SGO9204 – History of Geographical Thought and Philosophy
The purpose of this course is to examine the historical and philosophical development of modern geography and geographical knowledge. The course will explore key discourses, debates, and controversies which shaped the modern discipline. A key aim of the course will be to place the development of geographical thought and practice within a broader societal and scientific perspective. The course will also put emphasis on the geographies of the history of geographical thought – i.e. in what ways have, for example, the Nordic welfare states affected geographical thought and practice?
After the course the students will be able to understand: On completion of the course, the postgraduate student will be able to describe and analyse their own research projects in relation to broader historical discourses and concepts. The postgraduate student will have acquired knowledge of how different theoretical perspectives and concepts can be brought to bear on their individual projects. They will also have knowledge of how geographers at various times have understood the relation between geographical thought and practice. The course will also give the students an understanding of how geographical scholarship has been related to and informed by larger societal and scientific processes – e.g. the importance of evolutionary theory for 19th century geographical thought. Finally the course will give the students a sense of how and where their own projects fit within the history of the discipline.
The course is open to applications from all interested Ph.D. students. PhD students at the Department of Sociology and Human Geography at the University of Oslo gain theory-points and register for the course in StudentWeb.
Interested participants outside the department shall fill out this application form
The deadline for applications is 23rd October 2017.
Formal prerequisite knowledge
No requirements other than that the students have to be enrolled in a doctoral program.
Dr Christian Abrahamsson, UiO
Dr Federico Ferretti, University College, Dublin
Professor Emeritus Gunnar Olsson, Uppsala University
The course is going to be in room 138, Harriet Holters hus
Monday - Part 1: The History and Geography of Geographical Knowledge
11.15-12.00: Introduction: Why do we need a history of geographical thought?, (Christian Abrahamsson)
13.15-15.00: Lecture: The historical geographies of geographical knowledge, (Christian Abrahamsson)
Tuesday - Part 2: Geographical Thought (Gunnar Olsson)
10.15-12.00: Discussion Seminar: Tidbits From an Epistemological Journey.
Required readings: 1/ ”Mapping the Forbidden,” Fennia, Vol. 188, 2010, pp. 3-10.
2/ ”Untitled,” Environment and Planning D, Society and Space, Vol.26, 2008, pp. 752-757.
3/ ”Skinning the Skinning,” in Heather Miller & Lisa Hoffman (eds.): Spaces of Danger: Culture and Power in the Everyday. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2015, pp. 38-50.
4/ ”Finding the Way,” The Arab World Geographer, Vol. 19, No. 1-2, 2016, pp. 105-111.
13.15-15.00: Lecture: The Mappa of the Taken-For-Granted
Wednesday - Part 3: Science and Explanation
10.15-12.00: Lecture: Kantian and Humboldtian geographies (Federico Ferretti)
13.15-15.00: Lecture: Environmental determinism and the nation state (Christian Abrahamsson)
Thursday - Part 4: Contemporary Geography
10.15-12.00: Joint seminar with Christian Abrahamsson: Spatial Science and the Quantitative Revolution
Suggested reading: 1/ ”Thought-in-Action/Action-in-Thought,” in Peter Meusburger, Benno Werlen, Laura Suarsana (eds.): Knowledge and Action. Heidelberg: Springer, 2017, pp. 67-88.
13.15-15.00: Lecture: Geography, the cold war, planning, and the welfare state (Christian Abrahamsson)
Preliminary reading list
(will be subject to changes according to proposals from the lecturers.):
Geographical Traditions: Rethinking the History of Geography. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, New Series, 20(4): 403-422. o
Mayhew “Geography’s Geneaologies”, and Withers “Geography’s Narratives and Intellectual History”, in John Agnew and David N. Livingstone. The SAGE Handbook of Geographical Knowledge, pp. 1-50.
Innes M. Keighren, Christian Abrahamsson and Veronica della Dora, On canonical geographies. Dialogues in Human Geography 2(2012): 296-312
John Agnew and David N. Livingstone. The SAGE Handbook of Geographical Knowledge, pp. 51-136, 149-184, 217-227.
