Wednesday, December 15, 2010

ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHY available in the spring

Note from Dr. Hayes-Boh:
Are you looking for a spring-semester course that counts toward the geography departmental electives? Are you interested in how economies work? Do you want to recommend a truly excellent course to a friend from another discipline? One of our very talented visiting lecturers (and a BSU geography graduate) Prof. Phil Birge-Liberman is offering a dynamic, challenging, and informative course in economic geography.

The description and objectives from his syllabus are provided below. Here is Hayes-Boh's shorter definition: Economics without the limiting assumptions.

Sign up today, and learn how the world really works.

GEOG 350: Economic Geography
Professor Phil Birge-Liberman

Class Meetings: Wednesday 1:50pm-4:30pm
Spring 2011

This course examines some of the historical and contemporary factors that shape the global economy and current spatial economic order. This entails studying processes—such as economic restructuring, changing production systems, and the internationalization of trade and industry as well as studying the role of various actors in the economy— including states, producers, organized labor and consumers. We will unpack the term ‘globalization,’ which is so widely used to explain contemporary economic relations and explore the causes, effects, representations, contradictions, costs and benefits of globalization.  We will begin the course by discussing economic geography as a concept, sub-discipline and discourse. We will then study the historical development of the capitalist economy, including the role of new technology in changing production systems and the geography of firms. We will learn that economic change is accompanied by increasing inequality both across and within regions. This will lead to a discussion of economic development as a product of globalization. According to the World Bank, 2.8 billion people live on less than $2 a day. We will explore the contradictions of globalization marked by record corporate executive earnings at the same time as falling real wages for the average worker; new technologies that improve production and yet inefficient and uneven distribution; U.S. economic dominance and yet a shortage of secure well- paid jobs in the United States. The course will conclude with an examination of the current challenges facing the global economy including the greening of the economy and the role of consumption in changing our society.

To develop an understanding of the political economy approach within economic geography.
To connect the historical development of the capitalist economy to contemporary shifts in the spatial organization of production and consumption.
To critically analyze globalization and be able to explore the connections between economic,
political and social processes shaping our globe.
To examine how local and regional economies are implicated in global economic restructuring.
To investigate the causes and patterns of spatial inequality.
To develop critical thinking skills to examine the world around us and representations thereof.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Student Help w/ US Environmental Protection Agency - Narragansett, RI

Current Status: Solicitation posted December 14, 2010. All responses are due 01/03/11, 12:00 p.m., ET. See the Announcement file at the website for more information.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Brazil's Rising Star

Nobody who has been around the BSU Geography Department the past few years is likely to be surprised by the 60 Minutes segment on Brazil that aired yesterday, in which Steve Kroft described the achievements -- and challenges -- of this rising power. From its remarkable economic growth and narrowing social chasm to its upcoming role as host of the World Cup and Olympics, this 13-minute video makes the case that we already understand in the BSU Geography Department: learning about Brazil is as important as it is enjoyable.

In the past decade, BSU has received two grants from the prestigious Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE) of the U.S. Department of Education and CAPES, its Brazilian counterpart. The first of these was in the area of special education (under the leadership of Dr. Lidia Silveira) and the second in geography (with Dr. James Hayes-Bohanan). The grants allowed for in-coming and out-going, semester-long exchanges with university partners in southern Brazil, and greatly enriched our campus.

In June 2011, we will build on this experience to provide BSU's first short-term study tour to Brazil. Dr. Hayes-Bohanan will lead a tour that explores the changes taking place in several key areas of Brazil, from coffee (in which "Brazilian gourmet coffee" is no longer a joke) to modern manufacturing and from transportation planning to hydroelectric power. More details about this trip will be available from the Office of Study Abroad in early January.

If the 60 Minutes segment whets your appetite to learn more about the dynamism that is today's Brazil, check out the Discovery Atlas DVD set that is available at the Maxwell Library Circulation Desk. It includes one DVD each on Brazil, China, Australia, and Italy. The Brazil volume illustrates the geographic variety of the country by focusing on the stories of seven very different individuals from disparate corners of the country. (Call number: PN1995.9.T73 D57 2007)

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Paulo Vela is one of eleven Brazilian students to have spent a semester at BSC (now BSU) as part of the department's US-Brazil Consortium on Urban Development, which was jointly supported by the United States Department of Education FIPSE program and CAPES, its Brazilian counterpart. Dr. Hayes-Bohanan will be leading a short-term study tour in Brazil next June. Details will be posted here in coming weeks.

The academic results of these exchanges (in which many of BSC students also spent semesters in Brazil) have been numerous, including regional and national conference presentations in both countries. Today we learned of an artistic legacy as well, as Paulo posted a music video based on his experience. The title can be translated as "Where I Walked" and it captures beautifully the joy of learning a new place.

(Go to YouTube for larger image.)