helping with the arrangements for graduate study to those students wishing to go on to graduate work. Interested students should consult with a member of the staff.


1. Introduction to Human Geography

04F, 05W, 05F, 06W: 10

The purpose of this course is to provide an understanding of how human societies organize their geographic space and why certain patterns emerge in the resulting human landscape. Principles of location, place, territoriality and geopolitics, migration, gender, economic change, and power are used to examine the geographic distribution of human activity. Geographic comparisons are drawn between North and South, and on global, regional, and local issues. Dist: SOC or INT. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: CI. Fox.

3. The Natural Environment

05S, 05F: 11; Laboratory W or Th 2:00-4:00 or 4:00-6:00

Our natural environment results from an array of climatic, biogeographic, and other physical processes that have changed dramatically over time in response to natural and human- induced disturbance. This course begins by presenting the fundamentals of atmospheric processes; then examines the physical controls on the resulting global pattern of landforms, soils, and vegetation biomes across spatial and temporal scales; and ultimately explains the form and pattern of the earth’s physical geography. Emphasis is also placed on demonstrating the role of human disturbance on these natural processes through shifts in global climate, land use, deforestation and other anthropogenic mechanisms. The media of presentation will be lecture and both field and laboratory exercises. Dist: SLA. Conkey.

4. New England Landscapes

04F, 06S: 11

Small enough to know well, New England boasts an enormous variety of human and physical features in a dynamic setting of change. In this class we focus on the physical aspects of the landscape, learning about its geology, flora, fauna, and climate as they set the stage for and are affected by human activities. The class includes two field trips, visitors, films, and readings from a variety of sources. Dist: SCI. Conkey. 

5. Global Climate Change

05W, 06W: 11

Climate changes frequently occur on both large and small spatial scales and over both short-term and longer timescales. Society and policy-makers do not usually notice those changes unless they menace us directly—yet we ignore these changes at our peril. In this introductory course we will examine causes and potential effects of both long- and short- term climatic changes and the interactions of climate and human agents of change. Some of the topics addressed in this course may include the ‘greenhouse effect,’ the ozone hole, atmospheric aspects of acid rain, El Niño phenomenon, and effects of volcanic dust and airborne pollutants. The format is a combination of lectures, class discussion, films and guest speakers, and hands-on simulation exercises. Open to all classes. Dist: SCI. Conkey.

7. First-Year Seminars in Geography

Consult special listings

11. Qualitative Methods and the Research Process in Geography

05W, 06W: 2A

Questions about how knowledge is produced, who produces it, and what “counts” as knowledge are fundamental to the research process. This course focuses on building understandings of qualitative research methods and methodologies employed by geographers to produce knowledge about social relations, human perceptions, and human-environment interactions. The course introduces several of the main qualitative methods available for geographic analysis and interpretation, and places these methods within broader questions of how research is conceived and carried out. Dist: SOC. Sneddon (05W), the staff (06W).


12. Environmental Alterations

05W, 05X: 10A

The purpose of this course is to describe and examine the manifold ways that environmental alterations have occurred-over both geologic and historical timescales. Considerable research over the past several decades has shown that anthropogenic disturbance has significantly modified natural processes frequently leading to degraded conditions. The goal of the course is first to establish that shifts in climate, vegetation, and landscapes are “natural” and have occurred over geologic time and that the timing and magnitude of these shifts provides the necessary background to evaluate the type, magnitude, and frequency of anthropogenic disturbance. The second, and major theme is to present and examine the types of human-induced changes in biotic, atmospheric, and terrestrial conditions (e.g. logging, grazing, urbanization), and to evaluate the social and management issues resulting from these anthropogenic disturbances. Lastly, the third part of the course will focus on the human dimensions of global change by exploring the social aspects of environmental change. In the last part of the class, we will focus on how global environmental changes generate impacts at the local scale, and how small-scale transformations propagate into large-scale global environmental issues. Dist: SOC. Magilligan.

