GEOG 303.3 & 303.72 Geography and World Affairs


Spring 2014

Dr. Scott Brady                              

Office: 523 Butte Hall                                                                                    

Class Location: Cyberspace      

Office Hours: MWF 9:15-9:50, 12-12:30

Phone: 898-5588                                

Men are so inclined to content themselves with what is commonest; the spirit and the senses so easily grow dead to the impressions of the beautiful and perfect, that every one should study, by all methods, to nourish in his mind the faculty of feeling these things... For this reason, one ought every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.

     Goethe, Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship. Bk. v, ch. 1 (Carlyle, tr.) [source: Stevenson]

General Education: International Studies Pathway

Course Description:

This course is a geographical survey of several of the world's major regions with emphasis on those features important to an understanding of cultural differences and economic and human sustainability. This course presents fundamental geographic concepts in the context of the world's places and regions. Special emphasis is placed on factors that link and isolate peoples of the world. 

Course Objectives:

   To increase students understanding of their local geographical context.

   To develop students' knowledge of the earth's physical systems and

   To develop students' knowledge of their connections to, and interdependencies with, other people and places around the world.

   To develop students' skills in synthesizing and analyzing information, including Internet-based information.

   To develop students' skills in writing and discussing their ideas.

   To help students read, listen, observe, and reason critically.

Course Format: This is an online readings course.  We never meet.  We read, do exercises, take four exams and write a paper.  Students may utilize the chat room feature on our Blackboard site.  I will not monitor chats and they will not be graded.  Students should utilize the chat room as a support tool.  You can exchange questions, information and helpful hints in the chat room. 

Email: Students should utilize the email feature on our Blackboard site for all communication with me. Sometimes students ask questions that are shared by other students.  In such cases, I'll post my answer as an announcement on the Blackboard site.

Office Hours:  I also will use office hours to answer students’ email inquiries. This will require patience. Students should not expect immediate responses to emails. I will respond only during office hours.

Website: will regularly update the course website.  Students must visit the site to be aware of changes and additions.  You will find links to websites embedded in each week of the course.  I will also post questions beneath these links that will guide your viewing of these sites.  The information that I guide you to will be covered on exams.

Readings: A fundamental element of a liberal education is the development of the ability to read critically. Hence, your success in this course largely depends on the amount of time and effort you devote to the assigned readings.

Question Sets:  To ensure that students keep up with the assigned readings, students must complete question sets that guide them through assigned textbook readings. You do not turn in question sets to be graded.  You simply complete them to prepare yourself for the exams.  I post question set keys every week or so, so that you may check your answers against mine.

Atlas Exercises: Students will complete several atlas exercises during the course.  These are self-directed exercises that you will not turn in to me.  Similar to questions sets, I post keys every week or so, so that you may check your answers against mine.  I use atlas exercise to create exam questions.

Exams: There are 4 exams.  They are open book exams that include information from the readings, question sets, atlas exercises other materials that I direct you to through the web-site.  Exams contain 20-25 multiple choice/short answer questions.  I will make exams available for a 2-day period. Students will have ~60 minutes to complete exams.

Make-up Exams: I do not allow students to make-up missed exams.

Optional Research Project: Students have the option of completing a research project in this course.  The research project is an annotated bibliography of at least 1500 words. It has two parts: a proposal and the final project. The instructions for the proposal are at this link. The instructions for the final project are at this link. Here's a past example of an annotated bibliography: link.       Students will turn in this project in the body of an email, not as an email attachment.  You will send your proposal and annotated bibliography to my email address:

Plagiarism: Unfortunately, students have committed plagiarism on their annotated bibliographies during past semesters.  They copied work from an online source and presented it as their own.  I referred these students to judicial affairs and asked that they receive the most severe penalty.  I will continue to do so.  

The University catalogue includes an overly general description of activities that constitute plagiarism.  I have included it below.   

