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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Kurt E. Engelmann
GEOG 495
Seattle Campus

Special Topics

Topics vary and are announced in the preceding quarter. Offered: AWSpS.

Class description

This course examines regions of continuous primary economic activity that are controlled and exploited by outside areas, with Siberia as a key example. The course identifies common characteristics of such regions and presents a typology of resource colonies ("empty quarters") that is applied to various parts of the world. Students discuss the development of such regions and the effects on them of resource specialization in a global market economy.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Most issues will be covered in a lecture/discussion format. Selected issues, such as indigenous self-rule in Siberia and Northern Canada, will be addressed in a seminar format. Selected films will be shown that complement assigned readings and lecture topics. Several in-class exercises address specific issues related to resource exploitation and the Siberian landscape.

Recommended preparation

This course is aimed at students who are interested in issues of economic development and resource specialization, and have minimal-to-moderate knowledge of Siberia, which includes the Russian Far East for the purpose of this course. GEOG333 (Russia's changing landscape) and GEOG 207 (Economic Geography) are recommended, but not required. Students who have studied other areas or countries with prominent resource-dependent economic sectors are encouraged to attend, as are students with an interest in political economy.

The text, which is available at the University Bookstore, provides an accessible historical-geographic overview of Siberia for students who are unfamiliar with the region.

Class assignments and grading

Activities for the course include midterm and final examinations, two short research papers, three in-class exercises, and reading based group discussions. The final is not comprehensive-the exams cover roughly each half of the course separately. Students have an option regarding the research paper. They can either write one paper 10-15 pages in length on a topic of their choice related to an issue raised in the course, or they can write two, smaller papers (each worth 15% of the final grade) that meet certain criteria. The two papers will address the role of a specific raw material in the contemporary global economy, and raw material production in a specific country or sub-state area, respectively. A draft of all papers will be submitted for review in advance of their due date. The in-class exercises should take less than one class session each. Students are encouraged to work in small groups on these exercises.

Final grades for this course will be determined by student performance on exams and other activities in the following proportion: Midterm Exam 25%, Final Exam 25%, (2) Research Papers 30%, (3) In-Class Exercises 12%, Discussion 8%.


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 Kurt E. Engelmann
Date: 03/14/2000