Unit 3: Culture

  • Unit III

    Cultural Patterns and Processes



    This unit will cover the basics concepts of cultural geography, methods of diffusion, and the impact of culture on the environment and the environment on culture.  The diffusion of language and religion will also be explored.  Issues surrounding ethnicity and conflict arising from cultural traits will also be studied from a geographic perspective.



    • Define culture and cultural geography.
    • Compare and contrast the following aspects of folk and popular culture: a) origins b) methods of diffusion c) culture regions
    • Examine specific examples of folk culture and regions.
    • Examine examples of specific popular cultural traits and discuss their diffusion.
    • Discuss ways in which cultural traits are affected by and affect the natural environment.
    • Discuss the role of racism and ethnocentrism in the understanding of the cultural landscape.


    • Discuss the importance and role of language as an element of culture.
    • Explain how languages are classified and related.
    • Map the distribution of major language families worldwide
    • Show the division of Europe into the following language groups and give specific examples from major groups: a) Germanic b) Slavic c) Romance
    • Describe the following characteristics of English: a) origin and historical development b) worldwide diffusion c) spatial variation d) role in cultural convergence
    • Explain the how, why, and where of language change.
    • Discuss the regional and local variety in language using the following terms: a) slang b) isogloss c) accent
    • Explain how toponyms are derived and classified and give various examples.



    • Identify the following characteristics of all major religions: a) point of origin b) method of diffusion c) current distribution d) landscape expression
    • Map the religious regions of the United States.
    • Discuss the major branches, their origins, and their current distributions for the following religions: a) Christianity b) Islam c) Buddhism
    • Distinguish between ethnic and universalizing religions: a) holy sites b) holy days c) methods of diffusion
    • Describe ways in which the environment influences religion and ways in which religions affect the natural environment.
    • Discuss various specific religious conflicts around the world in terms of the following: a) religion versus politics b) religion versus religion—interfaith conflicts c) religion versus religion—intrafaith conflicts


    Focus Questions:

    1.     Where do folk and popular cultures originate and diffuse?

    2.     Why is folk culture clustered?

    3.     Why is popular culture widely distributed?

    4.     What role does television play in diffusing popular culture?

    5.     What role does technology such as the Internet play in diffusion of popular culture?

    6.     How does government control of technology impact the spread of popular culture?

    7.     Why does globalization of popular culture cause problems?

    8.     What is the environmental impact of popular culture?

    9.     Where are English language speakers distributed and why?

    10. Why is English related to other languages and how?

    11. Where are other language families distributed and why?

    12. Why do people preserve local languages?

    13. Where are religions distributed?

    14. Why do religions have different distributions?

    15. Why do religions organize space indistinctive patterns and what are these patterns?

    16. Why do territorial conflicts arise among religious groups?

    17. Where are ethnicities distributed?

    18. Why have ethnicities been transformed into nationalities?

    19. Why do ethnicities clash?

    20. What is ethnic cleansing, where and why has it taken place?




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