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Human Geography Unit 4 Curriculum Outline

Disclaimer: This outline is sourced directly from the AP Human Geography Course Framework released by the College Board. This is a lightweight, web-friendly format for easy reference. Omninox does not take credit for this outline and is not affiliated with the College Board. AP is a reserved trademark of the College Board.

Table of Contents

Unit 1
Unit 2
Unit 3
Unit 4 (you are here)
Unit 5
Unit 6
Unit 7

TOPIC 4.1 - Introduction to Political Geography

PSO-4.A: For world political maps
a. Define the different types of political entities.
b. Identify a contemporary example of political entities.

  • PSO-4.A.1:  Independent states are the primary building blocks of the world political map.
  • PSO-4.A.2:  Types of political entities include nations, nation-states, stateless nations, multinational states, multistate nations, and autonomous and semiautonomous regions, such as American Indian reservations.

TOPIC 4.2 - Political Processes

PSO-4.B: Explain the processes that have shaped contemporary political geography.

  • PSO-4.B.1:  The concepts of sovereignty, nation- states, and self-determination shape the contemporary world.
  • PSO-4.B.2:  Colonialism, imperialism, independence movements, and devolution along national lines have influenced contemporary political boundaries.

TOPIC 4.3 - Political Power and Territoriality

PSO-4.C:  Describe the concepts of political power and territoriality as used by geographers.

  • PSO-4.C.1:  Political power is expressed geographically as control over people, land, and resources, as illustrated by neocolonialism, shatterbelts, and choke points.
  • PSO-4.C.2:  Territoriality is the connection of people, their culture, and their economic systems to the land.

TOPIC 4.4 - Defining Political Boundaries

IMP-4.A:  Define types of political boundaries used by geographers.

  • IMP-4.A.1:  Types of political boundaries include relic, superimposed, subsequent, antecedent, geometric, and consequent boundaries.

TOPIC 4.5 - The Function of Political Boundaries

IMP-4.B:  Explain the nature and function of international and internal boundaries.

  • IMP-4.B.1:  Boundaries are defined, delimited, demarcated, and administered to establish limits of sovereignty, but they are often contested.
  • IMP-4.B.2:  Political boundaries often coincide with cultural, national, or economic divisions. However, some boundaries are created by demilitarized zones or policy, such as the Berlin Conference.
  • IMP-4.B.3:  Land and maritime boundaries and international agreements can influence national or regional identity and encourage or discourage international or internal interactions and disputes over resources.
  • IMP-4.B.4:  The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea defines the rights and responsibilities of nations in the use of international waters, established territorial seas, and exclusive economic zones.

TOPIC 4.6 - Internal Boundaries

IMP-4.B:  Explain the nature and function of international and internal boundaries.

  • IMP-4.B.5:  Voting districts, redistricting, and gerrymandering affect election results at various scales.

TOPIC 4.7 - Forms of Governance

IMP-4.C: Define the federal and unitary states.

  • IMP-4.C.1:  Forms of governance include unitary states and federal states.

IMP-4.D:  Explain how federal and unitary states affect spatial organization.

  • IMP-4.D.1:  Unitary states tend to have a more top-down, centralized form of governance, while federal states have more locally based, dispersed power centers.

TOPIC 4.8 - Defining Devolutionary Factors

SPS-4.A:  Define factors that lead to the devolution of states.

  • SPS-4.A.1:  Factors that can lead to the devolution of states include the division of groups by physical geography, ethnic separatism, ethnic cleansing, terrorism, economic and social problems, and irredentism.

TOPIC 4.9 - Challenges to Sovereignty

SPS-4.B:  Explain how political, economic, cultural, and technological changes challenge state sovereignty.

  • SPS-4.B.1:  Devolution occurs when states fragment into autonomous regions; subnational political- territorial units, such as those within Spain, Belgium, Canada, and Nigeria; or when states disintegrate, as happened in Sudan and the former Soviet Union.
  • SPS-4.B.2:  Advances in communication technology have facilitated devolution, supranationalism, and democratization.
  • SPS-4.B.3:  Global efforts to address transnational and environmental challenges and to create economies of scale, trade agreements, and military alliances help to further supranationalism.
  • SPS-4.B.4:  Supranational organizations—including the United Nations (UN), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), European Union (EU), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Arctic Council, and African Union— can challenge state sovereignty by limiting the economic or political actions of member states.

TOPIC 4.10 - Consequences of Centrifugal and Centripetal Forces

SPS-4.C:  Explain how the concepts of centrifugal and centripetal forces apply at the state scale.

  • SPS-4.C.1:  Centrifugal forces may lead to failed states, uneven development, stateless nations, and ethnic nationalist movements.
  • SPS-4.C.2:  Centripetal forces can lead to ethnonationalism, more equitable infrastructure development, and increased cultural cohesion.