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GEOG 07 — The History and Geography of Current Global Events

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Wednesdays
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Date(s): Mar 30—Jun 1
Duration: 10 weeks
Drop By
Drop Deadline: Apr 12
Unit(s): 2 Units
Tuition: $405
Format: On-campus course
Status: Open
While global news accounts focus on current events, the geographical and historical context necessary for fully comprehending what is actually occurring is seldom provided. For example, stories on the current war in Syria might mention the fact that the country’s embattled regime is dominated by members of the Alawite “offshoot” of Shia Islam, but they seldom explain why radical Sunni groups such as ISIS (or Islamic State) regard the Alawites with particular disdain, nor do they show how the complex geography of Syria’s numerous ethnic and religious minorities influences the ongoing struggle.

This course will delve deeply into the geographical and historical background of major international news reports. Weekly topics will vary in accordance with current events. We will tentatively cover such issues as the migration crisis in Europe, the ongoing wars in Syria and Iraq, and the presidential primary elections in the United States. Lectures will be structured partly around the explication of maps, ranging from historical maps to topographic maps to Google Earth images. We will examine these cartographic products with a critical eye, focusing not only on what they reveal, but also on what they obscure and how they can encode ideologically charged perspectives.

Martin W. Lewis, Senior Lecturer in International History, Stanford

Martin Lewis is the author or co-author of five books, including The Myth of Continents: A Critique of Metageography and Globalization and Diversity: Geography of a Changing World. He received a PhD in geography from UC Berkeley.

Textbooks for this course:

No required textbooks