Teaching

Environmental Geography.  Geographical study of the diverse characteristics of the Earth’s physical landscape, spatial distribution of environmental characteristics, the impacts of these on human populations and human populations’ impact on the natural environment. Topics include climate and climate change, mass movements and natural hazards, biogeography and environmental problems such as desertification and deforestation, and the use and abuse of water resources.  One of two such courses, this course provides an introduction to the discipline of Geography.  The other foundational course is Cultural Geography.

Seminar in Advanced Environmental Geography.  The objective of the course is to provide students with a deeper understanding of the current concepts and debates in Environmental Geography.  By exploring the ethical and philosophical foundations of the field, the course considers the environment’s opportunities and constraints. While topics may include climate change, agricultural security, and renewable energy, the course will be driven be student-led discussions and participation.  Critically thinking about complex phenomenon, the seminar will include various weekly readings, discussions, and writing assignments.

Hazards:  Natural and Technological.  An exploration of human perceptions of and responses to extreme geophysical and technological threats, including nuclear bombs and accidents, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and volcanoes.

Medical Geography.  This course focuses on human-environment interactions and the influence these relationships have on health and well-being.  By nature, Medical Geography is integrative and multidisciplinary, incorporating contributions from a range of specialties including public health, psychology, public administration, and biology.  Much research in the discipline focuses on ecological, social, and spatial theories and methodologies.  The course will cover a range of topics including spatial behaviors of infectious disease and health care access.  The focus of the course will be on geographical patterns of health and disease from the population rather than individual scale.  In addition to seminar style lectures and discussions, the course enables students to further investigate by learning how to conduct medical/health geography research.

Weather, Climate, Society.  Weather and climate play a pivotal role in nearly every aspect of life.  How does temperature relate to health outcomes?  What impact does El Niño have on Peruvian farmers?  How is the issue of climate change reflected in national security policy?  Why?  Topics also include the energy balance equation, remote sensing techniques, and climatological data acquisition and analysis.  Beyond an understanding of the complex processes that dictate the flow of the atmosphere, the course analyzes the socioeconomic, political, and cultural perspectives of climate and weather.  Weather, Climate, and Society (GEOG 4/596) also provides a framework for stewardship and responsibility to the future.

Geography of Virginia.  An analysis of Virginia’s population, resources, and regional landscapes as they have been influenced by physical, cultural, historical, and economic factors.

Climate Change, Risk, and Public Perception.  Climate change is increasingly acknowledged as a risk factor that can effect socioeconomic, geo-political, and cultural conditions.  How is climate change seen as a risk?  How does who articulates it as a risk (e.g., scientists, politicians, activists, journalists) effect how the public perceives the risk?   This course will provide some fundamental understandings of the causes and consequences of climate change then analyze how attempts by these various groups to articulate the risk provide citizens a framework for understanding, and adapting to, climate change. Important in this study is understanding better how the various imperatives, work practices and narrative shaping abilities of non-scientists may either enhance or distort society’s perception of the risk of climate change.

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