Unit 4: Political Organization of Space

From the College Board: (emphasis mine)

Students learn about the nature and significance of the political organization of territory at different scales. Political patterns reflect ideas of territoriality--how Earth's surface should be organized--which in turn affect a wide range of exercises of power over space and boundaries. Two major themes are the political geography of the modern state and relationships between countries. Students are introduced to the different forces that shaped the evolution of the contemporary world map. These forces include the rise of nation-states, especially in Europe; the influence of colonialism and imperialism; the rise of supranational organizations; and the devolution of states.

Students learn about the basic structures of the political map, including the inconsistencies between maps of political boundaries and maps of ethnic, cultural, economic, and environmental patterns. Additionally, students analyze forces that are changing the roles of individual countries in the modern world, such as ethnic separatism, terrorism, economic globalization, and social and environmental problems that cross international boundaries (e.g., climate change and acid rain). This part of the course also focuses on subnational and supranational political units. For example, at the scale above the state level, attention is directed to regional alliances, such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the European Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). At the scale below the state level, students learn about the ways in which electoral districts, municipalities, indigenous areas, provinces, and autonomous lands affect political, social, and economic processes.


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