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Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach, Chair 305 E. 23rd Street • CLA 3.306 • A3100 • Austin, Tx 78712 • 512-232-1595

Course Descriptions

GRG 301C • The Natural Environment

37415-37465 • Ramos Scharrón, Carlos E.
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm FAC 21
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This course deals with the Natural Environment, and focuses on the Geological Materials, Soils,
and Landforms at the Earth's surface, with emphasis on the various processes that create and modify the
landscapes of continental areas.

GRG 301K • Weather And Climate

37475 • Kimmel Jr., Troy M.
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm JES A121A
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Our study of weather and climate is intended for Geography majors and all others interested in a broad brush examination of the atmospheric and climatic sciences. This study will be introductory in nature with only a very basic use of mathematics. We will start with a study of meteorology. From this foundation, we will go into the different aspects of the atmosphere and then, later, into climatological matters and discuss the various climatic regimes including that of Texas and the local area.

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GRG 305 • This Human World: Intro To Grg

37530-37535 • Adams, Paul C.
Meets TTH 930am-1100am JES A121A
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Course Description

This course focuses on learning why things are where they are and the processes that underlie spatial patterns. These processes are fundamentally cultural: they involve a complex mix of folk culture, popular culture, communication, religion, demography, industry and urbanization, so the course touches on all of these topics. The course also looks at the indications of human-induced environmental changes, including pollution, resource depletion, and the transformation of ecosystems. It concludes with an introduction to the range of career opportunities for people with training in geography.

Grading Policy

Final grades will be based on a combination of three exams (worth approximately 45% of the total grade), three projects (worth approximately 25% of the total grade) and participation (worth approximately 30% of the total grade).

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GRG 307C • Introduction To Urban Studies

37540 • Heyman, Rich
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm CLA 1.104
(also listed as URB 301)
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A multidisciplinary study of cities and complex urban environments; historical and contemporary issues from both national and international perspectives.

May be counted toward the cultural diversity flag requirement.


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GRG 326 • Regions & Cultures Of Europe

37545 • Jordan, Bella B.
Meets MWF 200pm-300pm BUR 220
(also listed as EUS 346, REE 345)
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A systematic introduction to geography of all regions of Europe, from Iceland to Sicily and European Russia and Finland to Bretagne and Galicia. The course is based on a renowned textbook by Alexander B. Murphy, Terry G. Jordan-Bychkob and Bella Bychkova Jordan and focuses on all the major aspects of the European makeup: its physical, economics, political, and cultural geography, geolinguistics and environmental issues. Special attention is given to such issues as expansion of the European Union and NATO, problems associated with immigration and ethnic tensions, challenges of multiculturalism and intergration. A significant portion of the class is dedicated to the analysis of the evolution of the European civilization during the last two millennia and resulting geographical patterns in modern Europe.

Requirements and Grading:

The grade is based on 3 exams

GRG 333C • Severe And Unusual Weather

37550 • Kimmel Jr., Troy M.
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm GAR 1.126
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The course examines the principles and techniques of atmospheric science and the applications to the study of severe and unusual weather events and patterns. This course will include a thorough examination (often in real time through the use of the internet) of thunderstorms, tornadoes, flash floods, hailstorms, winter storms, tropical cyclones as well as drought. In addition to study of the events themselves, a look at the climatology of severe and unusual weather across the United States, Texas as well as our own south central Texas region will be undertaken. How these atmospheric events affect human beings and how people respond to these events will also be examined.

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GRG 335N • Landscape Ecology

37555 • Young, Kenneth R.
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm CLA 3.102
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Landscape ecology is the study of spatial patterns in the Earth's biosphere and of the processes that produce those patterns. Landscapes can be defined in many ways and at many scales but in this course we will focus on landscapes at the level of a human observer. This interdisciplinary approach draws from ecology and geography, but it is also a perspective increasingly shared by hydrologists, foresters, wildlife biologists, social scientists, landscape architects, and others. We will examine the current state of knowledge and research on the patches and corridors that constitute landscape mosaics. We will cover the possible causal explanations for landscape heterogeneity from geographical and ecological points of view. Finally, we will explore practical applications of landscape ecology to the study of natural environments and those managed or altered by human activities. 

