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

Eliot M Tretter

Lecturer Ph.D., John Hopkins University

Eliot M Tretter

Contact

Biography

Dr. Elliot Tretter reserach intrests are The Political Economy of Culture; The Politics of Urban Renewal; The History and Philosophy of Geography; Race and Memory; Social Theory, Scale.

Interests

I am presently writing a manuscript about the history and geography of Austin. I have an article on race and memory appearing in Professional Geography, and others in Antipode and the Journal of Urban Affairs. My research interests include the political economy of culture, the politics of urban renewal, the history of geographic thought, racism, social theory, scale, and sustainability and I have a regional specialty in both Northern Europe and the Southern United States.

GRG F337 • The Modern American City

84695 • Summer 2012
Meets MTWTHF 1000am-1130am GRG 312
(also listed as URB F352 )
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Course Description

This course explores issues facing residents of U.S. cities, such as transportation and housing, poverty and crime, metropolitan finance, environmental and architectural design; It also examines historical/comparative urban evolution.

Course Objectives

At the end of this course, students will be able to

  • identify and explain how current struggles in American cities are connected to key social, spatial,economic, and political changes that have occurred over the past thirty years.
  • understand and explain how key social, spatial, economic, and political changes in American cities areconnected to the current economic crisis.

Assignments/Requirements

  • Two 3-page papers (30% of course grade, 15% each)
  • Midterm (30% of course grade)
  • Final Exam (40% of course grade)

URB F352 • The Modern American City

84835 • Summer 2012
Meets MTWTHF 1000am-1130am GRG 312
(also listed as GRG F337 )
show description

Course Description

This course explores issues facing residents of U.S. cities, such as transportation and housing, poverty and crime, metropolitan finance, environmental and architectural design; It also examines historical/comparative urban evolution.

Course Objectives

At the end of this course, students will be able to

  • identify and explain how current struggles in American cities are connected to key social, spatial,economic, and political changes that have occurred over the past thirty years.
  • understand and explain how key social, spatial, economic, and political changes in American cities areconnected to the current economic crisis.

Assignments/Requirements

  • Two 3-page papers (30% of course grade, 15% each)
  • Midterm (30% of course grade)
  • Final Exam (40% of course grade)

GRG 305 • This Human World: Intro To Grg

37265-37305 • Spring 2012
Meets MWF 900am-1000am BUR 106
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Human World

GRG 374 • Frontiers In Geography

37652 • Spring 2011
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm GRG 408
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This course is called Frontiers in Geography, which the Department of Geography and the Environment expects to be a capstone experience. “Capstone” means the crowning achievement or culmination, and this class is supposed to signify the "culmination" of your undergraduate career as a geographer. However, what the capstone entails can be interpreted in a variety of ways, and the faculty members of our department have tried (many of them while teaching this course) to define what capstones means to them. The structure and content of this course is, therefore, based to a great extent upon their own respective personal and academic histories, styles, personalities, and, in a more general sense, their conceptions of what is important and what is not. None of them is wrong. The route I have chosen emphasizes the “practice of being a geographer” as the capstone experience.

GRG 374 • Frontiers In Geography-W

37470 • Spring 2010
Meets MWF 1100-1200 GAR 1.126
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A.  Course Purpose and Objective 

This course is called Frontiers in Geography, which the Department of Geography and the Environment expects to be a capstone experience. Capstone 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 emphasizes the ‘practice of being a geographer’ as the capstone experience. What does this mean? It means that we want to think about the engagements between what we shall call your ‘daily lived practices’ and the many nature(s) of geography; my goal is to help you think about geographies of the everyday, both personal and professional, although the two can never be totally separated. The result is a mnemonic of sorts, whereby so much of what you experience reminds you of why you are a geographer, while at the same time the engagement will help you to interpret the world around you with a greater knowledge, curiosity, and appreciation. Will it make you a better citizen?  That one is ultimately your choice, but let’s hope for the best. So, going back to the ‘frontiers’ part, we see that my vision of capstone is one possible frontier in which I try to ensure that what you have learned as a geographer stays with you a while.

The specific objectives of this course that are intended to contribute toward this broader practice are: 1) to use your experience in Geography to construct a substantive research project, which will be in written and presented forms (much more on this later); 2) to get a sense of the nature of the university as geography’s home, while including conversations of ethics, social justice, liberal arts, and other major issues facing the university community as it engages with the world at large; 3) to become familiar with Geography as a discipline; and 4) to talk about engagements of you, geography, and the job world.

B.  Subject Itinerary

Major Subjects

1)  Overview of the nature(s) of the discipline; “what is geography?” and how can it help me write my final paper!           

