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

Robin Doughty

Professor Emeritus Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley

Robin Doughty

Contact

Biography

Robin Doughty attended colleges in Italy, England, and the United States.  He received a doctorate in Geography from the University of California at Berkeley, and has been a faculty member in the Department of Geography and the Environment at the University of Texas since 1971.

Doughty has a longstanding interest in wild animals, notably birds. He has written eight books, which include the feather trade and the origins of bird protection, recovery of the endangered whooping crane, the mockingbird as the Texas state bird, plus the impacts of early a settlers on wildlife in the Lone Star State.  Recently, with co-author Rob Fergus, he has completed a book about the life history and human treatment of the purple martin published with UT Press.  Doughty has completed a book-length manuscript to be published by UT Press about conserving the albatross from losses due to longlining.  

Selected Publications

(With Rob Fergus) The Purple Martin. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002, 93 p.  Find it on WorldCat

The Eucalyptus: A Natural and Commercial History of the Gum Tree. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000, 237 p. Find it on WorldCat

(With Barbara M. Parmenter) Endangered Species: Disappearing Animals and Plants in the Lone Star State: Austin: Texas Monthly Press, 1989, 155 p. Find it on WorldCat

The Return of the Whooping Crane. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1989. 182 p. Find it on WorldCat

The Mockingbird. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1988, 80 p. Find it on WorldCat

At Home in Texas: Early Views of the Land. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1987, 164 p. (Texas State Historical Association, Coral H. Tullis Award for best book in Texas history published in 1987/1988; and Summerfield G. Roberts Award for 1988). Find it on WorldCat

(With Larry L. Smith), The Amazing Armadillo: Geography of a Folk Critter. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1984, 134 p. Find it on WorldCat

Wildlife and Man in Texas: Environmental Change and Conservation. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1983, 246 p. Find it on WorldCat

Feather Fashions and Bird Preservation: A Study in Nature Protection. Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press, 1975, 184 p. Find it on WorldCat

Interests

Cultural Geography; Environmental Resource Management; Landscape Ecology and Biogeography

GRG 374 • Frontiers In Geography

37465 • Spring 2010
Meets MWF 300pm-400pm GRG 408
show description

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.

GRG 374 • Frontiers In Geography-W

37476 • Spring 2010
Meets MWF 300pm-400pm GRG 408
show description

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.

GRG 374 • Frontiers In Geography-W

37840 • Fall 2009
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm GRG 408
show description

GRG 374:  Frontiers in Geography:  Fall 2009: Tues/Thurs. 12.30-2 pm in GRG 408.

 

            The course provides majors with the opportunity to think about and discuss the methods and objectives that define geography in order to establish a sense of professional awareness and disciplinary identity.  The course will familiarize participants with the history of geographical inquiry; explore current issues in research, and the directions in which the discipline is heading.  This exposure means reading widely, reviewing and critiquing ideas and methods in order to formulate a personal philosophy of geography. 

            Frontiers is the opportunity for those who are graduating to integrate materials and ideas from different classes and tracks into in a larger framework, including applied geography. Who are you as a geographer?  How do you look at the world from a holistic, ethical and technical point of view?  Can these viewpoints be made compatible?  Accept this challenge, and use it as a unique opportunity to reflect on your accomplishments and burgeoning identity as a citizen of Austin, Texas, the US, and global community.  Use the readings as a starting point for thinking about the personal and professional contributions you are going to make toward resolving the range and scale of environmental issues in today’s world. What topics or ideas in the major you have selected excite you and how do you convey your curiosity and commitment to colleagues and friends?

 

Please come to class prepared.  This is your seminar, and it is important that YOU prepare to summarize and critique the essays thoughtfully. Constructive, energetic, and imaginative discussion is vital if this course is to succeed.

It is YOUR course: I shall be its moderator: So don’t allow me to speak much.

Discussion will be framed around various topics covered by the readings.  As you peruse the materials ask yourself two questions.

1. What is the author telling me about my discipline?

2. What are the strengths and weakness of the particular essay?  Referring both to content and argument, how do I make my own assessment convincing?  Remember an opinion must be based on factual evidence and reasoned discussion, not merely upon belief or opinion. 

 

This course fulfills a Substantial Writing Component.  Assigned papers must be typed, double-spaced, with consistent footnotes and references (unless otherwise instructed).

Any assignment that is turned in late is automatically reduced by one letter grade.

 

Office Hours.  GRG 228 before and after class.

