Introduction to Human Geography - 2nd Edition
David Dorrell, Georgia Gwinnett College
Joseph P. Henderson, Georgia Gwinnett College
Copyright Year: 2018
Last Update: 2019
Publisher: University of North Georgia Press
Conditions of Use
This is a comprehensive textbook that covers the topics typical to a course in Human Geography at the college level. It is organized into the following chapters: 1. Population and Health 2. Migration 3. Folk Culture and Popular... read more
This is a comprehensive textbook that covers the topics typical to a course in Human Geography at the college level. It is organized into the following chapters:
1. Population and Health
3. Folk Culture and Popular Culture
4. Geography of Language
6. Ethnicity and Race
7. Political Geography
8. Development and Wealth
10. Human Settlements
11. Environment and Resources
These also follow the typical topics covered in Advanced Placement Human Geography and college courses in Cultural Geography. Comparing it to non-OER resources, this book groups Agriculture and Rural Landscapes and Urban Geography into the Human Settlements chapter, and touches on Globalization in the Industry and Development and Wealth chapters. Each chapter is further subdivided into sections for more detailed organization, and these sections appear in a clickable Table of Content at the beginning of the book for quick reference.
I found the content accurate and free of errors, but I have not yet used this textbook for teaching a course.
It seems like the text is written in such a way as to make updates relatively easy and straightforward. The big topics here seem to be consistent in most human geography textbooks over the years, and they serve as the foundation for this book. Supporting materials including text examples, maps, diagrams, etc. should be relatively straightforward to revise with future revisions.
I found the materials to be clearly written. I like that the authors bold new terminology on first use and associate these bolded terms with a clear explanation or definition. They also have a section called “Key Terms Defined” at the end of chapters to further reinforce the terminology that students studying human geography will need to use.
I found the materials to be consistent and useful. Chapters begin with a list of student learning outcomes followed by a chapter outline that is presented as a numbered list with the chapter number before the decimal, and the section after the decimal. For example:
CHAPTER 2 OUTLINE
2.2 Thinking About Population
2.3 Population and Development
2.4 Population is Dynamic
2.5 The Demographic Transition
2.6 Measuring the Impact of Population
2.7 Future Population
2.8 Geography of Health
2.10 Key Terms Defined
2.11 Works Consulted and Further Reading
These are good for quick reference, and to assess the relative weight the authors assign various topics, such as population versus health in this case. As indicated in the outline, chapters end with a summary, glossary of terms defined in the chapter, works consulted/further readings and endnotes. The only of these that was a bit inconsistent was the summary section, which in some chapters goes by “conclusions” but in other chapters is not included at all.
With well-organized chapters and sections within chapters, I think this book allows instructors to easily divide out portions based on their needs. Each chapter also seems to stand up pretty easily on its own for instructors wishing to present the material in a different order when compared to the chapter sequence in this book.
I thought that topics were presented in a logical and clear fashion. For example, the chapter on Political Geography begins by explaining how politics is organized spatially, discusses how states cooperate, stresses the importance of boundaries and the types of disputes that arise, and talks about the election process as a geographic phenomenon. This seems like a logical flow of discussion that touches on the most important points of political geography.
The textbook can be downloaded from this URL https://oer.galileo.usg.edu/geo-textbooks/2/ (also given above). It can be saved as a 57 Mb PDF file and used as a traditional textbook. Additionally, the authors have provided a MS Word file, sample questions, exercises, Powerpoint slide decks for each chapter, and the 1st edition of the book for download.
Inside the book the authors provide internal links from the Table of Contents into each chapter and section. Additionally, hyperlinks are included in the PDF to external websites, and most but not all of the links I checked worked. There are some especially good links in the endnotes for students or instructors especially interested in a topic.
The authors also include a nicely formatted and consistent “Author | Source | License” citation for their graphs, images, maps etc. It’s nice to see that many of these are licensed with the Creative Commons or in the public domain. I would have liked the “Source” to also be a clickable link so that readers can further explore such images, graphs or maps as they work through the book.
