The university of british columbia

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the university of british columbia

Course Outline

Department/Program: Geography

Term, Year: Winter I 2011

Course Title: Geography 121: Geography, Modernity and Globalization (1)

Course Schedule: Section 102, Monday, Wednesday, Friday @ 12:00 pm

Location(s): Geography Building, Lecture Hall 200

Instructor: Jim Glassman

Teaching Assistants: Terry Fu, Alan Grove, Thomas Howard, Samuel Johns, Sarah Przedpelska, Duncan Ranslem, Sam Walker (finals marking only)

Office location: Geography 140B

Office phone: (604) 822-1892

Office location: Geography 124

Office phone: available from TAs

E-mail address:

E-mail address:,,,,,

Office hours: M, F 2:00-4:00

Office hours: available from TAs


Course web page:

Course Description (from calendar):

Human geography of the modern world, c. 1750 - 1945, including: pre-industrial societies, global encounters and conflicts, urbanization and regional growth; global migrations, trade and communications; imperialism and anti-imperialism; environment and war.

Prerequisites and/or Course Restrictions (from calendar): None

Format of the course: Three weekly lectures and one weekly tutorial

Required Reading:

Geography 121 custom reading package (available from the bookstore).

Course Assignments, Due dates and Grading:
Participation in weekly discussion class 10%

Mid-term examination (October 12) 25%

Essay (due November 9) 30%

December examination (in exam period) 35%

Course Policies: The calendar states:

Regular attendance is expected of students in all their classes (including lectures, laboratories, tutorials, seminars, etc.). Students who neglect their academic work and assignments may be excluded from the final examinations. Students who are unavoidably absent because of illness or disability should report to their instructors on return to classes.

Withdrawl/Drop Dates: If you wish to withdraw from this course without any record of the course on your transcript, you must do so before 20 September 2011. If you wish to withdraw from this course with only a withdrawal standing (“W”) on your transcript, you must do so before 14 October 2011.

Accommodations: The University accommodates students with disabilities who have registered with the Disability Resource Centre. The University accommodates students whose religious obligations conflict with attendance, submitting assignments, or completing scheduled tests and examinations. Please let your instructor know in advance, preferably in the first week of class, if you will require any accommodation on these grounds. Students who plan to be absent for varsity athletics, family obligations, or other similar commitments, cannot assume they will be accommodated, and should discuss their commitments with the instructor before the drop date.

Late assignments: In fairness to others, late papers will be penalized (2% for each day late, including weekends). Late papers may not be submitted by email. Extensions will be granted only on medical or compassionate grounds. Please contact the instructor.

Academic Dishonesty: Please review the UBC Calendar “Academic regulations” for the university policy on cheating, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty. Also visit and go to the students’ section for useful information on avoiding plagiarism and on correct documentation.

Students should retain a copy of all submitted assignments (in case of loss) and should also retain all their marked assignments in case they wish to apply for a Review of Assigned Standing. Students have the right to view their marked examinations with their instructor, providing they apply to do so within a month of receiving their final grades. This review is for pedagogic purposes. The examination remains the property of the university.


Course Schedule:
Sept. 7 Introduction to the course

Sept. 9 Geography, Modernity and Globalization

Early Transformations of Space and Power: Connections and Encounters

Sept. 12 Columbian Encounter and Exchange

Sept. 14 Slavery and the Atlantic World

Sept. 16 Slavery, Demographic Change, and the Production of Race

Sept. 19 Spatial Expansion of Commercial Capital

Growth, Intensification and Communications

Sept. 21 Enclosure: Commodifying Land and Labour

Sept. 23 Energy Regimes, Resources and Industrialization

Sept. 26 Steam Power, Commodity Circulation, and Expanding Communications Linkages

Sept. 28 British-French Competition for Global Pre-eminence

Sept. 30 From Mercantile to Industrial Colonialism in Southeast Asia

Oct. 3 Demographic Change and Urban Growth

Imperialism and Resistance

Oct. 5 British Colonialism in India and the Development of Liberalism

Oct. 7 Preparation for Midterm Examination

Oct. 10 Thanksgiving, University Closed

Oct. 12 Midterm (covering material up to and including Oct. 7)

