A few days ago a giant rift occured in the world of geography listserves. First, this email was send in the Canadian Association of Geographers (CAG) listserve, and it made its way to the UK Critical Geography listserve which is where I picked it up. Since this email has been sent out, it has gone viral. Physical and Human geographers alike across the globe are debating its validity, and its points (whether they agree or disagree with them). This has surely caused some panic among certain circles, and others see it as a normal response to the politics of disciplines which exist within Geography departments worldwide. Please take the time to read this and comment, I would like to have a real discussion amongst young geographers on the topic of the split between physical and human geography.
Stephen Johnston. 2012. Get Rid of Geography Departments. Geolog 41(1):6-7
A couple of years ago I was teaching a structural geology class when a woman burst into the classroom in a bit of a panic. She had had a class in the room just prior to my class, and had left her purse beneath her seat. One of my students had already found the purse, and I had it up at the front of the classroom. Understandably the woman was relieved to have her purse returned, and was appreciative of us having taken care of it for her. I can’t remember what I had projected up on the screen at the time, but I think it might have been a simplified figure of a subduction zone, and the woman stopped and said “oh, you’re doing geography; I love geography”. To which I replied “No, we are not doing geography”. The woman looked confused. “But it looks like you are doing geography”, to which I replied “No, we are not”. The woman retreated, thankful that she had her purse, but thoroughly confused at my insistence that we were not doing Geography. Which brings me to my point: We need to get rid of Geography departments. If I had my way I would get rid of Geography as a field of study. I would get it out of our high schools, out of the universities, and out of the public eye. And I would remove funding for Geography departments as individual entities. Continue reading