I didn’t notice any grammatical errors for the portions of this book that I read in detail.
I didn’t find anything culturally insensitive or offensive in this book, and thought that the authors made good efforts to include examples from underrepresented cultures.
Human Geography is a dynamic subject because of the changes the world experiences in culture, climate, communication, and politics. As someone who has been teaching this course for several decades and used at least six different texts (including... read more
Human Geography is a dynamic subject because of the changes the world experiences in culture, climate, communication, and politics. As someone who has been teaching this course for several decades and used at least six different texts (including subsequent editions), the topics in this course continue to evolve. Intro to Human Geography provides all the traditional topics typically covered in textbooks for this subject/course. It is a challenge to keep all the material relevant and current.
There is an omission of "Gender" in Chapter Seven that has become a standard in most texts when discussing Identity:
Ethnicity and Race. Chapter 12: Human Settlements addresses Urban topics but does not address Urban Planning with a more comprehensive foundation for students who may choose land use or urban planning for further study or careers. Chapter Ten: Agriculture discusses many aspects of food access to communities but did not mention in the chapter or under "Key Terms Defined" the idea of a "food desert" which is an important concept to understand as a Geographer.
Dorrell et. al, text was accurate in that it leads the reader through all the important topics that make up the basics in the study of Human Geography. They cover the basic concepts consistent with the subject. The chapters are all relatively short (20-25 pages of content) therefore the depth of ideas is not present in the text. The information provided was accurate and learning outcomes are consistent with other HG textbooks.
I think the challenge for writing a textbook in this subject is the ever changing nature of the human-environment experience. The world, from a geographical standpoint, is a dynamic system. This textbook covers the basic framework for HG which hasn't changed for several decades, however, the living examples of geographical concepts will need to be illustrated by accompanying lessons, assignments, instructor lectures, and current event/media.
The last chapter on the environment was the only chapter that was sorely inadequate in what it introduced. It was half the length of every other chapter in the book. While not a physical geography course, all human-environment interaction (one of the five themes of Human Geography) has an impact and relationship with the planet. This was a missed opportunity to put into context the physical implications from the twelve chapters prior.
This textbook is written with a combined matter-of-fact and conversational style. I found the book to be very accessible and think for an introductory class it has a good tone to engage students with this subject.
Each textbook chapter follows the same format listing: Student Learning Outcomes, Chapter Outline, and then numbered subtopics under the main focus of the chapter. At the conclusion of each chapter, they provide a Summary, Key Terms Defined, Works Consulted and Further Reading and Endnotes. The chapters are all about the same length with the exception of the final chapter (13) titled "Environment and Resources". This chapter was eleven pages of content for a topic that is critical to this academic study.
Each chapter ends with a section "Key Terms Defined". There was inconsistency on the length and scope of these key terms. Some chapters had as few as a half page, while others had 2-3 pages of terms. It appeared as if the author was indicating that key terms were left out of the text but still relevant to the chapter topic.
The book was well organized. The chapters are relatively short and cover key concepts to this subject. The consistency of "Key Terms" and "Works Consulted and Further Reading" could be a launch point for students to do research and go deeper in their learning process.
This textbook is very consistent in its sequence of topics with other Human Geography textbooks I've used over the past two decades. There were maps presented in each chapter to illustrate the topic. However, there were not many images/pictures which help engage students in the seeing the topic of the chapter in real life. I understand copyright access can limit these options when developing an OER, therefore it offers the instructors of this course the job of finding other ways to create these connections
I found a handful of grammatical, format, and spelling errors in the book which could easily be corrected.
There are several ways to assess this book's cultural competence. All the chapter topics were approached in a relatively unbiased presentation. There were occasional informal comments from the author but not as commentary on cultural bias. The chapters that directly addressed culture (Chapters 3,4,6,7,12) provided basic structures of how these topics are viewed through the perspective of geographers. There were a few places in these book chapters where there could have been more forthright discussion about the cultural conflicts and shifts that have been happening in different places in the world and our country, e.g Chapter 3: Migration: More discussion needed on influence of migration on local/regional cultures; Chapter 7: Civil Rights/Black Lives Matter, Indigenous -Reservation Issues, could have been used as examples of the role of place, resource access, political boundaries; Ch. 6, section 6.4 "Religious Conflict" could emphasize the role of "Place and Location" in the situations they only briefly mention.
