Universitat Internacional de Catalunya

Geography of World Regions

Geography of World Regions
First semester
Structures and systems of development
Social and political systems
Main language of instruction: Catalan

Other languages of instruction: Spanish
If the student is enrolled for the English track then classes for that subject will be taught in the same language.

Teaching staff

Class days before each session


In the event that the health authorities announce a new period of confinement due to the evolution of the health crisis caused by COVID-19, the teaching staff will promptly communicate how this may effect the teaching methodologies and activities as well as the assessment.

This course examines the distinctive features of different macro-regions of the world: North America, Latin America, Arab countries, sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, etc.

Regional Geography is a geographical working method that uses the demarcation of certain areas (called regions) to achieve adjusted descriptions and to facilitate their interpretation and comparative analysis.

Understanding of the main distinctive features of each region will be fostered, being they physical, climatic, historical, economic, political or cultural. Special focus will be placed on identifying and discussing current main challenges they may be facing.

Students will be asked to research and to analyze quantitatively and qualitatively various data regarding different countries and regions (case studies).

Pre-course requirements

They are not required


  • E01 - Ability to provide a humanistic/cultural vision to other sciences or methods.
  • E05 - Ability to evaluate social issues linked to cultural diversity.
  • E06 - Awareness of and respect for different points of view resulting from cultural and social diversity.
  • E16 - To acquire knowledge of the different models and policies of other cultures and migrant groups.
  • E17 - To acquire knowledge of the situation in Europe from a comparative perspective.
  • E18 - To acquire the perception and knowledge of the physical space in which human activity develops.
  • E19 - Ability to locate, observe and interpret real or represented spaces, territories and landscapes.
  • E20 - Ability to reflect on human-environment interaction and the organisation of the resulting territory.
  • E37 - To have current knowledge of the areas of study related to international issues, taking into account contributions from relevant resources, such as a critical reflection on the impact of tourism (including cultural tourism) on development.
  • G03 - To search for and/or administer economic resources within the framework of an institution or company, or a cultural programmes, project or service.
  • G04 - To know how to communicate, encourage and mediate between the various agents involved in a cultural project, programme or service.
  • G06 - To demonstrate an ability to be open and flexible with regards to cultural and socil diversity.
  • G10 - Management of ICT skills, organisation and information management.
  • G11 - Ability to work in an international context.


1. General introduction. Plate tectonics and large climatic features

2. North America. General features; geomorphology, landscapes and population; extensive metropolis vs. large empty spaces

2.1. Canada. The great north. A country searching its own identity: Quebec, the indigenous nations and the new immigration

2.2. United States. Approach to American political, economic and social model. Foundational myths, the federal system, the melting pot.

3. Central America and the Caribbean. General features; geomorphology, landscapes and population.

3.1. Mexico and Guatemala: Pre-Columbian legacy and colonial legacy. Countries under the threat of organized crime

3.2. The countries of the isthmus. Panama: the history of a channel. Costa Rica, ecotourism model

3.3. The Antilles. The myth of the tropical paradise. Cuba. The Afro-Caribbean culture. Tourism models in the tropics (Dominican Republic, Jamaica ...)

4. South America. General features; geomorphology, landscapes and population. The Amazon: ecology, agriculture, deforestation and global responsibility

4.1. Andes region. The never solved indigenous problem (Bolivia and Peru). Colombia: Coca and the substitution of crops. Venezuela; visions of Latin American populism

4.2. Brazil, the emerging power. The big Brazilian metropolises; Rio, from the favela to the Olympics. Tourism: beach culture and carnival. Brasilia, the invented capital

4.3. The southern cone: Argentina, Chile and Uruguay

5. North Africa General features; geomorphology, landscapes and population of the entire continent. Approach to Islamic culture and the Arabic world

5.1. The Maghreb: Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, between internal reforms and emigration

5.2. Egypt, the legacy of the past. Archeology and tourism on the banks of the Nile

5.3. The drama of the Sahel. Desertification and war. Reflections on cooperation and NGOs

6. Rest of Africa. Failed states and perpetuation of arbitrary borders

6.1. Ethno-tribal conflicts: Clans and warlords, the impossibility of structuring modern states and the struggle for mineral resources (Rwanda, Burundi, Zaire, Somalia, Liberia, Nigeria)

6.2. Kenya and Tanzania: The African savannah, wildlife, conservation and tourism development

6.3. South Africa. The dramatic history of the only regional power

7. Central Asia and the Middle East. General features; geomorphology, landscapes and population of an area shaken by conflicts

7.1. Old routes and ancient empires. A region of mythical cities: Samarkand, Baghdad, Persepolis, Petra, Palmira, Babylon. The current Iran, Iraq, Syria, Jordan

7.2. Arabia and the monarchies of the Persian Gulf. The geopolitics of oil. The mirage of skyscrapers in the desert: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha ...