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GRG 336 • Contemp Cultural Geography

37560 • Zonn, Leo E.
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm CLA 2.606
(also listed as URB 354)
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see syllabus

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GRG 336 • Contemp Cultural Geography

37563 • Heyman, Rich
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm CLA 1.302D
(also listed as URB 354)
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Recent theoretical developments in cultural geography, with a focus on landscapes and the everyday practices that imbue them with meaning; the ways those meanings are contested and are the foci of struggle; and how the relationship between culture and space plays a central role in the social construction of identity.

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.

May be counted toward the writing flag requirement. May be counted toward the cultural diversity flag requirement. May be counted toward the independent inquiry flag requirement.


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GRG 336C • National Parks/Protected Areas

37565 • Meyer, Thoralf
Meets TTH 500pm-630pm CLA 1.108
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The history, purpose, and meaning of national parks (and preserves, refuges, and other publicly protected natural areas), from their inception at Yellowstone in 1872 to their present global distribution. Emphasis is on key management issues and dilemmas in the parks today; and the adoption and modification of Western notions of nature preservation within non-Western cultural settings.

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.

GRG 337 • The Modern American City

37570 • Heyman, Rich
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm CLA 1.102
(also listed as URB 352)
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Issues facing residents of United States cities, such as transportation and housing, poverty and crime, metropolitan finance, environmental and architectural design; historical/comparative urban evolution.

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.

May be counted toward the cultural diversity flag requirement.

SAME AS ARC 350R (TOPIC 1) , URB 352 (TOPIC 1). 

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GRG 338C • Riv/Landscp: Fluvial Geomorph

37575 • Latrubesse, Edgardo M.
Meets TTH 930am-1100am CLA 3.102
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Drainage basin evolution and channel adjustment, variability of river systems in differing geomorphic regimes, relationships between fluvial systems and other components of physical geography, and the role of humans as geomorphic agents.

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing; and Geography 301C or Geological Sciences 401, or the equivalent.

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GRG 339 • Process Geomorphology

37580 • Latrubesse, Edgardo M.
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm CLA 1.402
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Analysis of geomorphic processes and their effects on landform development.

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing, and credit or registration for Geography 301C or Geological Sciences 401.

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GRG 341K • Landscps Of Mex & Carib Amer

37585 • Doolittle, William E.
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm CLA 0.128
(also listed as LAS 330)
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The natural regions and cultural landscapes of Mexico, Central America, and the West Indies. Latin American Studies 322 and 330 may not both be counted unless the topics vary.

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GRG 344K • Global Food, Farming, & Hunger

37590 • Torres, Rebecca M.
Meets TTH 500pm-630pm CLA 1.102
(also listed as LAS 330)
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Examination of contemporary transformations in global agro-food systems, with emphasis on the current paradox of epidemic obesity in some parts of the world and enduring hunger in others. Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.

GRG 350K • Geographies Of Globalization

37595 • Faria, Caroline
Meets MWF 1200pm-100pm CLA 0.128
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Examines the cultural, economic, political and geopolitical aspects of globalization in the U.S. and the rest of the world. We begin by understanding the rise of capitalism and its evolution into a modern world system and then look into its contemporary reincarnation as globalization. We examine theories and policies of globalization and look into specific issues like, outsourcing of jobs, sweat shops, spread of Wal-Mart, rising income inequality in the US and abroad, conflict and war.

Course will be taught by Dr. Caroline Faria

GRG 356 • Wtr Res: Latin Amer/Caribbean

37605 • Ramos Scharrón, Carlos E.
Meets TTH 930am-1100am SRH 1.320
(also listed as LAS 330)
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Water is a vital asset in the natural resource arsenal of any country as abundant clean water is essential for ecosystem sustenance, agricultural and industrial production, sustainable fisheries, the generation of electricity, transportation, adequate sanitation, tourism, and to fulfill many other human needs. However, the distribution of an adequate and clean water supply is very variable in place and time as it not only depends on climatic conditions, geologic substrate, land cover, and topographic controls, but also on human uses and demands.  The variability of landscapes, climatic regions, and anthropogenic activities found throughout Latin America and the Insular Caribbean provide an adequate platform to explore the complex issues related to water resource accessibility and protection in light of the undeniable challenges to be faced in the upcoming decades due to climate change. Some of the topics to be discussed during this course will include issues related to water abundance such as desertification, incidence of drought, deglaciation, and saline intrusions into groundwater resources resulting from sea level rise. The course will also cover topics associated to contamination of both fresh and ocean waters by agricultural practices, cattle ranching, mining, urban expansion, and deforestation. Special attention will be given to the proliferation of dams and their physical, ecological, and human impacts. Case studies from various countries will be studied through qualitative and quantitative approaches with particular emphasis on water governance and adaptation measures at the national and community levels

Topics include environmental assessment methods and techniques, the conservation movement, and climate and people.

