GEOG 375: Rural Landscapes and Livelihoods: A Geography of Rural Landuse and Community Change

qualitative methodsThis course introduces students to Rural Geography, a sub-discipline within Geography. It emphasizes the linkages between rural and urban environments, and human and physical landscapes through the evaluation of landuse and community change in rural areas, utilizing watershed boundaries as our spatial unit of analyses. We will explore the implications of demographic (including migration and immigration), economic, cultural, and environmental changes for rural environs using several case study watersheds including St. Croix River watershed in Minnesota and Wisconsin and the Yangtze River watershed in China, among others. Rural community strategies for adapting to and accommodating competing demands for water and landuse will be considered, including pressure for new housing developments, recreation opportunities (boating, fishing, hiking, biking), and conservation needs. Students will be exposed to theoretical and empirical approaches to rural development in different regional contexts, as well as problems associated with these development paradigms. Using watershed regions to frame our discussions, we will explore the rapidly changing rural environments in developed and developing world contexts in order to deepen our understanding of the interconnectedness of human and physical systems more broadly.

Holly Barcus, Professor