Milton Santos, For a New Geography, translated by Archie Davis – University of Minnesota Press, November 2021
[Update there is a New Books Network discussion with the translator here]
Originally published in 1978 in Portuguese, For a New Geography is a milestone in the history of critical geography and it marked the emergence of its author, Milton Santos (1926–2001), as a major interpreter of geographical thought, a prominent Afro-Brazilian public intellectual, and one of the foremost global theorists of space.
Published in the midst of a crisis in geographical thought, For a New Geography functioned as a bridge between geography’s past and its future. In advancing his vision of a geography of action and liberation, Santos begins by turning to the roots of modern geography and its colonial legacies. Moving from a critique of the shortcomings of geography from the field’s foundations as a modern science to the outline of a new field of critical geography, he sets forth both an ontology of space and a methodology for geography. In so doing, he introduces novel theoretical categories to the analysis of space. It is, in short, both a critique of the Northern, Anglo-centric discipline from within and a systematic critique of its flaws and assumptions from outside.
Critical geography has developed in the past four decades into a heterogeneous and creative field of inquiry. Though accruing a set of theoretical touchstones in the process, it has become detached from a longer and broader history of geographical thought. For a New Geographyreconciles these divergent histories. Arriving in English at a time of renewed interest in alternative geographical traditions and the history of radical geography, it takes its place in the canonical works of critical geography.