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.

Course number may be repeated for credit when the topics vary.


GRG 356T • Internship & Service Learning

37610 • Akins, Erick
Meets W 600pm-900pm CLA 0.128
(also listed as URB 360)
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Prerequisite: Varies with the topic and is given in the Course Schedule.

Additional hour(s) to be arranged. Restricted enrollment; contact the department for permission to register for this class. Course number may be repeated for credit when the topics vary.

Prerequisite: Urban Studies 301 and 315, and upper-division standing or consent of instructor.


GRG 356T • Society Of Modern Mexico

37612 • Ward, Peter
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm BUR 130
(also listed as LAS 325, MAS 374, SOC 335, URB 354)
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This course seeks to understand Mexico through three lenses. First to introduce students to modern Mexico - its geography, economy, polity and society, and to examine in detail the nature and the forces of change that have impacted so dramatically upon the country during the past two decades. Second, we will examine Mexico-US bi-lateral relations both historically as well as in the contemporary sphere. Third, our lens will focus attention upon “Mexico Here”, and will analyze the dramatic Hispanic “rise” in the USA since 1990, with a special emphasis upon the ways in which the minority majority of Mexicans and Mexican Americans are shaping our own society, economy and polity of central Texas.

The first half of the course will offer an overview of the modern Mexico – its economic and political opening, challenges of overcoming poverty, and more recently the instability born of the drug cartels. Here too we will examine the key bilateral issues between the two countries: immigration reform; insecurity; and economic integration.  The second half of the course is designed to analyze the demographic and socio-cultural changes and policy challenges that Mexican-origin populations confront today in here Central Texas: in education, health care, citizenship aspirations, access to housing, justice and human rights and wellbeing. The aim is to gain a more sensitive and nuanced awareness of how Mexican populations specifically, and Hispanic populations more generally, are transforming the cultural and political landscape of Texas and the US, in order to offer a broad-brush introduction that will allow us consider the public policy dilemmas and imperatives that we have to confront today.

The course will comprise a substantial writing component including three essays. In class participation is expected, and in addition an important element of the class assessment will comprise two group projects about how Mexicans and Mexican-American identities are shaping politics, society & culture (broadly defined) here in Central Texas. There will be one midterm exam, but no final.


Essays and Papers 40%

Participation 25%

Mid-term 15%

Group Projects 20%


GRG 356T • Northern Lands And Cultures

37615 • Jordan, Bella B.
Meets MW 400pm-530pm BUR 130
(also listed as EUS 346, REE 345)
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Designed to develop a geographical understanding of the Circumpolar region of the North, an ancient human habitat and a home to distinct, millenia old, civilizations. These indigenous Arctic cultures and livelihoods are being constantly challenged by modern industrial powers, and the clash between two contesting realities is profound. Emphasis is given to a historical geographical perspective on the major processes forming cultural and natural landscapes (including global warming), and influence society, economy, spiritual life and politics. Regions include: Alaska, the Canadian northern territories, Scandinavian North, including Sapmi (Lapland), Iceland, Greenland, the Russian North, and Siberia.

Requirements and Grading

The final grade for the course is based on 3 exams

GRG 356T • Geography Of Media

37620 • Adams, Paul C.
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm CLA 1.102
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Explores the media from a geographical perspective. Geography 356T (Topic: Geography of Media) and 356T (Topic 7) may not both be counted.

Prerequisite: Varies with the topic and is given in the Course Schedule. Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.

Course number may be repeated for credit when the topics vary.

GRG 357 • Medical Geography

37625 • Elkins, Jules R.
Meets TTH 930am-1100am CLA 1.108
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The geographic distribution, expansion, and contraction of the infectious diseases that have the greatest influence in shaping human societies today: malaria, AIDS, and others.

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.

GRG 360G • Envir Geographic Info Systems

37630-37645 • Miller, Jennifer A.
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm CLA 0.128
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This course introduces basic concepts underlying geographic information systems and science (GIS), including related or integrated technologies and applications such as global positioning systems (GPS), cartography, and spatial analysis. It combines an overview of the general principles of GIS with a theoretical treatment of the nature and issues associated with the use of spatial environmental information. Although the course has a laboratory component that introduces students to the most commonly used GIS software package, the focus is on the “science behind the software” (eg, types and implications of functions and analysis, rather than just how to do the analysis).

