Geography and the Humanities

In the Politicised Literary Geographies event, one of the things discussed was the relation between the discipline of Geography and the Humanities. Geography is often put in a Social Sciences faculty (which can be seen as an issue by Physical Geographers) or in a Science faculty (potentially a problem for Human Geographers), but rarely in the Humanities – I’m happy to be told of examples though. But why does Human Geography research not orientate itself towards the Humanities at least as much as to the Social Sciences? There are counter-examples of course, but the links to literature, philosophy, art etc. and their ways of working seem to be outweighed by the links to economics, anthropology, political science and sociology. History in historical geography is perhaps the key area in which the Humanities remains crucial. The two books pictured below – GeoHumanities and Envisioning Landscapes, Making Worlds were attempts to begin just such a dialogue, and were partly successful in that. But even those Geographers who read, engage with and try to influence Humanities are often asked to justify their work in Social Sciences terms. Perhaps Geography’s engagements with new areas like the digital humanities and medical humanities will change the balance somewhat.

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4 Responses to Geography and the Humanities

  1. Juliet Fall says:

    In Switzerland, geography is located in Faculties of ‘Social and economic sciences’ (Geneva — and no physical geography at all, only geology in Earth Sciences), ‘Geosciences’ (Lausanne), Lettres (i.e. probably ‘Humanities’?) (Neuchâtel), ‘Science’ (Fribourg and Bern), ‘Mathematical and Natural Sciences’ (Zurich), and so on! Happy diversity or schizophrenia?

  2. Reblogged this on urbanculturalstudies and commented:
    Exactly right, exactly. (in these collections the humanities are often equated with history at the expense of artistic production)…

  3. Reblogged this on All Things Geography and commented:
    I haven’t previously thought about the connection between geography and the Humanities. But clearly, there is a place for it in that category. All the humanities subjects mentioned can all be looked at from a spatial perspective as well as their change over time and what impact that had on history and culture.

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