Department of Geography and the Environment

GRG 301C • The Natural Environment

36745-36785 • Polk, Mary
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM MEZ 1.306
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Geomorphic processes that shape the earth's surface; origin and evolution of landforms. Groundwater and water resources. Pedogenesis and soil properties. 

Designed to accommodate 100 or more students.

A one-day field trip to be arranged.

GRG 301K • Weather And Climate

36790 • Kimmel, Troy
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM WCH 1.120
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Our study of weather and climate is intended for Geography / Environment majors and all others interested in a broad brush examination of the atmospheric and climatic sciences. This study will be introductory in nature with only a very basic use of mathematics. We will start with a study of meteorology. From this foundation, we will go into the different aspects of the atmosphere and then, later, into climatological matters and discuss the various climatic regimes including that of Texas and the local area.

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GRG 304E • Envir Sci: A Changing World

36795-36825 • Meyer, Thoralf
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM GEA 105
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Surveys the major global environmental concerns affecting the Earth and its residents from the perspectives of the environmental sciences. 

May be counted toward the writing flag requirement. May be counted toward the quantitative reasoning flag requirement.

Restricted to students in the Liberal Arts Honors Program.

GRG 305 • This Human World: Intro To Grg

36830-36885 • Walenta, Jayme
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM GAR 0.102
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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 310C • Spatial Data And Analysis

36890 • Beach, Sheryl
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM CLA 1.402
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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

36895 • Knapp, Gregory
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM CLA 0.128
(also listed as LAS 319)
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This course is a general introduction to the environmental, cultural, economic and political geography of Latin America and the Caribbean. 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 also benefit from the exploration of such topics as environmental hazards, indigenous lifeways and resource management, globalization and modernization, population and migration, cities, sustainable development, geopolitics, frontiers, conservation, and cultural survival.

The course examines major environmental zones as defined by geomorphology, climate, and biogeography, in terms of risks and hazards, resources, and human impacts. Students also study social institutions and processes across a range of historical periods, social structures, and cultures, including early migrants to the Americas, the rise of chiefdoms and indigenous civilizations including Aztec and Inca, the European conquest and spread of Iberian colonial culture and economic relationships, and the inception and spread of modernization as related to neoliberal and alternative forms of development including discourses of sustainability in contemporary Latin America. Relationships between regional, national, and global communities are studied by means of a commodity chain project resulting in a written paper. A range of environmental and social science theories and methods are discussed, including plate tectonics, basic climate models, hazards research, circumscription theory, and theories of modernization, dependency, and development. Communication skills are developed through graphical and essay questions on quizzes and exams, the written course project, and discussion in lectures and optional discussion sections.


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GRG 323K • South Amer: Nat/Socty/Sust-Ecu

36900 • Knapp, Gregory
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This course is taught as part of a UT faculty-led Maymester program; to finalize enrollment, students must be admitted via the admissions process at the UT Study Abroad website (deadline November 1).

This course examines issues of cultural landscapes, human-environment relations, and sustainable development in South America, taking full advantage of its location in Ecuador. Ecuador is one of the most bio diverse nations in the world, with rain forests, high mountains, and coastal mangrove estuaries. It is also ethnically diverse, with over 40 indigenous nations, a large Afro-Ecuadorian population, and mestizos, as well as European, Middle Eastern, and Asian immigrants. The country’s three largest cities (Guayaquil, Quito, and Cuenca) display a range of issues involving housing, employment, water and food provision, poverty and gentrification, and preservation of historical districts. The nation is rich in agricultural and aquaculural products, including flowers, bananas, shrimp, and cacao, as well as more traditional subsistence crops such as manioc, potatoes, quinoa, and corn. There is a large system of national parks and preserves spanning landscapes from high grasslands (páramos) to tropical forests; the interaction between the goals of conservation, indigenous territoriality, and the (growing) mineral and hydrocarbon extractive industries spurs ongoing debate.

The 2008 Ecuadorian constitution enshrined the protection of mother earth (pacha mama) and cultural diversity while pursuing the culturally appropriate good life (buen vivirsumaq kawsay). This course will examine ongoing issues in sustainable development in these local contexts, which provide an excellent sample of similar issues in the rest of Latin America.

From 2007 until 2017, Ecuador has been governed by Rafael Correa, a “21st Century Socialist” who has promoted modernization, nationalism, social justice, and the fight against poverty; controversially, he has sometimes combatted environmentalists and indigenous movements who went against his programs. On February 19, 2017, elections took place and, Lenin Moreno, who uses a wheelchair and is a champion of people with disabilities,  was elected.