Oct. 14 Incorporation of the Ottoman and Russian Empires

Oct. 17 Mottled Industrial Colonialism in Southeast Asia

Oct. 19 Semi-colonialism and Resistance in China

Oct. 21 Japan’s Restructuring and Imperial Emergence

Oct. 24 The Scramble for Africa

Oct. 26 Independence and US Imperialism in Latin America and the Caribbean

Oct. 28 Revolution in Mexico
Reconfiguring Modernity

Oct. 31 Monopoly and the Development of Corporations

Nov. 2 Development of European and North American Labour Movements

Nov. 4 The Union of Capital and Science

Nov. 7 Modernity and its Contradictions: World War One

Nov. 9 The Collapse of the Ottoman Empire and its Aftermath ** Essays due**

Nov. 11 Remembrance Day observed, University Closed

Nov. 14 European Radicalism Before and After World War I

Nov. 16 Socialism in One and a Half Countries: Russia and China, 1917-37

Nov. 18 The 1930s I: The Great Depression

Geographies of Global War

Nov. 21 The 1930s II: A World of Competing Ideologies

Nov. 23 Global War: World War II

Nov. 25 War, Resources and Peripheries

Nov. 28 War and Nationalism in Asia I: Israel and Palestine

Nov. 30 War and Nationalism in Asia II: South/east Asia

Dec. 2 Review and Revision

Schedule of Tutorial Discussions:
Students should come to tutorial prepared to discuss these articles in depth. Take notes as you read, write down passages that you find particularly helpful or insightful and summarize the author’s argument or arguments in your own words.
1) No discussion sessions this week

No Required reading.
2) (Sept 12-16):

Required reading: Jane Burbank and Frederick Cooper, ‘Oceanic Economies and Colonial Societies: Europe Asia and the Americas,’ in Empires in World History: Power and the Politics of Difference (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2010) pp. 149-184.
3) (Sept 19-23):

Required reading: E. Hobsbawm, ‘The Industrial Revolution,’ in The Age of Revolution, 1789-1848 (London: Abacus, 2005 [1962]) pp 42-72.
4) (Sept 26-30):

Required reading: Eric Wolf, “The Movement of Commodities,” in Europe and the people without history (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982): pp 310-353.
5) (Oct 3-7):

Required reading: Leften Stavrianos, “India Enters the Third World,” in Global Rift: The Third World Comes of Age (New York: William Morrow, 1981), pp 230-252.
6) (Oct 12-14):

No tutorial this week. Good luck studying for the mid-term! Please see your TA in office hours if you have questions.
7) (Oct 17-21):

Required reading: Jonathan Spence, “The End of the Dynasty,” in The Search for Modern China (New York and London: Norton, 1990), pp 245-268.
8) (Oct 24-28):

Required reading: John Tutino, “Elite Conflicts, State Breakdown, and Agrarian Revolution, 1910-1940,” in From Insurrection to Revolution in Mexico: Social Bases of Agrarian Violence, 1750-1940 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986), pp 326-349.
9) (Oct 31-Nov 4):

Required reading: Alvin Finkel and Margaret Conrad, “Community Responses to the Age of Industry, 1867-1921,” in History of the Canadian People, 1867 to the Present (Toronto: Addison, Wesley, Longman, 2002), pp 131-155.
10) (Nov 7-9):

Required reading: Albert Hourani, “The Climax of European Power (1914-1939),” in A History of the Arab Peoples (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991), pp 315-332.
11) (Nov 14-18):

Required reading: Ilan Pappe, ‘The Mandatory State: Colonialism, Nationalization, and Cohabitation,’ in A History of Modern Palestine (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006) pp 72-121.
12) (Nov 21-25):

Required reading: Patrick Hearden, “The Nightmare of a Closed World,” in Roosevelt Confronts Hitler (Dekalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1987), pp 155-188.
13) (Nov 28-Dec 2): No readings. Tutorial sessions will be used to review for final exam.

Essay and Exams:

Learning how to research and write a cogent essay is an important part of your university education. Researching an essay involves more than google searches on the internet. It should involve visits to the library, reading research books and articles on relevant topics and careful note-taking. Do not simply regurgitate what an author says. Think about an author’s arguments and evidence critically. Try to develop your own position. Support your claims with evidence and provide citations to inform readers of your sources and to explain when you are drawing on another’s interpretation. Both the author date system and footnotes are acceptable. Please be consistent. Your essay should contain a bibliography listing works that you cite or which proved helpful in your research. If your essay contains maps or diagrams, label them clearly and refer to them in the text.
Writing an essay is hard work. Do not think that you can write an essay in a few days and do well. You should expect to write several drafts of your term paper before handing it in for grading. The clarity and cogency of your essay will be hampered if you do not pay careful attention to spelling, grammar, and organization—all of which will be considered in assigning a mark. Write as clearly and precisely as you can. Think hard about the logic of your position and whether or not your argument contains gaps that need to be addressed.
An original essay is one that has been written by you; that has not (and will not be) submitted as part of the requirements for any other course; and which does not copy directly from books or articles. To guard against plagiarism, the instructor reserves the right to inspect notes for and drafts of essays and to examine students orally on the final version of their essays. Please become familiar with the university’s policies on plagiarism (see above).
The paper should be typed, double-spaced, with standard font and margins. It should be 6-8 pages in length.