 

Grading

  1. Class attendance and participation (25%) MORE THAN THREE CLASS ABSENCES WILL RESULT IN AN AUTOMATIC LETTER GRADE REDUCTION
  1. A 2-3-page essay that answers ONE of the questions posed for class discussion (30%) Bring the essay to class and refer to it to support and articulate your position.   Submit a total of six (5% each) topics of your own choosing for the entire course.  Hand in each one the day after we discuss the topic.  I will edit, comment, and return each submission to you.  You may resubmit an assignment at any time until the last day of class.  Just mark the paper as a RESUBMIT with initial title, and I will regrade it.
  2. Three pages about Geographical Periodicals (due Sept. 16) (5%)
  3. West Mall commentary (Sept. 25) (5%)
  1. If you were to design a course titled “Geography of ----” what would it consist of?  Provide a one-page handout for the class (15%).
  2. When people ask, “What do you do as a geographer?” what do you say (3-5 pages)?  Provide an explanation of the discipline: your own philosophy of geography that dispels the usual, simple notions about memorizing world capitals (20%)

 

Aug 27 Thurs: Introductory Remarks: a written paragraph.

Sept. 1 Tues: Traditions of Geography.

  • Pattison, William. 1964, “The Four Traditions of Geography,” Journal of Geography 63, 211-16. http://pcift.chadwyck.com/pcift/search
  • Gober, Patricia. 2000.  “In Search of Synthesis,” Annals AAG.91: 1-11.

Discussion

  • Summarize Pattison, justify the “tradition” you prefer, and show how Gober’s synthesis affects your tradition.

 

Sept. 3 Thurs: Traditions of Geography

Meinig, Donald W. “Geography as an Art.” Transactions of the Institute of British                        Geographers. 8 (1983): 314-28  http://www.jstor.org/journals/00202754.html

  • Stilgoe, John R. 1998. Outside Lies Magic, 1-5.

Discussion 

Assess Meinig’s position, and compare it with assumptions about the meaning of the discipline in other classes you have taken.

            Does Stilgoe reinforce the main argument that Meinig is making or not? 

 

Sept. 8 Tues:  No class

·         Consult a recent issue of a Geographical periodical, such as the Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Geographical Review, Historical Geography, Progress in Human Geography, or a similar professional journal.

·         Select ONE article that catches your attention in TWO different issues of the journal you select, and use them both to expand/deepen/diverge from one of Pattison’s Traditions

·         FOR CLASS DISCUSSION List the article title and journal you consulted AND IN TURNING IT IN follow the format OF CITATIONS YOU FIND IN THAT JOURNAL (5%).

 

Sept. 10 Thurs: Discussion of Findings.

            Use what you have learned in your PCL exploration, and from CLASS commentary to hand in a final version on Sept. 15.

 

Sept. 15 Tues:  The Scope: Cultural (or M-L) Geography.

  • Cosgrove, Denis, “Geography is everywhere.”
  • Meinig, Donald.1979. “The Beholding Eye,” in The Interpretation of Ordinary Landscape  (New York: Oxford), pp. 33-47. 

Discussion

  • What is “historical” geography and why does Sauer believe it important?  Do you consider his misgivings about US Midwest geography actually what we would now call an attack on GIS?
  • Summarize Cosgrove and Meinig, and decide whether they add to Sauer’s statement about Geography?  (That is, what does he leave out that they include?)

 

Sept. 17 Thurs: Human-Land Issues: Agents of Environmental Change. 

  • Speth, William W. 1977, “Carl Ortwin Sauer on Destructive Exploitation,” Biological Conservation 11, 145-160.
  • Nye, David E. 2003. “Technology, Nature and American Origin Stories,” Environmental History 8:1: 8-24.
  • Using Speth, to which Master Narrative (Nye) does Sauer belong?  How do we contribute to the debate about environmental change?

 

Sept. 22 Tues: West Mall Discussion—turn in essay (5%).

Having visited the West Mall through one of Meinig’s “eyes”, report your experiences and assessment.  Title your essay and turn it on Sept. 24.

 

Sept. 24 Thurs: Human Agency and Post-Colonial Structures.

Discussion

  • How does Mikesell frame the environmental history of Morocco (summarize) and its ecological issues?  Does Davis (briefly summarize) agree or disagree with him?  Is her assessment more or less convincing: explain your position.

 

Sept. 29 Tues: Human-Land Perception: Deep Ecology and Geography.

  • Tuan, Yi-Fu. 1976.  “Geopiety: Man’s Attachment to Nature.”
  • Merchant, Carolyn. 1992. “Deep Ecology,” in Radical Ecology.

