GG331: Political Geography

GG331: Political Geography
Spring 2006

Instructor: Professor Bill Anderson
Office: CAS 439f
Office Hours: Tuesday, Thursday 11-12; Wednesday 1-3
Phone: 358-0208
email: bander@bu.edu
Lectures: Tuesday, Thursday 9:30 - 11:00
 
Description: Political Geography is the study of how geographical features and patterns interact with political processes to create a constantly evolving political landscape . Studies in political geography can be quite local in scope, but in this course we will concentrate on the international or global scale. The course has three goals: 1) to inform students on the geographical features, processes and theories that have been identified by political geographers as relevant to the creation of the political landscape; 2) to apply these ideas in describing and explaining the evolution of the political map in all parts of the world; and 3) to endow the student with a broad base of spatial empirical information as required for further study in international relations.

Political Geography is the study of how geographical features and patterns interact with political processes to create a constantly evolving political landscape . Studies in political geography can be quite local in scope, but in this course we will concentrate on the international or global scale. The course has three goals: 1) to inform students on the geographical features, processes and theories that have been identified by political geographers as relevant to the creation of the political landscape; 2) to apply these ideas in describing and explaining the evolution of the political map in all parts of the world; and 3) to endow the student with a broad base of spatial empirical information as required for further study in international relations.

Required Books:

  1. Saul Bernard Cohen (2003) Geopolitics of the World System, Lanham MD: Rowman and Littlefield.

  2. John L. Allen (2006) Student Atlas of World Politics, 7th edition, McGraw-Hill

  3. GG331 Course Pack: A set of supplementary readings. Available for purchase in first week discussion sessions.

Maps:
This course will emphasize maps as media for organizing and conveying geographical information. The Atlas of World History (listed above) uses maps to illustrate the geographical processes that have led to cultural, economic and political landscapes of the present day. For contemporary maps, students should use the National Geographic Society web site (www.nationalgeographic.com) whose MapMachine feature allows you to access a wide variety of up-to-date political and topographic maps, plus satellite images for all parts of the world.

Acquisition of map knowledge is a fundamental skill for students of political geography and international relations. Maps will be assigned for study throughout the course and a series of map quizzes will be used to test your map study skills.

Discussion Sessions:
Weekly discussions sessions will serve a number of purposes:

Discussion topics will be assigned one week prior to the session and each student will be required to prepare briefing notes to be turned in at the end of the discussion (see sample form attached).

Course Web Site: Lectures will be presented with the aid of PowerPoint slides, which will be made available on the courseinfo site. (Remember: review of these slides is no substitute for attending lectures!) Course grades, assignments, answer keys and some supplementary readings will also be provided on the site.

Evaluation:
Discussion section attendance and completion of assignments 15%
Map Quizzes 15%
Mid Term Exam 30%
Final Exam 40%
Note: one point will be deducted from the final grade for every unexcused lecture absence beyond two.


General Lecture Outline

Part I Background

Week 1:
(January 17, 19)
Course objectives, review of scholarship in Political Geography, historical perspective on human settlement.

Readings: Cohen, Chapters 1, 2
        Maps: review 1-10.

Week 2:
(January 24, 26)
Geopolitical Structure. Taxonomy of geopolitical features, geopolitical regions at different scales, national states, state proliferation, orders of power, types of borders.

Readings: Cohen, Chapter 3
        Maps:11-15, 20.

Week 3:
(January 31, February 2)
Geopolitical Restructuring 1945 ­ 2001: Arrangements at the close of WW II, nuclear stalemate and deterrence, communist expansion, collapse of the Soviet superpower, global terrorism.

Readings: Cohen, Chapter 4
        Maps: 17,18, 21, 22, 24, 31, 34.

Week :4
(February 7, 9)
North and Middle America I Review of physical and geopolitical features, stages of US geopolitical development, Canada - US relations.

Readings: Cohen, Chapter 5
        Maps 77-79.

Week 5:
(February 14, 16)
North and Middle America II. History of the US - Mexico border, US - Mexico trade relations, US relations with Middle America, Cuba after the Cold War.

Readings: Course Pack: Huntington
        Maps 37-39.

