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The Education of a Geographer – Carl O. Sauer

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					THE EDUCATION OF A
GEOGRAPHER – CARL O. SAUER
CARL ORTWIN SAUER (1988 – 1975)
1908 – undertook graduate studies in Geology at Northwest
University followed by a later shift to Geography focusing on
physical landscapes and human culture

1915 – transferred to the University of Chicago and earned
his PhD in Geography

1915 – began teaching at the University of Michigan (initially
upholding Environmental Determinism and later altering his
view)

1923 – transferred to the University of California in Berkeley
where he developed the “Berkeley School” of Geographic
thought focusing on culture, landscapes and history

1925 – “The Morphology of Landscape”
              WHAT‟S THE DIFFERENCE?
Environmental
                                 Sauer’s Take
Determinism
   Natural environment solely      Culture works with & on
    responsible for the              nature to create contexts of
    development of different         life
    cultures & societies            Culture is historically
   Evolution follows natural        „particular‟
    laws                            Looking for meaning in
   „Inheritance of acquired         landscapes that have been
    traits‟                          modified by human activity
THE EDUCATION OF A
GEOGRAPHER
 On Original Bent and Early Predilection
 Natural/shaped tendency, diversity in background, inclination for maps
 & travel, the “morphologic eye”
 On Being Unspecialized
 Wider array of techniques, vocabulary, processes – geography “greater
 than the sum if [its] disciplinary efforts”; lack of restraints in method or
 purpose
 The Training Period
 Importance of geomorphology & history in geography, observation &
 field work, the history of geographic thought
 Description for What?
 Too narrow descriptions of Geography & method limit scope and
 creativity – find “real & present problems” then find the best means!
 Beyond Formal Science
 “A realm of individual perception and interpretation, the art of
 geography”
QUESTIONS FOR THOUGHT
 Sauer notes that “[i]n a time of exceedingly great
  increase of knowledge and techniques we remain
  in measure undelimited and […] unreduced to a
  specific discipline. Do you think this is still
  the case for Geography in present-day
  academia?
 He goes on to note that this (set of characteristics
  quoted above) is “our present weakness and
  potential strength”. What does he mean by
  this?
QUESTIONS FOR THOUGHT
   Do you agree with Sauer‟s comments on the
    ethics of geography and geographers‟ concerns
    with the “place of man in nature”? Is it “proper
    and reasonable that we are troubled as to how
    man has acted for good or evil”?
GETTING TO KNOW YOU

Diversity

 What is your major?
 What, if any, was your previous major?

 How many times have you switched majors?

 Previous background (academic, work, etc.)


“…the power to explore in many directions… we have been made up of
  individuals of many backgrounds, with some denominator in common…”
GETTING TO KNOW YOU (CONTINUED)
“…we admit to our group different temperaments and diverse interests”

 Where are you from? (elaborate if necessary!)
 What is your star sign and do you fit the
  description of it?
 Do you like maps and/or globes? Do you own any?

 Where do you call home and what is the farthest
  you‟ve travelled from it?
 Most awesome adventure?

 Where will you be during the Olympics?

 Half empty or half full?
GEOGRAPHY AS ART



PICTIONARY!!!
If you don’t love it already, you will after this…

				
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