Three geographic categories—urban, suburban, and rural—are often used in both academic literature and everyday discussion. There is considerable variety in how they are defined (if at all), how they are regarded, and what connotations are attached to each. Claims have been made, for example, that urban or suburban or rural settlement is more “green” than the others, or that societies exhibit systematic patterns of “urban bias,” “suburban bias,” or “rural bias” disadvantaging the rest politically, economically, and culturally. In any case, the currency of these terms suggests that they identify dimensions that people—correctly or not--consider important and meaningful. A seminar focused on urban/suburban/rural differences will give students the opportunity to connect the theme to specific topics of particular interest to them from previous courses, in both human and nature - society geography, and to apply quantitative and/or qualitative methods of geographic research learned at Colgate. Discussion, chiefly student-led, will explore key background readings, identifying some of the range of questions and approaches that this framework has generated or might invite. Each member of the seminar will then formulate a research question and design, carry out, and present a research project connected in some way to the central course focus.
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