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GEG 020 - Elements of Cultural Geography - Fall 2005


Sections 011, 030, 040, 050




Assignment 1


(due Week 3)



Writing Assignment


In a short paper, please respond to either one of the following discussion topics:

1. Geographic concepts are supposed to help explain and understand contemporary issues. On the basis of your lecture notes and after reading Chapter 1 in your text, discuss which geographic ideas and concepts have been most important to you when trying to make sense of the human impact of Hurricane Katrina. You may study any geographical aspect of the crisis, from the initial forecasting stages of an exceptional natural event to how people have been coping with its tragic aftermath.


2. When earthquakes, hurricanes, or other environmental disasters strike, humans tend to “blame” nature and see themselves as innocent victims of a harsh and cruel nature. To what extent do environmental hazards stem from unpredictable nature, and to what extent do they originate from human actions? Should victims blame nature, other humans, or themselves for the disaster? Why? Discuss these issues on the basis of the current crisis and debates surrounding the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina.

You may consider doing some research to describe, explain, or illustrate your discussion (newspapers, books, websites, etc.). Please make sure to give the precise references of the sources or materials you may choose to cite.

Your paper should be 2-page long, typed, printed, and stapled. I will not accept more than 3 pages. Please use a 12-pt. font (preferably Times) with 1 or 1.5 space between lines.

Give a title to your paper, and do not forget to write your name and course and section numbers on the front page.


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