Field trips and site visits will include coastal, highland, and Amazonian destinations illustrative of Ecuador’s natural and cultural diversity. Students will examine selected issues through readings, discussions, site visits and field trips. There will be an extended amount of time in and near Cuenca, Ecuador’s third-largest city (population 730,000 in the larger metropolitan area). Cuenca was a Cañari indigenous settlement before it became first an Inca, and then a Spanish colonial city. Indigenous and colonial monuments explain its listing on the UNESCO world heritage list, while its highland setting (8200 feet above sea level) provides for a diverse hinterland with small farms, national parks, and villages noted for artisanal crafts. It has also become an important destination for ecotourism and residential migration.

This course may be used towards the Geography major (Cultural Track, Sustainability Track) and Latin American Studies major (core requirement and/or concentration), and as part of the Latin American minor in International Relations and Global Studies (IRG). This course may also be used for the environmental track in IRG, and towards the study abroad requirement in IRG. It also meets requirements in the new Sustainability Studies major. The course carries a Global Cultures flag.

GRG 327 • Geog Of Former Sov Union

36905 • Jordan, Bella
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM BUR 220
(also listed as REE 345)
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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.

Grading requirements:

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.

GRG 331K • Nature, Society, & Adaptatn

36910 • Knapp, Gregory
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM CBA 4.340
(also listed as ANT 324L)
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This course examines the very long-term human trajectory in gaining control over resources, impacting the environment, and transforming planet earth into a meaningful human home. This trajectory has been related to long-term changes in human integration (reciprocity, trade, and redistribution) at a variety of scales, culminating in recent globalization. These changes have been associated with great achievements in quality of life for some, but with attendant problems of violence, impoverishment, and environmental impacts including, in some extreme cases, collapse.  These challenges implicate both culture (learned habitual behavior, concepts, and associated objects and landscapes) and ethics (socially oriented decisions) as they promote or fail to promote resilience and adaptation with respect for human rights.


The course will discuss major transformations: the origins of the human species, the domestication of plants and animals, the rise of agricultural societies and urban civilizations, global mercantile colonialism, and modernization and urbanization. Attention will be paid to the theories and works of geographers, ecological anthropologists, environmental historians, and others.  Lectures and student-proctored discussions examine selected strategies employed by humans to cope with the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities presented by different natural environments, with special attention to foraging, food, and farming.  The course will also provide an introduction to ethical and policy issues surrounding sustainable development and alternative futures.  Grading is based on attendance and participation, numerous writing assignments, oral presentations, and proctoring.


The course has a Writing Flag and an Ethics and Leadership Flag. It can be used to meet the core requirements for the Sustainability or the Cultural Geography tracks in the Geography major, and the upper division course requirements in the Anthropology major. It also can be used for the International Relations and Global Studies Major.

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GRG 333C • Severe And Unusual Weather

36915 • Kimmel, Troy
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM CLA 1.102
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As a continuation of and having a prerequisite of GRG301K/Weather and Climate (with a recommended grade of C or better), this course expands more specifically into a detailed technical discussion of atmospheric hazards such as severe thunderstorms and their offspring (hail, lightning, tornadoes, damaging winds and flash floods) as well as tropical cyclones. As part of that discussion, we’ll discuss human risk perception as it regards these atmospheric hazards.

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GRG 333K • Climate Change

36920 • Beach, Timothy
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM CLA 3.102
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Course Description:

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 334C • Environ Hazards Lat Amer/Carib

36922 • Ramos, Carlos
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM SRH 1.320
(also listed as LAS 330)
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Earth science processes that affect human activities: soil, erosion, flooding, slope stability, earthquakes, volcanism, and water resources and quality. 

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.


GRG 335N • Landscape Ecology

36925 • Young, Kenneth
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM MEZ 1.120
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Landscape Ecology                                    

Geography 335N, Spring 2018

TTh 2-3:15 PM, MEZ 1.120


Dr. Kenneth R. Young

Department of Geography and the Environment, UT-Austin; CLA 3.706; 512/232-8311


Course goals

Landscape ecology is the study of spatial patterns in Earth's biosphere and the processes that produce those patterns in landscapes, typically portions of the Earth measured in square kilometers. This interdisciplinary approach draws from ecology and geography, but is also a perspective shared with hydrologists, foresters, wildlife biologists, social scientists, landscape architects, and others. We will take an interdisciplinary approach to examine the current state of knowledge and research on the patches and corridors that constitute landscape mosaics. We will cover the possible causal explanations for landscape heterogeneity from geographical and ecological points of view. Finally, we will explore practical applications of landscape ecology to the study of natural environments and those managed or altered by human activities.

