First Year Courses

All 100-level Geography courses are initially restricted to first-year students during the priority enrollment period. After this period, these courses are open to upper-year Arts & Science students.

Please see Academic Dates & Deadlines for more information on enrollment periods.

Please see the Undergraduate Timetables for more information on course availability, time, and delivery.

JEG100H1: Introduction to Physical Geography and Earth Sciences

This introduction to Physical Geography and Earth Sciences examines the atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere and biosphere, emphasizing processes, flows of energy and materials, and the interconnectedness of these Earth systems. Specific topics include weather and climate, earth materials, geological and geomorphic processes involved in the genesis of landforms, river systems, glaciers, soils, and biomes. Five laboratory meetings during the term. This is a Science course that fulfills Breadth Requirement 4: Living Things and Their Environment.

GGR101H1: Histories of Environmental Change

The course will focus on the processes that drive environmental change and how past societies have responded to the constraints that these impose. The emphasis is on the current interglacial, the Holocene, and how increasing population and technology has affected human-environment interactions.

GGR107H1: Environment, Food and People

Examines the relations between food, nature, and society. Food is fundamental to human existence, and central to most cultures; it also has significant and widespread effects on the physical environment. This course uses food as a lens to explore human-environment interactions locally and globally. It serves as an introduction to environmental geography. This is a Social Science course that fulfills Breadth Requirement 3: Society and its Institutions.

GGR112H1: Geographies of Globalization, Development and Inequality

Economic development and underdevelopment are taking shape in an increasingly interconnected global context. This course examines geographic approaches to “Third World” development, economic globalization, poverty, and inequality. It pays particular attention to the roles of rural-urban and international migration in shaping specific landscapes of development. This is a Social Science course that fulfills Breadth Requirement 3: Society and its Institutions.

GGR124H1: Urbanization, Contemporary Cities and Urban Life

Offers an introduction to North American cities and urbanization in a global context. It explores social, cultural, political and economic forces, processes, and events that shape contemporary urbanism. The course adopts the lens of ‘fixity’ and ‘flow’ to examine how the movement of people, ideas, goods, and capital, as well as their containment in the infrastructure and space of the city, give rise to particular urban forms. This is a Social Science course that fulfills Breadth Requirement 3: Society and its Institutions.

GGR196H1: The Yard: Micro-Geographies of Household Outdoor Spaces

A “yard” is the area of land immediately adjacent to a building, often a residence. By examining micro-geographies (that is, detailed empirical studies of a small, specific locale) of these ubiquitous, everyday spaces, the course explores how yards are intimately connected with broader ecologies, cultures, and social relations, all of which can be explored using geographic theories and techniques. The course also serves as an introduction to other subjects that are relevant to navigating post-secondary life, such as: critical reading; conducting university-level research; presenting and communicating ideas in the classroom; teamwork, and how to benefit from it; and developing social networks.
Restricted to first-year students. Not eligible for CR/NCR option.

GGR197H1: Nature, Conservation and Justice

Every day we read about climate change, species extinction, environmental degradation and the need for nature conservation. It is increasingly becoming apparent that the environmental problems that we face today arise from a deeper crisis relating to human ways of viewing and connecting to nature. This course asks how we can rework human ways of relating to nature, while querying the idea of “nature” and questioning the dominant approaches to nature conservation. It asks how can concerns for nature and for other species be balanced with that for human livelihoods and well-being? How can inequalities with regards to the distribution of environmental goods and bads be reduced? How are citizens and communities in the different parts of the world struggling against environmental injustice and to protect their local environments? How do these place-based movements demand justice and what visions do they articulate for a more just and sustainable world? How do indigenous worldviews offer conceptual resources for rethinking nature and our ways of relating to nature? The course will explore these questions using lectures, class discussion, videos and student presentations. Restricted to first-year students. Not eligible for CR/NCR option.

GGR198H1: Mobility and Borders

Is space political? In what ways? What are the implications of thinking about politics geographically? How do political conflicts both invoke and transform space and place? What kinds of alternative political relationships to space and alternative mappings can we imagine? This course will attempt to answer those questions while exploring a wide range of possible contexts in which political spaces are evident. These may include: conflicts over the intimate spaces of the body, identity, and the home; the racialization and gendering of space; the politics of cities and urbanization; the boundaries of public and private space; struggles over land, property, resources and ‘nature’; the political geographies of labour, citizenship and migration; globalization of economic markets and alternative economic political and social cartographies; borders, geopolitics, and the territorial politics of empire; and the geographic projects of colonialism, post-coloniality, modernity, and modernization. Restricted to first-year students. Not eligible for CR/NCR option.

GGR199H1: Race, Conflict, and the Urban Landscape

This course will focus on how racial conflict affects the size, shape, composition, and landscape of cities. It will emphasize Canadian and American cities, but other international examples will be discussed for comparison. Ethno-racial conflict has been, and continues to be, an important force on cities throughout the world. Course topics will include housing and employment discrimination, ethno-racial uprisings, and inequality. The course will be a discussion-oriented blend of academic readings, popular journalism, and film. It will serve as an introduction to concepts that are dealt with in greater depth in second, third, and fourth year geography courses. Restricted to first-year students. Not eligible for CR/NCR option.