"Plagiarism: Copying homework answers from your text to hand in for a grade; failing to give credit for ideas, statement of facts, or conclusions derived from another source; submitting a paper downloaded from the Internet or submitting a friend's paper as your own; claiming credit for artistic work (such as a music composition, photo, painting, drawing, sculpture, or design) done by someone else."

You must use in-text citations to give credit to your sources.  If you have any questions about plagiarism, please contact me.

Grades:Academic Policies and Regulations

Final grades are based on % of 200 or 250 total points, earned from the categories below. A=92-100%; B= 80-91%; C=68-79%; D=50-67%; and F= less than 50%.

Exam 1

50 points

Exam 2

50 points

Exam 3

50 points

Exam 4

50 points

Research Project

  50 points


250 points


If you choose not to complete the research project, your grade will be based on 4 exams. See below


Exam 1

50 points


Exam 2

50 points


Exam 3

50 points


Exam 4

50 points



200 points

Required Materials:CSU-Chico's bookstore will have these books.  You should also bargain shop online.  I like


   de Blij, Harm and P. O. Muller. 2005. Concepts and Regions in Geography, 1st or 2nd edition. John Wiley & Sons: New York. ISBN 0-471-64991-0


   Goode's World Atlas, 22nd edition. Rand McNally.


   de Blij, Harm. 2008. The Power of Place Geography, Destiny, and Globalization's Rough Landscape. Oxford University Press


   Friedman, Thomas. 2009. HOT,FLAT,+CROWDED (2009).. ISBN: 9780312428921

Online Resources:

Language, Vocabulary and Esoterica

   A.Word.A.Day Home Page : vocabulary, wordpower, words, language, english, dictionary, lexicon, logophile, wordsmith

   OED Online

   The Engines of Our Ingenuity: Main Page

   CIA Homepage for Kids

   Ethnologue, Web Version

Magazines and Newspapers

   The Atlantic Online -- News and Resources for the Skeptical Citizen

   Utne Reader Online: A place in cyberspace where ideas and community intersect

   HCN.ORG: Environmental News in the West

   The Christian Science Monitor | Daily Online Newspaper

   New America Foundation

   Welcome to Orion

   The New Yorker:

   The Narco News


   Digital Map Sites

   Geography Home Page


   Welcome to Earth: Population 6 billion

   Malthus' Essay on Population

   IDB Population Pyramids

   IDB Summary Demographic Data

   World Population Information

   6 Billion Human Beings


   Major Religions Ranked by Size

   Maps of Sacred Sites

   Pillars of Islam

   Islamset - Islamic Pilgrimate "Hajj" and Festival of Sacrifice "Eid Al-Ad'ha"


Tentative Schedule:

Week 1: 1/20-1/24            Course requirements; Introduction to Geography

Monday: Martin Luther King Jr. Day


Question Set 1: From the introductory chapter of Concepts and Regions in Geography.



Question Set 2: From Chapter One of Power of Place.



Remember that you do not turn this question set or any others to me for grading.

Week 2: 1/27-1/31            Europe


Question Set 3: From Europe chapter in Concepts and Regions in Geography.



Question Set 4: From Chapter One of Power of Place.



Europe Atlas Exercise



Web Resources:

Week 3: 2/3-2/7                Europe

Annotated Bibliography information: I have received questions about topics for this assignment.  I allow a wide range of topics because I want students to research a topic that interests them.   My only restrictions are that the topic must be focused in a region that we study this semester and the topic must be mappable.  We will study Europe, Middle America, South America and North Africa/Southwest Asia this semester. I encourage you to send me any ideas that you have for the assignment.  I'll let you know if you are on the right track.  Also, I will not accept proposals about human trafficking this semester.


Required Online Reading: The two links below contain information about immigration to Europe.  Read them and consider the parallels between migration of laborers to the US and EU.


Europe's Back Doors.


Required Reading


Question Set 5: From Chapter Two of Power of Place.



Web Resources


European Union Map

Week 4: 2/10-2/14                        Europe


Hey Folks.  Exam 1 will be available at our Blackboard site from 8 am, Monday, February 17, until 5 pm, Tuesday, February 18.  