Discussion

  • The so-called White debate sparked twenty years or more of discussion about how religious beliefs relate to in environmental activity.  Is such a topic of value geography?
  • Does Merchant point out new directions for us as geographers: indicate three directions that you would want to defend; maybe Tuan helps here?

 

Oct. 1 Thurs: Spatial Tradition: City and Metropolis.     

             Baudrillard, J. 1985. “Vanishing Point,” in America (NY: Verso) extracts.

  • Soja, Edward. 1989. “Taking Los Angeles Apart: Towards a Postmodern Geography,” in Postmodern Geographies.

Discussion

  • What insights does Baudrillard’s analysis afford in terms commentary and scale,

 and does Soja’s essay agree with his characterization of space?

  •  Can you, “Take Austin Apart”?  Provide a sketch map and commentary.

 

Oct. 6 Tues:  Spatial Traditions: Expressions of Social Power

  • Harvey, David. 1979. “Monument and Myth,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 69:3,362-81. http://www.jstor.org/journals/00045608.html
  • Stratford, Elaine. 2002, “On the Edge: a Tale of Skaters and Urban Governance,” Social and Cultural Geography 3/2, 193-206.

Discussion

  • How do Harvey (summarize) and Stratford (summarize) invest urban spaces with political and social power?  What are the strengths of their arguments, and what do they omit or ignore?  Is what they say relevant to the American experience?

 

Oct. 8 Thurs: Biophysical Processes: Biogeography and Resource Management

  • Cowell, M., and A.J. Parker, 2004. “Biogeography in the Annals,” Annals AAG
  • Young, K. and K. Zimmerer, 1998. Biological Conservation in Developing Countries

Discussion

  • What is biogeography, and how do biogeographical issues differ from resource/economic geog.?
  • Assess the case Young and Zimmerer make for conservation in the Third World?

 

Oct. 13 Tues:  Attitudes toward the Environment: Conservation and Historical Ecology

  • Doughty, R.W. 2000. “Conclusion,” in The Eucalyptus: A Natural and Commercial History.
  • Popper, Deborah and Popper, Frank 1999. “The Buffalo Commons: metaphor as method,” Geographical Review 89:4, 491-510.
  • What does conservation really mean for geographers? What training do we need to have? Draw from the resources track you have been exposed to assess Doughty.
  • Buttimer, Anne. 1985. “Home, Reach, and the Sense of Place,” in Buttimer and Seamon eds. The Human Experience of Place.
  • Relph, Edward, 1993. “The Reclamation of Place,” Orion (winter)

Discussion

      Is the buffalo commons suggestion merely a sidetrack from serious conservation concerns?

 

Oct. 15 Thurs: The Humanistic Vision: Turning Space into Place

Discussion

  • Explain the difference between space and place by summarizing Buttimer.  Does she present a compelling need for this concept?
  • What does Relph mean by “reclaiming’ place?  Can you think of ways to apply any of his ideas in planning or urban geography?

 

Oct. 20 Tues: Hornsby Bend Field Excursion

 

Oct. 22 Thurs: The Author in Geography.

  • Buttimer, Anne. 1989. The Practice of Geography,  (Chap. one).
  • Tuan, Yi-Fu. 1997.  “Alexander Von Humboldt and his Brother.”

Discussion

  • Why does biography matter to Buttimer? Why is it something we need to explore in the discipline?
  • Using Tuan, show how a “good” geographer would tackle a topic of your choice (be specific)?

 

Oct. 27 Tues and 29: Regionalism: Re-inventing the Region?

Readings.

  • Hesse, Herman. 1975. “Description of a Landscape,” in My Belief: Essays on Life and Art.
  • Berry, Wendell. 1972.“The Region,” in A Continuous Harmony.

Discussion

How do Hesse and Berry “guide us” through their regions?  How can we do this as geographers?

            Parmenter, Barbara. 2006. Regions and Regionalism.

            Tall, Deborah, 1993. From Where We Stand. pp. 89-99.

Discussion

  • Do Tall (summarize) and Parmenter (summarize) share much in common?
  • How are the four authors useful guides for illuminating Pattison’s appeal for an area studies tradition?  What can we gain from looking at their vocabulary, themes, and narrative styles?

 

Nov. 3 Tues: Contemporary Issues: Sources Matter, So Does Style.

  • Dan. P. Donaldson. 2001, ”Teaching Geography’s Four Traditions with Poetry,” Journal of Geography 100, 24-31.