2) Uses of Geography in understanding contemporary settings and practices, especially the case of tourism. Research subject and papers.

3) Geography as a discipline: associations, journals, and departments. 

4) Where do geographers go? Graduate School, academics, and professions beyond the university

5) Practical matters for the Geographer: the resume, looking for a job, interviewing.

6) Structure and practice of the University: issues of note

 

C.  Grading

Shorter papers                         25 percent of total grade

Final paper/presentation          40 percent of total grade

Participation                            25 percent of total grade

Final Examination                   10 percent of total grade

 

D. Readings

You will be assigned articles during the semester; they are on blackboard.  There is no textbook.

 

E.  Rules—PLEASE READ CAREFULLY!!!!

 

1)  This course will be taught in a seminar format, and so everyone is expected to participate fully. This means that all written work and preparation (readings, etc.) must be done on time, that you participate in our conversations, and that you attend class regularly.

2) So, attendance is expected; less than ideal attendance may have a negative impact on your grade. Please be on time.

3) Don’t ask for my notes or assignments if you miss a lecture.  Get to know your colleagues; share. This is not a zero-sum game.

4) Late assignments are not accepted.

5) All written assignments must be typed and proofed for spelling, typographical errors and major grammatical mistakes.

6) You are expected to complete the readings by the assigned times. There will be classroom discussions of the contents and implications of all that we read, so be prepared!

7) Please, no food, side conversations, or gum popping (argh!!) during class. Drinks (coffee etc.) are cool. And this is a cell-free, twitter-free, et al ZONE!!!! Please turn it off before you enter the room and turn it on only after you’ve left. And if you use your laptop, please, no irrelevant surfing during class.

8) I expect everyone to use e-mail as a form of communication for this class.  I communicate regularly by that medium and I expect you to do the same.  Normally, I will respond to queries and comments within 24 hours.  My home phone is listed above; feel free to use it, at reasonable hours, of course.

9) Everyone is expected to know, accept, and practice the basics of honesty and integrity in all personal and professional dealings in this class.

GRG 374 • Frontiers In Geography-W

37835 • Fall 2009
Meets MW 1200-130pm GRG 408
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Location: Geography Building, Room 424

Professor: Dr. Eliot M. Tretter (etretter@mail.utexas.edu)
Office: GRG 116
Office Phone: 232-6560
Office Hours: M: 11-11:50, or by Appointment

Required Texts:
Godfrey-Smith, Peter 2003.  Theory and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science.  Chicago, University Of Chicago Press.

Punch, Keith F, 2006. Developing Effective Research Proposals. Sage.

Description:  This course is called Frontiers in Geography, which the Department of Geography and the Environment expects to be a capstone experience. “Capstone” means the crowning achievement or culmination, and this class is supposed to signify the "culmination" of your undergraduate career as a geographer.  However, what the capstone entails can be interpreted in a variety of ways, and the faculty members of our department have tried (many of them while teaching this course) to define what capstones means to them.  The structure and content of this course is, therefore, based to a great extent upon their own respective personal and academic histories, styles, personalities, and, in a more general sense, their conceptions of what is important and what is not.  None of them is wrong. The route I have chosen emphasizes the “practice of being a geographer” as the capstone experience. 

But what does that mean? For me, it means that we will think about the engagements among the role of geography, geographers, and geographical inquiry in the context of the wider world, especially in relation to social change.  Most of you have spent some of your time as an undergraduate learning about various theories and methods of geography (learning about the world and how different physical and social aspects of it work). This class is an opportunity to step back and think more broadly about questions like the following: What is geography? What role does it play in society? What is it for? In order to get at some of these questions, the class is organized around two projects — one individual, one group.

The specific objectives of this course that are intended to contribute toward this broader practice are: 1) to become familiar with Geography as a discipline; 2) to construct the basis for a substantive geographical research project;  3) to engage the world with geographical knowledge, which will result in written and oral presentations; 4) to get a sense of the nature of "scientific reasoning" (the general problems of methods and evidence) and issues facing geography, particularly in regards to the relevancy of research.

During the first few weeks of the course, we will survey recent discussions about geography and graphical practice.  Work for this part of the class will consist of a small quiz, which will make up 5% of the course grade.

The majority of the course, and your grade, will consist of two projects that will run consecutively throughout most of the semester. 

