The course is conceived as an introduction to world cultural diversity, conducted through the analysis of major world regions. Contents are organized around two main axes:
-The first part introduces the concepts of ¿world regions¿ and ¿cultural areas¿ and its defining features, and presents different systems and proposals of world cultural regionalization, in order to then explain major features of some selected world cultural regions: the Arab world, Monsson Asia, the Slavic world, the Western world, Latin-America, and Sub-Saharan Africa. These cultural regions are assumed to be realms with a population sharing similar cultural features and traits, including elements such as history, cultural landscapes (understood as the cultural outcome of relations between societies and their surrounding physical environments), language, religion, food systems, political systems and traditions, etc. Attention will be paid to wider underlying metaphysical structures, cosmovisions and mythological systems (their formation, diffusion and mixing) as key elements having configured throughout history major cultural hearths.
-The second part provides a wider critical framework (that of the so-called metageographical critique) that aims at both raising some issues regarding the historical and geopolitical shaping of world regions; and discussing more specifically how space and culture relate in contemporary times, and thus how cultural processes get shaped and transformed within the framework of the current globalizing world.
FIRST PART. INTRODUCTION TO SELECTED WORLD CULTURAL REGIONS.
UNIT 1. World regions, culture areas and civilizations. Main systems and proposals of cultural regionalization of the world.
UNIT 2. The Arab world (North Africa and the Middle East).
UNIT 3. Monsoon Asia (East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia).
UNIT 4. The Slavic World (Russia and Eastern Europe).
UNIT 5. The Western World (Europe, North America).
UNIT 6. Latin American realm (Central and South America).
UNIT 7. Sub-Saharan Africa.
SECONDS PART: WORLD CULTURES: ISSUES AND CONTROVERSIES.
UNIT 8. Metageographies. Culture, geographic imaginations and the geopolitics of spatial structures.
UNIT 9. The contemporary shaping of world cultures: globalization, consumption and cultural goods/flows.
UNIT 10. Diasporas: cultural identity across space and the dislocation of geographic realms.