Geography, a word derived from the Greek for “earth writing,” is the study of the biosphere and the human and nonhuman forces that have shaped the Earth’s diverse terrestrial environments through time.
A discipline with roots in classical antiquity, geography has been called “the Mother of the Sciences,” an epistemic claim derived from the close relationship between exploration, mapping, and the production of knowledge. Critical geography is the continuing pursuit of geographic knowledge combined with the analysis of power dynamics in the production of spatial knowledge and the experiences and practices that constitute space and place in everyday life. Given the central role of exploration, mapping, and “earth description” in imperial and colonial enterprises, critical geographers interrogate sociocultural linkages between conceptions of nature, the body, human populations, race and ethnicity, sex and gender, the human and non-human, the appropriation of natural resources, the state and governance, war and peace, and competing conceptions of the spatialities of modernity and civilization. Political ecology explores these subjects with emphasis on the politics of ecological relations, how such relations are characterized, by whom, and for what purposes. Globalization studies encompasses a particular set of assumptions regarding international interconnectedness, as well as challenges to those assumptions, and draws from all disciplines of the social sciences.
Students with a concentration in critical geography, political ecology, and globalization studies may enter into fields and positions such as education, law, non-governmental organizations focusing on international affairs (e.g. Amnesty International),civil service, and international development.
This concentration requires a core of at least 24 credits of course work in geography and related subjects (at least two of these courses must be at the 300-level or higher). Students must take one introductory course in physical geography, human geography, or environmental studies from the first section. A course in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) or Global Positioning Systems (GPS) is highly recommended. To complete the concentration, students must design a cohesive plan of study with at least two courses from one of the two remaining sections and at least four from the other. Courses in social studies, history, or area studies not listed below may also fulfill the requirements. Students are also expected to take at least one course in research methods (in social science or natural science) or statistics.