Geography: A History

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A brief history of the development of geography as an academic subject.


<ul><li> 1. Geography: A History</li></ul> <p> 2. Origins of modern Geography </p> <ul><li>Origins of modern geography can be dated back to western Europe in the 16 thcentury.</li></ul> <ul><li>Expansion of European power.</li></ul> <ul><li>By 1600 the Atlantic trading system had establish links between Europe and the New World . </li></ul> <ul><li>Increased range of European travel and trade transformed European perceptions of the world.</li></ul> <ul><li>European universities began to offer specialized courses in geography.</li></ul> <p> 3. Scientific Revolution </p> <ul><li>Foundations of modern science established during 17 thcentury.</li></ul> <ul><li>Navigational skills that merely facilitated scientific discovery.</li></ul> <ul><li>Discussions of the relative merits of different societies, cultures and civilizations around the world.</li></ul> <ul><li>18 thcentury era of European enlightenment. </li></ul> <p> 4. Geography as exploration </p> <ul><li>Geography as navigation transformed into Geography as exploration.</li></ul> <ul><li>Scientific exploration as an objective </li></ul> <ul><li>New navigational and cartographical techniques.</li></ul> <ul><li>1769 James Cook voyage a turning point in the development of modern geography.</li></ul> <ul><li>Exploration reflected imperial objectives </li></ul> <p> 5. Enlightenment Geography </p> <ul><li>Alexander von Humboldt : Prussian, explorer and author </li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Ideas shaped by late 18 thcentury European romanticism </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Notable travels in South America </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Sought a systematic science of geography </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li>Carl Ritter : German, writer, explorer </li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Unfinished 19 volume Erdkunde published in mid 19 thC </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Objective to create a generalized world geography </li></ul></li></ul> <p> 6. Emergence of Societies </p> <ul><li>1778 Association for Promoting the Discovery of the Interior Parts of Africa.</li></ul> <ul><li>Pioneering expeditions by Mungo Park, Hugh Clapperton and Alexander Gordon Laing </li></ul> <ul><li>French Revolution: halt the Enlightenment geographical enquiry but provided purpose for the further development of cartography and land survey. </li></ul> <ul><li>First geographical societies emerge: Paris (1821), Berlin (1828), London (1830)</li></ul> <p> 7. Emergence of the RGS </p> <ul><li>Royal Geographical Society became the focal point of world exploration.</li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>1850: nearly 800 fellows </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>1870: 2,400 fellows </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li>Number of prominent scientists joined: including Charles Darwin.</li></ul> <ul><li>Dominant figure: Sir Roderick Murchison </li></ul> <ul><li>Published general advice through its Hints to Travellers plus it boasts one of the largest private map collections in the world. </li></ul> <p> 8. Success of the RGS </p> <ul><li>RGS exploited a national passion for heroism in exotic places that was enthusiastically promoted by the British press.</li></ul> <ul><li>The explorer was the ideal masculine hero of Victorian society.</li></ul> <ul><li>Extensive exploration of Africa many of the major explorers: Burton, Speke, Livingstone, Stanley were influenced by the RGS.</li></ul> <ul><li>New challenges posed by exploration into Asia, the polar ice caps, and in particular the Himalayas.</li></ul> <ul><li>Geographical societies across Europe expanded rapidly. </li></ul> <p> 9. The time of imperialism </p> <ul><li>An age of European military and commercial colonization of the Americas, Asia and Africa.</li></ul> <ul><li>After the Franco-Prussian war (1870) aggressive colonial expansion </li></ul> <ul><li> The Scramble for Africa </li></ul> <ul><li>RGS remained the largest and wealthiest geographical society in the world.</li></ul> <p> 10. Geography enters universities </p> <ul><li>Chair of geography established in UCL in 1833 </li></ul> <ul><li>First full time post in a British university not until 1887 in Oxford University: Halford Mackinder.</li></ul> <ul><li>The RGS and GA worked hard to promote the study of geography.</li></ul> <ul><li>Sir Harry Johnstone argued that geography should become a compulsory school subject.</li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li> it was only through detailed geographical description, complete with authoritative and regularly updated topographical and thematic maps, that a region could be know, understood and therefore fully possessed by those in authority (Heffernan, 1996:520). </li></ul></li></ul> <p> 11. Natural Selection? </p> <ul><li>University geography sought to explain human and natural features of the world, but also to justify the existence of European empires.</li></ul> <ul><li>Friedrich Ratzel (and others) insisted that the principles of natural selection applied equally to the natural, social and political realms.</li></ul> <ul><li>Imperial race of Europe </li></ul> <ul><li>Environmental determinism and scientific racism </li></ul> <p> 12. Alternative views </p> <ul><li>Environmental and moral improvement were the justification for intervention from the Western World. </li></ul> <ul><li>However,</li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Petr Kropotkin &amp; Elisee Reclus argued that geography suggested ways of developing a new harmony of human societies with the natural world.</li></ul></li></ul> <p> 13. Crisis of the 20 thCentury </p> <ul><li>Unexplored and unclaimed blank spaces on the world map were rapidly diminishing.</li></ul> <ul><li>Mackinder talked of the emergence of 20 thC world order dominated by land based empires bound together by railways.</li></ul> <ul><li>Eurasian landmass: the geographical pivot of history = whoever had control would have power over limitless resources and would dominate world affairs.</li></ul> <p> 14. Global Conflict </p> <ul><li>WWI: first truly global conflict </li></ul> <ul><li>Mackinder: war had erupted from the territorial struggle he had foreseen.</li></ul> <ul><li>Leading geographers involved in redrawing the political map after WWI.</li></ul> <ul><li>Isiah Bowman adviser to US President Woodrow Wilson during peace negotiations.</li></ul> <ul><li>Several French geographers advised the French government during peace conferences and the RGS was involved in aiding the Naval and War Office Intelligence services.</li></ul> <p> 15. 16. Post-war Geography </p> <ul><li>First schools of geography established during the war: </li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Liverpool (1917), LSE and Aberystwyth (1918), UCL and Cambridge (1918), Manchester (1923)</li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li>Expansion of the discipline eroded the control of the RGS on the geographical agenda.</li></ul> <ul><li>Geographers keen to establish the subject as scientifically rigorous.</li></ul> <ul><li>Institute of British Geographers established in 1933 </li></ul> <p> 17. The Interwar Years </p> <ul><li>Interwar years: evolved into a popular discipline.</li></ul> <ul><li>Sub-disciplines arose.</li></ul> <ul><li>Physical and human geography should be brought together in the analysis of specific regions.</li></ul> <ul><li>The region became the building block of Geography.</li></ul> <ul><li>School of cultural geography established at Berkeley with the idea that historical and geographical particularism and the unique qualities of diverse regions should be explored.</li></ul> <p> 18. Emergence of spatial science </p> <ul><li>Nationalistic geographers </li></ul> <ul><li>WWII end of geopolitical movements of Italy and Germany.</li></ul> <ul><li>1960s and 1970s stress on quantitative geographical enquiry.</li></ul> <ul><li>New and more rigorously scientific regional science developed during the post war years.</li></ul> <p> 19. </p>