Due Date: November 9. In fairness to others, late papers will be penalized (2% for each day late, including weekends). Late papers may not be submitted by email. Extensions will be granted only on medical or compassionate grounds. Please contact the instructor.
Frequently asked questions:

Q. Is there a minimum number of books I need to cite in my paper?

A. No, there is no minimum, or maximum for that matter! Please use the lecture materials and assigned readings when they might be useful. Cite materials that you find helpful, but do not ‘stuff’ your paper with empty citations or footnotes. You are encouraged to make good use of the library’s resources and to learn how to access the many online academic journals at your disposal.

Q. Do I need to cite lecture notes?

A. Yes, it would be helpful to the marker if you cite the lecture on which you are basing some of your ideas or from which you draw relevant data or material. Simply write, Geography 121 lecture, and the date or title in brackets or in an endnote.
Q. Can I use internet sources to write my paper?

A. Internet sites can contain useful information, but they can also be unreliable. It is best to use internet sources in addition to, rather than as a substitute for, scholarly books and articles. It is also important to be critical and careful in your use of internet materials. If you have questions about this, come and talk to your instructor or TA!

Essay Topics:
Choose one of the following essay topics. Ground your answer in specific cases situated within the time boundaries of the course (~1500-1945). Your choice must be approved by your TA or the instructor.
1) The part of the world in which you live has experienced many of the changes in the relationships (a) with the environment and (b) in the spatial character of human interactions that have been discussed in this course. In this light, choose, describe, and interpret a particular British Columbian example of geographical change (either type (a) or type (b), but not both) between 1500 and 1945.

2) How did production and exchange of agricultural goods change after 1500 and before 1945? Choose a specific agricultural product—e.g., wool, cotton, wheat, rice, or pepper—and situate it, over time in relation to changing environmental, cultural, political, economic, and spatial patterns and processes.

3) How did the development of colonial power affect the indigenous social structure in colonized countries? Answer by discussing one colonial case—e.g., Mexico under Spanish rule, Brazil under Portuguese rule, India under British rule, the Congo under Belgian rule, Vietnam under French rule, Egypt under British rule, Indonesia under Dutch rule, the Philippines under US rule, Korea under Japanese rule, etc.

4) How did urban growth in the industrial era (1750-1945) connect cities and their surrounding areas, or hinterlands? In what ways did it disconnect these areas, or create greater relative distance between places? Choose a particular city and define a period for examination—e.g., London and its surrounding region between 1750 and 1900, Paris and its surrounding region between 1800 and 1900, Bangkok and its surrounding region between 1850 and 1945, Sao Paolo and its surrounding region between 1850 and 1945, Vancouver and its surrounding region between 1880 and 1945, Lagos and its surrounding region between 1900 and 194, etc.

5) What were some of the tensions and contradictions of nineteenth century imperialism and capitalist development that contributed to twentieth-century social struggles? These struggles include World Wars One and Two, anti-colonial movements, labor movements, leftist political movements, early feminist movements, and early environmental movements. Pick one such example and discuss.
The mid-term examination on Oct. 12 will be held during class from 12:00-12:50. You will be required to answer two questions from a total of six. The examination will be based on all lectures, readings and discussion classes to date.
The December examination will be held during the regular examination season (after classes have ended) at a time and place to be announced. Please do not book flights home before you have determined your exam schedule. We cannot set additional exams to accommodate individuals. Alternative arrangements will only be made for medical or compassionate reasons, and documentation will be required.
The exam will be two hours long, and you will be required to answer several short answer questions and two essay questions from a total of six. The weight of the examination will be towards those lectures, readings and discussion classes held after the mid-term examination, but some questions may also require you to draw on knowledge from earlier parts of the course.
All examinations will require answers in essay form: point form is not acceptable. In assigning a grade, we will take into account your ability to express yourself clearly (and this will include your command of grammar, spelling and punctuation).


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