Fall and Spring Graduate Geography Seminars

Monday, January 9, 2017 (All day) to Friday, April 28, 2017 (All day)
various locations

Registration is now open for the following graduate-level seminars in geography

Spring 2017

GEOG 510 Graduate Seminar in Climatology: Human Impacts on Climate

    • Instructor: Andrew Carleton
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    • Class number: 27271 
    • Meeting time: Wednesday, 6-9 p.m.
    • Prerequisites: n/a
    • Description: This graduate seminar looks at the many ways in which human activities influence recent and contemporary climate, via changes to the energy and moisture budgets on local through regional to global scales. It is geared not only to physical geographers but to all those students with an interest in how the climatic background state is changing, and the role of humans. The human activities studied include the following: Changes in the atmosphere’s gaseous composition (CO2, methane, chlorofluoro-carbons: CFCs, ozone) and particulate loading (soot and sulfate aerosols from industry and biomass burning); changes in land surface conditions (e.g., irrigation, deforestation/reforestation in the tropics and middle latitudes, agriculture, urbanization); intentional and inadvertent enhancement of cloud-cover and precipitation from urbanization, industry, jet air traffic, and ships. A topic closely connected with identifying the anthropogenic climate signal in the recent observational record involves understanding how and in what ways the physical climate processes are perturbed, and their scale dependencies. This frequently requires evaluating the uses and limitations of climate models of varying complexity (e.g., Energy Balance Models, Mesoscale Meteorological Models, General Circulation Models).

GEOG 520 Geopolitics

    • Instructor: Lorraine Dowler
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    • Class number: 7894 
    • Meeting time: Tuesday, 2:30-5:30 p.m. 
    • Prerequisites: n/a
    • Description: The term Geopolitics historically referred to the study of the geographical practices that support global politics. Often geopolitics is associated with issues related to territoriality, sovereignty, boundaries and borders, and the practice of warfare between states. More recently the notions of geopolitics includes ideas about global security/ insecurity and global terror. Geopolitics has always been a controversial way of viewing the world, and there are many critiques of dominant geopolitical understandings of global politics. This seminar will focus on ‘critical geopolitics’, a school of thought that emerged in the 1980’s that challenges hegemonic ways of seeing and representing the world that often ignore the everyday experiences of the most vulnerable populations that inhabit our planet.

GEOG 530 Seminar in Human Environment Geography

    • Instructor: Karl Zimmerer
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    • Class number: 7895 
    • Meeting time: Tuesday 11:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.
    • Prerequisites: n/a
    • Description: This seminar examines the trajectory of recent and new works in human environment geography that integrate the environmental/ecological sciences and social sciences/geo-humanities. It focuses in particular on political ecology, social-ecological systems, and global change dynamics. This offering of the seminar in human environment geography includes emphasis on the topics of biodiversity, food, climate change, development and poverty, urbanization, livelihoods, land use, and spatial theory and analysis including new advances using the conceptual frameworks of territory and landscapes. Models, concepts, and methods are discussed with regards to recent, current, and incipient works on each topic. The broader goal of this seminar is to develop critical yet instrumental engagements with approaches in human environment geography that bridge and link both complex human-social conditions, on the one hand, and dynamic biogeophysical scientific systems of knowledge, on the other hand.

GEOG 550 Wetlands Ecology and Management

    • Instructor: Robert Brooks
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    • Class number: tba 
    • Meeting time: tba 
    • Prerequisites: n/a
    • Description: To explore the diversity, complexity, ecological functions, conservation and cultural values of freshwater and coastal wetlands through interdisciplinary discussions, readings, projects and field trips. Students completing this class will gain an understanding about the ecology, management and conservation of freshwater and coastal wetlands. They will be able to classify different wetland types using multiple methods, understand the breadth of wetland functions, and become familiar with laws, regulations, and approaches to conserve wetlands.

GEOG 560 What can radar and electro-optical remote sensing do for you?

    • Instructors: Christelle Wauthier and Guido Cervone
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    • Class number: 7896 
    • Meeting time: Tuesday 3:35 to 5:30 p.m. 
    • Prerequisites: n/a
    • Description: This course is designed to give graduate students a hands-on experience on the diverse applications of remote-sensing. Lectures, readings and activities topics include: electro-optical remote sensing in the ultra-violet, visible and infra-red and radar remote-sensing and interferometry (InSAR). Applications focus on real-world Earth sciences problems, and include target identification and image classification, deformation studies, synergistic use of radar and optical sensors, with a special focus on using remote-sensing datasets to study and assess natural hazards. Data used in the course include, but is not limited to: high resolution commercial remote sensing satellites (WorldView, GeoEye), NASA (TERRA, AQUA, AURA, CloudSAT, Calypso), NOAA (AVHRR, GOES), ESA (MERIS, Sentinel). This course will give the students the opportunity to learn and apply diverse tools using those data with tailored projects based on their interests.