As a Human Geography professor who is using this book for an online class, I think this book offers me and the students an excellent opportunity to learn together and apply the concepts presented in real time context. The book covers the basics of this subject, and it challenges me to build learning activities that bring them to life in the current world. I believe that the primary learning outcome for Human Geography is to support the development of "systems thinkers". To me, that means that for every chapter/topic we read about, I want students to "SEE" how this looks right now on the planet. I use current events, videos such as: YouTube, Ted Talks, documentaries, News Publications, and other Library resources to have students interpret world events through the newly acquired lens of a geographer. I often use the following quote to frame our learning in this class. "Everything is related to everything else. But near things are more related than distant things." This is considered "the first law of Geography" and was introduced by Waldo R. Tobler in 1969. I believe you can apply this idea to almost anything we study in this course knowing that the meaning of this statement will change over time.
The book provides comprehensive coverage suitable for an introductory human/cultural geography course. The Student Learning Outcomes, Chapter Outlines, maps, tables and graphs are useful guides for reading online or in print. The supplemental... read more
The book provides comprehensive coverage suitable for an introductory human/cultural geography course. The Student Learning Outcomes, Chapter Outlines, maps, tables and graphs are useful guides for reading online or in print. The supplemental resources/further reading sections (Works Consulted and Further Reading) are helpful for students or instructors who want to delve more deeply. At the end of each chapter, Key Terms Defined offers easy reference and a good way for students to build vocabulary and facility with terminology. It would be helpful to include a comprehensive glossary at the end of the book, along with a full index. Sample Questions, exercises and slides accompany each chapter. Instructors can use them as they are or revise as they see fit.
The content is accurate and avoids value judgments and bias.
The content is relevant and up to date. It includes a sufficient amount of comparative information from a broad spectrum of regions and cultures, something that many texts do not provide. The organizational structure facilitates incorporating new and timely information without requiring major revision to the text. Research, data and examples from current events can be added as appropriate.
The text is clear, concise, free of unnecessary jargon and suitable for an introductory course. Terminology from the discipline is defined and introduced in context, often using illustrative examples. The language is not complicated, overly academic or excessively wordy. For courses that are more rigorous are for majors, instructors may wish to provide additional readings from research or professional publications.
The chapters are consistent in language, structure, organization and flow. It appears to be edited well for internal consistency.
The sequence of topics and chapter structure readily allow for course material to be presented in different order or modular units. The text avoids excessive self-references. While the text illuminates connections among fundamental geographic concepts, the information in each chapter is presented so that it does not require reading in sequence.
The topic sequence is logical. Further, it can be adapted easily for courses that present information in a different order or thematic arrangement.
I did not encounter any interface or navigation issues of concern. As one would expect, there may be slight differences in page numbers and display of graphics depending on the format selected (e.g. PDF vs Word, online or print).
No obvious grammatical errors were detected.
The text presents information in a culturally sensitive way. It does not convey value judgment or questionable cultural comparisons. It offers a variety of examples featuring different races, ethnicities and backgrounds. The text could include links to supplementary resources to expand these further.
Overall, this is a sound, suitable choice for introductory human geography courses. It presents the basic information that instructors can supplement easily if they choose to cover specific topics in more depth. A few areas that might be included or expanded as the materials are revised: gender and identity; examples or features about research methods, current research and careers related to geography; references to multimedia on geographic topics.
The text provides a comprehensive introduction to the traditional topics in human geography and covers all areas and concepts appropriately. Each chapter starts with Student Learning Outcomes and Chapter Outline sections, and ends up with two very... read more
The text provides a comprehensive introduction to the traditional topics in human geography and covers all areas and concepts appropriately. Each chapter starts with Student Learning Outcomes and Chapter Outline sections, and ends up with two very helpful to the students sections – Key Terms Defined and Works Consulted and Further Reading. Most of the chapters have also Summary sections. The text is illustrated with maps, tables and figures, but the use of these illustrative materials should be more balanced between the chapters. Chapter 5 The Geography of Language for example, contains only one map, whereas in the following chapter (about religions) the reading material is supported with 13 maps. Some of the maps are from 2015 and need updating.
