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Regular version of the site
Bachelor 2020/2021

Political Geography

Type: Compulsory course (Political Science and World Politics)
Area of studies: Political Science
When: 4 year, 1, 2 module
Mode of studies: offline
Open to: students of one campus
Language: English
ECTS credits: 6

Course Syllabus

Abstract

The course is recommended for students of political science and international relations and aims at developing a spatial understanding of politics. The first part of the course is aimed at exploring the basic concepts of political geography (e.g. space and place, territory, territoriality, borders) as well as the history of political geography as a discipline. The second part applies these concepts to the different regions of the world as well as Russia. The third part concentrates on geopolitics as a discipline and discourse.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • to develop a spatial understanding of political processes
  • to shape adequate perceptions about the political-territorial structure of the contemporary world
  • to get acquainted with the modern Political Geography as a disciplinary field
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • identifies the difference between territorial and non-territorial polities
  • knows the current state of affairs in the theoretical debate on the influence of geography on state institutions and prosperity
  • knows the differences between Africa's subregions in terms of state institutions, culture, and geography
  • knows how colonial legacy affects Africa's institutions and borders
  • knows the differences between Latin America's subregions in terms of state institutions, culture, and geography
  • knows how colonial legacy affects Latin America's institutions and borders
  • knows the differences between Asia's subregions in terms of state institutions, culture, and geography
  • understand the role of geographic factors in the political and economic development of the US and Canada
  • understands the role of geographic factors in the political and economic development of Russia
  • critically evaluates geopolitical ideas present in the Russian public discourse
  • knows the political map of Europe
  • knows the political map of Asia
  • knows the political map of Africa
  • knows the political map of Latin America
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • The history of political geography. Political geography and geopolitics
    What is political geography? The stages of development of political geography. Geopolitics: geography and foreign policy. The difference between political geography and geopolitics.
  • Territorial state: how is it studied by political geographers. Geography and institutions
    Space, place, and territory. What is territoriality? Territoriality as one of the main features of the modern state. Geographical factors and political outcomes: political geography versus geographic determinism.
  • Political geography of Europe. Empires, poleis, nation-states
    History of the political map of Europe. From non-territorial to territorial polities. Sub-regions of the European continent.
  • Political geography of Asia
    Political diversity of the Asian continent. Sub-regions of Asia. Quality of institutions in Asia. Major territorial conflicts.
  • Political geography of Africa
    Geography and institutions in Africa. Colonial origins of African states. African borders: why they are arbitrary and why they persist.
  • Political geography of Latin America
    Geography and quality of institutions in Latin America. The structure of Latin American space. Latin America and Africa compared: similar origins of states and borders, but different outcomes.
  • Political geography of North America
    Geography and institutions in North America. Structure of space. The role of frontiers.
  • Political geography of Russia
    Russian geography and institutions. Russia's size and climate: impediments for development and opportunities. Inner politico-geographic divisions.
  • Electoral geography (the case of Russia)
    Electoral geography. Electoral geography of Russia.
  • Regional integration groups at the world map
    Integration groups in the modern world. Geographical factors of regional integration. Integration groups with and without a hegemon.
  • Geopolitics: structuring the world
    Types of international systems: polarity. Geography and international relations: geographic structure of the world.
  • Geopolitics of Great Powers: US and China
    Geographic factors of the US and China's foreign policies. China as a rising power.
  • Geopolitics of Great Powers: Russia
    Geographic factors in Russian foreign policy. Geopolitical imaginaries of Russia: European or Eurasian power?
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Participation in seminar activities
  • non-blocking Outline map quizzes
    There will be 2 outline map quizzes. The first one is on Europe and Asia, the second one is on Africa and Latin America. Each student receives an outline map of a random continent (i.e. Europe OR Asia, Africa OR Latin America). A student must label the states and their capital cities.
  • non-blocking Revision test
    The test takes place at the last seminar and covers all the material studied during the course. The test includes multiple-choice tasks, matching tasks and open questions.
  • non-blocking Exam
    The exam is in a written form and lasts 80 minutes. Each student randomly receives 2 tasks in which they are required to express all the relevant knowledge on one of the topics studied during the course. The complete list of the tasks is known to the students in advance. Retakes are conducted in the same format.
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (2 module)
    0.3 * Exam + 0.2 * Outline map quizzes + 0.25 * Participation in seminar activities + 0.25 * Revision test
Bibliography

Bibliography

Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Agnew, J. A., & Muscarà, L. (2012). Making Political Geography (Vol. 2nd ed). Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=442867

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Flint, C., & Taylor, P. J. (2014). Political Geography : World-economy, Nation-state and Locality (Vol. 6th ed). Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=nlebk&AN=782852