Fall 2016

GEOG 500 Introduction to Geographic Research

    • Instructor: Karl Zimmerer
    • Class number: 7511

    • Meeting time: Monday and Wednesday, 4:15 to 5:45 p.m.

    • Prerequisites: n/a

GEOG 510 Fire, Ecosystems, and People

    • Instructor: Alan H. Taylor
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    • Class number: 7512

    • Meeting time: Monday and Wednesday, 11:30 a.m to 12:45 p.m.

    • Prerequisites: n/a

    • Description: Fire is a powerful agent that influences ecosystems, ecosystem services, and people who live in fire prone landscapes. This seminar will focus on the historic, current, and future role of fire as a disturbance process and as a management and political issue. To understand the interactions of fire, ecosystems and people we will cover the following topics: fire regimes, fire ecology and fire effects on plants, soil, and nutrient cycles, fire and land cover change, fire-climate interactions, fire in the earth system, wildland fuels, fire behavior/modeling, fire management policy, fire in the urban/wildland intermix, and human attitudes towards fire.

GEOG 520 Seminar in Human Geography

    • Instructor: Roger Downs
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    • Class number: 7513

    • Meeting time: Wednesday, 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.

    • Prerequisites: n/a
    • Description: In the last decade, there has been increasing attention to one of the fundamental problem-solving processes: spatial thinking. Spatial thinking is central to but not exclusive to thinking in geography. The idea behind the seminar is simple: to read and think about the literature in this emerging field which crosses a range of disciplines. There are a series of questions that we will consider: What exactly is spatial thinking? How does it relate to ideas such as spatial intelligence, spatial perception, spatial cognition? To what extent is the process domain specific? Are there individual differences in spatial thinking? How does skill in spatial thinking develop, ontogenetically and historically? To what extent can it be taught? How can it be taught? Can skill in spatial thinking be transferred from one domain to another? And finally, why does spatial thinking matter?

GEOG 530 Development, Governance, Justice

    • Instructor: Brian King
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    • Class number: 7514
    • Meeting time: Wednesday, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
    • Prerequisites: n/a
    • Description: The project of global development has been underway for more than seventy years with highly uneven results. The consequence has been a renewed engagement with the processes that shape livelihood systems and the opportunities for justice throughout the world. This graduate seminar will engage with key themes in geographic scholarship, and more generally within the social sciences, on the relationships between humans and the natural environment. We will focus on the themes of development, governance, and justice as conceptual frameworks for addressing emerging concerns about sustainability, economic systems, formal and informal decision-making, and power.

GEOG 560 Representation and Analysis of Space-Time Dynamics

    • Instructor: Donna Peuquet
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    • Class number: 7515
    • Meeting time: Thursday, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
    • Prerequisites: n/a
    • Description: This seminar will focus on space-time dynamics as an important means for deriving understanding of geographic structures and processes. The scientific study of spatial process is impossible without considering both space and time. While the study of structures and process over geographic space and through time is neither new nor unique, the richness and complexity of space-time data now available from web-based sources, including RSS newsfeeds, tweets and blogs, presents both unprecedented opportunity and challenge. Part of the opportunity is that it enables study of temporal dynamics in near real-time, and at multiple scales. A major challenge lies in selection and potential adaptation of representation and analysis techniques that are suitable for the complexity, richness and sheer volume of these data.

GEOG 565 GIS Skills for Research

    • Instructor: Clio Andris
    • Class number: 30163
    • Meeting time: Wednesday, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

    • Prerequisites: n/a

    • Description: Lab-based course focused on developing resume-building GIS skills, improving quality of research by integrating a spatial perspective, and narrowing in on a dataset/topic of the student's choice and new data that compliment the dataset. Those without topics in mind can work with the professor to find a project of interest. Students will learn how to create publication-worthy thematic and reference maps, visualize data, find new data sources, geolocate and cluster addresses/points, create new digital data, integrate census data variables, infrastructure, land use, elevation, hydrology, etc. when applicable. They will use ArcMap and/or QGIS / R to join together layers, analyze some imagery, apply spatial statistics and GIS analysis operations to data. Students will learn how to explain results and integrate results into papers, articles, commentaries, dissertations/theses, etc, and learn about documentation and metadata.



For information about each seminar, contact the instructor as noted above. 


For general information about enrollment, contact Jessica Perks.