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Decline of geography in the U.S. academia
Shouldn't this article say something about the ongoing decline of geography as a discipline within U.S. academia? Yes, the U.S. is not the whole world, but as far as contribution to global academic output, it is a giant; surely what happens in the U.S. academia has broader impact.
There is an interesting-looking article in the Japanese Journal of American Studies, “Another Closing Frontier?: Observations on Geography in American Academe,” with statements such as
- a recent president of the Association of American Geographers (AAG) has noted “the possibility of having the discipline die a natural death,” mainly because of disciplinary inertia.
And a bit later:
- The perception of crisis extends more significantly into the quality and constitution of the discipline, almost exclusively in academic contexts. These run through a spectrum of problems that include disharmony between the physical and human subdivisions, esoteric specialization, disdain for teaching, inappropriate training, practical irrelevance, and even bad attitudes.
The following seems like a useful reference on the topic: Geography: discipline, profession, and subject since 1870.
For a flavor of how the profession seems to feel about its state, it is informative to read “Citation for Harm J. de Blij, Ph.D. 2006 Recipient of the George J. Miller Award for Distinguished Service to Geographic Education”. It begins as follows:
- Being a geographer in the United States during the past several decades has inevitably meant taking on a cause. That cause is a product of the systematic marginalization of the discipline in K-12 education, the closing of geography departments at some of the nation's leading universities, and the neglect of the discipline at many of America's liberal arts colleges-and even some of its prominent public universities. The social implications of these educational failings serve as the principal rallying points for the cause: an American population largely ignorant of the nature and significance of differences from place to place.
On the other hand, this supposed "decline" does not account for two important new developments: the development of satellite-imagery and GIS software has significantly increased the application of geography to non-academic work (e.g. military use, industrial logistics, ecological restoration, etc), and the current of Political Ecology that developed among many geographers has significantly increased interdisciplinary activities of geographers. Consequently, several geographers (even those with only BS or MA degrees) are being increasingly hired outside of academia, and several geographers (particularly those with PhDs who work in Political Ecology broadly conceived) are being hired in non-geography departments at several universities.
Moreover, as the presidential address made during the 2011 AAG Annual Conference highlighted, the revolutionary wave reverberating through the Arab world and other surges of social movements in Europe, the US and elsewhere have expressed themselves in remarkably geographical terms - from the urban-character of Arab uprisings to the occupation of public space by the Indignados and Occupy movements - echoing and strengthening the public exposure and social engagement of many geographers. Indeed, even if geography might perceive itself to be facing a crisis in terms of the "constitution of the discipline" within academia, geography is still one of the best situated fields of social science to analyze and engage critically important events of our age.
Ultimately, this is not the first time and likely won't be the last time that geography as a discipline faces this "crisis". During the first two decades of the 20th century, Harvard shut down its department of geography, triggering very similar concerns to those raised above. Indeed, the discipline went through a transformation, as other prominent universities like the University of California at Berkeley (under the auspices of Carl Sauer) developed the cultural and human aspects of the discipline beyond its previous limitations. The additional concerns over the poor quality of K-12 education and lack of resources dedicated to education are more deeply seated problems with economic austerity and the abandonment of public education, not particularities of geography as a discipline. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 22.214.171.124 (talk) 07:50, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
- There is no decline in academic geography. It is simply returning to its roots as a pure physical/natural science and going through a naming crisis because it now overlaps so much with environmental studies and environmental science. In grade school I hated geography because it was "sociology with maps". We looked at a map then watched a movie about tribal people trading bags of spice. The emergence of environmentalism and geographic information systems (GIS) as the primary applications of geography has resulted in more academic emphasis on meteorology/ecology/oceanography/cartography/computing/etc and (far) less on human cultures. The two schools I attended are excellent examples. At UCLA, the Geography and Environmental Studies majors are merged into a single major. At UC Santa Barbara, the Geographic Information Systems and Physical Geography majors are clearly defined sciences, while the plain Geography major seems to be suffering from a serious identify crisis as a venue for watered down "green sociology" and an excuse to travel. So in a way, Geography is actually emerging from the dark age that fell between the end of the mapping of the new world and the invention of GIS. It's returned to it's technical roots and no longer has to cling to existence as a vague social science. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 126.96.36.199 (talk) 18:20, 21 July 2013 (UTC)
Semi-protected edit request on 15 December 2013
|This edit request has been answered. Set the
- Not done: please be more specific about what needs to be changed. If you're asking that a Facebook page be linked, we avoid such links on Wikipedia (see the guideline). Rivertorch (talk) 08:53, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
This page has been semi-protected for almost 4 years. I haven't gone back in the history to see why it was worthy of protection to begin with but maybe it's time to test removing the protection? is there a particular reason this is a target? Thanks --Jeremyb (talk) 04:48, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
- done by Swarm, now pending changes w/ auto accept autoconfirmed. (discussion) --Jeremyb (talk) 15:13, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
- Looks like it was previously under pending changes during the original trial, and when the trial ended it was placed under semi-protection. Now that pending changes is reinstated I'll keep an eye on it and if it seems to be necessary will extend it beyond the current month. Otherwise it'll be unprotected after one month. Swarm X 18:06, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
Geomatics - part of Geography?
I saw the different opinion about the functional attribution of Geomatics. Part of Geography or not? I undid the deletion, because from my point of view it is a geographic discipline. A lot of departments of geography expulse geomatics in their administrative structure, including their research in GIS and remote sensing.
Which caption is more correct:
- Self portrait of Alexander von Humboldt, one of the early pioneers of geography
- Self portrait of Alexander von Humboldt, one of the early pioneers of geography as an academic subject in modern sense