Geography of East Asia

Number of credits: 6 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) Price: 840 €
Price for UAB students*: 200 €
*Max. 5 places
Teaching Language: English Place: UAB Campus Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès), Barcelona

Teaching Period: 13 TO 31 July 


Professor: Hyerim Yoon and Antoni Ramon Riba​​​​​​​

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Hyerim Yoon has a PhD in Geography (Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB)), MSc from ERASMUS MUNDUS Program JEMES (Joint European Master on Environmental Studies) and a BSc in Chemical Engineering (Yonsei University, South Korea). Currently, she gives lectures on a variety of environmental topics in the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA), Department of Science and School of Engineering, UAB.

Also she has taught some practical courses and lectures in the Department of East Asian Studies, UAB. Her current research interest include energy and water poverty and other social challenges arising with environmental problems. In the past, she worked in Korea Environment Institute as a researcher and conducted projects analyzing various environmental policies on sustainable development, green growth and green cities in Korea and other East Asian countries.

Antoni Ramon Riba has been an associate professor in the Geography department of the UAB since 1996. He currently works at the faculties of Arts and Humanities and Education. In addition to his academic activity, Antoni has worked as a consultant in private companies and NGOs, focusing on projects related to social and urban issues.


Contents overview

The course will cover the basics of the Geography of East Asia (China, Japan, North and South Korea, Taiwan, as well as Hong Kong and Singapore), including geopolitical topics, the physical environment; population; agriculture and food systems, energy & manufacturing, urban issues and the state of the environment.

The course combine lectures on the topics previously mentioned plus practical work that will consist of written group essays, class discussion of documentaries and other visual material; simulation exercises, debates, and other type of practical work. Students must be ready to attend lectures and participate in the sessions of practical work.

Week programme
Week Contents Teaching / learning activities
1 1.1. Geopolitics
1.2. Physical Environment
1.3.1 Population
Lectures plus practical work
2 1.3.2. Population
2.1. Agriculture and food systems
2.2. Energy and manufacturing
Lectures plus practical work
3 3.1. Urban systems
3.2. The state of the environment in East Asia
Lectures plus practical work


Two tests: one towards the middle of the course and the other one at the end (80% of the final grade).
Submission of practical work requirements, (20% of the final grade but practical work is mandatory and students will not pass the course unless they submit all requirements).

Links and references
  • BALL, P. (2017). The Water Kingdom. Chicago: The University of ChicagoPress
  • DUNFORD, M. and WEIDONG,L. (eds) (2017). The Geographical Transformation of China. London: Routledge
  • KANASAKA,K, (2009). Discovering Japan. A New Regional Geography. London: JPT Europe
  • KAPLAN, R.D. (2015). Asia's Cauldron. The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific. New York: Penguin Random House
  • MARKS, R.B. 2012). China. Its Environment and History. Kanham UK: Rowan and Littlefield.
  • SAMUELS, R.J. (2013) . 3.11 Disaster and Change in Japan. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
  • STUDWELL,J. (2014). How Asia Works. Success and Failure in the World's Most Dynamic Region.London: Profile Books.
  • TUAN, Yi -Fu (1969). A Historical Geography of China. Chicago: Aldine
  • VEEK, G., PANNELL, C.W., HUANG, Y and BAO; S (2016). China's Geography. Globalization and theDynamics of Political, Economic and Social Change. Lanham, MD: Rowman &Littlefield
  • WONG, D.W. S., WONG,K.K.K., CHUNG,H. and WANG,J.J. (2018). China. A GeographicalPerspective. New York: Guilford Press.