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GEOG 12 — The World Political Map: A Geographical Exploration

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Tuesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jan 10—Mar 14
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Jan 12
Units: 2
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Tuition: $520
Instructor(s): Martin Lewis
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Jan 10—Mar 14
10 weeks
Refund Date
Jan 12
2 Units
Grade Restriction
No letter grade
Martin Lewis
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
According to the standard model of global politics, the world is almost completely divided into independent countries, also called sovereign states. But the world map is not as simple as it seems. Different governments and organizations have different criteria for statehood, resulting in different numbers: the US State Department recognizes 195 sovereign states, the United Nations counts 193, and the CIA World Factbook lists 237 countries. Some effectively independent countries have limited or nonexistent international recognition, and many autonomous polities are still dependencies of more powerful states.

Sovereign states also differ greatly in their forms of government, internal organization, and political coherence. Varying in size and population by more than five orders of magnitude, the different countries of the world are, in many respects, different political entities and thus need to be conceptualized differently. Many independent countries, moreover, belong to powerful multistate organizations. Some of these—most notably the European Union—have themselves assumed important aspects of sovereignty.

This course aims to provide comprehensive knowledge of world political geography, focusing both on what the standard map shows and what it leaves out. In exploring the intricacies of geopolitical organization, we will examine many global and regional maps.

This course will provide a foundation for more advanced geography courses in the Continuing Studies Program. Forthcoming courses will explore such issues as current geopolitical conflicts, global economic and social development, environmental and population geography, and the geography of language and religion.

Senior Lecturer in International History, Emeritus, Stanford

Martin Lewis is the author or coauthor of five books, including The Myth of Continents: A Critique of Metageography and Globalization and Diversity: Geography of a Changing World. He received a PhD in geography from UC Berkeley.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.