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Charles W.J. Withers

In: The SAGE Handbook of Geographical Knowledge

Chapter 2: Geography's Narratives and Intellectual History

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Geography's Narratives and Intellectual History
Geography's narratives and intellectual history

‘Geography’ is easy to define literally. From the Greek, ‘geos’, the Earth, and ‘graphos’, or ‘graphein’, ‘to write’, geography means ‘Earth description’ or ‘writing about the Earth’. Yet even a moment's glance at the modern subject of geography, with its principal division into human and physical and its many specialist sub-divisions, reveals that the practical expression of this definition varies considerably. Moreover, what has been understood as ‘geography’ has changed over time. Where the literal definition has been constant, differing interpretations have been offered at different times in different places by different people as to geography's content and purpose, over what it does and for whom. Modern professional geographers and students commonly refer, for example to ...

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