3:30-4:45 p.m. MW: Hawkins 153B Dr. Jennifer Mapes Office: 215 Ward Hall Office Hours: Friday 9 a.m.-1 p.m. or by appointment Email: jennifer.

mapes@plattsburgh.edu Phone: x2710

GEG 308: Political Geography
This course examines the spatial arrangement of political processes at the global, national, and local level. At the global level, we will consider the relevance of borders in a globalizing, post 9/11 world, examining issues of sovereignty, nationalism, identity, hegemony, and terrorism. Nationally, the focus will be on internal unity and polarization. Politicians like to talk about “the real America”: we will interrogate this phrase by considering the geography of state and national elections. With 2010 census data in the process of being released, the course will include an examination of the potential impacts of New York State redistricting. At the local level, the focus will be on city and town politics in upstate New York. A class project will focus on issues of municipal transparency and participation. The course will conclude by considering the politics of sustainability and the balance of social equity, environmental health, and economic viability at multiple scales of governance.

Course objectives
Understand key theoretical concepts in geopolitics Apply knowledge of these theoretical concepts to contemporary world events Describe the influence of spatial representations on political outcomes Use geographic concepts to interpret the interactions of space and power at the local level

Required texts
Key Concepts in Political Geography (SAGE), Gallaher et al., 2009 New York Times (weekdays), available online or on campus Additional readings provided via hyperlink (control+click) or on Angel


Course schedule
Jan. 31 Feb. 2 Feb. 7 Feb. 9 Feb. 14 Feb. 16 Feb. 21 Feb. 23 Feb. 28 Mar. 2 Mar. 7 Mar. 9 Mar. 14 & 16 Mar. 21 Introduction, Geopolitics Gallehar et al., Ch. 7 Political economy, globalization Gallehar et al., Ch. 10 & 14 Nation-state, sovereignty Gallehar et al., Ch. 1 & 2 Hegemony, superpower Gallehar et al., Ch. 5 & 8 Colonialism, postcolonialism Gallehar et al., Ch. 9 & 25 Socialism, neoliberalism Gallehar et al., Ch. 12 & 13 Migration, border Gallehar et al., Ch. 15 & 17 The Canadian/U.S. border A Tale of Two Borders, P Andreas (2003) . Conflict, post-conflict Gallehar et al., Ch. 19 & 20 Terrorism, anti-statism Gallehar et al., Ch. 21 & 22 Nationalism, citizenship Gallehar et al., Ch. 23 & 24 MIDTERM EXAM SPRING BREAK How local government works “The local governance system,” New York Politics and Government: Competition and compassion, S. Liebschutz

Apr. 6


Mar. 23

Challenges of local government: WORKSHOP How Bell Hit Bottom, Los Angeles Times, C. Goffard (2010) The Corruption in Vernon, Los Angeles Times, R. Cole (opinion) (2010) Scale, regionalism Gallehar et al., Ch. 16 & 18 Representation & the “real America” Gallehar et al., Ch. 26 True Blue Americans, New York Times, P Kurgman, 2002 . Transparency & participation: WORKSHOP Part I of project due “Citizen Participation,” State & Local Government: The essentials, Bowman & Kearny. Geography of U.S. elections “The 2008 election and the political geography of the new democratic majority,” Polity, D. Hopkins NO CLASS DUE TO CONFERENCE: Collect data for Part II of the class project Democracy, governance Gallehar et al., Ch. 3 & 4 Gerrymandering and redistricting Citizen’s Guide to Redistricting, 2010 (download PDF read at least pgs 1-15) , The New York State redistricting process Census could set off major redistricting, Gotham Gazette, A. Beveridge, 2010 Working with political data: WORKSHOP Part II of project due Geography of New York State politics “The States of New York,” New York Politics: A tale of two states, Schneier et al. Urban politics “The political city,” Urban Theory: A critical assessment, J. R. Short Environmental politics “Introduction,” Environmental Politics: Scale and power, S. Lear

