Human Geography involves two concepts: human culture in the sense of our way of living, acting and giving meaning to the world and our place in it, and geography, which refers to the earth.
Human Geography, in other words, is the discipline studying the reciprocal interaction between human beings and the earth. The human aspect shapes the world and is shaped by it. This interaction has several dimensions – political, economic and social – and is studied on the scales of the human being, society, and the environment from the local to the global.
Human Geography has the whole world as a field of study and is characterised by both breadth and depth. Our students learn about the impact and various outcomes of globalisation (social as well as spatial), urbanisation processes, urban development, new forms of urbanity and city design, place identity, meaning and place marketing, the political, economic and spatial imprints of mobile society, planning (urban and regional), and much more.
Human Geography at Karlstad University is part of the Department of Geography, Media and Communication, and offers courses at undergraduate, Master and doctoral levels, which means that students can earn a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree, as well as a Licentiate and Doctor’s degree in Human Geography as the main field of study and research. In addition, courses and degree programmes are offered in spatial and social planning and tourism.
There are many researchers and doctoral students in Human Geography and some of them are members of the research environment Geomedia, designated as a strong research group at Karlstad University. Research involves a number of issues related to place/space, media, and mobility and how these issues impact on contemporary life. In addition, there is ongoing research on the spatial imprints of digitalisation, the complex interplay between place, mobility and media, as well as new types of space arising from digitalisation. Examples of questions addressed are: Does increased mobility and digitalisation affect place identity? How should we understand new power ecologies, social identities and the media landscape? Research staff and doctoral students are also involved in regional development, sustainability, bio economy and innovation at the Centre for Regional Studies (CRS) focusing, for instance, on new forms of organisation and governance at the regional level and consequences for democracy. How do living environments and job opportunities affect the globalisation processes? And how can different actors at different geographical levels contribute to sustainable development?