The overarching goal of this course is to help develop the ability to think like a landscape ecologist. This will be done by examining heterogeneous landscapes using the patch-corridor-matrix model, accounting for scale, and interpreting the effect of process on patterns (and vice versa) using quantitative and qualitative approaches. Students are expected to read the assigned chapters and participate actively in class. The exams will test knowledge, vocabulary, and the ability to apply concepts to novel situations. The class projects, final essay, and its presentation to the class will test the ability to explain landscape ecology patterns and processes as applied to real-world examples.


Assumes background in physical geography or ecology. Requires upper-division standing and three semester hours of coursework in physical geography or one of the geological or natural sciences.

Required textbooks (Note also both available through the UT-Austin library or as ebooks)

J. Maloof. 2016. Nature's Temples: The Complex World of Old-Growth Forests. Timber Press, Portland, OR. (ISBN 978-1-6046-9728-5; also available as ebook)

M. G. Turner and R. H. Gardner. 2015. Landscape Ecology in Theory and Practice: Patterns and Processes. Second edition. Springer, New York. (ISBN 978-1-4939-2793-7; also available through UT-Austin library website).


Kupfer, J.A. 2011. Theory in landscape ecology and its relevance to biogeography. Pp. 57-74 in A.C. Millington, M.A. Blumler, and U. Schickhoff (eds.). The SAGE Handbook of Biogeography. Sage Publications, London.

Kupfer, J. A. 2012. Landscape ecology and biogeography: Rethinking landscape metrics in a post-FRAGSTATS landscape. Progress in Physical Geography 36:400–420.

Wu, J. 2013. Landscape sustainability science: Ecosystem services and human well-being in changing landscapes. Landscape Ecology 28:999-1023.

Additional essays that describe landscape ecology are available:



1.) Two exams (vocabulary, short answer, short essay) ---100 points each.

2.) Six in-class projects---10 points each project.

3.) One independent essay---50 points.

Final letter grades for the course are assigned by percentages of the 310 total possible points: >92%=A; 90-91.99%=A-; 88-89.99%=B+; 82-87.99=B; 80-81.99=B-; 78-79.99%=C+; 72-77.99%=C; 70-71.99%=C-; 68-69.99%=D+; 62-67.99%=D; 60-61.99%=D-; <60=F.

My lecture notes will not be available if you should miss a lecture; lecture powerpoints will be posted after the week of the respective class. The exams are based on the assigned readings, the lectures, the powerpoints, and the class discussions and projects. Class attendance is very important for doing well.

Class projects

The six 10-point projects are each based on participation in a group class exercise during the class period, and are designed to complement the assigned readings. They are meant to be low-stakes interactive activities that allow you to put landscape principles into perspective. In some cases, the exercise will require submission of a written response developed during the class period.

Independent final project

The final 50-point project is a 4 to 6 page essay (double-spaced) based on one research article chosen by you from among the research articles published in 2017 or 2018 in the journal Landscape Ecology. Note that you must pick an article to write about that is not already chosen by a fellow classmate (there will be a sign-up sheet sent around in the last several weeks of the semester to register your chosen article). This project is to be done independently and is due on the last day of class, along with a brief informal oral presentation of findings to the class done on either 1 or 3 May (the presentation is worth 10% of the 50 points).

This assignment replaces the final exam, and so needs to demonstrate mastery of the entire course. Specifically, using your knowledge of landscape ecology and all the materials of the course, evaluate the particular research article you have chosen in terms of landscape ecology principles, methods, and implications for further research or for the management of landscapes. Make sure you explain clearly which article was chosen, what was done in terms of the research, what data was utilized, what analysis was carried out, and what conclusions were reached. If appropriate, feel free to also critique the article and/or suggest likely future research based on that work.

The essays will be graded based on the quality of the technical writing, their originality, and their relevance to the class. Format of any citations used should be given in the text as “Smith (1999) hypothesized that . . .” or “. . .can be hypothesized (Smith, 1999)”. References used should be listed completely at the end of the essay: author, date, title, journal or book chapter, pages, using the style found in Annals of the American Association of Geographers.