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GRG 366K • Biogeography

37650 • Young, Kenneth R.
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm CLA 3.102
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Contemporary patterns of plant and animal distribution, and the environmental and historical processes affecting them.

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing and three semester hours of coursework in physical geography or one of the geological or natural sciences.

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GRG 368C • Spatial Anly/Geograph Info Sys

37655 • Miller, Jennifer A.
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm CLA 1.402
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In this course we will explore in greater depth and breadth spatial analysis concepts introduced in GRG 360G (or similar intro GIS course). The course addresses ‘spatial problem solving’ by focusing on both the theoretical/conceptual and practical aspects of GIS modeling and spatial statistics.

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GRG 470C • Advanced Geographic Info Sys

37665 • Arima, Eugenio
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm CLA 3.102
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Geographic Information Systems (GIS) modeling capabilities have been used to inform and support decision making in the management of watersheds and parks, in the design of emergency evacuation plans, among others. Advanced GIS will cover a wide range of modeling applications using rasters, including watershed drainage analysis, ecological corridors and least cost path analysis. Students will also be introduced to analytical tools such as spatial data interpolation techniques, fuzzy set analysis, and location/allocation analysis. Hands-on experience will be provided through weekly labs and final project

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GRG 373F • Field Techniques

37670 • Doolittle, William E.
Meets MWF 1200pm-100pm CLA 3.102
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Geographers sitting in their offices frequently find themselves lacking the right type of data to deal with a specific problem at hand. This is the case for practitioners holding a bachelor's degree and working in the private sector as well as for academicians holding doctoral degrees and teaching at comprehensive research universities. For example, a geographer employed by a firm designing a retirement community may be faced with a problem such as assessing a series of possible sites on which to build the swimming pool. Maps and aerial photographs may be available, but do they contain sufficiently detailed information about the soils, geology, slope, vegetation, hydrology, and cultural features such as historic structures, wells, fences or walls? And, how are these items or conditions spatially distributed in absolute terms and relative to each other? Or, consider a scholar investigating the expansion cacao cultivation in the rainforests of southern Brazil. How does she or he distinguish fields from forest? Cacao, after all, is a tree which grows in the shade of taller trees, and, accordingly, farmers do not clear-cut the forest before planting their crop. And, what about the composition(s) of the "natural" environment(s) and that (those) of the fields? What about the sizes and shapes of the fields, and socio-economic characteristics of the farmers? The only way to get these data are to go into "the field," and to use certain techniques.

This course introduces advanced geography students to a number of various techniques used in gathering field data. It does not deal with every technique nor does it go into great detail on any one.  It does, however, offer the basics of certain types of data collection, and, in so doing, it provides a foundation on which more advanced study--either formally through other classes, or informally through self-training--can be undertaken.

The course is divided into two parts, each dealing with different types of techniques, and each with different levels of supervision.  The first part of the course deals with mapping, the most fundamental of geographic activities. Students learn how to collect data with a clearly spatial dimensions. They begin by using some very simple instruments and progress to using the latest electronic surveying equipment. Emphasis is placed on mapping small areas largely because data at this scale are usually what geographers do not already possess, and, therefore, need. Also, working at this scale gives students a first-hand appreciation for, or at least a "taste" of, the processes involved in collecting data portrayed on existing maps of various scales. Instruction during this first half of the semester is very focused; students are closely supervised.

The second part of the course focuses on the collection of various types of environmental data that can be mapped. Emphasis here is placed on both "natural" data used most often, but not exclusively, by so-called "physical geographers," and "cultural" data commonly used by so-called "human geographers." Also, techniques for determining past as well as current conditions are covered in order for students to assess changing geographies. Instruction during the second half of the semester is less supervised than in the first half. Students are given a great deal of liberty to hone their skills at making professional judgements.

The focus of this course is on landscapes, especially those that are material and visible. Instruction includes some classroom lectures and several outdoor exercises. This course involves hands-on experience. Students can expect to be hot, cold, dirty, and wet, and exposed to some health risks. Research methods, project formulation, laboratory data analyses, and cartography are not be part of this course. This course deals exclusively with outdoor data collection techniques.

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