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GGR107H1 (52)

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University of Toronto St. George

Geography Textbook Notes Getting Started • Geography provides a deeper understanding of how and why difference exist, how people and goods move from place to place, and how people relate to their environment and each other. • High concentration of people in urban areas leads to tensions and conflict. • Resource projects located in remote and fragile environments such as oil and gas drilling in Canada’s north are proposed to meet peoples demands for goods • These issues and interactions for the core of contemporary human geography • Geography devotes to answering questions on biophysical and human systems • Geographers are interested in how things are interrelated in different regions over space and time • Geography is often referred to as spatial science- concerned with the use of earths space • Answers how and why physical and cultural items differ from place to place & how observable spatial patterns evolved throughout time • Geographic understanding is based on your awareness of where things are, of their spatial relationships and the varying content of the different areas and places you frequently visit • Geography matters in the building of schools, hospital, shopping centers ect. • 4 areas throughout the world where geographers could make a meaningful contribution (1) geography classrooms should put students in contact with the world beyond their immediate communities in order that they learn about distant people and places (2) geographic technologies could allow for the development of early warning systems about natural disasters and environmental threats and better plan our cities especially the developing worlds (3) geographers could contribute to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment which will map the health of the planet (4) development of a common UN geographic database • Geography is about space and the context of space in the present, past & future • Straddles both natural sciences and social sciences/liberal arts • Questions how objects and human activities are related • Geography is concerned with understanding both the physical and cultural aspects of an area Evolution of the Discipline • Geography’s name was coined by Eratosthenes from the words “geo”, the earth and “graphein”, to write. • From the beginning, writings focused on both the physical structure of the earth and on the nature and activities of the people who inhabit the different lands of the known world • Strabo- task of geography was to describe the countries of the world and treat the differences between countries • Herodotus- studied lands, people, economies, and customs of Persian Empire as background to understanding the causes of the Persian War. • Greeks & later Romans- measured the earth, devised meridians (latitude & longitude) and made maps of the known worlds • They explored the latitudinal variations in climate and described the Mediterranean basin & Europe, Asia & Equatorial Africa • They described river systems, explored causes of erosion, & patterns of deposition, cited the dangers of deforestation, described natural landscapes, and noted the consequences of environmental abuse • Focused on how humans lived & distinctive similarities and differences in language, religion, & customs • Strabo- cautioned against the assumption that nature/actions of humans were determined by the physical environment they inhabited • Observed that humans were active elements in a human-environmental partnership Evolution of Geography in Europe • Immanuel Kant- German scholar, suggested disciplines that provided temporal and spatial perspectives were just as important as economics/sociology • In his view, it was important to understand how events occurred and changed over time and space • Alexander von Humboldt- described the physical geography of the world • Focused on interaction between nature and people • Also made comparisons among places and made general statements about people and places • Comparative approach and ability to provide systematic and precise observations gave scientific credibility to his work • Carl Ritter- keen observer of the landscape who appreciated how humans interacted with their environment and saw unity in the diversity of the world • Sought to understand the interconnections/relationships that defined regions • During the Renaissance- European exploration prompted governments to map new territories • Gerardus Mercator- developed a map that allowed explores to maintain a compass bearing along a straight line drawn on his projection • At this time there were major developments in surveying and mapping that allowed for more accurate maps to be produced. • As trade increased maps were politically/economically important • Map making & describing areas became dominant aspects of the discipline • Atlases and map divisions were produced to support government claims to sovereignty and to promote development in new territories • 19 century- national censuses & trade statistics gave a firmer foundation to human geographic investigation • Prussian (now German) government- established permanent chairs of geography at all its universities • This established geography as a permanent discipline • There are differences among nations about how geography should be practised • Britain- committed to regional geography • America- physical geography • Difference attributed to environmental determinism, possibilism & probabilism • Mainstream geography that sought
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