Course Schedule




In-Class Project

Week 1


Course Introduction



Ch. 1; Kupfer 2011


Week 2


Patch-Corridor-Matrix model



Ch. 1, 2

Observing the Landscape

Week 3


Landscape Patterns & Dynamics



Ch. 2 & 6


Week 4


Landscape Dynamics & Management



Ch. 6; Maloof, through “Herbaceous plant populations and logging”


Week 5


Landscape Modeling



Ch. 3



Week 6



EXAM 1 on Thursday, 2/22





Week 7


Landscape Metrics



Ch. 4; Kupfer 2012


Week 8/9


Landscape Metrics



Spring Break (3/13-15)


Ch. 4 (5); Kupfer 2012


Week 10


Species in Landscapes



Ch. 7


Week 11





Ch. 8; Maloof, through “Worms: friends or foe of forests?”



Wk 12/13


Ecosystem Services & Review


EXAM 2 on Tuesday, 4/10


Ch. 9


Week 14


Land Change Science


Ch. 9;

Maloof to end

Global Change

Week 15


Land Change Science


Ch. 9 & 10; Wu 2013




Week 16



Independent Project Presentations

Written Project due Thursday, 5/3





Course Policies

Attendance and Participation: Students are expected to attend every class and actively participate in discussions and in-class projects. There will be no make-up exams or assignments, although extreme situations will be considered if brought to the instructor’s attention as early as possible.

Documented Disability Statement: The University of Texas at Austin provides upon request appropriate academic adjustments for qualified students with disabilities; for more information, contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 512-471-5017 or

Religious Holy Days: By UT Austin policy, you must provide notification of a pending absence at least fourteen days prior to the date of observance of a religious holy day. If you must miss a class day for this reason, you will have an opportunity to complete the missed work within a reasonable time period.

Honor Code: Students are expected to uphold the University of Texas’ Academic Honor Code: “As a student of The University of Texas at Austin, I shall abide by the core values of the University and uphold academic integrity.”

Intellectual integrity is expected in all work. Collaboration and the use of a wide range of references are encouraged, but any plagiarism, use of un-cited materials, or un-credited project assistance will result in a recommendation of course failure. If you have any questions about what is acceptable and what is not, please ask. Also see:

Violations of the UT honor code, including cheating or plagiarism, will result in: 1) a zero for the assignment/exam; 2) an assigned ‘F’ for the final grade; and/or 3) notification to the UT Academic Judiciary Committee for further disciplinary measures.

Behavior Concerns Advice Line (BCAL): If you are worried about someone who is acting differently, you may use the Behavior Concerns Advice Line to discuss by phone your concerns about another individual’s behavior. This service is provided through a partnership among the Office of the Dean of Students, the Counselling and Mental Health Centre (CMHC), the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), and the University of Texas Police Department (UTPD). Call 232-5050 or visit

Decorum: Computers and phones should be silenced (no vibration or ring). If you take notes on a laptop, the expectation is that you are fully engaged with the class and not reading the news, checking social media sites, doing homework for another class, or otherwise browsing the internet. 

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GRG 336 • Contemp Cultural Geography

36930 • Heyman, Richard
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM CLA 0.122
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Recent theoretical developments in cultural geography, with a focus on landscapes and the everyday practices that imbue them with meaning; the ways those meanings are contested and are the foci of struggle; and how the relationship between culture and space plays a central role in the social construction of identity. Only one of the following may be counted: Geography 336, Urban Studies 354 (Topic: Contemporary Cultural Geography), 354 (Topic 8).

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.

May be counted toward the writing flag requirement. May be counted toward the cultural diversity flag requirement. May be counted toward the independent inquiry flag requirement.


GRG 337 • The Modern American City

36935 • Heyman, Richard
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM GDC 4.302
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Issues facing residents of United States cities, such as transportation and housing, poverty and crime, metropolitan finance, environmental and architectural design; historical/comparative urban evolution. 

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.

May be counted toward the cultural diversity flag requirement.

SAME AS ARC 350R (TOPIC 1) , URB 352 (TOPIC 1).

GRG 339K • Envir, Devel, & Food Productn

36940 • Doolittle, William
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM CLA 0.128
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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 356 • Children's Envirnmntl Hlth

36955 • Elkins, Jules
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM GDC 1.406
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Please check back for updates.

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.

GRG 356 • Gis Apps In Social/Env Sci

36950 • Miller, Jennifer
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM CLA 1.402
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Please check back for updates.

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.

GRG 356 • Water & Watersheds

36953 • Ramos, Carlos
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM CLA 0.104
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Please check back for updates.

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.

