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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 301K • Weather And Climate

36530 • Kimmel Jr., Troy M.
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm JES A121A
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Course Description

An introductory look at weather and climate, this course will include a thorough discussion of atmospheric processes, clouds, precipitation (types), air masses, frontal boundaries, introductory discussions of severe local storms (and their offspring) and tropical cyclones as well as the climatology of these weather systems. Also included will be a brief introduction to the Koppen Climatic Classification System along with discussions of climatological processes, regimes, and climate change.

 

GRG 305 • This Human World: Intro To Grg

36570-36610 • Heyman, Rich
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm WCH 1.120
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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).

GRG 319 • Geography Of Latin America

36620 • Knapp, Gregory W.
Meets TTH 930am-1100am CLA 0.128
(also listed as LAS 319)
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Course Description

This course is a general introduction to Latin American environments and peoples from a geographical perspective. There are no prerequisites, and an effort is made to make the material accessible to the broadest possible range of students, as citizens and future leaders. At the same time, more advanced students can benefit from the exploration of such topics as landforms, ecology, environmental hazards, Native American lifeways and resource management, the insertion of Latin America in the global economy, population, cities, sustainable development, geopolitics, frontiers, conservation, and cultural survival. The class can serve as a basic preparation for travel, business, government service, journalism or volunteer work in Latin America, as well as for elementary or secondary school teaching.

This course can be used toward a major or minor in either Geography or Latin American Studies. In the Geography major, the course meets the human geography core requirement, and is also appropriate for students taking the Cultural Geography, Environmental Resource Management, and General Geography tracks. The course can be used to meet the Area B requirement for the Colleges of Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences. This course may not be used towards the Area C requirement (some other courses in geography do meet this requirement). All students are required to take the final exam.

Grading Policy

Exams test knowledge of locations (with map questions), concepts, explanations, and solutions. The tests contain objective, map, and short-answer essay type questions. The student is responsible for all the material in the readings, assigned web pages, and lectures, including maps and other graphics, but the lectures are most important. Quizzes are handed out at the beginning of several lectures.

Quizzes & Attendance (15%) Three Exams (60%) Project (details to be announced in class) (25%).

GRG 320K • Land And Life: Amer Southwest

36625 • Doolittle, William E.
Meets MWF 1200pm-100pm CLA 1.102
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This course is a historical geography of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, the arid southwest quadrant of the North American continent. Focus is on two subtopics.

  1. The ways of life of the "Native Americans," "Spaniards," and "Anglos." Emphasis is placed on subsistence or economic activities of the respective people as they are influenced by the bio-physical environment, technology, demographics, and culture.
  2.    
  3. The effects or changes that successive peoples had on the environment and earlier residents (e.g., how the Spanish mission system affected native cultural ecologies and landscapes) are similarly elucidated.

This course is designed for students in history, anthropology, education, Latin American Studies, American Studies, and Mexican-American Studies, as well as geography. It is intended to provide an understanding of the processes that create geographically identifiable regions. 

GRG 327 • Geog Of Former Soviet Union

36635 • Jordan, Bella B.
Meets MWF 200pm-300pm PAR 301
(also listed as REE 345)
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This course is designed to give a deeper understanding of the Post-Soviet space, focusing on the major geographic factors that define this enormous Eurasian realm, including modern and historical cultural landscapes, economy and politics of the region, demography and health, religious cultures, environmental crises, contested territories, and the most recent geopolitical developments in the region.

Readings:

A Geography of Russia and Its Neighbors. By Mikhail S. Blinnikov. 2011, NY: The Gifford Press.

Grading requirements:

1)    Students must take 2 exams, each worth 25% of the totals grade.

2)    Students will prepare an oral presentation on a topic related to the term paper and approved by the instructor. The presentation’s length should not exceed 15 minutes.

3)    Students will write a term paper, worth 30% of the final grade. The paper must be

10-12 pages long, double-spaced, typed in 12-point font. The bibliography should contain scholarly publications, including books and articles from peer-reviewed journals. 

Course prerequisite: Upper division standing.

GRG 333C • Severe And Unusual Weather

36645 • Kimmel Jr., Troy M.
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm ART 1.120
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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.

Grading Policy

400 points possible during the semester:
Three Regular Exams (100 points each)
Attendance / Homework / Exercises (100 points total)
Attendance Taken On A Daily Basis and Used in Final Computation of Grade

GRG 333K • Climate Change

36650 • Beach, Timothy
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm CLA 3.102
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Course Description:

This course will survey the causes of changes in climatic systems over both short and long time periods and their consequences for landscape dynamics, biogeography, land use, sustainability, and vulnerability. The first part of the course will introduce the study of climates from an earth systems approach. Implications of differences in climate for carbon, biodiversity, and humans will be discussed. The second part of the course will look at historical and current climate change trends and controls worldwide, including coverage of the different scientific methods used for studies of these processes. We will build towards developing the expertise to critically evaluate future climate scenarios using environmental and socio-ecological approaches.