Week 6:
(February 21, 23)
Maritime Europe and the Maghreb I. Review of physical and geopolitical features, European borders in historical perspective, geographical challenges of European integration.

Readings: Cohen, Chapter 6
        Maps 16-19, 83-85.

Midterm Exam Tuesday, Febuary 28.
Week 7:
(March 2)
Maritime Europe and the Maghreb II. The Maghreb as Europe's strategic annex.

Readings: Course Pack: Newman
        Maps 95-97.

Week 8:
(March 14, 16)
Russia and the Heartlandic Periphery. Review of physical and geopolitical features, historical perspective on expanding Russian / Soviet state, Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Readings: Cohen, Chapter 7
        Maps 30 (p.44, 51), 86,87, 89,90.

Week 9:
(March 21, 23)
East Asia. Review of physical and geopolitical features, China: continentality vs. maritimity, Taiwan and Indochina.

Readings: Cohen, Chapter 8,
        Course: Pack Dzurek
        Maps 91-94.

Week 10:
(March 28, 30)
The Asia-Pacific Rim. Review of physical and geopolitical features; Japan: from militarily dominance to economic dominance; export orientation, economic growth and regional integration; disputes over ocean rights.

Readings: Cohen, Chapter 9
        Maps 24, 101.

Week 11:
(April 4, 6)
South Asia: Review of physical and geopolitical features, geographical and historical perspectives on the emergence of national states, India Pakistan border dispute, India Bangladesh riparian dispute.

Readings: Cohen, Chapter 10,
        Course Pack: World Bank
        Maps 30 (p. 46, 47), 91-92.

Week 12:
(April 11, 13)
The Middle East I. Review of physical and geopolitical features, from Ottoman dominance to Great Power Rivalry, oil and economic transformation.

Readings: Cohen, Chapter 11,
        Course Pack: Harris
        Maps 21, 30 (p. 45, 49, 50) 89, 90.

Week 14:
(April 18, 20)
South America. Review of physical and geopolitical features, colonialism and borders, initiatives for economic integration.

Readings: Cohen, Chapter 12,
        Course Pack: Wiarda and Kline
        Maps 80-82.

Week 15:
(May 3, 5)
Sub-Saharan Africa. Review of physical and geopolitical features, the colonial legacy: arbitrary borders and poor economic integration, South Africa as regional economic catalyst?

Readings: Cohen, Chapter 13
        Course Pack: Hargreaves, de Fletter
        Maps 22, 23, 30 (p.47, 48) 95-97.

Final Exam: Tuesday May 2, 2-4 PM. All students must be available to take the exam on the scheduled date.

Students are reminded of their responsibility to know and understand the provisions of the Academic Conduct Code. Copies are available in CAS 105.

Supplementary Reading Package (Available in discussion sessions.)

  1. Samuel Huntington (1993) The Clash of Civilizations , Foreign Affairs 72, 22-49.
  2. David Newman (2005) Conflict at the Interface, Chapter 16 in Colin Flint (ed.) The Geography of War and Peace , Oxford University Press.
  3. Daniel Dzurek (2005) Maritime Agreements and Oil Exploration in the Gulf of Thailand, Chapter 18 in Paul Ganster and David Lorey (ed.s) Borders and Border Politics in a Globalizing World , SR Books.
  4. World Bank (1998) International Watercourses Enhanced Cooperation and Managing Conflict , Chapter 1 (Lucius Caflisch) and Chapter 2 (Stephan McCaffrey) World Bank Technical Paper No. 414.
  5. Leila M. Harris (2005) Navigating Uncertain Waters , Chapter 13 in Colin Flint (ed.) The Geography of War and Peace , Oxford University Press.
  6. Howard J. Wiarda and Harvey F. Kline (2000) Latin American Politics and Development, 5th Edition, Westview Press (Chapters 2 and 3).
  7. J.D. Hargreaves (2005) West African Boundary Making, Chapter 6 in Paul Ganster and David Lorey (ed.s) Borders and Border Politics in a Globalizing World , SR Books.
  8. Fion de Fletter (2000) Labour Migration to South Africa: The lifeblood for southern Mozambique, Chapter 3 in David A. McDonald (ed.) On Borders , St Martinšs Press.

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