China One Child Policy

All students in GEO 101 are required to complete a research paper on a topic of their choosing in which they apply course concepts to a current issue or event in a non-Western world region. The goal is to provide you with an opportunity to learn more about a specific part of the world and to sharpen your geographic awareness and understanding. Students may select any realm or region outside of Europe and North America (Chapters 2, 4-12 are fair game). They should then think about a theme (human-environmental interaction, population/migration, culture, or geopolitics) and an event that reflects that theme. The next step will be to compile a range of multimedia and text-based sources and conduct research. The final step will be to answer the key questions posed in your paper—drawing on course concepts and terms, applying knowledge, and drawing conclusions.
Basic Requirements:
  • 4-6 pages double-spaced 12 point font (not including title page, notes, bibliography)
  • Standard essay format (including an intro/thesis, body and conclusion). You may tweak this by doing a geography “memo.” I’ll distribute some examples of memos in class.
  • At least 5 sources (Your textbook counts as 1)
  • Chicago style (notes section plus bibliography)
Here are some issues you might want to explore. These are just suggestions feel free to propose your own!
Human-Environment Interactions
Environmental Laws, Treaties, etc.; State of environment; Changing climate; Water and land issues; Human impacts; Agriculture/food.
Population and/or Migration
Migration patterns; Immigration; Urbanization; Population policies/issues; Refugees
Cultural Representations/Cultural conflicts; Languages; Religion; Globalization’s effects on culture, etc.
Governance; Political struggles; Sovereignty movements; Legacies of colonization; Political cooperation with other countries, etc. International Laws
Socio-economic Development
Development Theories; Sustainable development; Industry; Economic change; Impacts of globalization; Inequalities; Status of women/men, minorities, etc, Poverty, Trade agreements
Here is a list of resources which should help you identify specific issues that deal with one of these themes:
BBC World News (web link in Blackboard)
Country Watch (library database)
Current History (a journal available as a hard copy and online)
Foreign Policy (a journal available as a hard copy and online)
National Geographic (a journal available as a hard copy and online)
Here are some example paper topics. Feel free to use one of them or draw inspiration from them to help you create your own.
A few years ago, a YouTube video of Ardi Riza, a two-year old Indonesian baby, went viral. Why? Ardi was puffing away, blowing rings, with all the mannerisms of a 50 year old chain smoker! This was not an isolated case. Indonesia has a real tobacco fix and even a smoking babies “epidemic.” Develop a research paper in which you explore this cultural phenomenon.
In the last presidential debate, much of the discussion focused on the Middle East. Write a memo to the next president identifying a second region which is critical to America’s national security.
What are the global epicenters for human-trafficking? What kinds of spatial associations can you uncover between these epicenters and variables such as per capita GNI, population density, HDI, and literacy? (You might focus on a more specific issue such as “transplant tourists”)
Geography is a discipline which helps us understand why something which makes sense in one place might not make sense in another place. Drawing on geographic concepts, issues, and terms, evaluate FIFA’s decision to select QATAR as the host of the 2022 world cup.
What has been the role of social media in the democratic revolutions known as the Arab Spring?
Why is Afghanistan so important to the United States strategically?
The paper may take the form of a traditional research paper or may take the form of a “mock memo” written to an influential position of some authority who might benefit from the expert analysis you might provide. The idea for a “geography memo” came from a feature article type from the award-winning magazine Foreign Policy. Try locating some examples of memos from this magazine by using our library databases. Go to Academic OneFile (or one of the general search engines) and do an advanced search. Use “memo” as a keyword and Foreign Policy as the name of the publication.

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