Department of Geography and the Environment

GRG 301K • Weather And Climate

37680 • Kimmel, Troy
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM JES A121A
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Utilizing critical thinking skills, this course is 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.

GRG 305 • This Human World: Intro To Grg

37720-37775 • Faria, Caroline
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM JGB 2.324
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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 307C • Introduction To Urban Studies

37780 • Anderson, Gregory
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM PAI 4.42
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A multidisciplinary study of cities and complex urban environments; historical and contemporary issues from both national and international perspectives.

May be counted toward the cultural diversity flag requirement.

Meets core curriculum requirement for Social & Behavioral Science (I).

Same-as URB 301

GRG 309C • Creating Sustainable Socty

37785 • Swearingen, William
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM RLP 0.128
E SB (also listed as SOC 309C)
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The course will offer students an overview of sustainability as something human beings must strive to create in an era of global warming and ever greater social inequalities; both between countries and within countries.   The focus of the course will revolve around the core issues of sustainability: what does sustainability mean?  Why do we need to remake human societies in more sustainable ways?  And what does social equity have to do with sustainability?  One of the problems we have in teaching about sustainability today is our focus on two of the "E's" without much attention to the third. We talk mostly about Environment, secondly about Economy, and then tend to pay short shrift to Equity.  This course will address all three, but put a greater focus on Equity than is usual.  The course will be taught from a social sciences perspective, which approaches human relationships with the natural world (Environment) in the context of their relationships with each other (Environment and Equity).  Global warming (environment) is main reason we are talking about Sustainability today, but global warming is both cause and effect of our economies and inequalities.

Required Texts

Carolan, Micheal,  Society and the Environment; Pragmatic Solutions to Ecological Issues. Westview Press, 2013.

Grading Policy

There will be three essay assignments and one group project.  Each will count 25% of the grade

GRG 321L • Archaeol Of Climate Change

37795 • Rosen, Arlene
Meets MW 3:00PM-4:30PM RLP 0.102
EGC (also listed as ANT 324L)
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Course Description: 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.



This course carries the Ethics and Leadership flag. Ethics and Leadership courses are designed to equip you with skills that are necessary for making ethical decisions in your adult and professional life. You should therefore expect a substantial portion of your grade to come from assignments involving ethical issues and the process of applying ethical reasoning to real-life situations.

Global Cultures

This course carries the Global Cultures flag. Global Cultures courses are designed to increase your familiarity with cultural groups outside the United States. You should therefore expect a substantial portion of your grade to come from assignments covering the practices, beliefs, and histories of at least one non-U.S. cultural group, past or present.

GRG 326 • Regions/Cultures Of Europe

37815 • Jordan, Bella
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM CMA 3.114
GC (also listed as EUS 346, REE 345)
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This course is a systematic introduction to geography of all regions of Europe, from Iceland to  Sicily  and  European  Russia  and  Finland  to  Bretagne  and  Galicia.  The  course  is  based  on  a  renowned  textbook  by  Alexander  B.  Murphy,  Terry  G.  Jordan&Bychkov  and  Bella  Bychkova  Jordan and focuses on all the major aspects of the European makeup: its physical, economic,  political, and cultural geography, geolinguistics and environmental issues. A special attention  is given  to  such issues as expansion  of  the European Union and NATO,  problems associated  with  immigration  and  ethnic  tensions,  challenges  of  multiculturalism  and  integration.  A  significant  portion  of  the  class  is  dedicated  to  the  analysis  of  demographic,  urban  and  agricultural  patterns.  The  historical  perspective  allows  the  analysis  of  the  evolution  of  the  European  civilization  during  the  last  two  millennia  and  resulting  geographical  patterns  in  modern Europe.


  • 3 exams (33.33% each)


GRG 333C • Severe And Unusual Weather

37820 • Kimmel, Troy
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM RLP 0.104
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Utilizing critical thinking skills, this 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.

