The Committee on Geographical Studies
The Committee on Geographical Studies offers course work and research opportunities for graduate students in the University. Students from many degree programs in different divisions work through the committee for specialized training. The committee does not admit students for degree work. Unique resources for geographical research exist both at the University and in the Chicago area.
On campus, the Joseph Regenstein Library contains a geography monograph collection considered one of the four best in the world; a main map collection of over a quarter of a million maps covering all regions of the globe; and over 1,000 geography serial titles from all over the world. Among the holdings in the distinguished John Crerar Science Library are significant materials on the environment in general, agriculture, land use, housing, social welfare, and urban growth in Europe and the United States.
Area research centers at the University devoted to the Middle East, East Asia, South Asia, Slavic regions, and Latin America provide further specialist interdisciplinary research opportunities, some including additional library collections.
Among the major libraries and museums in the Chicago area, the Newberry Library has special strength in American local materials and is home to the Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography with its world-class collection of antique and historical maps. Research and policy organizations, such as the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission and Chicago Area Transportation Study, maintain specialized libraries and data repositories, and from time to time offer internship opportunities.
Students who wish to inquire further about the Committee on Geographical Studies should write or call: Chair, Committee on Geographical Studies, The University of Chicago, 5828 South University Ave., Chicago, IL 60637, telephone (773) 702-8301.
Fields of Study
The principal objectives of the committee are the investigation of the organization of area, exploration of the earth environment and of its interactions with human life, and inquiry into the geographical dimensions of cultures and societies. The research interests of the committee's faculty include:
Urban organization and change: Urban origins; the evolution of urban networks and systems of cities, ancient and modern, western and non-western; the changing spatial structure, social organization, and morphology of urban areas; problems of urban allocation and planning; regionalism in American urban life; emergence of new metropolitan and non-metropolitan settlement patterns in advanced societies.
Regional studies: Historical and thematic approaches to regional structure, particularly of North America and the Middle East; theory of the region; the origin and development of regional character; locality and place-making; nature and culture in regional settings; comparative study of regions.
Cultural foundations of nation-building: The ethno-religious bases of the nation-state; evolving regionalism and culture; the geographical significance of territoriality; national and regional boundary conflicts; minorities and cultural autonomy; linguistic policies of the state; multicultural development strategies; international and transnational management of ethnic conflict; cultural roots of self-determination.
Landscape studies: Landscape as an embodiment and shaper of social values and attitudes towards environment; theories of landscape structure and change; the historical development and regional construction of landscapes; thematic landscapes; the role of institutions in environmental design and management; aesthetic landscape values; landscape and the sense of place; comparative landscape analysis.
This text was last updated on 6/18/2001.