The word geography is rooted in the Greek and literally translates to “writing the earth.” As a modern academic discipline, it is characterized by multiple traditions usually regarded as sharing a common concern for the spatial qualities and problems of the world, and the complex relationships between human beings and nature. Following a period of low academic profile, the discipline is apparently resurgent, especially as global environmental problems and issues have emerged centerstage and the spatial and scalar nature of contemporary social and economic problems has become increasingly apparent.

The foundations of the modern discipline of geography are found in other disciplines and throughout history. For example, ancient Greek writers—including Aristotle—frequently commented on the nature and order of the environment and society. During the 16th and ...

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