Historical geography is an active, theoretically-informed and vibrant field of study within modern geography, with strong interdisciplinary connections with the humanities and the social sciences. The SAGE Handbook of Historical Geography provides an international and in-depth overview of the field with chapters that examine the history, present condition and future significance of historical geography in relation to recent developments and current research. The Handbook is in two volumes, divided across nine parts. Volume One includes commentaries on the history and geography of historical geography, and reviews how historical geographers have considered the appropriation, management and representation of landscape, the changing geographies of property, land, money and financial capital, and the demographic, medical and political analysis of the world's growing and mobile population. Volume Two shows how historical geographers have made significant contributions to geopolitical debates about the relationships between nation-states and empires, to environmental challenges posed by human interaction with the natural world, to studies of the cultural, intellectual and political implications of modern science and technology, and to investigations of communicative action, artefacts, performances and representations. The final part reviews the methodological and ethical challenges of historical geography as a publicly engaged research practice. Part 1: Histories and Geographies; Part 2: Land and Landscapes; Part 3: Property and Money; Part 4: Population and Mobility; Part 5: Territory and Geopolitics; Part 6: Environment and Nature; Part 7: Science and Technology; Part 8: Meaning and Communication; and Part 9: Studies in Practice.
Chapter 6: Landscape and History
Landscape and History
The landscape of the Midlands presents yet another variant on the theme of the past in the present. The progress of enclosure by which so much of the present landscape assumed its modern appearance has left direct memorials in the fields and hedgerows – in the shape and size of the fields and frequently in the nature of the hedgerows. … Behind the open-field system lay the wood that once covered the greater part of the countryside. That surely, we might argue, is not relevant to the present scene. Have we at last reached a limit in time? (Darby 2002: 60)
In the 1950s H. C. Darby saw in historical geography one of the pillars of geography, because, ...