Geography: A Very Short Introduction
John A. Matthews
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This Very Short Introduction answers four basic questions: what is Geography, how do geographers work, why is Geography important, and where is the discipline of Geography heading? Geography has always been important, though it has had only a short history as an academic discipline and is much misunderstood. Modern Geography has come a long way from its historical roots in exploring foreign lands, in mapping the world and in describing the physical and human features of the Earth's surface. There are two parts to the discipline: Physical Geography, which covers natural environments and landscapes; and Human Geography, which investigates people and the cultural landscape. Physical and human geographers commonly do not agree with each other. But there are also common elements and Geography as a whole has an important role as a bridge between the sciences and the humanities. Using wide-ranging examples, the book paints a broad picture of the current state of Geography, its subject matter, concepts and methods, how it developed, and its strengths and weaknesses. The book's conclusion is no less than a manifesto for Geography's future.
About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.
a constraint. These theoretical models were too simple in relation the complex evolution of real landscapes. In particular, landscapes do not stay stable long enough for the completion of the full cycle because of both the tectonic forces controlling uplift and the environmental changes affecting Earth-surface processes. Modern ideas on landscape evolution give much greater attention to how landscapes react to changing conditions, to rates of landscape change in the past, and to the response of
Beth Williamson CHRISTIANITY Linda Woodhead CLASSICS Mary Beard and John Henderson CLASSICAL MYTHOLOGY Helen Morales CLAUSEWITZ Michael Howard THE COLD WAR Robert McMahon CONSCIOUSNESS Susan Blackmore CONTEMPORARY ART Julian Stallabrass CONTINENTAL PHILOSOPHY Simon Critchley COSMOLOGY Peter Coles THE CRUSADES Christopher Tyerman CRYPTOGRAPHY Fred Piper and Sean Murphy DADA AND SURREALISM David Hopkins DARWIN Jonathan Howard THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS Timothy Lim DEMOCRACY Bernard Crick DESCARTES Tom
criminal events such as burglaries or homicides as a ﬁrst step towards forms of GIS analysis. The example shown in Figure 24 is from human geography and demonstrates the way in which GIS can present data in different ways. This map of the countries of the world shows the varying distribution of wealth, based upon the Gross National Product (GDP). The territorial extent of each nation state is distorted to reﬂect its relative prosperity. Countries such as the United States and most European states
calculating accurate estimates of globally averaged temperatures and to reﬁne our knowledge of the rate of global warming. The term ‘global warming’ also tends to hide the fact that different 145 Geography’s present and future Of the many new topics to be taken on board by physical geography in recent years, global warming has undoubtedly had the most far-reaching effects on what geographers do. The latest report of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that global
65, 74, 81 terrorism 87, 151; see also conﬂict, war Thames Basin 26 theatre 127 theory 50–1, 54, 76, 84, 117, 150; see also critical theory, non-representational space-for-time substitution 141–4 spatial analysis 54, 62, 75, 107, 137, 150 diffusion model 119 inequality 85 patterns 23, 30, 54, 98, 101, 103, 144 perspective 48 processes 23, 103 180 theory, social and cultural theory time 82, 87–90; see also change through time toposphere 21–2, 41 tourism 7, 92 trade 88–9 transportation 25, 98