About the Department
Earth and the Human Condition
Geographers seek to better understand the world and humanity's place in it. Geography is both a social science and an earth science, and geographers from both perspectives examine a variety of topics through the lenses of space, place, landscape, and human-environment relations. What unites them is a common interest in the how and why of location, movement, boundaries, and distribution.
Human Geographers focus on people and their habitats. They look at the way people transform space into place, giving meaning to the world, and how these geographies are integral to identity. Topics of study include political and economic processes of globalization; the built environment; distributions of people, resources, and hazards; movement of people, money and power; cultural practices and symbols; gender; inequality; third-world development; health; and food production and distribution.
Physical Geographers seek to understand the dynamic processes that interact to create unique environments, how these processes affect human society, and how human activities alter them. Topics of study include climate and climate change, biodiversity, paleoecology, hydrology, soils, landforms and land surface processes, and geoarcheology.