Neil Smith, ‘Geography as museum: private history and conservative idealism in Richard Hartshorne’s The nature of geography’, in Nick Entrikin and Stanley Brunn (eds) Reflections on Richard Hartshorne’s The nature of geography (1989) pp. 91-120.
Stuart Elden. 2008. Reassessing Kant's geography. Journal of Historical Geography.
Robert B. Louden. Anthropology from a Kantian point of view: toward a cosmopolitan conception of human nature. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A. Volume 39, Issue 4, December 2008, Pages 515-522.
David Livingstone The Geographical Tradition, pp.102-138.
Nicolaas Ropke ‘Alexander von Humboldt and Revolution’, in Livingstone and Withers. Geography and Revolution, pp. 336-350.
Michael Dettlebach, “Humboldtian science,” pp. 287-304 in N. Jardine, J. Secord, E. Spary (eds), Cultures of Natural History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996).
Marie Louise Prat. Imperial Eyes selections on Humboldtian Science and transculturation.
Livingston, D. N. (1992) “The Geographical Experiment: Evolution and Founding of a Discipline” The Geographical Tradition. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell. 177-215.
Neil Roberts, “The Idea of Evolution in Geographic Thought”, in John Agnew and David N. Livingstone. The SAGE Handbook of Geographical Knowledge, pp.441-451.
James Moore. “Revolution of the space invaders: Darwin and Wallace on the Geography of Life”, in Livingstone and Withers. Geography and Revolution, pp. 106-132.
D.R. Stoddart, "Darwin's Impact on Geography," Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 56 (Dec., 1966): 683-698.
Janet Browne, “Biogeography and empire,” pp. 305-321 in N. Jardine, J. Secord, E. Spary (eds), Cultures of Natural History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996).
Bassin, M.: Imperialism and the Nation State in Friedrich Ratzel’s Political Geography, Prog. Hum. Geog., 11, 473–495, 1987.
Smith,W. D.: Friedrich Ratzel and the Origins of Lebensraum, Ger. Stud. Rev., 3, 51–68, 1980.
David N Livingstone, “Environmental Determinism,” in John Agnew and David N. Livingstone. The SAGE Handbook of Geographical Knowledge, pp.368-380.
Ellen Churchill Semple, Influence of Geographic Environment on the Basis of Ratzel's System of Anthropo-geography. New York: Russell and Russell, 1911. A reprint is available in Human Geography: An Essential Anthology. Edited by John Agnew, David N. Livingstone, and Alistair Rodgers. Oxford: Blackwell. Pp. 252-267. An online e-reprint from Project Gutenberg can be found at http://infomotions.com/etexts/gutenberg/dirs/1/5/2/9/15293/15293.htm
Peter Kropotkin, selections from “Mutual Aid” in P. Appleman (ed), Darwin: A Norton Critical Edition, pp 399-405 .
Theodore M. Porter, How science became technical. Isis 100 (2009): 292-309
Davis, William M. 1899. The Geographical Cycle. Geographical Journal 14: 481-504.
Nick Spedding, “Landform”, in John Agnew and David N. Livingstone. The SAGE Handbook of Geographical Knowledge, pp. 465-474.
Antony Orme. “The Cycle of Erosion” in John Agnew and David N. Livingstone. The SAGE Handbook of Geographical Knowledge, pp.465-491.
Barbara A. Kennedy. Inventing the Earth: Ideas on Landscape Development Since 1740. Blackwell, 2006,
Neil Smith, “Geography as a museum: Private history and conservative idealism in The Nature of Geography” in Reflections on the Nature of Geography, eds N. Entrikin and S. Brunn (Washington: AAG, 1989), 91-120.
Trevor J. Barnes and Matthew Farish, "Between Regions: Science, Militarism, and American Geography from World War to Cold War," Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 96(4) (December 2006): 807-26.
