Geog 100

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Published on 6 Nov 2011
School
Simon Fraser University
Department
Geography
Course
GEOG 100
Professor
Chapter 1
First, a confession. I’m always a little uneasy telling students what to read – it smacks far too much
of high school. The urge to read should be so basic to the university experience that little need be
said on the matter. You’re here, now read! (Oxford and Cambridge acknowledge that. Nobody
goes there to ‘study’. The correct term is to ‘read’, even if I’m applying to read chemistry” sounds
a little strange.) And, frankly, if you opt not to read Bergman so as to spend more time reading
about the history of ship design or Jupiter’s moons, who am I to complain?
And yet there is the reality of facing examinations in the weeks ahead. So, despite my misgivings,
some guidance follows.
We confront chapter 1 on two separate occasions – both at the present introductory stage and
towards the midterm, when tackling the subject of culture. (The return visit is because Bergman
simply slices the cake in different fashion than I do.) By all means read the chapter as a whole, but
remember that we will return to certain concepts raised in the section Contemporary Approaches in
Geography once the course is well underway. At this early stage you might want to concentrate on
pp. 2-9 [introductory + site/situation]; 13-15 [distribution]; 18-21 [Physical and Human Systems];
24-end [maps, GIS, etc.].
While I’m at it, a few further remarks… As you can tell from p. vii or pp. 0-1, there are three major
sections to this opening chapter.
First, What is Geography? The value of this section is of a general orienting sort. That’s
important, yet come exam time I will not place much emphasis on The Development of
Geography section. I teach an entire course on the history of Geography [Geog 300], so I value
this material highly; yet that’s not the same thing as saying it should be taught in an introductory
class.
Next, Contemporary Approaches in Geography. Bergman discusses three ‘analytical methods’
(p. 6) in this section, although, in fact, he has four sub-headings. In lecture I preferred broader
terminology and talked of two main ‘traditions’ that have coexisted over the years within Human
Geography. Conflicting numbers! Should you lose sleep over that? Not really. The easiest
way to reconcile our positions is to say that Bergman’s first two ‘analytic methods’ (Area
Analysis and Spatial Analysis) both belong to the ‘spatial tradition’ as introduced in class. His
third method is called ‘Geographic Systems Analysis’ on p. 7, which could mean a lot of things.
But when discussed on pp. 18-21, it appears under the simpler headings Physical and Human
Systems and Human-Environmental Interaction, the one leading into the other. Aha! Here
Bergman is simply introducing you to what I called the ‘environmental (or ecological) tradition’.
Lastly, Describing Earth. Broadly speaking, this section is concerned with knowing location
and with mapping the earth’s surface. Two or three lectures correspond to this part of the
chapter.
One final matter. In the midterm exam you will probably have to provide some definitions of
things/concepts. Commonsense suggests that terms given in boldface by Bergman are among the
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Document Summary

I"m always a little uneasy telling students what to read it smacks far too much of high school. The urge to read should be so basic to the university experience that little need be said on the matter. You"re here, now read! (oxford and cambridge acknowledge that. The correct term is to read", even if i"m applying to read chemistry sounds a little strange. ) And yet there is the reality of facing examinations in the weeks ahead. By all means read the chapter as a whole, but remember that we will return to certain concepts raised in the section contemporary approaches in. At this early stage you might want to concentrate on pp. 2-9 [introductory + site/situation]; 13-15 [distribution]; 18-21 [physical and human systems]; While i"m at it, a few further remarks as you can tell from p. vii or pp. The value of this section is of a general orienting sort.

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