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Geography (610)
GGR111H5 (91)
J.Leydon (39)

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University of Toronto Mississauga

The discipline of geography Early beginnings - Description and mapping  Greek, roman, Chinese, Islamic empires o Greeks were the first civilization to become geographically mobile to establish colonies o Greeks initiated two major geographic traditions 1. Literary: involving written descriptions of the known world. Eratosthenes (father of geo) contributed to the literary tradition by writing a book describing the known world th 2. Mathematical: by the 5 century, Greeks knew that the earth was sphere.  Hipparchus devised a grid system of imaginary lines on the surface of the earth known as longitude and latitude  Latitude was easy to calculate because it depends on the angle of the sun. longitude was not and it required estimation - Cosmography: refers to the universe, heavens and earth - Chorography: refers to places smaller than the earth, such as countries - Topography: refers to local areas within countries  European colonization/imperialism o the word geography did not enter the English language until the 16 century o Medieval Europeans made very few contributions to geographic knowledge o Maps produced by islamist geographers centered on Arabia  Expanding the “known world” o By 1400, geographers knowledge had grown, but the “known world” on which it was based was still limited to a small portion of the earth o 15 century: European scholars began to recognize this fact, and the impact on geography was drthatic ath significant o Between the 15 and 17 centuries Europeans embarked on a period of unprecedented exploratory activity that happened to coincide with a decline in Chinese and Islamic explorations Mapping - During the early phase of European overseas movement, science in general changed from being a practice controlled by the church to one considered with the acquisition of knowledge - The demand for geographic knowledge, and hence for maps, coincided with the rise of printing to encourage new developments - Academic discipline - Define and distinguish  Geographic traditions  Environmental determinism o Environmental determinism was seen by some offering a distinct and necessary basis for the new discipline of geography  Possibilism: the view that human activity is determined not by physical environments, but rather by choices that humans make o It emerged as a component of the newly institutionalized discipline of geo at much the same time as environmental determinism, for three reasons 1. A substantial literature, centered on humans and land, already presumed that humans could make decisions not explicitly caused by the physical environment 2. Geographers could point to many instances in which different human landscapes were evident in essentially similar physical landscapes 3. Possibilism corresponded to the historically popular view that every event is the result of individual human decision-making  Regional studies/regional geo o Regional geography (chorology) proved to be the most popular focus during the first half of the nineteenth century o In Britain a view emerged that the ultimate test of geography was to delimit regions o In America this view was attractive for physical geographers (W.M Davis) o Areal differentiation: it is a view that was very much in accord with prevailing American opinion and that continued to dominate geography until the mid- 1950’s  Spatial analysis o this approach focuses on explaining the location of geographic facts o Schaefer argued that geographers should move away from simple description in regional studies to a more explanatory framework based on scientific methods such as the constriction of theory and the use of quantitative methods  Human and physical geo o Physical: arguing that human landscapes and cultures resulted primarily from physical geo reduced the need to think about economics, politics, socities, and s
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