I didn’t find any inaccurate information. The text is unbiased.
The textbook is up to date. Due to the constantly changing subject matter of human geography the examples, the maps, and the figures in all of the chapters should be updated every three or four years.
The textbook is clearly written and easily understandable even for students who are encountering the basics of human geography for the first time.
The textbook is consistent in terms of structure, terminology and framework.
The chapters are arranged by topics, and each chapter is organized into smaller reading sections that can be easily assigned for individual or group work. Most of the chapters include short introductions.
The textbook is organized in 13 chapters, each one covering a specific topic. The flow is traditional for human geography texts.
I didn’t find any interface issues. Also, the textbook is easy to navigate.
I found no grammatical errors when reviewing the book.
I didn’t find any offensive language or culturally insensitive issues. All of the races, ethnicities, and cultural backgrounds are addressed with respect.
This textbook entirely meets my expectations for an OER in the field of human geography.
There are thirteen chapters. Each chapter focuses on a subdiscipline of human geography. However the chapters are not as comprehensive as a regular human geography textbook. Most of the relevant theory for each subdiscipline of human geography is... read more
There are thirteen chapters. Each chapter focuses on a subdiscipline of human geography. However the chapters are not as comprehensive as a regular human geography textbook. Most of the relevant theory for each subdiscipline of human geography is covered, but postmodern geographic theory is missing.
There are no major errors that I noticed. It looks unbias. It presents multiple perspectives. However it does not use enough information from different sources.
Most data that is used for each chapter is up-to-date. The text can be easily updated as the editions change. However it might be difficult to update maps and images.
The text is written with a clear language. It is easy to follow the content. Even if English is not the first language of a student, the theory and concepts can be understood easily.
Each chapter is arranged in a way that is consistent. Chapters are introduced with chapter outlines and student learning outcomes.
The book is divided into various chapters. Each chapter has subtitles with small reading sections.
The structure of the book is very well organized. The order of the chapters are logical, follows one another. It helps connect one topic to another.
There is good amount of images inserted in to the text. Images are small but easy to read. Images make content easy to understand.
English is my second language. It is hard for me to evaluate the grammatical mistakes. I have noticed no grammatical errors.
Most chapters are written with great cultural sensitivity. Examples that are provided are inclusive of a variety of backgrounds. However the book could include a chapter on cultural geography that focuses on issues of identity, such as gender and sexuality. Also there could be more cultural examples from various parts of the world. Most of the examples that are provided are from North America.
It is an average quality textbook for an open resource. The book is formatted in a way that it is easy to read for first year college course. The content is easy to follow for students who do not have prior knowledge on the topic.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: Introduction to Geography
- Chapter 2: Population and Health
- Chapter 3: Migration
- Chapter 4: Folk Culture and Popular Culture
- Chapter 5: The Geography of Language
- Chapter 6: Religion
- Chapter 7: Ethnicity and Race
- Chapter 8: Political Geography
- Chapter 9: Development and Wealth
- Chapter 10: Agriculture and Food
- Chapter 11: Industry
- Chapter 12: Human Settlements
- Chapter 13: Environment and Resources
About the Book
Geography is a diverse discipline that has some sort of connection to most every other academic discipline. This connection is the spatial perspective, which essentially means if a phenomenon can be mapped, it has some kind of relationship to geography. Studying the entire world is a fascinating subject, and geographical knowledge is fundamental to a competent understanding of our world. In this chapter, you will learn what geography is as well as some of the fundamental concepts that underpin the discipline. These fundamental terms and concepts will be interwoven throughout the text, so a sound understanding of these topics is critical as you delve deeper into the chapters that follow.
About the Contributors
Joseph P. Henderson