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Bowman, Isaiah(1878–1950)

  • By: Barney Warf
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Although not one of the discipline of geography's intellectual giants, Isaiah Bowman was surely one of its most influential. He wrote 17 books and 170 articles, but he is not known for his academic work. Rather, he held an astonishingly large number of public policy positions in the early and mid 20th century that allowed him significant influence at the highest political circles.

Canadian by birth, Bowman grew up in Michigan. A student of William Morris Davis, Mark Jefferson, successfully encouraged him to attend Harvard University, where Bowman was greatly influenced by the geopolitics of Friedrich Ratzel. He then lectured at Yale University for 10 years and completed his PhD there (notably, after he left, that department was eliminated during World War I).

Bowman's initial interest was ...

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