Cultural Geography

I.     Course Prefix/Number: GEG 122

       Course Name: Cultural Geography

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab) - Contact Hours: 3 lecture hours/week x 16 weeks = 48 contact hours/semester

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course studies contemporary world cultures and their interrelationships with geographic structure and regions, to gain a global perspective on current world events.  Content includes human origins and distribution; population, migration, health, climate, culture, language, settlement, industry and agriculture.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. Demonstrate basic knowledge of maps, places in the world, landscapes, andcultures
  2. Describe the fundamental themes of cultural geography, including defining the concept of culture and cultural landscape
  3. Explain concepts accurately including population dynamics, agricultural problems, cultural ecology, folk/popular culture, and the other themes of cultural geography
  4. Explain the diversity of responses humans have created in meeting their physical and cultural needs today and in the past
  5. Discuss how the cultural environment has changed through time, and the current physical/environmental/human forces at work today
  6. Apply the concepts of cultural geography to own life and community

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Introduction to Cultural Geography
    1. Cultural Origins and Diffusion
    2. Cultural Ecology
    3. Cultural Geography and Geographic Knowledge
  2. Human Modification of the World
    1. Human Origins
    2. Agricultural Revolution
    3. Technology Revolution
  3. Cultural Ecology
    1. Agricultural Systems
    2. Nomadism
    3. Land Use Decisions/Landscape Patterns
    4. Modern Commercial Farming
    5. World Crop Patterns
    6. Carrying Capacity of the Land
    7. Energy Costs of Food Production
  4. The Geography of Population
    1. The Population Crisis
    2. Natural Controls on Population Growth
    3. Demographic Transition
    4. Population and Value Conflicts
    5. Population Distribution Patterns
  5. Migration: Population Movements
    1. Causes, Barriers, and Politics of Migration
    2. Forces leading to Migration
    3. Illegal Migration
    4. Refugees and Their Impact
  6. Cultural Landscapes in Rural Regions
    1. Landscape Variations
    2. Traditional Rural Landscapes
    3. Types of Land Tenure
    4. The Impact of Land Division
    5. Desertification
    6. Cultural Convergence
  7. The Mosaic of Culture
    1. Race and Ethnicity
    2. Conflict and Change
    3. History of Racism
    4. American Indians
    5. Hispanic Americans
    6. Race and Ethnocentrism
  8. The Mosaic of Culture
    1. The Cultural Geography of Language
    2. The Cultural Geography of Religion
    3. Ethnic Religions
    4. Universalizing Religions
    5. Language/Religious Conflicts
  9. The Human World
    1. The Changing Human World
    2. Urbanization and Industrialization
    3. Technological Change
    4. Environmental Modifications
    5. Humans: The Primary Agents of Change

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Lecture, classroom discussion, films, slides, and articles.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Students are expected to attend each class, having read the assigned textbook material before coming to class, bringing with them any questions they might have on the text or other related materials.  They are also expected to be actively engaged in the class sessions through such things as attentiveness to lectures and films, note-taking, asking questions, doing the assigned writing, and involvement in class discussions.

Students will be required to write outside of class the equivalent of 12-15 typed pages of material that will be graded.  This writing may take the form of a research or term paper, summaries of Journal articles, and/or a series of shorter analytical papers.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

The current editions of standard textbooks are used, along with an appropriate atlas.

Examples of typical texts used are:
Human Geography: Landscapes of Human Activity 12th Edition. By: Bjelland, Montello, Fellmann, Getis, and Getis. McGraw Hill Publishers. (2013).

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Examinations, quizzes, class participation and occasionally filling in maps, and/or writing papers and giving presentations.

At least two exams will be given in addition to other required papers and assignments.

XI.   Other Course Information

Support Services: Tutoring in economics is available at the Learning Center.

Important Dates: *
XX/XX: Last day to withdraw and have course dropped from record
XX/XX: Last day to change to Audit
XX/XX: Last day for students to submit materials to make up incomplete from the previous semester
XX/XX: Last day to withdraw from classes with a "W"
* These dates differ for each semester. You'll find the correct dates on the Academic Calendar.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.