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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

James W. Harrington
GEOG 498
Seattle Campus

Seminar in Economic Geography

Themes and debates within and between economic geography and regional science.

Class description

Given the fall of trade barriers, improvements in transportation and information transfer, and the rise of truly global production networks, how can a local region develop and hang onto a thriving economy?

What keeps the world from being truly "flat," where capital, innovation, and production flow to the highest bidder, and employment can flow to the lowest bidder?

How and where will you find meaningful and remunerative employment?

These are the questions that motivate this course. However, we will not sit around, moan, and speculate. We will read, analyze, and discuss what geographers, planners, and economists have written about these issues. Individual students will develop a grounded understanding of the terms and tools now used to develop local economic advantage, and will develop a research plan to investigate what works!

Student learning goals

Become conversant with major themes and frameworks of economic geography and regional science.

Observe how subdisciplines and scientific communities act as social-professional networks.

Recognize differing routes through which academic insights can be applied empirically and practically.

Apply a major question of economic geography or regional science to an empirical research issue of immediate or long-term utility.

Identify and begin to overcome the challenges of designing and implementing empirical research.

General method of instruction

Reading, in-class discussion

Recommended preparation

PREREQUISITES 1. Geography 207 (Economic Geography) or Geography 208 (Geography of the World Economy) 2. Geography 315 (Explanation and Understanding in Geography) or an analogous course in the discipline of a student majoring in something other than Geography

PREFERRED PRE- OR CO-REQUISITES 1. Geography 326 (Quantitative Methods in Geography) and 2. Geography 425 (Qualitative Methodology in Geography) or 3. analogous courses in other departments

Class assignments and grading

Reading, in-class discussion, in-class essays, student papers

• Quality of weekly papers (5 @ 5 points each) and small-group discussion (6 @ 2 points each): ability to interpret, synthesize, and compare authors’ approaches, intentions, and contributions. (The comparison will be a key purpose of the in-class discussions). • Ability to draw key themes from the assigned reading, by writing essays in class (20 points) • Ability to conceive a research question (10 points), devise an adequate research design (detailed plan for operationalizing the question, obtaining sufficient data, and making use of the data) (15 points), and write a cohesive proposal (10 points). • Student’s individual assessment of how (s)he would like to make use of economic geographic or regional science insights, questions, or tools in the future (5 points). • Student’s ability to assess own learning (3 points).


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.
Additional Information
Last Update by James W. Harrington
Date: 01/09/2008