Discussion

  • What is Donaldson saying about our appreciation of Geography?
  • Be prepared to read to the class a haiku titled “Geography,” and turn in another one titled “West Mall.”

 

Nov. 5 Thurs: Contemporary Issues: Ethics Does Matter?

  • Morrill, Richard L. 1984, “The Responsibility of Geography,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers.
  • Hobbs, Joseph. 2000, “Exploration and Discovery,” Geographical Review 91.

Discussion

  • Is Morrill (summarize) correct in seeking to connect ethics to our professional identity, and how intellectually helpful is his Presidential Address?
  • Is what Hobbs is doing relevant in today’s world? What would you do in the field

 

Nov. 10 Tues: Contemporary Issues: Status and Ethnicity

            Verness, April. 2001. “But its not supposed to feel like home,” in Textures of Place, P. Adams, S. Hoelscher, and K. Till eds (Minneapolis: Univ. Minn. Press), pp. 355-74.

  • Ellis, M. et al. 2004. “Work Together, Live Apart?” Annals AAG 94:3, 620-37.

Discussion

            Is Verness just being defensive and self absorbed? Explain.

  • Are Ellis etc presenting an effective way of dealing with race in our society?

 

Nov. 12 Thurs: Confused Geographies?

            Relph, Edward. 2001.“The Critical Description,” in Textures of Place, pp. 150-66

Discussion

            Can we resolve the “confusion” that Relph (summarize) points out in everyday urban landscapes? Respond to his concern by referring to something in Austin currently that illuminates what he has to say.

 

Nov. 17 Tues: Your Own Geography? (A-M)

            Design your own geography course.  Title it, set out a brief syllabus and explain why you have selected the topic from a track you know.  Provide a single page handout for each class member and persuade fellow students to take your course.  We will vote.

 

Nov. 19 Thurs: Your Own Geography? (N-Z)

 

Nov. 23 Tues: Careers in Geography: Discussion with local Geographers/Employers.

 

Dec. 1 Tues: Philosophy of Geography (A-M)

 

Dec. 3 Thurs: Philosophy of Geography (N-Z).

Last Class Day is Dec.  4th Friday.

 

SUGGESTIONS FOR WRITING:

 

1.  All papers need a thesis or an argument.  Take a position and support it by referring the assigned essays: please avoid declarations without logical and reasoned support for them. Each paragraph should have a topic that relates to your thesis.

 

2.  Papers need a clear beginning, middle, and end.

 

3.  You need use paragraphs-they denote clear, smooth, and logical transitions between thoughts and arguments.

 

4. Tone and word choice should be appropriate for the occasion and for the audience.  Avoid colloquial expressions in a paper, and big words do mean looking smarter.  Select simple, clear and expressive words (avoid repeating the same word, and never use I feel) that add to the sense of authenticity.  After all you are the expert and it is your paper.

 

5.  Sentences should be varied in length and structure.  If all sentences in an essay are structured exactly the same, the paper is tedious and boring.  One way to catch this is to just look at your paper--do all sentences start with "The" or "She"?  This is generally a clue that you rely too much in one structure.

 

6.  Awkwardness, wordiness, and the passive voice.  Get rid of all of them.  Look for strings of prepositions, extra nouns, adjectives, and "to be" verbs.  If you find lots of these, edit out.  Examples:  it was said, can be characterized, he is expected to stay at home, etc.

 

7. Avoid phrases, such as it seems that, may be said. . Or, the author appears to suggest: You have authority with the reader: be confident, not undecided, about what you say.  It is your essay; so argue your position with confidence (not arrogance).

 

8.  Nothing will help you more in the process of writing than editing.  Outline your paper, write it, and set it aside.  Come back to it, and spend time reading it aloud.  Reading papers aloud is the easiest way to catch errors, and it helps you make sense of what you have written.  Keep writing, and writing, and enjoy writing, as practice turns you into a good writer.

 

9. After a direct quote always give the page number of author/date or the source you have quoted.  Pay attention to these smaller details, if you care, then reader will care too, and vice versa.

 

part= attendance 25% 50points

8 essays 5% each 10 each

PCLperiods 5% 10

Wm 5% 10

Own Course 10% 20

Philos 15% 30

200 points

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GRG 305 • This Human World: Intro To Grg

83995 • Summer 2009
Meets MTWTHF 1000-1130 GRG 102
show description

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

84005 • Summer 2009
Meets MTWTHF 1000-1130 GRG 408
show description

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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