Spring 2004 , Prof. Paul Adams; room WMB 4.118

office hours: M 1:00-2:00, W 11:00-12:00 or by appointment

office: GRG-422


Recreation Center Plan, Humphreys




  1. without Dr. Adams (serious)
  2. without Dr. Adams (funny)


Frontiers in Geography provides geography majors with the opportunity to think about and discuss the methods and objectives of geography in order to establish a sense of professional awareness and disciplinary identity. The course familiarizes participants with the history of geographical inquiry, current issues in research, and the directions in which the discipline is heading. This is a chance to begin asking the really difficult questions: What is it important to know? How do we know what we know? Who decides what is “relevant” and what is “irrelevant”? How do we integrate various ways of knowing? What are various sources of knowledge and various ways of presenting what we know?

The course combines readings in geographic methodology and thought with self-guided research in the field and in the library. The keys to success in this course are a willingness to pursue independent research and discuss that research and scholarly readings in class.



The projects are intended to test your skills of perception and description, and to help you incorporate concepts from the readings.  Your study site is Lockhart, TX, in Caldwell County, 30 miles south of Austin. You will work in groups of three or four studying various aspects of the study site. There will be two class visits to Lockhart scheduled on two different Saturdays--February 21 and March 27--and your attendance on these trips is very strongly recommended. Students who make both trips will not have to take the final exam.


Groups should include two people with cars, one person with experience creating webpages, and members with a range of interests and skills. Do not work with a group of friends if you all have the same interests and none of you has a car or Web experience!

Caldwell County Courthouse

Caldwell County info

Lockhart, TX

(click image for detail map)

click here for Digital Orthophoto (large file) new

more photos, etc. from TNRIS new

Lockhart info


Readings will be in the textbook, available through e-reserves, or accessible directly from the Internet (via a link from this site).

The class is seminar format, meaning pre-designated presenters will present readings at each class session.  Failure to present on your pre-designated day will result in forfeiture of this large segment of your total points. Notes (or outlines) of the readings must be turned in on the day a reading is discussed.

Required: T. Barnes and D. Gregory Reading Human Geography (B&G)


  • 60% projects (3 projects in all)
  • 20% pre-arranged presentations
  • 10% reading notes
  • 10% fieldtrips or final exam


(readings must be completed before the indicated day)

JAN 20 Introduction to class, concept of post-graduate identity, on being a geographer
JAN 22

National Geography Standards

In-class project, "my philosophy of geography" and discussion

JAN 27

discussion of region, diffusion, place, etc.

JAN 29

B&G 1-25 (the editors) vocabulary: place, space, region, diffusion

B&G 84-91 (the editors) grand theory, formation of groups


Introduce Project 1: Using the Internet to Access Information about Lockhart

FEB 5 E-Reserves Reading 1 (Holt-Jensen) the early history of geography
FEB 10

E-Reserves Reading 2 (D.W. Meinig) The Beholding Eye

FEB 12 B&G 292-314 (the editors, Entrikin) ontological questions in geography
FEB 17 B&G 92-111 (Harvey & Scott, Ley) materialism, postmodernism
FEB 19 Turn in Project 1, Introduce Project 2, prepare for trip to Lockhart, Saturday Feb. 21
FEB 24 Discuss fieldtrip and generate questions to address in Project 2
FEB 26 E-Reserves Readings 3 & 4 (Jackson and Rybczynski) the rise and fall of small town America

E-Reserves Reading 5 (Fitchen) towns in the metropolitan commuter-shed

MAR 4 B&G 315-342 (Massey, Cosgrove) a global sense of place, Lockhart and the global system
MAR 9 B&G 356-376 (Daniels) humanist geography
MAR 11 B&G 124-136 (McDowell) diversity
MAR 23 B&G 138-144, 155-168 (the editors, Harley) deconstructing texts and maps
MAR 25 To be announced (note postponement of project due date)
MAR 30

Turn in Project 2 Introduce Project 3: Caldwell County Development Plan, and generate questions to address in this project

Austin's Smart Growth Map (use as model for your development feasibility map)

APR 1 E-Reserves Reading 6 (Cullingworth) the fundamentals of planning

E-Reserves Reading 7 (Legates and Stout) modernism and early urban planning

Prepare for trip to Lockhart, Saturday, April 10


Consolidated Plan Executive Summaries (HUD) pick one to read through

Also skim one of the following:

  1. Rockville, Maryland Master Plan
  2. Overland Park, Kansas Master Plan
  3. Telluride, Colorado Master Plan
  4. Sugar House Community, Utah Master Plan (this one actually shows how planning documents are revised!)
APR 13

The Coming Demand (CNA)

Correcting the Record (Fregonese & Peterson)

APR 15

summary of Lockhart's master plan (read this unless you are assigned to present Thrift)

B&G 376-407 (Thrift) structuration theory

APR 20 B&G 174-182 (the editors) political ecology
APR 22 B&G 183-210 (FitzSimmons, Nesmith & Radcliffe) feminism and nature
APR 27 The ups and downs of an academic career in geography
APR 29 Individual consultations about the final project
MAY 4 Project 3 due! Final presentations

Final presentations continued

Final exam (for those who missed one or both class trips to Lockhart)


Class Policy:

Attendance: It will be impossible to do well in this class without physically attending class. On pre-designated presentation days, absence without a satisfactory excuse will result in loss of 20% of the available points in the course.

Reading Assignments: Each reading assignment should be completed before the class period in which it is discussed and notes or outline must be turned in at that time in order to receive credit. Identical or abnormally similar submissions by two or more class members will not receive credit.

Late Projects: Projects are due at the time specified on the project handout/web-posting. Late projects will be penalized 10% of the total possible points per weekday (weekends count as one day). Turn late projects in by using the box on Dr. Adams’ door, during work hours throughout the week.

Exams: The exam will include topics covered in the lecture, the readings, the fieldtrips, and the projects.

Computation of Grades: Grades will be computed on the following scale: A=90% and up, B=80%-89%, C=70%-79%, . . . F=0%-59%. Fractional values will be rounded to the nearest integer and will not be "curved" or raised through "extra credit."

Honesty: All work submitted must be your own. You may discuss assignments with other students, but all that you write should be entirely your creation. If you wish to incorporate someone else's ideas, you must acknowledge your source whether or not you quote the material directly and whether it is a published author, journalist, professor, TA, or other student. Plagiarism is a serious offense in college. For more information, refer to the Student Judicial Services statement on Academic Integrity. 

Problems: You are responsible for bringing any problems, concerns and/or complaints to my attentionr in sufficient time that I can try to address your concerns. It is unlikely that you can be helped if you wait until the last minute (or later).