GRG 356T • Geography Of Media

36995 • Adams, Paul
Meets TTH 8:00AM-9:30AM CLA 1.102
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What do media look like from a geographical perspective? What happens when we think of websites or television programs as places? In what ways do we inhabit media? What impacts do our media habits have on the evolution of places like home, the workplace, or the street? How is “public space” evolving to include mediated communications as settings for political and social struggles? What are the implications if we think in terms of virtual spaces or topologies of interconnection we create by adding contacts, friending or following people? What does all of this tell us about questions related to surveillance, security, and personal privacy? Can it help us understand the current polarization of politics and public discourse? This class will help bring these various issues together in a single, coherent framework based on geographical concepts of space and place. It will help students make connections between current events and concepts from across the discipline of geography.

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GRG 356T • Geogs Intl Devel In Africa

37005 • Faria, Caroline
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:30PM GDC 1.406
(also listed as AFR 372F)
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GRG 356T • Human Health & Environment

37000 • Elkins, Jules
Meets MW 8:30AM-10:00AM CLA 1.108
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Please check back for updates.

GRG 356T • Landuse/Landcover Change Pract

36960 • Crews, Kelley
Meets TH 4:00PM-7:00PM CLA 1.404
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GRG 356T • Mapping Latin America

37010 • Del Castillo, Lina
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM SRH 1.115
(also listed as HIS 363K, LAS 330)
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The main objective of this course is to understand the role of maps in the creation of Latin America as a specific sort of place. As such, the course itself will allow students to become familiar with a broad overview of Latin American history from Pre-Columbian civilizations to the modern period. By paying particular attention to the maps produced of and in the region within this broad time span, students are challenged to question existing assumptions of what “Latin America” means historically, culturally, and of course, spatially.

GRG 356T • Maya Art/Architecture-Gua

36970 • Runggaldier, Astrid
(also listed as LAS 327)
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GRG 356T • Northern Lands And Cultures

36985 • Jordan, Bella
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM BUR 220
(also listed as EUS 346, REE 345)
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Designed to develop a geographical understanding of the Circumpolar region of the North, an ancient human habitat and a home to distinct, millenia old, civilizations. These indigenous Arctic cultures and livelihoods are being constantly challenged by modern industrial powers, and the clash between two contesting realities is profound. Emphasis is given to a historical geographical perspective on the major processes forming cultural and natural landscapes (including global warming), and influence society, economy, spiritual life and politics. Regions include: Alaska, the Canadian northern territories, Scandinavian North, including Sapmi (Lapland), Iceland, Greenland, the Russian North, and Siberia.

GRG 356T • Race And Place

36975 • Thompson, Shirley
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM SZB 330
(also listed as AFR 372C, AMS 321)
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When Harriet Tubman struck out for her own freedom and for that of countless others, she knew that her success depended on an intimate knowledge of the geographic boundaries of slave and free territory and the network of safe(r) spaces known as the Underground Railroad. When segregationists advocated for laws and policies that reinforced the color line, they spoke from an interest in “keeping blacks in their place.” When current day media executives attempt to market their programming to African American audiences they often frame them in terms of an “urban” market.  As these examples show, social constructions of race and status in the United States have always intersected with social constructions of place.

This course explores these intersecting themes of race and place by considering a range of topics beginning with the formulation of an exclusively white national space from the conquest of indigenous land and the transportation of enslaved Africans across the Atlantic. We will also consider various challenges to this white supremacist national logic, from the presence of the Haitian Republic to expressions of black nationalism, diasporic imaginings and exilic critique. We will discuss geographies of plantation slavery and Jim Crow segregation and black resistance to these geographies as individuals and groups such as Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Marcus Garvey, Anna Julia Cooper, Rosa Parks, and the Freedom Riders forced a reconfiguration of public and private space. We will focus on such iconic black urban and rural spaces such as Harlem, Chicago, New Orleans, the Sea Islands, and more to keep track of the varied and complex politics of race and belonging. This course will provide a theoretical foundation in critical race studies and cultural geography and it will engage a wide variety of media, including speeches, memoir, poetry, music, visual culture, performance culture, film, and television. 

GRG 356T • Vienna: Memory/The City-Aut

36980 • Hoelscher, Steven
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Please check back for updates.

GRG 357 • Medical Geography

37015 • Elkins, Jules
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:30PM BUR 220
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The geographic distribution, expansion, and contraction of the infectious diseases that have the greatest influence in shaping human societies today: malaria, AIDS, and others. 

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.

GRG 373F • Field Techniques

37060 • Doolittle, William
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM CLA 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 374 • Frontiers In Geography

37065 • Walenta, Jayme
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM JGB 2.202
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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.

  • Department of Geography and the Environment

    The University of Texas at Austin
    305 E. 23rd Street
    CLA building, main office- CLA 3.306
    Austin, TX 78712