I will post an announcement on our Blackboard site with more details next week. 


At this link you will find some sample questions from past exams: link


Atlas Exercise #2.



Required Online Readings: The seven links below provide information about the growing Europe’s growing Muslim population. I will not post a question set for these articles. However, I will test you on the material. Read them thoroughly.




The story at this link will inform you about the growing population of Muslims in the EU.  You are not required to read the complete report pdf. at this link



The story at this link describes a past controversy between European newspapers and leaders and the Islamic world. This story was among the first that indicated the tension that had developed among Muslims in Europe, Europeans and Arab countries.



The story at this link demonstrates Islam's growing influence in Great Britain.


4. and 5. The two articles below report on recent comments made by leaders of Germany, France and Great Britain about the failures of Europe’s policy of multiculturalism.



This link provides the most recent demographic data about Europe’s Muslims.  It also discusses the real and false links between European Muslims and Muslim networks and terrorism.



The story at this link demonstrates how Europe is becoming more secular in the face of the increase of its Muslim population.



Annotated Bibliography Proposal Due on Monday, 3/3.

Week 5: 2/17-2/21                        Exam 1 and Middle America


Hey Folks.  Exam 1 will be available at our Blackboard site from 8 am, Monday, February 17, until 5 pm, Tuesday, February 18.  


Exam 1 will not cover material below this line.


Middle America

Question Set #6: From Chapter 4 in Concepts and Regions in Geography.



Atlas exercise



Required Online Reading  

1. History Moving North


Week 6: 2/24-2/28                        Middle America

Required Readings

Potter R. & Lloyd-Evans S. 1997. “Sun, Fun and a Rum Deal: Perspectives on Development in the Caribbean”, FOCUS on Geography Vol. 44:  pp. 19-26.

Question Set #7:  



Abridged chapter from Jared Diamond’s “Collapse”.


Question Set #8: 



Babb, F. 2011. Che, Chevys, and Hemingway's Daiquiris: Cuban Tourism in a Time of Globalisation.” Bulletin of Latin American Research,Volume 30, Issue 1, p. 50–63.


Question set #9:


Week 7: 3/3-3/7                            Middle America  


Required Readings and Viewing.

Documentary: “Life and Debt”. Available on our Blackboard site in the “Media Gallery”.

Life and Debt Question set #10


Tormented Isthmus, from The Economist. April 14th, 2011.

         Map that accompanied the article

         Question set


Week 8: 3/10-3/14                        South America


Question set #11: From Chapter 5 in Concepts and Regions in Geography.



Atlas exercise



Hello Onliners. Read the articles at the 3 links below to learn about the role of coca in Andean South America.

Hey Folks.  Exam 2 will be available at our Blackboard site from 8 am on Thursday, March 27 until 5 pm on Friday, March 28.

Week 9: 3/17-3/21                        Spring Break

Week 10: 3/24-3/28                     South America and Exam 2


Hey Folks.  Exam 2 will be available at our Blackboard site from 8 am on Thursday, March 27 until 5 pm on Friday, March 28.


Exam Two Study Guide


Plan Colombia is a US-Colombia plan that came about during the Clinton administration and extended until 2005. The US government provided more than $4 billion to Colombia’s government to combat cocaine production and trafficking.  More 75% of US aid was targeted toward military support in Colombia.  Read this report from the US government’s Government Accountability Office (GAO). It is a report on the successes and failures of Plan Colombia

GAO Report on Plan Colombia 


And finally, view this 25-minute video. Shoveling Water, from Witness for Peace, which details the consequences of one aspect of Plan Colombia


I want to conclude our look at South America by considering the region's most provocative figure, the late Hugo Chavez.  Read the two articles at the links below to learn how Chavez used his country's petroleum reserves to influence global geo-politics.