Students are expected to read the assigned readings and participate actively in class. The exams will test knowledge, vocabulary, and ability to explain and apply information.  The class projects and writing assignment will work on the ability to synthesize and communicate on scientific issues associated with climate change.

 Prerequisites:

Assumes background from GRG 301C, GRG 301K, or an equivalent course.

GRG 339K • Envir, Devel, & Food Productn

36685 • Doolittle, William E.
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm CLA 0.128
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This course focuses on "indigenously developed" and what used to be call "traditional" farming methods and techniques. Such practices are those not dependent on either fossil fuels, chemical fertilizers, or other external inputs, and hence have been called "Low extenal-input techonolgies" (LEIT). Based on "indigenous technical knowledge" (ITK), they are typically small in scale, involving for the most part the labor of individuals, families, and communities. Emphasis is placed on those systems most commonly used in various parts of the world today and in times past

Agriculture is treated here as the transformation of biophysical, sometimes referred to inappropriately as "natural," environments, into "cultural" environments. It is assessed in regard to both the plants cultivated (crops), and the soil, slope, moisture, and temperature conditions that exist and those that are either modified or created by farmers. The processes involved in the domestication of both crops and landscapes are discussed. Ecological and systematic approaches are taken in order to understand how different agricultural strategies insure continual long-term productivity and stability similar to that characteristic of environments that are not cultivated. Microeconomics is all-important.

The various "agro-ecosystems" are also discussed as economic activities that have highly visible spatial manifestations that result in distinctive "landscapes," and as activities that are dynamic, changing continuously. Development is treated conceptually as a specific type of change, not necessarily as a goal. It is envisaged as improvement in land productivity.  It is the opposite of land degradation. Agricultural features such as terraces and canals are considered "landesque capital." Social, political, and cultural aspects of agriculture and development are not topics dealt with here.

This is not a "how to" course for tree-hugging, granola-eating acolytes of John Muir who wish to remold the world into some unrealistic utopia. It is not intended for students who, like Kinky Friedman, went to Borneo to teach agriculture to people who'd been farming successfully for 2000 years. This course is not about developing "sustainable agriculture," per se.  It does, however, deal with issues of concern in the field of sustainability science, and is intended for students who wish to gain a better understanding of the complexity of human-environment interactions, particularly as they pertain to people feeding themselves. 

GRG 356 • Archaeology Of Climate Change

36690 • Rosen, Arlene
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm SAC 4.174
(also listed as ANT 324L)
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Climate change has impacted human societies over the course of human

existence on the planet. It has played a role in everything from hominin evolution to the rise and

fall of civilizations through to the present day economic and ethical decision-making. In this

course we will examine why climate changes, the methods for recording climate change, and

discuss case studies of the varied responses of past human societies to climate change in different

geographic regions and time periods with varying socio-political and economic systems. We will

explore aspects of resilience and rigidity of societies and issues of environmental sustainability

in the past as well as the present. Finally we will compare and contrast modern responses to

climate change on a global scale with those of past societies.

Goals: To familiarize students with the evidence for climate change and methods of climate

change research; to increase their understanding of the social, economic and technological issues

human societies faced in the past when dealing with climate change. To understand what were

adaptive and maladaptive human strategies. To help students evaluate the modern politics and

social responses to climate change. On successful completion of this course a student should

understand how climate change is recorded and the basic climatic record for the period of human

occupation of the earth. To be familiar with current debates about how human societies adapt to

climate change. To be able to think critically about issues and arguments proposed in the

literature, and to write a coherent essay arguing a point of view.

GRG 356 • Environmental Health

36695 • MOORE, BARBARA E
Meets T 600pm-900pm CPE 2.204
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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

Taught by Arlene Rosen 

GRG 356 • Water & Watersheds

36700 • Ramos Scharrón, Carlos E.
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm JES A215A
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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

Taught by Arlene Rosen 

GRG 356 • Children's Envirnmntl Hlth

36703 • Elkins, Jules R.
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm CMA 3.114
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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

Taught by Arlene Rosen 

GRG 356T • Primate Conservation

36705 • Hopkins, Mariah E.
Meets TTH 930am-1100am SAC 4.174
(also listed as ANT 348K)
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This course surveys the theory and practices of conservation

biology, as applied specifically to primates. Topics will include species and community

characteristics influencing extinction risk, current threats to primates, and potential

conservation strategies.

