The assignment for the second half of AK/Geog 2500 SU09:
You may begin this assignment whenever you wish, but it assumes that you will have done the required reading.
Length: should be around 10 pages, including illustrations. If you are sending an electronic file please make it compatible with MS Word if possible, and keep the file size manageable. Electronic submissions will be printed on a monochrome laser printer. As in the first half of the course, the assignments should be sent via OCTES. The best method is to submit online via the OCTES website. Go to the OCTES web page (http://www.atkinson.yorku.ca/disted/) and follow the links for "assignment sumbission". Alternatively you may send it via e-mail, by fax or by mail. If so, you should attach the following cover sheet. On-line submission is best, e-mail submission is second best, fax and mail submissions are slow and problematic. Make sure you keep a backup copy.
Due Date: Friday 7 Aug 2009, at office closing. Please note that the OCTES fax machine and email system will get busy as the deadline approaches. We suggest that you submit the assignment and cover sheet ahead of time.
Worth: 30% of your final grade.
Write an essay on one of the following topics. The title you should use is highlighted in bold. The comments in italics explain what your essay should cover:
Environment Essay: Where should the Environment fit into our understanding of Globalization?
Hints: By environment, of course, we mean the natural environment, either on its own or as modified by people. Globalization? Well the textbook taks a great deal about that. Globalization is both real and imaginary. It us used to describe forms of global capitalist integration in which the economy becomes global, and without boundaries, as well as new forms of community, and ways of living. It also might just be a buzz-word, a way of describing changes which have been at work for centuries now. Real or not, there are signs, I think in the people-resources-environment chapter that globalization is having an impact on the global environment. Let's see what you can do with this. Please keep track of the on-line and printed sources you use to the research your essay. We will need a bibliography which lists the resources you've used, and you must cite them in the text.
Water Essay: Have we underestimated the importance of water to human geography?
Hints: Looking at the textbook, I see lots of discussion about the importance of resources, and the way that the environment acts as a life support system. In the population chapter, we think about the challenge of human numbers, which is often presented to us as a people vs food supply issue. In the farming & food chapter, we look at how we feed people. There is lots of talk of land and food, and resources, but less of water. Water is a crucial resource which gets less emphasis. There is talk (plenty on the internet and the in the media) of water being the new oil, in the sense of a resource which will be in short supply soon. In one sense, the conflicts in the Middle East are linked to oil, but in another sense, they are linked to water. We will need you to do some research here, do some digging on the critical importance of water resources. And we also need you to take a critical look at what the textbook (perhaps) leaves out. Bearing water in mind, would we want to change the way that (say) the population chapter is written?
One of the best ways to do this is to focus on a region where water resources and access to water are in a critical state. Parts of the US west and south west are in this situation: rapid urban and agricultural demand meets a 20-year drought. Several US states (Texas to South Dakota) depend on the so-called Ogallala aquifer, whose water levels are dropping. The Israel-Palestine conflict takes place against the backdrop of water shortage. People need water as well as land. If you pick a region where water is a stressed resource, you start to see exactly how important it is to human geography, and it becomes possible to write about it.
Let's see what you can do with this. Please keep track of the on-line and printed sources you use to the research your essay. We will need a bibliography which lists the resources you've used, and you must cite them in the text.
In either essay, we recommend that you do some background research, beyond the textbook, and deeper than Wikipedia. If you can find articles in scholarly journals that would be great, but the best stuff may not be there.
If you want to search newspaper sources, you can try on-line editions of newspapers such as the Toronto Star and Globe & Mail or your favourite Canadian newspaper, but the best source is to access CBCA-Complete via the York Library system. To use CBCA, the Toronto Star or Globe & Mail from home you will need to log-in with your library barcode and PIN, details on the York library website. All these sites allow you to search for certain words or combinations of words, but you will have to experiment. Often you can get the whole text of the article, but sometimes just the headlines are enough to tell you what was going on. York University libraries have microfilm holdings for some of the publications listed by CBCA, but you can probably find most of what you want online. CBCA has listings going back to 1982. We really need the more recent years anyway, and you probably won't have to go back that far.
Citations: In both essays, we will need you to research and support your points with evidence. You can obtain useful evidence from a variety of sources, including the internet. You must cite the sources you have used however. It does not matter which system you use (footnotes, endnotes, in-text scientific format etc.,) as long as you cite. There should also be a bibliography.
Newspaper sources are cited by giving the name of the newspaper, date and page number. The title of the article and author are optional. Many papers do not indicate the author. Include the author and title only if you find it helpful. Newspaper citations might look like this:
Toronto Star 15 Jan 2005 A2
Internet sources are cited by giving a name to the website, its URL and the date on which you accessed it. For example:
Coca Cola Co website (www.coca-cola.com) accessed 28 June 2007 2:14 p.m. EST.
Contact a TA if you have questions.