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   Course Title    The Influence of Natural Factors on the Rural Way of Living
Lecturer    Alla Makhrova
Institution    Moscow Lomonosov State University
Country    Russian Fedaration

The aim of the course is to give students knowledge about regional differences in the way of living of rural population of Russia and how it is determined by natural factors.

Role of the course in the overall degree curriculum. This is one of the courses of special perparation for magisters spesialised in social geography. It is based on previous series of lectures on georgaphy of population and settlement, georgaphy of cities and urbanisation, religion and etnic georgaphy, georgaphy of natural conditions and resourses.

Course content

Lecture 1.

Introduction: scope and aims of the subject, and its relevance. Concept of "way of living". Pecularities of the rural way of living. The main components of the rural way of living. The forming mechanisms of the rural way of living. The types of activities determinated by environment and peculiarities of rural community itself.

Lecture 2.

The direct and inderect influence of natural factors on the rural way of life. Modern relief and its influence on life and activities of people. Elemental phenomenon. The types of climates as the basis of the varieties of living conditions. Unsavourable climatic phenomenon and their influence on the way of living. Soil resources as basis of agricultural activities and rural settlement. Biological resources. The significance of rivers and lakes in the history of reclamation, settlement and activities of people.

Lecture 3.

Natural zones of Russia. Their variety, steadiness and changeability in altitude and latitude directions. The influence of natural zones on the life of people. The influence of people on natural conditions. Ecological problems.

Lecture 4.

Rural population and settlement network. Its interaction with environment factors. Different types of settlement network The history of reclamation and settlement.

Lecture 5-11.

The influence of regional nature factors on rural way of living.

Lecture 5.

Russian plain. The north of Russian plain: nature, population, the peculiarities of economic activities and way of life. The centre of Russian plain: the peculiarities of natural conditions on the landscapes zones contact, transformation of population, settlement and occupation at final stage of urbanization. The specific traits of way of life in different types of settlement.

Lecture 6.

The south of Russian plain: the forest-steppe; the peculiarities of Russian population, its settlement and occupation in the conditions of the latest urbanization.

Lecture 7.

Caucasus: The influence of specific conditions of mountains on the variaties of conditions of life and ocupation of North Caucasus people.

Lecture 8.

The Urals: the change of natural conditions from the North to the South ang from the west to the east, their influence on the changes in the way of living.

Lecture 9.

Natural recourses and conditions of Siberia and Far East. The history of settling and changes in way of living of migrants on different stages of the reclamation of Siberia. The ecological problems of the territories of new settling.

Lecture 10.

The Russian Arctic and Extreme Noth. The way of living of indigenious people and its transformation under the impact of changes of environment in process of reclamation of resourses of Siberia.

Lecture 11.

The indigenous people of the South of Siberia and Far East. The invironmental influence on the way of living, the transformation of traditional culture under the impact of industrialisation and urbanisation in the conditions of mass migrations.


Two written tests and their discussion are supposed to be held during the term. The first work is a comparative analysis of natural conditions and peopleís way of life of two or several territories (itís up to the student). The second work is an essay on the following theme: how the changed natural conditions influence the traditional peopleís way of life of some definite territory. Essays are to be chosen from a limited number of topics, 2000-3000 words in length.

Assessment: two written exams - an intermediate exam and a final exam. They are supposed to be multiple-choice tests.

All works are judged according to a 5 point scale. The final mark of 15% (per cent) is given for taking part in seminars, 30% are given for both written tests, 25% are given for intermediate work, and 30% are given for the final exam.

Recommended Books

  1. Geografia Rossii. Priroda i naselenie. Moskva, Ekopros, 1999. 295 p.
  2. Rivkina R.V. Obraz zhizni selískogo naseleniya. Novosibirsk, Nauka, 1979. 350 p.
  3. Fedulov S.V. Geograficheskoe izuchenie obrasa zhizni. Moskva, MGU, 1988. 22 p.

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