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Publisher's Summary

No one is an island. The community where you live, the food you eat, and the people you know are all part of a global chain of connections. Over the past 10,000 years, humans have transformed the planet - yet the planet has also influenced human life in myriad ways. In these 24 eye-opening lectures, take an interdisciplinary voyage across time and around the world to consider the dual nature of our relationship with "place".

With insights drawn from ecology, anthropology, economics, geopolitics, and more, Professor Robbins reveals the underlying structures that explain why the world is the way it is. Understanding global trends and connections - from environmental changes such as deforestation to the way money and labor slosh around the globe - will give you new insights into the story of human civilization and current events.

One key theme of this course is that "place" is a construct. People make (and constantly re-make) places in response to myriad circumstances, ranging from economic conditions to changes in the ecology around them. Indeed, humans have taken over the Earth so completely that some geologists now refer to our era as the Anthropocene - the "human era".

While it is tempting to despair over humanity's takeover of the planet, you see how the picture is surprisingly complex, and that there is reason for optimism. Much of the human impact on the Earth, from deforestation to rapid urbanization, is not an inexorable march of destruction without any means of revitalization.

In addition to the study of the environment, Professor Robbins examines the wide-ranging implications of a world economy. You'll explore the wellspring of culture and delve into the thorny issues of geography, ethnicity, and statehood. When you complete this course, you'll have all the tools you need to look beyond the headlines and analyze world events in a whole new way.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2014 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2014 The Great Courses

What listeners say about Understanding Cultural and Human Geography

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  • 77Tango
  • 2019-03-20

Essential, Engaging & Data-rich - 1 big complaint

This is an absolutely essential listen for anyone interested in having an informed, historical and science-based understanding of how geography impacts human civilization. The professor is extremely cogent and engaging.

My only complaint is his early rushed and mischaracterizing critique of Jared Diamond's work. It does everyone a disservice - especially future readers.

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  • fjness
  • 2018-07-25

freshmen or sophomore level info

The course was well executed but it was not the detailed information I was looking for. His intended audience is brand new students of geography. He provides interesting case studies to make his point. Its worth the money if you have never read a book on the topic.

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  • Christian L Sorden
  • 2020-02-17

Fact check before you believe the doom and gloom.

Globalization and half truth conjecture runs rampant in this. Critical geography is spread throughout. Be wary.

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  • Francis de Sales
  • 2018-11-27

A must for whoever is interested in social and political science

The first five lectures weren’t my cup of tea. However, later lectures drew me in. I thoroughly enjoyed the course. Fascinating choice of topics the lecturer provided enough information both to inform and to raise interest in the subjects he discussed. As an economist and a social scientist I never appreciated or understood the work of geographers. This course changed my perceptions and instilled in me an appreciation for geography as a discipline and geographers in general.

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  • Cheri
  • 2017-04-08

Outstanding comprehensive course!

Any additional comments?

I recommend this course to anyone who would like to understand human history and the impact forces have had on developing our world. This course draws on a multitude of disciplines to bring together a very comprehensive study of geography! I will be listening to it for a second time because it was so enthralling, intriguing, and informative!

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  • Matt G.
  • 2015-01-29

Really enjoyable

If you could sum up Understanding Cultural and Human Geography in three words, what would they be?

This is a great series of lectures. I'm only about lecture eight (of 24) but I look forward to my commute just so I can listen-in. The topics are engaging, the delivery is flawless and I really enjoy it so far.

What about Professor Paul Robbins’s performance did you like?

This guy really knows his stuff. He has completed on-the-ground research in India and has great ways of relating the concepts to actually situations.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Corey
  • 2015-01-21

Concise

Perceptive, and thought-provoking. Time well spent, but I wish there was a pdf to follow along with this lecture.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Chloe Nadon-Enriquez
  • 2019-07-06

Big ideas broken down into bite-sized pieces

Professor Robbins paints with many colors to fill in his nuanced, engaging, and optimistic argument.

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  • Kat Morgenstern
  • 2015-08-30

interesting overview

a very broad and fascinating perspective, to view the world through this lens. I have learned a lot. Wished Paul Robbins performance as a speaker had been stronger. . But I got used to it, after a while.

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  • Daverko
  • 2017-04-04

Biased world view with little fact

Hoping for an intellectual discussion of culture and environment, I instead was subjected to a highly biased world view. The tired and inaccurate view of an environmental extremist - mankind is evil and destroying the world led by greedy capitalists. Cherry picked data and facts to support his distorted view of reality. Listening to this course will decrease your knowledge of the world.

8 people found this helpful