University of Toronto
Fall Session, 2011
The Geography of Global Processes
Professor Michael Bunce
(Contact information for the TA’s will be posted on the Intranet)
The teaching assistants are a key part of the teaching team for the course. All are currently
studying for their Masters or PhD degrees in the UofT Dept of Geography. They lead
tutorials, mark assignments and provide advice. ALL QUESTIONS RELATING TO
TUTORIALS AND ASSIGNMENTS SHOULD FIRST BE ADDRESSED TO YOUR
TA. WHOM YOU WILL MEET AT YOUR FIRST TUTORIAL.
As we move into a new century, the world seems more confusing than ever. One the one
hand it is becoming integrated through the forces of corporate economics, global trade and
finance, information technology, international politics and mass culture: what is generally
now called "globalization". On the other hand, it is divided by great disparities in levels of
living, by war and conflict, by pressures for ethnic and national autonomy, and growing
local frustration over the social, economic and environmental consequences of global-scale
processes. And underlying these contradictions is a persistent sense of unease about the
sustainability of globalization, especially as it is confronted by growing populations,
increased consumption, resource depletion and climate change. Human geographers have
made significant contributions to the study of global processes and the phenomenon of
globalization, through their emphasis on spatial scale, global-local relations, changes to
places and regions, and human/environment relations. This course examines the
application of the main concepts and approaches of human geography to the understanding
of the factors and consequences of globalization. 2
The overall aim of this course is to introduce you to ways of thinking critically and
geographically about globalization both as a concept and a reality. But it’s also intended to
offer you an opportunity to explore some of the big issues and questions of our times.
Specific objectives include
• explaining the main concepts and methods of human geography in terms of their
application to the analysis of the globalization of economic activities, political institutions
and processes, social systems and cultural values.
• examining the main points of tension over the impacts of globalization, especially in
terms of relationships between global and sub-global scales of activity and how these
affect social, economic and environmental conditions in particular localities and regions
• discussing the main issues generated by the increasingly global scale of human activities.
By the end of this course, students should have acquired:
• an introductory knowledge of human geography as a subject and of its significance in
understanding the processes and consequences of globalization.
• a more critical understanding of current world issues.
• improved critical thinking, research and writing skills.
The university lecture is a long-established and effective way of delivering course material.
In this course, the lectures serve three purposes:
• to guide students through various issues and concepts
• to provide and illustrate specific examples
• to generate interest in and enthusiasm for the subject matter.
Full lecture notes and power point slides will be NOT posted on the Intranet before
the lecture. One reason is to discourage the inclination to rely on the posted notes
rather than attending and carefully following and taking notes in the lecture. But the
other reason is that the lecture will involve working through concepts and issues
during the class rather then just presenting information on power point slides. A
summary of the main points of the lecture with examples of questions to consider will
be posted a few days after each lecture.
You should already be registered in a tutorial section. However each section has an
enrolment of at least 40 which is far too big for a small group experience. So each section
will be broken up into 4 or 5 smaller groups which will meet less frequently, probably just
twice during the term (but in the same time slot as in the timetable). These smaller groups
will be led by a teaching assistant and will function mainly as preparation workshops for
the assignments. Full details including the date of the first tutorial meetings will be
announced in the second week of classes. 3
YOU MAY NOT CHANGE TUTORIAL SECTIONS OR GROUPS WITHOUT
PERMISSION FROM THE T.A. C-OORDINATOR
Readings are as important as lectures and tutorials. There is no required textbook for
this course. Instead we will draw on relevant sections from geographer Warwick
Murray’s book, Geographies of Globalization. The great thing about this book is that it’s
available as an e-book through the UofT Library. Other required readings consist of
journal and serious magazine articles and short excerpts from news media. These readings
are accessed as PDF’s via the course Intranet site, e-resources in the UofT Library system
or direct links to websites. For direct links to readings go to the menu.
Readings are listed by author or the first word of the title. That will take you to the relevant
PDF file or website which you can then read on the screen and /or download and print.
Other interesting readings will be referred as the course proceeds.
There is a site for the course on the UTSC Intranet. This will be your main source of
information about the course so you should check the site daily.
Part One: 25% of total course mark
Part Two: 25%
Term test: 15%
Final exam: 35%
One of the main themes of the course is global-local relations, and in particular how global
processes affect space, place, spatial patterns and environments at different scales. The
assignment, which is in two parts, gives students the opportunity to think about and
research this in the context of their own neighbourhood, city and region.
Assignment Part One:
Identifying global-local relations in the neighbourhood.
Written report due: Oct 18
Worth 15% of total course mark
Assignment Part Two:
Analyzing global-local relations in city and region.
Written report due: Nov 22
Worth 20% of total course mark 4
October 25 in class, 9.30-10.30.
Short test on key concepts covered in lectures and readings in first five weeks.
Worth 15% of total course mark