13. Population, Culture, and Environment

05S, 06S: 12

The growth and spatial distribution of human population is becoming one of the most important global security issues. This course argues that a geographic perspective on over-population, immigration, environment degradation, abortion, human rights, and cultural genocide is both illuminating and important. After covering fundamentals of fertility, morality, migration, and composition, the course details a series of national and international case studies. Where appropriate, attention is given to the public policy aspects of these population issues. Dist: SOC or INT. Fox.

14. Water Resources Management and Policy

05F: 10A

This course is designed to provide students with a general background to the issues confronting water resource management. The course covers the political, social and legal aspects confronting effective water policy decision making. One of the goals is to demonstrate that the technical aspects of hydrology occur within a socio-political arena. The material also covers the environmental aspects of water issues and the manner in which these issues are handled by regulatory agencies and the legal sector. Dist: SOC. Magilligan.

15. Food and Power

05S, 06S: 2A

In a world glutted with food, why do millions still suffer chronic hunger? In an international community committed to free trade, why is food the most common source of trade wars and controversies? In a country where less than five percent of the population farms, why does the “farm lobby” remain so politically powerful? In societies where food has never been faster or more processed, why are organic and “slow” foods in such demand? These are among the questions this course will consider, drawing on the insights of both political economy and cultural analysis. Dist: SOC or INT; WCult: NW. Freidberg.

16. The Political Economy of Development

Not offered in the period from 04F through 06S

This class will examine the political economy of development in the Third World. Beginning with a historical overview of the making of the “Third World” and notions of “development,” it will take a critical look at some of the key transitions associated with development—namely agrarian and ecological change, urbanization, industrialization, and recent economic liberalization - and their relationship to poverty and other problems typically associated with Third World conditions. Dist. SOC or INT; WCult: NW. Freidberg.

17. Geopolitics and Third World Development

05W: 12 06S: 2 

Political geographers have recently recovered a critical understanding of “geopolitics” in order to highlight how geographical representations—and the construction of spaces and places—are a constitutive part of politics from the global to the local scale. In keeping with this, this course will examine the mutual constructions of places, identities, and politics from a Third World perspective. The course will begin with an overview of geopolitical discourses that underpinned the processes of Western imperialism and colonialism such as “civilization” and “social darwinism.” It will then examine contemporary geopolitical (dis)orders through the lens of topics such as globalization, gender, environmental security, humanitarian aid, and terrorism. Finally, the course will examine alternative geopolitical imaginations as constructed through social movements and grassroots politics. Dist. SOC. Sneddon.

18. Urbanization and the Environment

Not offered in the period from 04F through 06S

Over half the world’s population live in urban areas. The 1992 Rio Summit raised awareness of the potentially serious environmental, health, and social implications of continuing urbanization. This course explores the environmental effects of urbanization from an international comparative perspective. How do the environmental consequences of urbanization in the developing world (Global South) differ from those associated with the developed world (Global North)? How are notions of environment socially constructed as “nature,” and how does this translate into political action in different places? The course critically assesses the ability of planners to make lasting improvements in the urban environment. Dist. SOC or INT.

19. Gender, Space and the Environment (Identical to Women’s and Gender Studies 38)

04F: 2A

This course is meant to help students understand the relationships between the gendered construction of our society, and the ways we have organized our spaces and places, including our homes, places of work, cities, nations and environments. Accordingly, the course will be organized around these different spatial scales, examining everything from the ways we organize our living rooms, to the ways we have shaped empires, to the way Western society has dealt with environmental issues. Dist. SOC. Domosh.


20. Economic Geography and Globalization

Not offered in the period from 04F through 06S

The new global economy has become integrated across national boundaries, profoundly altering the fortunes of countries, regions, and cities. This course addresses questions that stem from these changes: for example, why do industries locate where they do? What is the impact of foreign investment on local and regional economies? Why are rates of international migration increasing? What can workers and communities do after disinvestment and deindustrialization has occurred? Particular attention is devoted to the United States and the effects on minorities and labor of differential regional economic expansion, renewal, and decline. Dist: SOC. Wright.

