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The Geographical Tradition: Episodes in the History of a Contested Enterprise

ISBN: 978-0-631-18586-4
444 pages
January 1993, ©1992, Wiley-Blackwell
The Geographical Tradition: Episodes in the History of a Contested Enterprise (0631185860) cover image
The Geographical Tradition presents the history of an essentially contested tradition. By examining a series of key episodes in geography's history since 1400, Livingstone argues that the messy contingencies of history are to be preferred to the manufactured idealizations of the standard chronicles. Throughout, the development of geographical thought and practice is portrayed against the background of the broader social and intellectual contexts of the times. Among the topics investigated are geography during the Age of Reconnaissance, the Scientific Revolution and The Englightenment; subsequently geography's relationships with Darwinism, imperialism, regionalism, and quantification are elaborated.
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Preface.

1. Should the History of Geography be X-Rated? Telling Geography's Story.

2. Of Myths and Maps: Geography in the Age of Reconnaissance.

3. Revolution, Celestial and Terrestrial: Geography nad the Scientific Revolution.

4. Naturalists and Navigators: Geography in the Enlightenment.

5. Of Design and Dining Clubs: Pre-Darwinian Geography.

6. The Geographical Experiment: Evolution and the Founding of a Discipline.

7. A 'Sternly Practical' Pursuit: Geography, Race and Empire.

8. The Regionalising Ritual: Geography, Place and Particularity.

9. Statistics Don't Bleed: Quantification and its Detractors.

10. The Geographical Tradition: A Conversational Conclusion.

Bibliography.

Index.

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David Livingstone is the author of Nathaniel Southgate Shaler and the Culture of American Science (1987), Darwin's Forgotten Defenders (1987) and The Preadamite Theory (1992), and of many articles on the history of goegraphy and the history of science. He is Reader in the School of Geosciences, at the Queen's University of Belfast.
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  • The first and only history of geography from the Renaissance to the present.

  • Accessible and attractively written.

  • Hailed as a classic in advance of publication.
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"A major piece of work. Not since reading Glacken's Traces on the Rhodian Shore have I read a book on the history of geography that was equally bold in its ambition and erudite in supporting its claims." John A. Agnew, Syracuse University

"He approaches five centuries of geographical work with zest, sympathy, catholicity and (not infrequently) irreverence in an easy style that grinds no particular axe. The reader is shown a kaleidoscope of the different motives, contexts and spirit of those who have taken part in this wide-ranging quest for knowledge. Highly readable, and recommended to all students of the history of geography and of science in general." David Hooson, University of California at Berkeley

"Superb ... a real winner. A fine and well-written book that will become the core of all courses and seminars in the history and philosophy of our field." Peter R. Gould, Pennsylvania State University

"It is clear that The Geographical Tradition is a tour-de-force. I congratulate you on a major achievement ... the best thing to come through my in-tray for many months." Peter Haggett, University of Bristol

"Livingstone ... writes in a lively style, through which the depth of his scholarship shines brightly ... Each chapter ... is a gem: well-written, based on wide reading, and informative about both the particular subject-matter and the book's general theme. An excellent book ... which will surely stand the test of time as a major contribution to the history and historiography of geography." The Times Higher Education Supplement

"David Livingstone's book is an outstanding achievement, a scholarly tour de force unmatched in previous writing on the history and philosophy of geography as a distinct form of knowledge. The scope of his project is so vast that no reviewer can do justice to the complexity of its argumentation and the wealth of its exemplification." Progress in Human Geography

"This arresting book is easily the best intellectual history of geography since Clarence Clacken's Traces on the Rhodian Shore." Australian Geographical Studies

"A fine example of intellectual history. Illuminating and convincing." Nature

"This intellectual roller coaster has a superabundance of memorable statements." Geographical Review

"A most interesting book concerning the history of geography, with special reference to European and North American theatres since the Middle Ages. Well written and contributes to an understanding of the history of science in general and the history of geography in particular. Helpful illustrations and a thorough bibliography add to this well-produced work." Choice

"Elegant and eloquent." Times Literary Supplement

"Geographers, historians of geography, historians of science and religion, and historians in general, take heed! This book is one of the few discussions of the history of geography truly worth reading and owning ... This is the work of a widely read, imaginative, and gifted scholar who makes full use of the sources available within the Anglo-Saxon world, dips periodically into the non-Anglo-Saxon literature, and adds a good deal of his own insight and perspective ... this is a marvellous book. Unapologetically intellectual and rigorous, it is also engagingly and beautifully written. It is a delight to read. It will prove an invaluable source of ideas and further reading. It is also a book to show to non-geographers with pride. Indeed, I suppose that it is part of a geographic tradition." The Canadian Geographer

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