Geography - Department of Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology - Christopher Newport University

Department of Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology


Geography studies the interaction of physical and human phenomena at individual places and how those interactions among places form patterns and organize space. Geographers differ from other social scientists by first asking the question of “where” something takes place to help them to understand the “why” and” how.” Geographers can thus study everything as long as it takes place somewhere. Whether we are eating food, building houses, traveling, playing sports, or casting a vote, we use space and interact with our environment. A geographic perspective is critically important to our understanding of a world that is homogenizing on the one hand, and yet increasingly unequal on the other. Geography is particularly well equipped to deal with current pressing issues, such as climate change, socio-economic inequalities, food crises, population growth, migration, and globalization. At CNU, we offer various introductory and advanced courses that challenge students to think critically about the socio-spatial and human-environment processes that shape our world.

Sample Courses

This course is an introduction to the study of human-environment interactions from a geographical perspective, placing a special emphasis on the role of humans in shaping the environment, and how this changed environment then affects humans and human development. The course explores different perspectives in human-environment interaction such as the politics of nature, cultural and political ecology, hazards geography and human vulnerability, and environmental justice. Pressing issues in human-environment geography will be covered, including global climate change, global food systems, overpopulation, overconsumption, and biodiversity. By the end of the semester, students should understand the highly integrated relationships between humans and the environment.

Prerequisite: Any 200-level GEOG or SOCL course.

The purpose of this course is to critically analyze our urbanizing world. What has driven humans to settle in increasingly higher densities? How do people choose where to live, and what constrains those choices? What are the social, economic, and environmental implications of urbanization? To answer these and other questions, this course focuses on the historical process of urbanization, 20th and 21st century urbanization in the United States, and various other case studies in urban geography and sociology

This course is for anyone who loves maps and wants to learn how to make them. Besides being great to look at, maps are incredibly powerful tools for communication and analyzing data. This course provides an overview of the history of cartography, explores the role that maps play in contemporary society, and unpacks the intricacies of map design and of the characteristics and limitations of various map types. Throughout the semester, special emphasis is placed on critical cartography.

Accessible Undergraduate Catalog
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