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GRG 305

Intro to Geography

Professor Robin Doughty
TTH 9:30-11:00 AM
Unique #33785 - 33840
WCH 1.120 + discussion section



This course surveys the fundamental themes in cultural and historical geography. In particular, it focuses upon the relationship of mankind to environment in respect to alterations (agricultural, land tenure systems, village and city patterns) that human groups have made upon the physical landscape, and on the attitudes and concerns people have expressed about the natural world. From a discussion of the patterns of human movements, special attention is paid to domestication, the use of fire, water, and pesticides; the origin of cities; and contemporary resource utilization. Examples are drawn from various continents.

Grading and Requirements

One mid-term and a final exam (short and long essay format). Also several group projects to be completed in the discussion sections. Attendance at discussion sections is mandatory.


Rachel Carson
Silent Spring

Robin W. Doughty
This Human World:
Introduction to
GRG 305

Simon & Schuster
Robin W. Doughty
Wildlife and Man
in Texas

Texas A&M Press

Aldo Leopold
A Sand County


Optional Text:
World Atlas


Lecture Outline and Readings:


Lecture: Introduction to Geography
1. Curiosity about people, places and earth features
2. The emergence of the "cultural landscape"
3. Traditions of description: exploration and discovery
4. Explanation and synthesis: Alexander von Humboldt and Carl Ritter
5. Geography in America: Ellen Semple and Carl Sauer
Cosgrove, "Geography is Everywhere"
Meinig, "The Beholding Eye" (Reader)
Sauer, "Theme of Plant and Animal Destruction in Economic History" (Reader)


Lecture: Human Origins and Population Growth: Historical Dimensions
1. Fossil man in perspective (Reader)
2. Homo sapiens in the New World
P.S. Martin, "The Discovery of America" (Reader)
J. Diamond, "The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race"
W.V. Stevens, "New Suspect in Ancient Extinctions" (Reader)

Lecture: Domestication of Plants and Animals
1. Plant and animal domestication: Its significance and spread
2. "Cultigens" and genetic alteration: Vavilov
3. Beginnings of agriculture
4. Methods of domestication
Clutton-Brock, "Man-Made Animals" (Reader)
E. Anderson, "Dump Heaps and the Origins of Agriculture" (Reader)
Kloppenburg and Kleinman, "Seeds of Struggle" (Reader)

Lecture: Fire and Agriculture
1. Tropical agriculture: swidden
2. The meaning and characteristics of swidden
Taylor, "Why Supernatural Eels Matter" (Reader)
Cooper, "The Ecology of Fire" (Reader)
Osborne, "Michigan's Bird of Fire" (Reader)

Lecture: The Plow in the Agricultural Landscape
1. Field shapes in England
2. Enclosure and crop innovation
Blunden and Turner, "Change and the Countryside" (Reader)
Wendell Berry, "Ecological Crisis as a Crisis of Agriculture" (Reader)

Lecture: Irrigation Agriculture: Padi Rice
1. Rice as a food crop
2. Field processes and cultivation
3. Wet terraces and draft animals
Cockrill, "The Water Buffalo" (Reader)

Lecture: Water Control and Intensification Reclamation
1. Water plans and development
2. Drainage and reclamation: wetlands
Hollis, Holland, Maltby, and Larson, "Wise Use of Wetlands" (Reader)
Martin, "Once Promising Floodgates" (Reader)
Reisner, Cadillac Desert (Reader)
"Water in a Changing West" (Reader)

Lecture: Pesticides and the Agricultural Landscape
1. Biocides: benefits and costs
2. Ecological systems and Clear Lake
3. Food chains and Peregrine Falcons
4. Biological controls
Carson, Silent Spring, Chaps. 1, 3, 4, 17 and any one 5-10.
Cade, "Peregrine Recovery" (Reader)
Ehrenfeld, "Ecosystem Health," Orion (Winter 1993), 12-15.
J. Wargo, "The Global Experiment" (Reader)
Naylor and Ehrlich, "Natural Pest Control Services" (Reader)

Lecture: Urban Origins and the Industrial City
1. Elements in the growth of the industrial city
2. Nineteenth century urbanism:
a. Dickens and Coketown
b. Age of Rail: effects of mobility
Refer back to Blunden and Turner, "Change and the Countryside" (Reader)
Dietz, "Creating a Sense of Community" (Reader)
E. Howard, "From Theory," and "Urban Parks" (Reader)

Lecture: Megalopolis and New Towns
1. Urbanization of the Northeastern seaboard
2. Ebenezer Howard and Garden cities
Waltz, "Women's Housing Needs in the Arab Cultural Context of Tunisia"
Lowe, "How to Make Cities More Humane" (Reader)
Lewis, "The Town That Said No to Sprawl" (Reader)
Alexander, "Access to Water," (Reader)


Lecture: Attitudes to Nature: Western Views
1. White's thesis of domination
White, "Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crises" (Reader)

Lecture: Attitudes to Nature: National Views
1. U.S. resource use: images and myths
2. Conservation in Texas
Doughty, chap. 1, 3, 6, 7 Wildlife and Man in Texas

Lecture: Individual Views: People Make a Difference
1. Leopold and a land ethic
2. Bedichek and denatured chickens
Leopold, A Sand County Almanac
Bedichek, Adventures with a Texas Naturalist (Reader)

Lecture: Trends: Personal Responsibility and Understanding
1. Art of seeing
2. Commitment and responsibility
Dillard, "Seeing" (Reader)
Lutts, "Place, Home, and Story in Environmental Education" (Reader)
Codiga, "Zen Practice and a Sense of Place" (Reader)

Conclusion: The Place of People in the Natural World


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This page created by Rob Fergus 6/14/98
Department of Geography, College of Liberal Arts at UT Austin