Syllabus for geog422: Sub-Saharan Africa Instructors

Download 19.88 Kb.
Date conversion27.05.2016
Size19.88 Kb.
Syllabus for GEOG422: Sub-Saharan Africa
Matthew C. Hansen

E-mail: (best method of contact)

Tel: 301 405 2284

Office: LeFrak Hall 1135

Office hours: 10:00-11:00am Monday and Wednesday or by appointment

Classes: 11:00am – 12:15pm Monday / Wednesday 0111 Tydings Hall
Course objectives: To develop an understanding of the geographic contexts of Sub-Saharan Africa, including an overview of the physical, bioclimatic, historical, cultural, political, demographic, health and economic geographies of Sub-Saharan Africa. Students will ‘fill in the map’ of Africa by studying the spatial distribution within each of these geographic domains. In addition to an overview of geography South of the

Sahara, the Congo will be taken as a more intensive case study through additional readings, lectures and discussions.

Prerequisites: GEOG202 and GEOG201, and either GEOG333 or GEOG335; or Permission by the Department of Geographical Sciences
Recommended: GEOG130 or GEOG110
Learning outcomes: Students will demonstrate knowledge of the relevant geographical information domains of Sub-Saharan Africa. Students will demonstrate critical thinking in evaluating topical issues concerning the human and physical environments of Sub-Saharan Africa. Students will understand the diversity and complexity of Sub-Saharan Africa and its context within global geography.
Required texts: Africa South of the Sahara, Third Edition: A Geographical Interpretation, by Robert Stock

King Leopold’s Ghost, by Adam Hochschild

Congo (Global Political Hot Spots), by Thomas Turner
Schedule (subject to change)

September 3 – Introduction – Chapter 1 and 2, Physiography – Chapter 7, 25, 26

September 5 – Physiography

September 10 – Climate – Chapters 8

September 12 – Vegetation – Chapter 9, 27

September 17 – Land cover from satellite data

September 19 – Hydrology of Africa – Yolande Munzimi

September 24 – Human evolution

September 26 – Language, hunter/gatherers and agriculture

October 1 – Cultural and political hearths – Chapters 4 and 5

October 3 – Pre-colonial history – Chapter 10

October 8 – The colonial period

October 10 – The colonial period – Chapter 11

October 15 – Discussion – King Leopold’s Ghost

October 17 – Mid-term examination

October 22 – Independence – Chapter 12

October 24 – Post-independence – Research paper outline due

October 29 – Post-Cold War

October 31 – Emerging countries – Chapter 16, 17

November 5 – Emerging countries – Chapter 18

November 7 – Demography – Chapters 13, 14 and 15

November 12 – Rural, Urban and Social geography – Chapters 6, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24

November 14 – Health and disease – Chapter 28, 29 and 30

November 19 –Discussion – Congo

November 21 – Bernard Adusei – Ghana overview

November 26 – Student presentations and Research papers due

November 28 – Thanksgiving Holiday

December 3 – Student presentations

December 5 – Student presentations

December 10 – Student presentations

December 12 – Student presentations
Dr. Hansen may be contacted by email at with a GEOG422 subject heading

Mid-term examination – 20%

Research paper – 25%

Individual presentation – 10%

Final examination – 35%

Class attendance/participation – 10%

Both exams will consist of short answer/essay questions and the final examination will include a map-based section. All materials from required texts, lectures, including guest speakers and student presentations will be included as potential examination material.

Research papers will represent a synthesis of a topic of current interest in Sub-Saharan Africa. A list of possible subjects is presented below, and students may propose their own ideas on what subject to research. Papers will be 10-15 pages of double-spaced text, 12-point Times New Roman font and 1” top and bottom page margins. At least 5 references are required, and their listing is not considered part of the main body of the text. Appropriate references include peer-reviewed journal articles, edited books and news periodicals. All references must exist in print editions. An alternative to this format is a synopsis of a relevant full-length text on Sub-Saharan Africa. An outline of each research paper is due on October 25.

Presentations will be made during the last two weeks of class and consist of a 10-minute presentation of the main ideas and conclusions of the research paper. Two additional minutes will allow for one question from the audience.
Potential Research paper/Presentation topics:

Health cluster – AIDS in South Africa, Guinea Worm eradication, Malaria prevention and treatment, Famine causes and monitoring Economic development cluster – Resource curse, Leapfrog technologies, Chinese investment, Agricultural development, Centers of

manufacturing, Conflict diamonds, Bottom Billion, Dead Aid Environment cluster – Ivory, Protected areas and human livelihoods, Great Apes, Desertification Democratic governance case study cluster – Ghana, Senegal, Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Namibia Recent conflicts – Sudan (Darfur and/or South Sudan), Mali, Cote D’Ivoire Past conflicts - Somalia, Angola, Ethiopia/Eritrea
5% of the participation grade will be a student-presented synopsis of a current event news item concerning Sub-Saharan Africa. Each student will select a news item and send an email prior to the next class notifying Dr. Hansen of the topic. 3-5 minutes at the beginning of that class will be spent discussing the news item.
Students with disabilities

Please see the instructor and register with Disability Support Service in Shoemaker Hall.

Honor Code

The University of Maryland, College Park has a nationally recognized Code of Academic Integrity, administered by the Student Honor Council. This Code sets standards for academic integrity at Maryland for all undergraduate and graduate students. As a student you are responsible for upholding these standards for this course. It is very important for you to be aware of the consequences of cheating, fabrication, facilitation, and plagiarism. For more information on the Code of Academic Integrity or the Student Honor Council, please visit Please keep the following pledge in mind when you are writing papers or submitting exam material: “I pledge on my honor that I have not given or received any unauthorized assistance on this assignment/examination.”

Official Notices:

  • Attendance and participation: You are strongly advised to attend and participate in all lectures since this will provide a basic understanding of the subject matter of the course. The course grade is dependent upon successful completion of written papers, examinations and class participation. Active participation in discussions is an important part of this class. The campus policy on excused absences is stated on page 37 of the University of Maryland Undergraduate Catalog (

  • Students are expected to treat each other with respect. Disruptive behavior of any kind will not be tolerated. Students who are unable to show civility with one another, or myself will be subject to being referred to the Office of Student Conduct or to Campus Police. You are expected to adhere to the Code of Student Conduct.

  • Campus Senate policy requires students who are absent due to illness/injury to furnish documentary support to the instructor. I require students to contact me by email or by phone, where possible, prior to class time in which you indicate that you have an illness or an injury. You must provide written documentation verifying your illness/injury immediately upon your return to class. You will not be allowed to turn in missed assignments or make up quizzes, tests, papers, etc. if you have not provided this documentation. Documentation not presented to me in a timely manner will not be accepted. In addition, if it is found that you have falsified the documentation provided, I will refer you to the University’s Student Conduct Office.

  • CourseEvalUM.  Your participation in the evaluation of courses through CourseEvalUM is a responsibility you hold as a student member of our academic community.  Your feedback is confidential and important to the improvement of teaching and learning at the University as well as to the tenure and promotion process.  The date from which CourseEvalUM is open for you to complete your evaluations will be announced by the University. Please go directly to the website ( to complete your evaluations by the requested date  By completing all of your evaluations each semester, you will have the privilege of accessing online, at Testudo, the evaluation reports for the thousands of courses for which 70% or more students submitted their evaluations.

The database is protected by copyright © 2016
send message

    Main page