Prerequisites: This is an upper division course. Prior background in physical

anthropology or ecology is recommended, but not required. Ability to perform basic

algebra is necessary.

GRG 356T • Gis/Rem Sns Archaeol/Paleo

36725 • Reed, Denné N.
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm CLA 1.402
(also listed as ANT 324L)
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 This course surveys archeological and paleontological applications of remotely sensed data such as aerial

photography and satellite imagery for use in locating field sites, planning field logistics and conducting landscape

analysis. The remote sensing component of the course covers remote sensing data acquisition, image georectification,

image processing and classification.

The GIS component of the course builds on the remote sensing component and adds to it the analysis of map features

stored in databases. The course introduces databases theory and practice, and moves through the various stages

of GIS workflow: the planning and design of GIS projects, building geospatial datasets, various methods of geospatial

analysis and a short introduction to map layouts and reports.

This course covers GIS and remote sensing from an applied perspective and students are expected to invest lab time

in completing tutorials on GIS and RS methods as well as applying these methods to individual projects.

Prerequisites and Expectations:  This course is designed to compliment ANT 324L Digital Data Systems in

Archeology, which has a greater emphasis on data acquisition and field methods. This is NOT an introductory

course in GIS and remote sensing . This is an accelerated course is GIS and RS fundamentals. There are no enforced

prerequisites, but students should have a comfortable working knowledge of computers and an introductory

GIS or remote sensing course is recommended but not required.

GRG 360G • Envir Geographic Info Systems

36740-36755 • Arima, Eugenio
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm 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).

GRG 368C • Spatial Anly/Geograph Info Sys

36770 • Miller, Jennifer A.
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm 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.

GRG 374 • Frontiers In Geography

36785 • Zonn, Leo E.
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm CLA 0.108
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Course Objective and Subjects

The primary objective of this course is to provide you a ‘working understanding’ of the contemporary nature of Geography, which means I am interested in considering Geography as it is practiced. My department expects this course, Frontiers in Geography, to be a ‘capstone’ experience, although none of us really knows what that means. It can be interpreted in a variety of ways and the faculty of our department have tried many of them while teaching this course, based to a great extent upon their own respective personal and academic histories, styles, personalities, and general sense of what is important and what is not. None of them are wrong.

The route I have chosen is a ‘working understanding’, which it is hoped, will complement and supplement what you have been studying for these last few years.

I begin with the simplest of questions—What is Geography?—and then provide a set of fundamentals that will help answer the question, thus providing a ‘working’ understanding:

 It is a set of concepts

 It is a frame for study

 It is a discipline

 It is a university subject

 It is a job

1)  Concepts. In this section we provide an overview of the nature of the discipline—“what are the fundamental precepts that define Geography?” To some extent this is a summary and gathering together of ideas that surround what you have been doing for the last few years as a Geography major. At the same time it is my opportunity to stress my favorite geo-concept: Place, perhaps along with space, its little stepsister.

2) Frame. We use these concepts to help frame our study of geographic processes, especially in terms of the patterns of human activity. Such a framing will help illuminate the essences of these processes.  For the purposes of this class we will focus primarily on ‘place’ in research focused on the example of tourism. The focus of your final capstone paper and most of your readings will be here, therefore, on the subject called “A Geography of Tourism”, framed within the concept of place.

3) Discipline. We will discuss Geography as a contemporary academic discipline in terms of its history, associations, journals, and departments.

4) University. The heart and history of a discipline begins with the university. Here we will talk about the contemporary nature of the American University, especially in this contentious political and economic era; issues of note at the national, state, and UT levels will be discussed.  We do so to understand the home of Geography, but we will spend time on issues that may not have immediate relevance to our discipline.

5) Job. Several of you will be disappointed that this course is not centered on getting you a job.  In fact, we won’t spend much time on the subject at all.  Why?  Because basically it is not within my purview; the truth be known, I don’t know much about that subject, which is true of most of my colleagues.  This goes back to our subject of the University (above); more on that later. But we will not ignore it.  We will work on your resumes, discuss ways you can aggressively engage the lousy market out there, consider issues of cover letters and interviewing, and we will bring people into the classroom who can help provide us some practicalities of the search.  We will also discuss graduate school.  Here I can help much more, although if the past is any predictor fewer than five or six of you will be immediately interested.  We’ll play that one by ear.

The discussion of these five issues will be linear in the most general sense, but because they are often so closely intertwined we will integrate them at times. Also, I cannot assign a specific amount of time for each subject—although the system often asks that I do—because we reserve the right to spend more or less time on individual subjects as we see fit, once we are there. No worries; it will work.

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