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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
July 26, 2014
 
 
Canadian Excellence

Week 1



Week 1, Week 2, etc.  links from the home-page are used for 'bullets', diagrams, and some of the concepts and/or definitions that I emphasise in the course – things like diagrams or flow-charts for instance, are a way for me to provide the general arguments or ideas of concepts and issues to you – usually clickable links in blue (not this one!). I will note in class when I have made additions to this web-link. Remember that NOT all notes are put on these links – you need to come to lecture (!), while cross-checking your lecture-notes with relevant readings from the Reader.
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The first two lectures were basically about providing some idea of the course-objectives, basic themes of the course, where the tutorials fit in, and some ideas on course evaluation – all of which I will revisit over the semester. I also spent some time putting out what I see as the key hopes that I have for you around what you learn, and what I am trying to accomplish.

This week I began the discussion on key ideas of the course: region, landscape, connection, etc. Basically, I recommend that the Reader be read in a way that matches and builds on my lectures. The tutorials I see as a place for you to look in more detail at a specific theme which matches my course goals around connection and regional thinking.  So, the focus in the second lecture was on thinking about ‘connection’ and interdependence among regions we ‘construct’ (humans deciding to draw lines around certain places because of their unique attributes, histories, physical qualities, cultural attributes, etc. that we choose as our criteria for ‘regionalization’), emphasizing that the commonalities, cohesion and difference from other regions – their internal uniformity – is what makes them distinct.

Note: Keep in mind, that as you begin the search through the pdf documents in the Grand Action Newsletters, that you might want to hook into some theme that aligns with your undergraduate program interests whatever they might be. This might not always be possible given the conservation-orientation of the newsletters, but take a careful look through all that material on site, and make some creative stretches.

‘Region’ Definition: (remember, notes on this concept are in the Reader)

... part of the world’s surface defined and delimited so that it is possible to investigate the significant physical and human characteristics of that area, and how they are interrelated to form the areas’ collective character, in the context of interrelationships with other areas.

And/or,

…earth areas that display significant elements of internal uniformity and external difference from surrounding territoriesas we perceive these differences

Categories of Regions:

1. Formal or Uniform Region

Areas of essential uniformity of a given trait or traits – in one or limited combination of physical or cultural features

It was noted that this is not easy to do in reality, as the: “world is only rarely subdivided into neat, unmistakable “packages” of uniformity” – think about this…

2. Functional or Nodal Regions

“…  found at varying scales, but defined by way it operates as a unit – connectedness of some sort – a process of interaction of locations”

à usually w/ central node – decision-making or meeting centre: like political capital or economic zone;  maybe a religious centre, a bank – area which ‘captures’ people served by that function - some kind of internal connection

3. Perceptual Cultural RegionVernacular

regions which reflect feelings and images – not objective data – therefore more to do with perceived identity which has meaning in lives & actions of those who recognize them

The lectures also included some examples of these different kinds of ‘regions’, and some student suggestions for how we ‘regionalize’ the world. I showed a number of examples of ‘regions’ in class, and the Reader goes into some greater depth on this concept than I did.

For the mid-term, it would be useful to keep in mind some examples of these three different types of regions.