David Harvey, “Owen Lattimore: a memoire” in Harvey, Spaces of Capital: Towards a Critical Geography (New York: Routledge, 2001), pp 90-107. 
Nicholas Entrikin, “Region and regionalism”, in John Agnew and David N. Livingstone. The SAGE Handbook of Geographical Knowledge, pp. 344-356.
Trevor Barnes, “Spatial Analysis”, in John Agnew and David N. Livingstone. The SAGE Handbook of Geographical Knowledge, pp.381-392.
Peter Gould, "Geography 1957-1977: The Augean Period," Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 69 (1979): 139-51.
Fred Schaefer, "Exceptionalism in Geography: A Methodological Examination," Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 43 (3): (1953): 226-49.
Livingstone, David. 1992. “Statistics Don’t Bleed: Quantification and its Detractors” The Geographical Tradition. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell. pp. 304-311.
Trevor Barnes, ‘Placing ideas: heterotopia, genius loci and geography’s quantitative revolution’, Progress in human geography 28 (2004) pp. 565-95
Stuart Lane, “Making mathematical models perform in geographical space(s)”, in John Agnew and David N. Livingstone. The SAGE Handbook of Geographical Knowledge, pp. 228-245.
Michael J. Watts. 1968 and All That. Prog Hum Geogr June 2001 vol. 25 no. 2, pp.157-188.
William Bunge, “Fitzgerald: Geography of a Revolution” (1971), Selections
Trevor Barnes and Nik Heynen, A classic in human geography: William Bunge’s (1971) Fitzgerald: Geography of a Revolution. Progress in Human Geography. October 2011 35: 712-715.
Nik Heynen, “Marginalia of a revolution: naming popular ethnography through William W. Bunge’s Fitzgerald”, Social & Cultural Geography, 14 (2013): 744-751.
Yves Lacoste, “An Illustration of Geographical Warfare: Bombing the Dikes on the Red River, North Vietnam”, Antipode 5 (1973): 1-13
Gavin P. Bowd and Daniel W. Clayton, “Geographical warfare in the tropics: Yves Lacoste and the Vietnam War”, Annals of the Association of American Geographers 103(2013): 627-646.
David Harvey, “On the history and present condition of geography: an historical materialist manifesto” in Harvey, Spaces of Capital: Towards a Critical Geography (New York: Routledge, 2001), pp 108-120 .
Doreen Massey, “In what sense a regional problem?” in J. Agnew, D. Livingstone and A. Rogers (eds) Human Geography: an Essential Anthology (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996), pp 398-413 .
Wilbur Zelinsky, "The Strange Case of the Missing Female Geographer." Professional Geographer, Vol. 25 (1973): 101-05.
Mildred Berman, "On Being a Woman in American Geography: A Personal Perspective," Antipode, Vol. 6, No. 3 (1984): 61-66.
Linda McDowell and Doreen Massey, “A Woman’s Place?” pp 458-475 in J. Agnew, D. Livingstone and A. Rogers (eds) Human Geography: an Essential Anthology (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996), 
Robinson, J. (1994). White Women Researching/Representing Others: From Anti-apartheid to Postcolonialism? In G. Rose & A. Blunt (eds), Sexual/Textual Colonisations. London: Guildford. 197-226
Gillian Rose, "Feminism and Geography: An Introduction" and "Women and Everyday Spaces," in Feminism and Geography: The Limits of Geographical Knowledge (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993), 1-40.
Gillian Rose, “Geography as a science of observation: The landscape, the gaze, and masculinity”, in F. Driver and G. Rose (eds), Nature and Science, Historical Geography Research Series no. 28, pp 8-18.
Each participant is requested to submit a 200 word project description i) outlining their interest in the course ii) describing their own research. This need to be submitted two weeks before the start of the course, 6th November to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The entire five-day event makes up the Ph.D.-course, with the equivalent of 6 credits. For approval, this includes writing a paper of minimum 4 000 words to be submitted by 7th January 2018. The paper will deal with some theme in the curriculum. The paper is to be sent to email@example.com.
Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.