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Module 4 Required Resources


Your course requires a textbook that must be purchased from the NU Bookstore or any other resource of your choosing (for example, on Amazon). 


  • Chapter 8: Political Geography
  • Chapter 9: Economic Geography: Agriculture and Primary Activities
  • Chapter 10: Economic Geography: Manufacturing and Services
    • Read sections 10.1 & 10.2 only

Module 4 Learning Activities: Political and Economic Geography

This module’s learning activities are focused on political and economic aspects of geography. Political Geography is a subdiscipline within human geography that examines the ways geographic society is organized within and by political processes. Economic Geography seeks to describe the spatial distribution of economic activities and the people that connect otherwise separate local, regional, and national economies. Afterward, download and review the slide decks summarizing the reading assignments from Chapters 8, 9, and 10 to finish reinforcing your new knowledge.

These videos provide us with background for a better understanding of the fundamental concepts in political geography and how power is organized and moves across space. Some of the main questions addressed in this section are:

  • What is power and what are some ways of maintaining control of power?
  • Define country, multinational state, and frontier?
  • What is electoral geography?
  • Define geopolitics, democracy, socialist government structure, and communism.
  • What is the difference between natural and geometric boundaries?

Watch this video that introduces Political Geography by discussing how maps can be used to define and even abuse the areas and peoples they represent.

To illustrate the internal and external forces acting on communities of all sizes, this video explores the geopolitics in Latin America.

This video explores how country borders are formed, whether it be natural boundaries or political conflict.

Politics and economies collide in this video, which explores the economic relationship between Bulgaria and Germany.

This video looks at world history by focusing on the effects of colonialism, even into modern day.

Now, let’s explore some geopolitical maps of the world:

  • This TimeMap of the world shows how borders and civilizations emerged throughout the centuries.  Select a different date on the timeline below the map, and make special note of the descriptions to the right of the map, which discuss the political, economic, and cultural pressures at work in each region for the selected time period.
  • These Freedom Maps use information about laws and practices to rate countries’ relative level of freedom, based in large part on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Click on any country to see more details about its rating.  There’s also filters for gauging countries’ free access to the Internet and their progress toward developing a democratic system of government. 

The second part of this module’s activity looks at different aspects of economic development and introduces the metrics used to assess the level of development of a state. Some of the questions answered here are:

  • What are the main differences between economically underdeveloped, developing, and developed states?
  • How does Gross Domestic Product (GDP) measure the strength of an economy?
  • How do agribusiness and GMOs play into the development of a state?
  • What is agricultural geography?
  • What is the Columbian exchange and how was it responsible for moving foods and agricultural ideas around the world?
  • Compare subsistence, small-scale and industrial agriculture.

Do you consider the United States a more “developed” country than, say, Ethiopia?  Why?  This video explores what we typically mean when we say a country is “developed”, and discusses what we may be missing by using that definition.

Key to many countries’ economies is agriculture.  This video looks at how changes in economic policy affected India’s agricultural practices and the Indian people themselves.

Continuing the conversation around agriculture, this video discusses the cultural and societal influences on global food availability.

Cultural and geographic differences have influenced the development of agricultural practices in different ways all over the world.  Check out this video that wraps up the series focusing on agriculture.

Related to the conversation surrounding economies, how people remove minerals from the ground depends on, and changes, the literal shape of our world.  This video “digs” into the literal connection between mining and geography.

Let’s wrap up this module’s activities by looking at an interactive mineral resources map of the world developed using a collection of mineral resource reports worldwide by the American Geosciences Institute (AGI). You would be surprised by the number of mines and quarries you would find near where you live.