WEEKLY AND GENERAL ASSIGNMENTS
January 15, 2008:
Introductions, Seminar goals, Readings, Participation, Outline of intended
progress, milestones, Overview of geographic thought.
January 22, 2008:
Readings: W. Pattison, “Four traditions of geography”
L. Robinson, “A new look at the four traditions of geography”
Strabo, Book 1, Chapter 1"Introduction”
Research: (1) Browse Matt Rosenberg’s smorgasbord of Geography at About.com to see what
he thinks about the composition of geographic endeavor. (2) Spend some time in a newspaper of
your choice and browse the reported news for topics of geographic content or interest. (3) Go to
Hamilton Library Current Periodicals Shelves, ground floor, old building. Browse the G1- G70
shelves for serials received in hard copy in geography. List the geography journals and determine
ones that seem to fit in particular sections of the four traditions. Pick one journal (not The
National Geographic) and list the articles and classify them into the four traditions.
Writing Assignments: (1) Choose one journal and write a one page description of the included
articles and classify them into type and write a two or three sentence synopsis of each article.
(2) Write a one page analysis of how Strabo would have broken geography into parts or
components. Discussion Topics: Come next time prepared to discuss the reading assignment, the
classification of geography and Strabo’s geography. Feel free to sample more of Strabo in areas
of interest to you. The full translated text of the 17 books is on-line at the URL below. Book II,
Chapter one is interesting to me because of his description of Ptolomy’s mapping of the known
January 29, 2008:
Readings: A. von Humbolt, “On the structure, and mode of action of volcanoes, in different
parts of the world,” 1823.
E. Semple, “Island Peoples,” 1911.
Research: (1) Do some Internet research on Alexander von Humboldt, Ellen Churchill Semple
and Friedrich Ratzel starting with Wikipedia and then explore some other sites BEFORE you
read the Humboldt and Semple articles. Very little of Ratzel’s work has been translated so you
will have to depend upon other’s interpretations for his work.
Remember that Wikipedia is an on-line “reference” where anyone can create articles and
edit other people’s work. Just because something appears in Wikipedia or elsewhere on the
internet does not make it accurate or authoritative. There have been all kinds of stories around
about political action committees adding material about opponents records to Wikipedia that
have been revisionist at best and mud slinging at the worst.
(2) Geographers from Strabo and his antecedents spent their lives searching for patterns and
their explanations. Strabo relied heavily on the writings of others, many works which have
disappeared since Strabo read them, so we have take his interpretation as correct or at least
reasoned. Classical field geography was often based on extensive travel and exploring places for
long periods of time. Humboldt spent a lot of time in South America and formulated many of his
ideas on extensive field observation. Semple on the other hand based much of her writing on
the work of Ratzel and his travels and interpretations and was not known for “expeditions” into
different areas. As we all know today, there are many elements of the environment that are the
result of complex processes, not subject to complete understanding just by visual observation,
even over an extended period of time.
Writing Assignment: (1) Choose either Semple or Humbolt and write a one to two page paper on
how their discussions of the topical material presented in the readings may have been limited
by the observations and sources upon which they were based.
Discussion Topics: The search for geographic patterns and explanations. Environmentalism.
Topics for term papers. Geography in the news.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008:
Readings: W. Davis, “The Geographical Cycle”, 1899.
E. Huntington, “The Effect of Geographic Extremes” (chap 3) and “America Present
and Past”, (chap 15) in The Human Habitat, 1927.
N. Smith, “1898 and the making of a Practical Man”, (chap 2) in American Empire, 2004.
Research: (1) Ellsworth Huntington, Mark Jefferson, and Isaiah Bowman were all students of
William Morris Davis in geography at Harvard. While Davis’ work was always centered on
physiography, he encouraged these three students to study ontography as a departure from
physiography. See what you can discover about ontography and physiography and the term’s
(2) Go on-line and look at the undergraduate courses offered in geography at five or more other
colleges or universities outside of Hawaii and classify them into topical areas. Much of geography
taught in Hawaii at HPU, Hilo, the community colleges and elsewhere is related to Manoa
because of the commonality of training in Honolulu and other academic associations, so I would
like you to look beyond Hawaii for a broader sample.
