Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > Course Catalog 

Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Victoria A. Lawson
GEOG 230
Seattle Campus

Geographies of Global Inequality

Addresses increasing global inequalities by focusing on shifting spatial division of labor and the role of the international development industry in shaping economic and social inequality. Examines the relationships between economic globalization, the development industry, and rising global inequality: reviews the history and record of the international development project, and asks what it means to say that Western, advanced economies are not the norm against which the rest of the world must be understood.

Class description

Examines the processes driving urban growth in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The course examines urbanization in its international context. These issues and their human impacts are discussed in the context of historical and contemporary changes in the international political-economy. The course begins by reexamining some of the defining debates in development studies; population, migration/immigration dynamics, 'overurbanization', protectionism and free trade. The course culminates with a discussion of the human dimensions of broad political-economic processes examining questions of urban employment, shelter and political action. Major themes include: the cultural context of urban growth, the rapid pace of urbanization, indigenous urban forms, and colonial legacies.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

The course is taught in a lecture format with a weekly lab section. Students engage in activities in section and in graded exercises that encourage students to learn the tools of political-economy analysis, learn the locations of world cities, learn to think through differing arguments about development studies, and learn to present their analysis in a visual poster format. Lab sections are interactive, focused on activities and group-based learning and are a forum to explore lecture material in more depth.

Recommended preparation

The course assumes no prior training, but the following would be useful. Introductory level courses in development studies, international political-economy, and urban or economic geography.

Class assignments and grading

There is a midterm and final, with both multiple choice and short essay questions. In addition, there are a series of map tests and readings quizzes where students are tested on their comprehension of the readings for that section of the course. The map quizzes involve locating cities on regional maps. The readings questions are short answer. There are also a series of credit/no credit exercises that build critical thinking skills -- the work in each of these exercises prepares the student for an in-lab activity.

Midterm = 30% Final = 20% Map quizzes = 30% Credit/no credit exercises = 10% Poster = 10%


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Therese A Young
Date: 11/23/1998