GRG 335N • Landscape Ecology

37830 • Young, Kenneth
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM RLP 1.108
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The study of spatial patterns in the earth's biosphere found within landscapes, typically areas measured in square kilometers. Examines the processes that create those patterns, drawing from ecology, biogeography, and many other disciplines. Also explores the practical applications of landscape ecology to the study of natural environments and those managed or altered by human activities. Geography 335N and 356T (Topic: Landscape Ecology) may not both be counted.

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing and three semester hours of coursework in physical geography or one of the geological or natural sciences.

GRG 356T • Gis/Rem Sns Archaeol/Paleo

37839 • Garrison, Thomas
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:30AM RLP 1.404
QR (also listed as ANT 324L)
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GRG 356T • The Culture Of Cities

37837 • Heyman, Richard
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM BUR 436A
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GRG 373F • Field Techniques

37870 • Thompson, Amy
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM RLP 3.102
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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 382K • Geo-Archaeol And Envir History

37885 • Beach, Sheryl
Meets TH 2:30PM-5:30PM RLP 3.102
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Long-term ecology as reconstructed from settlement and land-use histories. Empirical case studies in environmental history from the Mediterranean region, the Near East, and Mesoamerica. Applications to degradation, desertification, sustainability, and global change. Only one of the following may be counted: Anthropology 382N, Geography 356C, 382K.

This interdisciplinary course addresses the principles and applications of Environmental History, directly linking contemporary issues of land degradation and ecological change to archaeological themes such as settlement and land-use histories. Geoarchaeology and related biological investigations allow empirical testing of popular hypotheses about the environmental impact of pastoralism and different agricultural systems, based on the principle that "historical monitoring" is essential to understanding processes and their consequences. Regional examples with different time-frames are critically examined from the Mediterranean Basin, the Near East, Mesoamerica, and Australia. These illustrate the potential of both archaeology and environmental history to re- evaluate neo-ecological assumptions about ecological transformation, degradation and sustainability.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing.


GRG 390K • Issues In Geography

37890 • Adams, Paul
Meets TH 5:30PM-8:30PM RLP 1.302A
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Examines the history, philosophy, and ontology of geography, including its various subfields.
Required of all first-year graduate students in geography.
Prerequisite: Graduate standing in geography, or graduate standing and consent of the graduate adviser.


GRG 396T • Humboldt Sciences Of Colnialsm

37905 • Arens, Katherine
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM BUR 128
(also listed as C L 382, GER 382M)
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The project we will undertake is an exercise of recovery and public scholarship: it is a work in progress seminar where participants evolve their own project explaining how these legacies still determine Western thought (or good or ill).  The result will be a recovery, because many of the "standard accounts" of these thinkers and their impacts were produced in nationalist eras, which falsified many of the original problems they answered to.  It will be public scholarship because the class projects will be aimed at producing museum-type materials for more general audiences in your own home disciplines, using online resources and those from the HRC (which owns, for example, a complete edition of the illustrated version of A. v. Humboldt's Cosmos as well as early editions in Spanish and those printed for US audiences). 

We will read basic texts introducing this generation of thinkers poised between the Enlightenment and European colonialism, with an emphasis on their central concepts of history, nation, mind, and languages (including poetic language) -- the core of emerging nationalist politics of the nineteenth century, deriving from these source texts but not at one with them.  Thereafter, we will collaboratively work through designing complementary research strategies involving both textual and visual materials (maps, book illustrations, art) that will make visible to specified audiences what is at stake in the materials, and why/how today's audiences/readers should attend to these legacies today as persistent in cultural politics.  We'll leave something behind to help others understand what we come to see.

The seminar will be conducted in English, with materials available in ­­­­­German, English, and Spanish; French materials can be added if student populations exist. Most texts available in CANVAS or otherwise online.

  • Department of Geography and the Environment

    The University of Texas at Austin
    305 E. 23rd Street, A3100
    RLP 3.306
    Austin, TX 78712