Fall 2021 Graduate Geography Timetable

The below timetable is subject to change. Course descriptions will be updated in July, 2021.

Courses marked with an asterisk (*) are offered through affiliated departments. Please contact the host department for enrolment instructions.

Fall session courses begin on September 9, 2021.

Course CodeCourse TitleInstructorDay/TimeRoom
GGR1105HMA Core CourseM. HunterWednesdays, 2-4pmTBD
GGR1110HPhD Core Course: Issues in Geographical Thought and PracticeS. MollettThursdays, 10am-12pmOnline
GGR1200HPhysical Geography Core CourseY. He/L. BrownFridays, 12-2pmOnline
GGR1411HNature and Justice in the AnthropoceneN. SinghFridays, 10am-1pmOnline
GGR1422HThe Geography of Urban Air PollutionM. AdamsMondays, 10am-1pmOnline
GGR1822HQueer GeographiesN. OswinMondays, 10am-12pmTBD
GGR1911HRemote SensingJ. LiuMondays, 10am-1pm (lecture); Mondays or Tuesdays 1-3pm (tutorial)TBD
JGE1425HLivelihoods, Poverty and Environment in the Developing CountriesC. AbiziadTuesdays, 11am-1pmTBD
JPG1400HAdvanced Quantitative MethodsC. HigginsTuesdays, 10am-1pmOnline
JPG1512HPlace, Politics and the UrbanA. WalksThursdays, 3-6pmOnline
JPG1522HProduction of SpaceK. GoonewardenaWednesdays, 10am-1pmTBD
JPG1616HThe Cultural EconomyD. LeslieMondays, 11am-1pmTBD
JPG1809HSpaces of Work: Value, Identity, Agency and JusticeM. BuckleyMondays, 1-4pmTBD
JPG1818HThe Geography and Planning of Climate Action and ActivismS. RuddickThursdays, 12-3pmOnline
JPG2150HSpecial Topics, Toronto Urban Landscapes Field Course: Planning, Politics, and DevelopmentP. HessFridays, 1-3pm with additional times scheduled for field site visitsTBD
EES1119H*Quantitative Environmental AnalysisG. ArhonditsisTuesdays, 1-4pmOnline
EES1128H*Biophysical Interactions in Managed EnvironmentsTBDWednesdays, 12-2pmOnline

Course Descriptions

GGR1105H – MA Core Course

This course will feature discussion of a number of issues pertaining to what life is like as an academic and some of the related skills and experiences that go along with it (e.g., the tenure process, journal peer review processes, tips on how to publish journal articles, research collaboration, conference presentations, teaching, the academic job market, relationship between academia and the wider world, public intellectualism, theoretical versus applied work, etc.). In addition, it will include engagement with non-academic career trajectories, including how skills and experiences from graduate school can contribute to (or hinder?) success in policy deliberations, activism, government and non-profit work, etc. It will also encompass an overview of non-profit work, major debates in the field, and of theory and explanation in geography. The course incorporates a workshop on proposal writing or research statement element for MA students.

The main difference between GGR 1105H and GGR 1110H is in the reading load but also the contrast in specific goals. Specifically, GGR 1110H emphasizes critical reading and thinking drawing on contemporary texts by or relevant to geographers, discussion of readings and the role of theory and evidence in explanation, and perhaps also paying explicit attention to different writing styles. GGR 1105H is more of a wide-ranging course but with some emphasis on practical survival tips for academic and related spheres of life.

GGR1110H – PhD Core Course: Issues in Geographical Thought and Practice

How do geographers go about addressing the challenges and problems of the world? How does the wider context (social, institutional, environmental….geographical!) shape the kinds of issues geographers examine, how these issues are framed, and how they are addressed? How do broad intellectual currents influence the work that is done in geography (and vice versa), and how do we understand the relationships between the broad intellectual currents and the “world out there”? Consistent with current emphasis in critical geography, all geographers, whether explicit or not, are using both theory and so politics in their work, along with some implicit or explicit problem statement in framing what they look at and what are they trying to explain. Even the choice of phenomena to examine is a political choice. Thinking carefully about these issues helps to understand the relationship between scholarship (geographical or otherwise) and the “real world”, while at the same time facilitating reflexive and careful consideration of research topics and approaches. This is, in our view, preferable to relying uncritically on policy or academic discourses and their prevailing theories, debates, questions, and approaches.

