This text offers readers a short and highly accessible account of the ideas and concepts constituting geography. Drawing out the key themes that define the subject, What is Geography? demonstrates how and why these themes - like environment and geopolitics- are of fundamental importance. Including discussion of both the human and the natural realms, the text looks at key themes like environment, space, and place - as well as geography's methods and the history of the discipline.Introductory but not simplified, What is Geography? will provide students with the ability to understand the history and context of the subject without any prior knowledge. Intended Audience: Designed as a key transitional text for students entering undergraduate courses, this book will be of interest to all readers interested in and intrigued by the "geographical imagination."
Chapter 1: To Know the World: Order and Power
To Know the World: Order and Power
For most of human history the ability to interpret and represent the surrounding landscape has been an urgent need and an absolute necessity. Homo sapiens have also shown a consistent desire to order their world, to find meaning in it.
The oldest literatures we have are geographies. The founding texts in what, over 2000 years later, came to be called ‘the Western canon’, are about heroes of exploration. Ulysses's ten-year trip home to Ithaca (in Homer's The Odyssey, compiled or written from the ninth century BC) and the – even older – tale of Jason's search for the Golden Fleece, are part of a continuous tradition of expressing culture through narratives of voyages ...