GRG 301K • Weather And Climate
• Kimmel Jr., Troy M.
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm JES A121A
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
• Heyman, Rich
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm WCH 1.120
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.
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 309 • Israel: Space/Place/Landscape
• Weinreb, Amelia
Meets TTH 800am-930am CLA 0.118
(also listed as ANT 310L, J S 311, MES 310)
This multidisciplinary, interactive workshop is designed to foster dialog, debate and creative projects between lower-division undergraduate students with interests in Jewish Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, Anthropology, and Geography.
The core component of this class is the final project. Following the introductory unit, teams of students will then propose one site, space, place or landscape in Israel/Palestine to explore in depth, and propose a conceptual framework for doing so. Each team will be responsible for exploring social, cultural, political, phenomenological, aesthetic and affective processes related to the site they have selected. This experimental seminar is for students who want to experience a collaborative learning environment, gain a set of multidisciplinary analytic skills, learn about space in Israel, interact with students who may have different disciplinary and political viewpoints, and want to learn and write about space, spatiality and spatialization.
Hot Middle Eastern breakfast beverages served in class!
GRG 310C • Spatial Data And Analysis
• Mishra, Niti Bhushan
Meets TTH 930am-1100am PAR 306
This is an entry level course that will prepare the student for higher level courses in geographic methods and techniques. The course content consists of a series of modules designed to cover topics common to courses in Cartography, Geographic Information Science, Field Techniques, and Remote Sensing of the Environment.
We will examine quantitative and qualitative methods of sampling, representing, classifying, and analyzing geographic phenomena. We will examine conceptions of temporal and spatial scale, location, distance and direction, and examine a broad range of geographic research methods. Specific topics will include earth shape, gravitational and magnetic fields, map projections, coordinate systems, surveying and navigation, measurements and errors, spatial statistics, and spatial analysis.
Classes will consist of lectures and discussions of the readings. Students will complete ten exercises, a mid-term examination and a final examination.
GRG 319 • Geography Of Latin America
• Knapp, Gregory W.
Meets TTH 930am-1100am CLA 0.128
(also listed as LAS 319)
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.
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 327 • Geog Of Former Soviet Union
• Jordan, Bella B.
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm BUR 130
(also listed as REE 345)
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.
A Geography of Russia and Its Neighbors. By Mikhail S. Blinnikov. 2011, NY: The Gifford Press.
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
• Kimmel Jr., Troy M.
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm CLA 1.106
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.
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
• Rudow, Joshua
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm CLA 1.108
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.
Assumes background from GRG 301C, GRG 301K, or an equivalent course.
GRG 339K • Envir, Devel, & Food Productn
• Doolittle, William E.
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm GDC 1.406
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 360G • Envir Geographic Info Systems
• Miller, Jennifer A.
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm CLA 0.128
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 373F • Field Techniques
• Doolittle, William E.
Meets MWF 1200pm-100pm CLA 3.102
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.
GRG 374 • Frontiers In Geography
• Zonn, Leo E.
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm CLA 1.102
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.