GGR1200H – Physical Geography Core Course

This is a mandatory core course for all first year physical geography (MSc and PhD) graduate students. The main objective is to introduce students to successful approaches in graduate school and for conducting scientific research. Specifically, topics will include: fellowship application, literature review, experimental design, presentation skills, proposal preparation, and disseminating scientific research. It also will provide an overview of physical geography as a discipline and include guest presentations by members of each of the four newly established physical geography research clusters. The course will foster intellectual interactions and build support within student cohorts and include mandatory attendance at departmental and university seminar series. Doctoral students who completed their Master’s in Physical Geography in this department and who took this course as a Master’s student are exempted from taking this course as part of their doctoral course work. Following discussion between student, supervisor, and the Associate Chair, Graduate, exemption from this course may also be granted to certain PhD students who have taken an equivalent course as part of their MSc program.

GGR1411H – Nature and Justice in the Anthropocene

The current ecological crisis is calling into question our ways of being human and of relating to the rest of the world. The course addresses the challenge of rethinking nature-society relations and issues of justice in the Anthropocene. It asks whether the concept of the Anthropocene and its variants, helps power (or not) emancipatory politics and visions for future that socially just and ecologically abundant. We will draw from Indigenous ontologies, Environmental Justice movements, transition discourses, and aspirations for “living well” as well as contemporary theories of affect, more-than-human geographies and new materialism to query and reimagine nature-society entanglements.  Topics covered include: environmental thought and activism, Environmental and Climate Justice movements, post-capitalist economic imaginaries and transition discourses.

GGR1422H – The Geography of Urban Air Pollution

This course will examine current local to global issues of urban air pollution. Topics covered will include understanding sources of air pollution, human health effects and study designs, stages of urban development and air pollution, mitigation approaches, global challenges and current air pollution issues by region. Measurement technologies and their applications, including low-cost sensors and regulatory grade instrumentation will be explored. Students will apply tools for spatial and temporal modelling of urban air pollution including dispersion modelling, spatial interpolation, remote sensing and land use regression modelling.

GGR1822H – Queer Geographies

Queer “is about messing things up, creating disorder and disruptive commotion within the normative arrangements of bodies, things, spaces and institutions” (Manalansan, 2015: 567). In this course, we will explore queer in this manner – as mess maker, disruptive force, and sanctuary for social difference. Though formal legal equality for LGBT people has been achieved in some countries around the world, homophobia and transphobia persist everywhere. So do heteronormativity (the privileging of certain heterosexual or ‘straight’ subjects over others) and homonormativity (the privileging of some homosexual or ‘queer’ subjects over others). We will explore queer thought as spatial thought, especially via its connections to postcolonial, critical race, and feminist theories. We will consider how dynamics of race, gender, class, colonialism, and geopolitics are central to expressions of sexual politics, and how queer theory and social movements build frameworks for social and spatial justice.

GGR1911H – Remote Sensing

This graduate course is offered to graduate students of diverse backgrounds, and therefore it does not require prior training in remote sensing. Similar to GGR 337, the emphasis of this course is on the basic concepts and skills in using remote sensing data. However, graduate students are expected to learn additional skills in using remote sensing imagery for environmental research, as a way to encourage you to use remote sensing techniques for your graduate research. Environmental remote sensing has been an increasingly exciting subject as many new satellite sensors have been successfully launched and many are still forthcoming. The unprecedented abundance of earth observation data will allow us to address many pressing environmental issues. This course will cover the basics of using remote sensing data for environmental studies. In addition to learning the basic concepts, terminology, and theories of remote sensing science and applications, students will have the opportunity to acquire hand-on experience in digital image processing using the image analysis system ArcGIS. A series of laboratory works are designed with detailed instructions to lead the students through the key steps in processing satellite images and in extracting quantitative information about the Earth’s surface. Exclusion: GGR337H (STG), GGR437H (UTM), GGR1912H.

