Geography 202

GEOG 202

Catalog Entry

GEOG 202 The Commonwealth of Virginia. (SS)
Three hours lecture (3).

Examination of physical and cultural features of the state; emphasis on past and present human interpretations of the potentials of the land.  General Education credit-Social and Behavioral Sciences.


Detailed Description of Content of the Course

This course presents and explains the distribution patterns of the major elements of the physical, historical, and contemporary cultural geography of Virginia. The course begins with an examination of the geologic history which determined the landforms and physiographic provinces of the state and proceeds to look at the characteristics of the land surface today: climate, hydrology, vegetation and wildlife. Then the peopling of Virginia by PaleoIndians is described, and the distribution and economic activities of Native Americans at the time of Contact are discussed. The remainder of the course continues with an historical perspective and examines the arrival, settlement patterns and economic patterns and developing distributional patterns of European, African and Asian peoples, concluding with a look at the contemporary landscape


Detailed Description of Conduct of the Course

This is a lecture course. A collection of readings and supplemental maps are available via WebCT since there is no modern textbook available for the course. Homework assignments and in-class exercises help students apply concepts and learn to map and analyze spatial data.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Goals specific to course.

The major goal of this course is that students gain an understanding of the physical and historical processes which have created the present landscapes of Virginia. Objectives toward this end are:

  • Students will acquire a general knowledge of the basic themes of physical and cultural geography
  • Students will learn the distribution patterns of physical and cultural elements of Virginia's geography and be able to draw these patterns on maps
  • Students will recognize that patterns change over time so that they can see and explain the cumulative effects of physical processes and cultural history on the state of Virginia.

Goals specific to General Education Program

  • Students will develop the ability to think critically and creatively about spatial relationships in the modern world and understand how these relationships have developed through time.
  • Students will be introduced to a variety of tools, methods and data used in geographic analysis.
  • Students will use Internet and other computer technologies to retrieve geographic data.
  • Students will acquire a geographic perspective, permitting them to identify cultural values and historic precedents that shape regional and international relationships both here and abroad.

Goals specific to Area 8. Social and Behavioral Sciences

  • Students will understand how geographers approach the study of a place and its peoples.
  • Students will know how to collect geographic data, analyze and present spatial information, and solve geographic problems related to people and their use of the lands they inhabit.
  • Students will acquire basic geographic knowledge and skills that they can apply in evaluating and interpreting their own culture region as well as those elsewhere in the world.
  • Students will understand cultural factors that through time have shaped spatial interactions.
  • Students will understand the diverse ways in which human relations have been structured across space, time and cultures.


Assessment Measures

Two or three midterm examinations are given during the semester followed by comprehensive final examination. All examinations have a mapping component and at least one essay question to assess acquisition of factual data and development of competencies in summarizing and synthesizing a variety of spatial data. In addition there are 5-7 graded assignments involving application of geographic methodologies. A term project or paper may also be part of the assessment.

To assess the attainment of the broad general education goals, essay-type questions on exams and term papers/projects require synthesis of a variety of information related to both the natural and social sciences and presentation of that data in well-conceived narratives and graphics.

To assess the attainment of specific Area 8 goals, students will be challenged in assignments and exams to demonstrate their skills in working with geographic data to interpret the ways human relations are structured across space, time and cultures.


Other Course Information




Date Action and Approved By
September 2005 Bernd H. Kuennecke