22. Urban Geography

05W: 11

This course examines the historical, cultural, and socio-economic geographies of cities. We begin by tracing the process of urban development from its inception over 5,000 years ago, to industrial modern cities, to postmodern urban forms, using case studies to illuminate certain key features and processes. We then focus on understanding the particular dynamics that shape cities today. Examples are widely drawn but particular attention will be given to American urban patterns and processes. Dist: SOC. Domosh.

23. Power, Territoriality, and Political Geography

Not offered in the period from 04F through 06S

Territoriality, the geographic expression of power, is one of the most common strategies for exercising political control. This course explores the interaction of geography and politics, including the origin and function of nations and states, policing and social control, federalism, the role and status of racial and ethnic minorities, political representation and electoral redistricting. Through such topics, the class addresses questions regarding the nature of power, identity, democratic theory and the relationship between the individual and the state. We will focus particular attention on issues of scale, or how the application of territorial strategies at different spatial levels affects political relationships. Dist: SOC or INT. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: CI. Forest.

24. American Landscapes and Cultures

06W: 10A

Someone once said that Americans are a people in space rather than a people in time. A political configuration of relatively recent vintage, the United States, nevertheless, occupies a vast amount of space. The occupation and ordering of that space has produced distinctive landscapes with many regional variations. This course will examine the formation of these cultural landscapes beginning with those produced by Native Americans, and following the settlement process up to contemporary, post-modern America. Along the way, we will explore, among other things, the development of such American landscape elements as grid-pattern towns, cowboy ranches, skyscrapers, shopping malls, and corporate office parks. Dist: SOC. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: NA. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: CI. Domosh.

25. Social Justice and the City

05S: 10

This course explores issues of social justice and cities in terms of the spatial unevenness of money and power within and among cities, between cities and their hinterlands, and between cities of the world. We will examine how multiple dynamic geographic processes produce spatial and social inequalities that make cities the locus of numerous social justice issues. We will also look at how urban communities and social groups are engaged in working for social change. Dist: SOC. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: CI. Rao.

26. Geographies of Gender and Identity (Identical to Women’s and Gender Studies 38)

Not offered in the period from 04F through 06S

This course examines gender as it relates to both women and men and as constituted by multiple factors such as place, space, class, sexuality, age, race, ethnicity, nationality, and culture-what some call categories of “difference.” We will explore how these categories of difference shape women’s and men’s daily lives, our institutions, the spaces and places we live in, and the relationships between social groups in different places and between different places in the world. Dist. SOC. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: CI.

27. Race, Identity, and Rights: Geographic Perspectives on Law (Identical to African and African American Studies 26)


This course examines the role of law and the legal system in the creation, maintenance, and transformation of racial identity in the United States and Canada. As one of the most powerful institutions in American society, law exerts a pervasive influence on our conceptions and practices of identity. Yet how has a legal system purportedly based on the recognition and protection of individual rights been implicated in the creation of racial categories and inequality? The class explores this question by examining debates over two important legal controversies: segregation and affirmative action. In both instances, legal disputes over the allocation of resources, rights, and privileges have been articulated both in terms of race and geography. Legal precedents and the legacies of racial segregation are both extremely resistant to change, and can affect social and geographic interactions in unexpected ways for long periods of time. In addition to addressing these substantive issues, the class provides an introduction to legal research, the Federal court system, and Constitutional law. Dist. SOC. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: NA. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: CI. Forest.

28. Immigration, Race, and Ethnicity (Identical to Latino Studies 40 and Sociology 64)

05S:11 06S:12

This course examines 20th century immigration to the United States and pays special attention to issues of race and ethnicity. The course begins with a brief history of US immigration and then thematically covers specific topics such as economic impacts and costs, social mobility, citizenship, transnationalism, assimilation, and religious issues and their relationship to the immigrant experience. We feature nativist reactions to immigration and highlight differences within and between Latino, Asian, and European groups throughout the course. Dist. SOC. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: NA. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: CI. Wright.