7.3. The eternal conflict not resolved: Israel and Palestine. Zionism, pan-Arabism and other considerations

8. The Indian subcontinent and Indochina. General features; geomorphology, landscapes and population. Two forces: The rice and the monsoon. Approach to oriental cultures: Hinduism and Buddhism

8.1. The curious Indian economy: between the Neolithic and the microchip. The caste society. India and Pakistan, a history of a conflictive neighborhood. What is Bollywood?

8.2. The Himalayas: Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet. Expeditions and trekkings

8.3. Indochina and Indonesia. The new economically emerging countries. Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam ... After the steps of China?

9. Far East. General features; geomorphology, landscapes and population. Approach to the megalopolis of the east; The factories of the world: Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Taipei, Seoul

9.1. China. A thousand-year-old culture: language, alphabet and national unity, philosophy and religion. The economic model: "one country two systems". The Yangtze, the domestication of the great river

9.2. The Japan Historical roots of an economic and social model. From feudalism to the industrial revolution. Weaknesses and strengths of a country shaken by natural forces

9.3. A legacy of the cold war: the existence of two Koreas

10. Oceania. General features; geomorphology, landscapes and population of the continent that is not a real continent

10.1. Polynesia and Micronesia: Colonial domains and micro-states. The French possessions and the presence of the United States in the Pacific. The threat of global warming

10.2. Australia and New Zealand. The indissoluble link with the Anglo-Saxon West. The Commonwealth

11. Russia. General features; geomorphology, landscapes and population. Russia, the uncertain giant, the largest country in the world. How the Empire was built, the mythical Trans-Siberian train. What was the USSR?

Evaluation systems and criteria

In person

30 % Research work (20 % written part / 10 % oral presentation)

30 % Other small essays and presentations

  5 % Attendance & participation

35 % Final exam. The final exam should be pass.

Bibliography and resources


FOLCH, DOLORS (2001): La construcción de China. Empúries

POLO, MARCO (1298): Libro de las  maravillas del mundo. Editorial: Cátedra (2008)

INIESTA, Ferran (2007). La frontera ambigua. Tradiciones y democracia en Africa. Editorial Bellaterra.

HIGUERAS, Antonio (2003). Teoría y método de la geografía. Introducción al análisis Geográfico Regional.

Colección Textos docentes, Prensas Universitarias de Zaragoza.

KNOX, Paul & MARSTON, Sallie (2001) 2nd edition. Plazas and Regiones inG lobal Contexto. Human Geography.

Prentice Hall, New Jersey, USA

LÓPEZ GARCÍA, JULIÁN (Coord.) / GUTIÉRREZ ESTÉVEZ, MANUEL (Coord.) (2009): América indígena ante  el siglo XXI. Editorial Siglo XXI

THOMAS, A. & CROW, B. (1997), 2donde ed. Third World Atlas . Open University Press.


MARSTON, Sallie, KNOX, Paul & LIVERMAN, Diana M. (2002). World Regiones in Global Contexto. Peoples, Plazas and Environments. Prentice Hall, New Jersey, USA

PALLARÈS Y BARBERÀ and TULLA Y PUJOL, Antoni, eds. (2001). Geografía regional. Ediciones de la Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, EDIUOC, Barcelona.


Colección La Vanguardia Dossier:

Rusia cambia. Vanguardia Dossier nº 45. Octubre - Diciembre 2012

México en la encrucijada. Vanguardia Dossier nº 44. Julio – Septiembre 2012

La revuelta  árabe. Vanguardia Dossier nº 39. Abril - Junio 2011

Canadá. Una potencia blanda. Vanguardia Dossier nº 38. Enero - Marzo 2011

Brasil emerge. Vanguardia Dossier nº 36. Julio - Septiembre 2010


NERÍN, Saboreáis (2011), 2a edición: Blanco bono busca negro pobre. Ediciones La Ca