Mar. 28 Mar. 30

Apr. 4

Apr. 6

Apr. 11 & 13 Apr. 18 Apr. 20 Apr. 25 Apr. 27 May 2 May 4 May 9


May 11

Conclusion: Is “all politics local”? “Social networks will change America’s political map,” Millennial Makeover: MySpace, YouTube & the future of American politics, Winograd & Hais Final portfolio due FINAL EXAM

May 16 TBA

Course assessment
Participation (15 percent) Participation will is required and expected in this course. It is possible to receive a zero for participation, which would significantly affect your grade in the course. Participation grades include both attendance and contributions to discussion. Reading the course text and the New York Times articles provided by your classmates are essential to course engagement. An approximate scale is as follows: A: Attends at least 90% of classes, high engagement in class A-: Attends at least 90% of classes, moderate engagement in class B+: Attends at least 90% of classes, low engagement in class B: Attends between 75-89% of classes, high engagement in class B-: Attends between 75-89% of classes, low engagement in class C: 50 percent attendance, high engagement D: 50 percent attendance, low engagement Less frequent attendance will earn lower grades at or approaching zero. Exams (2 x 20 percent = 40 percent) Exams will include short answer (40%) and essays (60%). The final exam will not be comprehensive. New York Times discussion assignments (2 x 10 percent) During the second week of class you will sign up for two dates for these assignments. For these dates, you must post a link to an article at least 48 hours in advance of class. If you post late, your grade will be reduced by one letter. If you do not post within 24 hours, I will post an article myself and you will receive a zero for the assignment. Make-up assignment dates may be available, but at a reduced grade. You may post as early as you would like. Your post will be named by the date it will be discussed and topic. It will include: A link to a New York Times article relevant to the topic at hand. Three questions to discuss about the article. These questions should be informed by your reading of the assigned text for that date. On the date of the discussion, you will attend class and lead a discussion on the three questions you provided your classmates. You will also submit a write-up of the following: A half-page (single-spaced) description of the article. Your own answers to the questions (another page or so). 4

Description of, and a citation for, an additional article that offers more insight into your topic. Your grade for these assignments will be based on whether you follow the above instructions and the appropriateness of the article given the topic at hand. Local government project (25 percent) An on-going theme in this class is the concept of democracy. In the last half of class, we will apply what we have learned about democracy to local governments in Upstate New York. As a class we will determine “civic indicators” we wish to measure (Part I: April 4), collect data (Part II: April 27), and produce a final report on these indicators (Part III: May 16). Submissions must be made on or before the due dates. Late submissions will reduce your final grade by half a letter grade per day, each. No email submissions will be accepted. On March 23 we will discuss the project and assign tasks. You MUST be available that day to participate in this workshop. If you do not attend this class, your starting grade will be reduced by one letter. Your grade will be based on a final submission of a portfolio containing all three parts (with revisions, if required).

College Honor Code
It is expected that all students enrolled in this class support the letter and the spirit of the Academic Honesty Policy as stated in the College Catalog. This is your first and only warning against plagiarism.

Electronic communication policy
My emails I will post non-pressing announcements on Angel and discuss them in class. Any timesensitive announcements will be sent to your school address. If you are having trouble accessing your school address, please let me know. Otherwise, I will expect you to receive my message during regular business hours. Similarly, I will check my email during business hours (M-F 8 am to 5 pm), but rarely check , my school email nights and weekends. Please do not expect an immediate response on nonemergency issues. If I have not responded to your email within 48 hours, a polite reminder email is fine. Your emails Please send emails from your school address. Yahoo, hotmail, and gmail accounts may not be recognizable as student emails and may be ignored. Follow proper email etiquette. This includes an informative subject line, a salutation (Dear Professor Mapes, or Dear Dr. Mapes, or just Professor Mapes,), your full name, and what class you are in. I do not answer questions that are answered on the syllabus (such as, “What did I miss?” or “What are your office hours?” or “Where is your office?”). Please check there first!


Angel Announcements may be posted to Angel, but will also be made in class. If you miss class, it is a good idea to check Angel, both announcements and the class Powerpoints. All content will be available through the “Lessons” section, including class Powerpoints (in PDF form). Powerpoints for the week are posted on Fridays.


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