JGE1425H – Livelihoods, Poverty and Environment in the Developing Countries

The livelihoods of the rural (and in some cases the urban) poor in the developing world are closely connected to the environment. Hundreds of millions of people, including many indigenous and other traditional peoples, rely directly upon natural resources, at least in part, for their subsistence and often, also, for market income. For many of them, access to such resources is a matter of survival-of life or death, a way of life, or the hope for a better future for them or for their children. Although the livelihoods of these peoples are sometimes regarded as having a negative impact on the environment, more recently, many of them are being heralded as models for biodiversity conservation and sustainable resource. A better understanding of how the rural (and urban) poor make a living -their livelihoods- is considered key to addressing issues of poverty and sustainable resource use, and also for environmental change mitigation and adaptation. This course seeks to develop an understanding of livelihoods among the poor in developing countries, with a focus on how assets, social relations and institutions shape livelihood opportunities in the present and into the future. More broadly, attention will be paid to the ways in which livelihoods are connected to the environment, but also to economic and political processes, with an eye to gain insight on their potential for poverty alleviation, sustainable resource use, and environmental change mitigation/adaptation. The course will also explore emerging areas of inquiry in livelihoods research.

JPG1400H – Advanced Quantitative Methods

Spatial Analysis consists of set of techniques used for statistical modeling and problem solving in Geography. As such, it plays an integral role in the detection of spatial processes and the identification of their causal factors. It is therefore a key component in one’s preparation for applied or theoretical quantitative work in GIScience, Geography, and other cognate disciplines. Space, of course, is treated explicitly in spatial analytical techniques, and the goal of many methods is to quantify the substantive impact of location and proximity on human and environmental processes in space.

JPG1512H – Place, Politics and the Urban

The course examines the relationship between geography, politics, and governance. In particular, it seeks to interrogate the theoretical importance of place, space and urban form in the production of political and social values, practices, strategies, and discourses, and in turn, analyze the implications of the place-politics nexus for understanding shifts in the direction and form of urban policy, governance and citizenship. The course begins with a broad examination of the theoretical bases for linking place and politics, particularly as this relates to the construction of urban and non-urban places, with literature drawn from a number of sources, including geography, urban studies, political science, and planning theory. The course then examines a number of specific cases, from gentrification as a political practice, to the politics of homelessness and anti-panhandling legislation, and the political geography of regional planning and municipal amalgamation, that inform and challenge our understanding of the relationship between place and political praxis.

JPG1522H – Production of Space

This seminar investigates articulations of aesthetic, technological and political forces in the production of space—understood as the triad of conceived spaceperceived space and lived space, following Henri Lefebvre’s influential theorization in The Production of Space. With reference to intellectual resources drawn from several strands of critical theory, space figures here as something radically contested, and dialectically related to social relations. The work of artists, architects, planners, geographers, scientists, technocrats and politicians, along with influential conceptions such as ‘modernism’, ‘avant-garde’, ‘culture industry’, ‘spectacle’, ‘alienation’, ‘governmentality’, ‘subjectivity’, ‘ideology’, ‘decolonization’, ‘utopia’ and ‘revolution’ will feature prominently in this course, in order to theorize how space and society are co-produced, and why various political projects—capitalist, nationalist, fascist, colonial, socialist, feminist—are also spatial projects. As such, the prime objective of this course will be to develop critical-theoretical as well as conjunctural awareness of aesthetic, technological and political mediations of the socio-spatial dialectic–with special attention to the work of architects, urban designers, planners and geographers in the context of subaltern citizens pursuing their ‘right to the city’. 

JPG1616H – The Cultural Economy

This course examines the so-called “cultural turn” in economic geography, often referred to as “the new economic geography”. We will begin by considering various ways of theorizing the relationship between culture and economy. After reflecting upon the historical antecedents of contemporary understandings of this relationship, we will explore selected themes in the cultural economy literature such as cultural industries, consumption, economic discourse, work cultures, governmentality and commodity chains/actor networks.