31. Plant and Animal Geography

05F: 10; Laboratory –Field To Be Announced

Global patterns of plant and animal distribution are related to the evolutionary history and present biological needs of each species, to the history of continental movement and climatic fluctuations, to the species’ interaction with the physical environment, and to the history of human-induced modifications. Using a combination of field projects and classroom discussion, this course will examine the dynamics of these patterns and processes at both local and global scales. Dist: SLA. Conkey.

33. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms (Identical to Earth Sciences 33)

05S:10A; Laboratory Wed 4:00-6:00 05X: 2A Laboratory: Wed 2:00-5:00

This class is concerned with surficial landforms on the earth’s surface, the processes responsible for their formation, and their spatial and temporal distribution. The course is designed to present a wide overview of geomorphic principles and processes. Dist: SLA. Heimsath (05S).


40. Africa: Ecology and Development (Identical to African and African American Studies 45)

05S, 06S: 10A

This course is intended as an introduction to contemporary political, economic, social, and environmental issues in Sub-Saharan Africa. It will begin with a brief historical overview, focusing on the legacies of the colonial era. It will then look critically at a number of modern-day concerns, including agriculture and food security, environmental degradation, health and disease, urbanization, economic aid and restructuring, and the politics of ethnicity and democratization. While we will examine each subject by way of select case studies, emphasis throughout will be on the diversity and changing nature of the African continent. This course will also consider how Africa’s problems are portrayed and understood (and often misunderstood) by the rest of the world. Dist: SOC or INT; WCult: NW. Freidberg.

44. Environment and Politics in Southeast Asia (Identical to Environmental Studies 44)

04F, 05F: 2

Over the past several decades, the people and environments of Southeast Asia have confronted a host of political, economic and cultural processes commonly grouped together under the heading “development”. As witnessed by recent media reports detailing massive forest fires in Indonesia and dam controversies in Malaysia and Thailand, these development processes have resulted in drastic transformations in the landscapes, forests, and river systems of the region. These processes have likewise produced dramatic alterations in the livelihoods of the people who depend on and interact with the region’s ecological systems.Dist: SOC or INT; WCult: NW. Fox (04F), Sneddon (05F).

47. The Czech Republic in the New Europe

05S, 06S: D.F.S.P. (Prague, Czech Republic)

This course seeks to develop an understanding of the physical morphology and cultural landscape of the contemporary Czech Republic. Special attention will be given to the dialectic of transnational integration and decentralist reaction common in Europe today.

Prerequisites: Geography 1 or 3 and one course numbered between 12 and 41, or permission of the instructor. A minimum of one methods course (Geography 10, 11, 55, 58) is strongly recommended. Dist: SOC. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: EU. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: W. Magilligan/Domosh (05S) Forest(06S).


52. Urban Applications of GIS

05S, 06S:2

This course is about how to use GIS technology to solve urban problems. The application problems that will be discussed in the class are from areas including urban planning and design, public administration, business decision-making, environment assessment, landuse change, and social and political issues. The data, spatial analytical techniques, and GIS software that have been used in these applications will be examined through studying real- world examples. The class contains three components: the lectures, the lab exercises and the term project. The software packages used for the lab exercises include ArcGIS and MapInfo. Prerequisite: Geography 58. Dist: TAS. Shi.

55. Remote Sensing (Identical to Earth Sciences 55)

05W: 10A; Laboratory: W 1:00-4:00 or Th 1:00-4:00

Remote sensing involves the acquisition of information about the earth from airborne and spaceborne sensors. Both vector (GIS and GPS) and raster (image data will be treated with an emphasis on their interpretation for various geographic and earth science applications. A significant part of the course will be devoted to practical exercises; there will be a final project involving the computer processing and interpretation of these data.

Prerequisite: Geography 3 or Earth Sciences 1, 2, 5, or 6. Dist: TLA. Birnie (Earth Sciences).

58. Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

04F, 05S, 05F, 06S: 12

Geographical information systems (GIS) are computer-based systems that process and answer questions about spatial data relative to concerns of a geographic nature. This course focuses on the basic principles of GIS, including data capture and manipulation, methods of spatial interpolation, and GIS trends and applications. The course is not intended to train students to be GIS operators; rather, to explain the fundamentals of this rapidly growing technology. A series of laboratory exercises will expose the students to GIS systems. Dist: TAS. Shi.

59. Environmental Applications of GIS

05W, 06W: 12

This course focuses on the uses of GIS techniques in solving practical environmental problems. The ideas of how GIS can be applied to various fields of environmental studies and applications will be presented, and this is achieved through examining real application examples concerning soils, watershed hydrology, vegetation, landuse/land cover, climate, pollutions, landscape ecology, and natural hazards. The students will also learn fundamental knowledge and techniques required in application projects for solving environmental problems, including the methodology of starting and running such projects, and spatial analytical techniques that are frequently used in such projects. The course is made of three components: the lectures, the lab exercises, and the term project. The software packages used for the lab exercises include ArcGIS and IDRISI. Prerequisite: Geography 58 or Geography/Earth Sciences 55, or permission of the instructor. Dist: TAS. Shi.


80. Seminar in Geography

Not offered in the period from 04F through 06S

This course focuses on topics in advanced human geography that are not regularly taught as part of the curriculum. Course content will vary and reflect the interests and expertise of the instructor. Prerequisite: Geography 1 or permission of the instructor. Dist: SOC.

81. Field Research in the Czech Republic

05S, 06S: D.F.S.P. (Prague, Czech Republic)

This course involves a dozen or so lectures by members of the Charles Geography faculty. These case studies will vary depending (to a degree) on expertise, but might include topics such as: forest decline in the Czech Republic and its relation to industrial pollution, the effect of land-use on sedimentation regimes of the Elbe River and its tributaries, the impact of international migration on sending and receiving nations, comparative research on the spatial organization of industrial production in market and formally-centrally planned economies, the effects of the political division of the Czech and the Slovak Republic on service areas (medical, administrative, etc.) in the border region, the geography of Foreign Direct Investment in the Czech Republic before and after the Velvet Revolution. The goal of the course is to expose students to the research interests of European geographers and to potential topics for their own independent research topics. Fieldwork comprises a significant portion of this course with both human and physical geographical site visits.

Prerequisites: Geography 1 or 3 and one course numbered between 12 and 41, or permission of the instructor. A minimum of one methods course (Geography 10, 11, 55, 58) is strongly recommended. Magilligan, Domosh (05S), Forest (06S).

82. Independent Study in the Czech Republic

05S, 06S: D.F.S.P. (Prague, Czech Republic)

This course offers the qualified student an opportunity to research a topic of special interest in the Czech Republic under the joint direction of a Dartmouth staff member and Charles University staff. This course is taken as part of a three course sequence by FSP participants (Geography 47, 81, 82).

Prerequisites: Geography 1 or 3 and one course from 12-41 or permission of the instructor. Dist: SOC. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: NA. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: W. Magilligan/Domosh (05S), Forest (06S).

85. Advanced Reading in Geography

All terms: Arrange

This course offers the qualified student an opportunity to pursue a subject of special interest under the direction of a member of the staff. An outline for the reading program must be approved by the instructor prior to the first day of classes of the term in which it is to be taken. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor and the Chair.

87. Senior Thesis

All terms: Arrange

A thesis on a geographic topic selected by the student with the instructor’s approval.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor and the Chair. Open to seniors, and required of honors majors. The staff.

90. Research in Geography

04F, 05F: 10A

This capstone course exposes students to the elements of conducting geographic research. Students synthesize their knowledge of geography by exploring the epistemological and methodological foundations of geographic research. The course involves the preparation of a research proposal on a topic each student chooses in consultation with the geography faculty.

Prerequisites: Geography 1 or 3, two courses from Social Science 10 (or equivalent), Geography 11, Geography 55/58, or permission of the instructor. Dist: SOC. Domosh.