Week 11: 3/31-4/4            Power of Place and Hot, Flat and Crowded

CŹsar Chąvez Day: No Class on Monday


Required Non-online reading:

Question Set: Part One of Chapter 3 of Power of Place.



Question Set  Part Two of Chapter 3 of Power of Place.



1st Question set from Hot, Flat and Crowded



2nd Question set from Hot, Flat and Crowded


Week 12: 4/7-4/11            Hot, Flat and Crowded



Required Non-online reading:

3rd Question set from Hot, Flat and Crowded



4th Question set from Hot, Flat and Crowded



5th Question set from Hot, Flat and Crowded


Week 13: 4/14-4/18         Power of Place and Exam Three


Exam Three will be available at our Blackboard site from 8am on Wednesday, April 16 until 5pm on Friday, April 18.  I’m making it available one day earlier to free up time for Easter travel.


Exam 3 Study Guide


Required Non-online reading:

Question Set for Part One of Chapter 6 in Power of Place. 


Question Set for Part Two of Chapter 6 in Power of Place.


Exam Three will not include material found below this line.

Week 14: 4/21-4/25                     North Africa/Southwest Asia

Please view the animation at the link below to see an introduction to this realm:


Question set from Chapter 7 in Concepts and Regions in Geography.



Atlas exercise



Web Resources: 

PASSIA: Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs - Jerusalem

Week 15: 4/28-5/2                       North Africa/Southwest Asia


Required Readings: 
I want you to read the article at the link below. The first link is to the actual article from the Armed Forces Journal and suggests what the map of the Middle East might look like since the US has departed from Iraq. The second is a link to the map that he discusses in the article.  Also be sure to keep in mind how Peters’ solution is similar to what DeBlij discussed in Power of Place.  Here’s an excerpt from the pertinent QS key:


“5. Explain what DeBlij means when he suggests that social-spatial engineeringmight prevent political conflict.

Some areas of persistent conflict are complicated by state boundaries that European powers drew and which grouped a diverse, sometimes antagonistic, collection of ethnic groups within one state. Violent political strife can persist in states where these different groups have resisted integration. DeBlij cites a study that suggests that the best solution might be to redraw international boundaries according to “geocultural regions.”  The creation of South Sudan is a case of social-spatial engineering. It’s too soon to determine whether it has worked.

Imagine the issues that would arise should the UN decide to redraw the boundaries of Iraq so that Kurds, Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims each have their own states.  Also, consider how current violence between these groups makes one consider such a difficult solution.”



Chapter 3 of Power of Place focuses on religion. To understand North Africa and The Middle East, I want you to revisit this chapter. This material will be covered on Exam 4.


Question Set: from Part One of Chapter 3 of Power of Place.



Question Set  from Part Two of Chapter 3 Power of Place.



Friedman’s Take on Bin Laden’s Death



This link no longer works.  It used to lead to an example of an annotated bibliography that a student copied during a previous semester.  The primary lesson is do not copy or plagiarize.


This week you should make final edits and complete your annotated bibliographies.  They are due on Friday, May 2.  Be certain to review the assignment instructions above and the description about plagiarism.  If you have any questions, contact me. You must turn your paper into before turning it in to me. 
The instructions for are at this link. This is a required part of your annotated bibliography assignment.  You should submit your paper to 3 or 4 days before so that you will have time to correct any errors.

The due date for your annotated bibliography is Friday, May 2.


Week 16: 5/5-5/9                          North Africa/Southwest Asia


Required Readings:


The Arab Spring at One. By: Ajami, Fouad, Foreign Affairs, 00157120, Mar/Apr2012, Vol. 91, Issue 2


Question Set



To wrap up our look at global issues I want you to revisit Chapter 1 of Power of Place. This material will be covered on Exam 4.


Question Set: from Part One of Chapter 1 of Power of Place.




Question Set: from Part Two of Chapter 1 of Power of Place.



Exam Four Study Guide



Week 17: 5/12-5/16                     Final Exam Week


Exam Four will be available from Monday at 8am until Friday at 5pm, not Friday at midnight.