JPG1809H – Spaces of Work: Value, Identity, Agency, Justice

This course will introduce students to Marxist, feminist, anticolonial and intersectional perspectives on ‘work’ in the twenty-first century. A key intention of this course is to prompt students to examine what forms of work – and also whose work – has been taken into account in geographical scholarship and to explore a number of prominent debates concerning labour, work and employment within geography over the last three decades. In doing so we will engage with foundational political economy texts on the relations of labour under capitalism, and texts within geography and sociology on work, labour, place and space. We will also examine a number of broad economic and cultural shifts in the nature of contemporary work and employment such as de-industrialization, the feminization of labour markets and service sector work, neoliberalization and the rise of the ‘precariat’. At the same time, students will be prompted to consider critiques of some of these ‘transformational’ narratives to probe the colonial, patriarchal, and capitalist continuities shaping the contours of contemporary work. In this sense this is not an exhaustive course on labour and work in geography, but rather a series of discrete introductions to key scholarly arguments about work, often followed by a range of responses to those arguments in the following week.  The course will touch on a broad range of topics, including unfree labour, labour organizing, precarious employment and social reproductive work which are tied together by four overarching themes that run through the course – value, identity, agency and justice. Overall this course aims to give students the chance to explore not only how work has been conceptualized and studied in geography, but how it could be.

JPG1818H – The Geography and Planning of Climate Action and Activism

In the face of growing concerns around the climate crisis and its immediate and long-term impacts on our planet, organizations focused on activism and action have mushroomed locally and globally – from the very local scale to the international scale. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to range of tools critical to successful peaceful social mobilization (both within and outside of the state). The course draws on a range of scholarly literature on effective strategies of social mobilization – from geography, planning and cognate disciplines — as well as a range resources from social movement organizations. Though focused on questions of climate activism in the Canadian context we often incorporate lessons learned from other kinds of social movements in other locales. Students will be encouraged to focus on context dependent appraisal  of the challenges and opportunities afforded by different approaches to mobilization around the climate crisis. While there is a long tradition of scholarly study on the relative efficacy of different approaches to social mobilization, to the best of my knowledge no such course in relation to climate activism exists at the Univeristy of Toronto, although there are several courses across the sciences, social sciences and humanities that address the climate crisis.

JPG2150H – Special Topics, Toronto Urban Landscapes Field Course: Planning, Politics, and Development

This course examines the planning history of Toronto’s post-war landscapes using local field trips linked to readings and seminars. Using historical perspectives on the changing character of selected areas, the course explores the planning, creation, reproduction, and evolution of the city’s landscapes over time. The course will focus on the political economy of modernist planning and urbanism, metropolitan development, and the key dynamics of urban change in Toronto after 1945 with attention paid to the role of changing ideas about planning and normative models of built form. Themes such as changing social geographies, polarization, and gentrification will also be addressed. The first two sessions will be virtual, followed by five field trips and a follow-up seminar. The remaining weeks of the semester will be for researching final research papers and individual meetings with the instructor.

EES1119H – Quantitative Environmental Analysis

This course provides an introduction to the field of ecological statistics. Students will become familiar with several methods of statistical analysis of categorical and multivariate environmental data. The course will provide a comprehensive presentation of the methods: analysis of variance, regression analysis, structural equation modeling, ordination (principal component & factor analysis) and classification (cluster & discriminant analysis) methods, and basic concepts of Bayesian analysis. Emphasis will be placed on how these methods can be used to identify significant cause-effect relationships, detect spatiotemporal trends, and assist environment management by elucidating ecological patterns (e.g., classification of aquatic ecosystems based on their trophic status, assessment of climate variability signature on ecological time series, landscape analysis). The course will consist of 2 hr-lectures/tutorials where the students will be introduced to the basic concepts of the statistical methods and 2-hr lab exercises where the students will have the opportunity to get hands-on experience in statistical analysis of environmental data. Contact the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences for enrolment.

EES1128H – Biophysical Interactions in Managed Environments

This course will focus on biophysical interactions at the advanced level, incorporating specialized concepts on plant-soil relationships, biogeochemical cycles, and ecosystem functioning in managed forests and agriculture. Students will be provided the opportunity to engage with course topics in seminar, field and laboratory format. Sampling and analytical techniques covered are in-situ soil and leaf-level gas exchange analysis, soil sampling, preparation and elemental analysis, and quantification of plant metrics. By the end of this course, students will have an understanding of the complexities and dynamics in managed environments, specifically ecosystem structure and function, soil fluxes including decomposition and mineralization processes, plant growth and nutrition, and production-diversity relationships. Contact the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences for enrolment.