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Huntington, Ellsworth (1876–1947)

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

The American geographer Ellsworth Huntington is most remembered for his explorations of Palestine, the Middle East, and Central Asia and the 28 books and more than 240 articles that chronicled these expeditions. The ideas and theories he derived from these researches can be broadly categorized as “geodeterministic” in that he stressed the impacts of physical, climatic factors on the development of “racial” characteristics, heredity, and civilizations. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Huntington was also president of the American Eugenics Society from 1934 to 1938. His theories have since been discredited as ethnocentric and racist, since they asserted that people from the temperate latitudes (especially the northeastern United States) were better endowed for progress than those living in tropical climates. His impact as an educator and promoter of geography ...

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