    1.  The first project you will do alone.  You will be writing a formal research and grant proposal. The course will examine how to select a topic, establish a research design, do a literature review, and search for funding agencies.  This exercise will show you what goes into a research proposal, how to write them, and what exactly they are for. Students will be responsible for selecting both the topic and a funding institution and for writing an appropriate proposal for a project of their choosing. Students will be required to produce an outline of their project early on and will develop their proposal over the course of the semester in several different stages and drafts. Note: This is not a term paper; you will not be doing very much research on the topic you choose.  The proposal will constitute 40% of the course grade.

    2.  The other project, which will run parallel with the individual project, is a group project with People Organized in Defense of Earth and her Resources (PODER).  Students will have to work in teams on this class research project that helps PODER meet their goals of serving people in the Austin.  The point of this project is to show you how to work in groups and to see ways that geographical knowledge and skills can contribute to a community organization. Work in this part of the class will make up 25% of the course grade and consist of the research outcome.  There will be some time in class to work with your groups, but additional time outside of class will also be required.  

While you are doing these projects outside of class, class readings will focus primarily on the philosophy of science, or scientific reasoning and method.  The class will read a book on the development of scientific thought in the 20th century, and we will also discuss these issues in relation to global climate change.  We will end the courses with a discussion of the importance of the relevancy of geographical and scientific research.  There will be a quiz in this section that will make up 30% of the course grade. 

The remaining 5% of the course grade will be based on general engagement in the course and participation in class activities and discussions. Serious engagement with the issues of the course, as shown through thorough preparation and regular participation in class, is of paramount importance.

Learning Objectives
•    Equip students with the skills needed to make effective presentations
•    Help students develop intellectual tools for critical reading
•    Provide students with tools to make an effective grant proposal.

Grades:  Grades are based on the following criteria.
Group Project - 25%
Grant Proposal - 40%
Two quizzes - 30%
    1st Quiz 5%
    2nd Quiz 25%
Class Participation and Attendance - 5%

Grading: No extra credit will be given.  Letter grades will follow approximately the following scheme:
A+: 100-96    B+: 89-86    C+: 79-76    D+: 69-66    F: Below 60
A: 95-93        B: 85-83        C: 75-73        D: 65-63
A-: 92-90    B-: 82-80    C-: 72-70    D-: 62-60

Required Reading: There are two books required for this course.  They are available at Monkey Wrench Books, on Northloop (53rd Street and Avenue F); they will also be on reserve at the library.  In addition to the books, there will be readings posted on the blackboard.  Please check the syllabus for the correct readings for the class.  All students are expected to read all the material assigned to them; this means the entire book, book section, or article.

Coursework:  There is not much assigned reading for each class period, but you are expected to spend a good deal of time preparing for individual and group projects.  A good rule of thumb is that three to four hours of outside work is necessary for each day of class.  Budget your time accordingly!!  

Final Evaluation:  Your final grade will be based on an assessment of your grant proposal, your group project, quizzes, and in-class participation.

Course Policies: In addition to the normal high standards of courtesy and respect expected in any university classroom, please take note of the following:

Scholastic dishonesty: Students who violate University rules on scholastic dishonesty are subject to disciplinary penalties, including the possibility of failure in the course and/or dismissal from the University. Since such dishonesty harms the individual, all students, and the integrity of the University, policies on scholastic dishonesty will be strictly enforced. For further information please visit the Student Judicial Services Web site: http://deanofstudents.utexas.edu/sjs.

Grade disclosure: All personal information concerning your performance in this course is covered by federal privacy legislation, known as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). No grades or status questions will be provided by telephone or e-mail.

ADA Statement:  The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities.  Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities.  If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) at Student Services Building (SSB), Room 4.1048. The phone number is 471-6259.

Absences: Absence on examination days must be fully justified.  You must telephone the departmental secretary at 471-5116 or e-mail me on the same day as the emergency and follow up with written documentation as per student rules.  I will not provide any make-up examinations for students who do not follow this procedure or do not have documentation. 

Attendance policy:  This class involves informal and informed discussion.  Hence your participation in class is necessary.  Attendance is mandatory and taken at every class.  Three unexcused absences will result in my dropping your final grade by one letter grade; six or more will result in automatic failure. . 

Test-taking rules:
•    No baseball caps or hats
•    No books on the table on under your seat. 
•    ID required
•    There will be no leaving and re-entering the classroom once examinations have been distributed.

 Other Classroom Policies:
•    Cell phones must be turned off.
•    Do not eat food that makes a lot of noise, i.e., potato chips.
•    Do not use computers to surf the Internet during class.

GRG 305 • This Human World: Intro To Grg

36685-36720 • Spring 2009
Meets MWF 900-1000 WEL 2.122
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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 374 • Frontiers In Geography-W

36865 • Spring 2009
Meets MWF 1100-1200 GRG 408
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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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