(3) Look at the outlines of one or two courses that you have taken in other departments here or
elsewhere that have “geographic” components and think about how the other disciplines have
presented geographic concepts.
Writing Assignment: Write a proposal for your term paper on an Oahu place. A place is
somewhere that you identity with, or possesses a “sense of place” for you, or has a special
character in your own analysis, a place of something. It could be a park, a neighborhood, a
beach, a commercial district, a tourist destination, a protected natural area, or something more
broadly defined such as a community of smells or experience. The proposal should have an
introduction, a paragraph or two defining the place “boundaries” and the distinctive identity of
the place. The proposal should include a section on how you are going to study and analyze the
place and what the nature of your conclusions ‘might’ or you hope to be. Include a sketch map of
the place or outline on a base map.
Discussion Topics: Geography in the news. The main components of academic geography. How
does the University of Hawaii’s geography compare to other departments of geography.
Geography and other encroaching disciplines or is geography encroaching on other fields.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008:
Readings: “Academic War Over the Field of Geography”: The Elimination of Geography at Harvard, 1947-
Cresswell, Place: A short introduction, pages 1-15.
Murphy “Geography’s Place in Higher Education in the United States”.
Writing Assignment: Cresswell writes that the definition of place is as much about ontology as it
is about epistomology. Expand on and contrast the meaning of these two concepts in the context
of one or two of your “places.” (1 page)
Discussion Topics: Discussion of the different kinds of Geographic Places. Academic
Geography’s mistakes. Geography in the news.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008:
Readings: Dobson, “Bring back geography!”, 2007.
Cresswell, Place: A short introduction, pages 16-33.
Bowman, The New World; Problems in Political Geography, chap 1 “Major Problems,”
pages 1- 12; chap 25 “Palestine: A Jewish Homeland Under a British Mandate,” pages
418 - 424; chap 29, “Persia in Relation to British Interests,” pages 462 - 469.
US Government Job Announcement NEAG08464028D.
Writing Assignment: Write an application for the US government job in Public
Affairs listed under the readings. Introduce yourself, list your qualifications, and
explain why a geographer is appropriate for the position and can make a contribution
to the job.
Discussion Topics: Geoffrey Martin’s presentation. Geography in the News
Tuesday, February 26, 2008:
Discussion Topics: Geoffrey Martin’s presentation on the history of American
Geography, Job applications, Cresswell’s reading on the genealogy of place.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008:
Readings: Cresswell, Place: A short introduction, pages 33 - 63. Dyson, Chapter
3, “Heretical Thoughts about Science and Society” in A Many Colored Glass, 2004.
Writing Assignment: Term paper outline, bibliography, list of sources and methods
Discussion Topics: Cresswell reading, Bowman’s readings in The New World,
Geography in the News, Further discussion of the Term Papers, Books chosen for
Book report., Freeman Dyson’s essay on heretical thought.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008:
Tuesday, March 18, 2008:
Writing Assignment: Individual Book Report “_____________ and Geography”
Discussion Topics: Presentation of book reports.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008: - SPRING RECESS
Tuesday, April 1, 2008:
Writing Assignment: First draft of paper to me and your editor
Tuesday, April 8, 2008:
Readings: John K. Wright, Map Makers are Human, 1942, Stephen S. Hall,
Mapping the Next Millennium, Elephants for want of Towns, 1992.
Writing Assignment: A wide range of the map using public have the mis-directed idea
that maps are perfectly accurate. There are many documented cases where this false
impression has led to injury and death in military and navigation situations. However
other types of loss, economic and personal are also possible but less in evidence. Write
a short discussion of a situation where mapped information could result in a social
hazard or other type of loss.
Discussion Topics: Geography in the news, map accuracy, ethics in mapping.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008:
Discussion Topics: Final Project Presentations.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008:
Discussion Topics: Final Project Presentations.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008:
Discussion Topics: Final Project Presentations.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008:
Summary, evaluation. Submit two copies of final version of term paper.