Key Concepts in Historical Geography


John Morrissey, David Nally, Ulf Strohmayer & Yvonne Whelan

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    Neil Smith (1954—2012), in memoriam

    List of Contributors


    Historical geography is fortunate to have such a rich and collegial academy, and it is a pleasure to recognize a wide range of wonderful colleagues here for their support, reading of chapters and patience as this book came to fruition. The patience required was due to the fact that the book has been a long time coming, for various reasons, but finally the acknowledgements get to be written, and written with pleasure.

    John Morrissey would like to thank a number of colleagues who supported the project from the beginning. Particular thanks are due to Dan Clayton, Deborah Cowen, Zeynep Gambetti, Derek Gregory, Gerry Kearns, Stephen Legg, Alan Lester and Marilyn Young for their close reading of various chapters, and for their friendship and broader intellectual support over many years. Thanks are extended too to colleagues at NUI Galway for offering a wonderfully vibrant and supportive place to think, teach and write. Much of John's chapters were written while a research fellow at CUNY Grad Center, and his grateful thanks to colleagues there go to Jeff Bussolini, Gregory Donovan, Tina Harris, David Harvey, Cindi Katz and Ros Petchesky.

    He hopes that former colleagues at CUNY do not mind that he singles out the late Neil Smith for individual acknowledgment. Neil was one of the most brilliant and inspiring geographers of his generation — indeed of any generation — and it still seems impossible that he is gone. His incisive political writing and activism both within and outside the academy reflected an unwavering commitment to questions of social justice, but in the many eulogies marking his passing it was sometimes forgotten that he was also a brilliant and accomplished historical geographer — his American Empire being one of the truly great books of historical geography in recent years. Neil looked forward to being at the launch of this book, and no doubt would tell us all to get on with it — to get on with the most pressing project of any time: to shake up the world with ideas and action.

    David Nally wishes to express his gratitude to colleagues in the Department of Geography and Fitzwilliam College at the University of Cambridge. Special mention must be made to Ash Amin, David Beckingham, Chay Brooks, Simon Dalby, Simon Reid-Henry and Stephen Taylor for reading and commenting on early drafts of his chapters. At a crucial stage Phil Howell, in particular, set aside precious sabbatical time to provide detailed feedback and many pointers. In addition, he would also like to acknowledge Jim and Nancy Duncan, Matt Farish, Derek Gregory, Gerry Kearns and Willie Smyth for many years of constructive debate on the future, present and past of historical geography.

    Ulf Strohmayer would like to thank his colleagues at NUI Galway for their ongoing support and shared sense of collegial workloads, which is key to combining individual research endeavours with equally important concerns of pedagogy and a functioning work environment. In addition, he extends his professional gratitude to colleagues abroad who have helped in the pursuit of empirical research that shaped his contributions to the present volume. These include, but are not limited to: the late Georges Benko, Dorothee Brantz, Paul Claval, Celina Cress, Tim Cresswell, Matt Hannah, David Harvey, Ilse Helbrecht, Judith Lazar, Julia Lossau, Gunnar Olsson, Aino Simon, the late Neil Smith, Ola Söderström, and Benno Werlen.

    Yvonne Whelan would like to thank colleagues at the Department of Geography in University College Dublin who first introduced her to many of the concepts contained within the pages of this book and who inspired her interest in historical geography. In particular, she acknowledges Anngret Simms, Willie Nolan and Joe Brady. She would also like to thank the students she has taught at UCD and the Universities of Ulster, Montreal, Toronto and Bristol who helped to fine-tune her thoughts about historical geography.

    Collectively, John, David, Ulf and Yvonne are also grateful for the support of the following friends and colleagues over the years: David Atkinson, Alison Blunt, Mark Boyle, Kate Brace, Mat Coleman, Nessa Cronin, Felix Driver, Paddy Duffy, Dave Featherstone, Diarmid Finnegan, Jennifer Fluri, Brian Graham, Dave Harvey, Mark Hennessy, Mike Heffernan, Nik Heynen, Alex Jeffrey, Rhys Jones, Innes Keighren, Rob Kitchin, James Kneale, David Lambert, Sharon Leahy, Mike Leyshon, Denis Linehan, Hayden Lorimer, Gordon MacLeod, Annaleigh Margey, Emma Mawdsley, Cheryl McEwan, Catherine Nash, Simon Naylor, Pat Nugent, Miles Ogborn, Sarah Radcliffe, James Ryan, Richard Smith, Tom Slater, Nicola Thomas, Karen Till, Gerard Toal, Bhaskar Vira and Charlie Withers. While the authors have drawn immense support from those mentioned they would like to be clear that they alone are responsible for any errors or faults that remain.

    In addition, extended thanks are owed to Robert Rojek, Katherine Haw and Keri Dickens at SAGE. Their guidance and patience saw this project through in the most professional and supportive manner possible. And finally a sincere thank you to our dearest loved ones for reminding us every day about the things that really matter — for John: Olive and Darragh; for David: Estelle, Fergus and Eliza-Maeve; for Ulf: Christiane, Sebastian and Benjamin; and for Yvonne: Liam and Oisín.

    John Morrissey

    David Nally

    Ulf Strohmayer

    Yvonne Whelan

    Key Concepts in Human Geography
    Rob Kitchin

    The Key Concepts in Human Geography series is intended to provide a set of companion texts for the core fields of the discipline. To date, students and academics have been relatively poorly served with regard to detailed discussions of the key concepts that geographers use to think about and understand the world. Dictionary entries are usually terse and restricted in their depth of explanation. Student textbooks tend to provide broad overviews of particular topics or the philosophy of Human Geography, but rarely provide a detailed overview of particular concepts, their premises, development over time and empirical use. Research monographs most often focus on particular issues and a limited number of concepts at a very advanced level, so do not offer an expansive and accessible overview of the variety of concepts in use within a subdiscipline.

    The Key Concepts in Human Geography series seeks to fill this gap, providing detailed description and discussion of the concepts that are at the heart of theoretical and empirical research in contemporary Human Geography. Each book consists of an introductory chapter that outlines the major conceptual developments over time along with approximately twenty-five entries on the core concepts that constitute the theoretical toolkit of geographers working within a specific subdiscipline. Each entry provides a detailed explanation of the concept, outlining contested definitions and approaches, the evolution of how the concept has been used to understand a particular geographic phenomenon, and suggested further reading. In so doing, each book constitutes an invaluable companion guide to geographers grappling with how to research, understand and explain the world we inhabit.

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