Culture

III. Cultural Patterns and Processes Understanding the components and regional variations of cultural patterns and processes is critical to human geography. In this section of the course, students begin with the concept of culture. They learn how geographers assess the spatial and place dimensions of cultural groups as defined by language, religion, race, ethnicity, and gender, in the present as well as the past.  A central concern is to comprehend how cultural patterns are represented at a variety of geographic scales from local to global. Diffusion is a key concept in understanding how cultural traits (for example, agricultural practices and language) move through time and space to new locations. Students learn that the concept of region is central to the spatial distribution of cultural attributes.  The course also explores cultural differences at various scales according to language, religion, ethnicity, and gender. The geographies of language and religion are studied to illustrate processes of cultural diffusion and cultural differences. For example, students learn to distinguish between languages and dialects; ethnic and universalizing religions; and popular and folk cultures, and to understand why each has a different geographic pattern.  An important emphasis of the course is the way culture shapes human–environment relationships. For example, religion can influence environmental perception and modification.  Students also come to understand how culture is expressed in landscapes, and how landscapes in turn represent cultural identity. Built environments enable the geographer to interpret cultural values, tastes, and sets of beliefs. For example, both folk and contemporary architecture are rich and readily available means of comprehending cultures and changes in landscapes. Human Geography Course Description, Fall 2010, College Board AP.
This presentation, Cultural and Ethnic Landscapes: “Place” Making, was delivered at an AP Human Geography session during  the 2006 NCGE meeting in Lake Tahoe, CA. Suggestion: View the slides and read the background notes before playing the PowerPoint with animations. This is a teacher resource and background for SECTION  III,  item “C” of the Topic Outline for the AP Human Geography course and was not designed for classroom use without editing.
The World in Six Drinks: Food, Culture, and AP Human Geography By Sarah Witham Bednarz, College of Geosciences, Texas A&M University The geography (and history) of the world is examined through the lens of six beverages: coffee, tea, coca-cola, beer, wine, and spirits. Participants will learn about the origins, diffusion, and societal impact of each drink in different world regions at different periods of time.
Strategies for Developing and Improving Critical Thinking Skills in AP Human GeographySarah Witham Bednarz, Department of Geography, Texas A&M University

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