Curriculum Guideline

Contemporary Geographies of Monsoon Asia

Effective Date:
Course Code
GEOG 2281
Contemporary Geographies of Monsoon Asia
Geography and the Environment
Humanities & Social Sciences
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
4 hours per week
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction

The course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of the following: lectures, individual and/or team projects, small group discussions, field assignments, videos and animations, practical in-class exercises and quizzes, and map analysis.

Course Description
This course examines the contemporary geographies of Monsoon Asia (South Asia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia) with both a regional and thematic approach. Students will explore the physical and human geographies of countries and subregions within the area in order to compare and contrast major geographic trends. Emphasis will be placed on key thematic issues including current environmental challenges, population and migration, urbanization and urban forms, economic and development policies, and geopolitics, along with an analysis of ever-changing cultural identities and competing nationalisms in order to consider the similarities and differences within and across countries in this region. Using concepts and methods of human geography, students will consider Monsoon Asia in global context and how different places in this area are changing as a result of ongoing globalization.
Course Content
  1. Introduction: What and where is Asia?
  • The myth of Asia: imagined geographies
  • Human and physical geographies of the Monsoon
  • Placing Monsoon Asia in global context
  • Understanding globalization and development trends in the region
    • Colonialism and globalization
    • Economic and social change since WWII
    • Globalization and shifts in cultural and national identities
  • A survey overview of South Asia
    • Physical and human contexts
    • Understanding regional dynamics in South Asia
    • South Asia in regional and global context
  • A survey overview of East Asia
    • Physical and human contexts
    • Understanding regional dynamics in East Asia
    • East Asia in regional and global context
  • A survey overview of Southeast Asia
    • Physical and human contexts
    • Understanding regional dynamics in Southeast Asia
    • Southeast Asia in regional and global context
  • Emerging dragons, tigers, and cubs: Economic models and shifts
  • Territory and politics: Border wars, geopolitics, and national identities
  • The politics of population control: Demographic shifts and consequences
  • Megacities: Urbanization and growth challenges
  • International migrations and Asian diasporas
  • Cultural shifts and identity: Fast versus slow worlds and social change
  • Environmental issues: Managing resources and pollution 
  • Food security: Localizing and globalizing agriculture
  • Conclusion
  • Learning Outcomes

    At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:

    1. Communicate effectively orally, graphically, and in writing about the geographies of Monsoon Asia.
    2. Explain the spatial distribution of human phenomena (e.g. population, cities, economic activities, agriculture, ethnocultural groups, borders, etc.) across the region.
    3. Interpret and utilize relevant maps, graphs, and charts, in assessing regional geographic patterns and phenomena.
    4. Describe and explain geographic similarities and differences among the countries of Monsoon Asia as well as the regions’ shifting place in the world over the past 50-100 years.
    5. Discuss the different economic, geopolitical, and development policies pursued in the region over the past 50-100 years.
    6. Demonstrate an understanding of the role of culture, nationalism, and ideology in shaping national and regional identities and policies.
    7. Explain the impacts of globalization on the patterns of human activities and landscapes in the area, with reference to a majority of key course content areas.
    8. Using geographic methodologies, concepts, and techniques, evaluate and make informed decisions about contemporary challenges facing people and places in Monsoon Asia.
    Means of Assessment

    Evaluation will be based on course objectives and will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy. The instructor will provide a written course outline with specific criteria during the first week of classes.

    An example of a possible evaluation scheme would be:
    Participation 5% Assignments 40%, Map exercises 5%, Mid-term exam 25%, Final exam 25%


    Textbook Materials

    Textbooks and/or materials to be purchased by students will be listed in the course outline and distributed during the first week of classes.

    Texts will be updated periodically. A typical example is:

    Weightman, B.A. (2011). Dragons and Tigers: A Geography of South, East and Southeast Asia, 3rd ed. New York: Wiley.

    Alternatively, a custom course text with key related chapters from the following textbooks may be used along with additional readings selected by the instructor:

    Johnson, D.L., Harmann, V., and Johnson, M. (2015). World Regional Geography: A Development Approach, 11th ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall.

    Rowntree, L., Lewis, M., Price, M, and Wyckoff, W. (2018). Diversity Amid Globalization: World Regions, Environment, Development, 7th ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall.








    Which Prerequisite