Richard Hartsthorne, in his 1939 “The Nature of Geography”, believed that the discipline in the United States should focus on regional descriptions. One marker, to him (and me), of geographical research is if it concerns a “mappable” phenomenon. While the word “mappable” is open to interpretation, some Geographers argue that one could map one’s own body and call it “Geography.” I’m not certain I’d go that far. To me, a geographical map encompasses earthly or extraterrestrial space (the latter possibly making me a heretic in my own right). Sticking to this view in the blog, I previously discussed revisiting our conception of the state as an organic entity and geographical naming in India. Back in the introduction, I offered a definition of the discipline that I hope Hartsthorne would have appreciated. But this blog doesn’t really need to be that serious all the time.
Also in the introduction I mentioned that Geography is also a perspective. This posts illustrates the importance of keeping your own perspective in mind when thinking about mappable phenomena. Consider the usage of bed space by you and, say, a cat. It what ways is it similar? In what ways is it different? Such a “study” would fit my definition of Geography, its an examination of the myriad ways in which space can be used by different parties (or species) and the importance they place on that space. The idea of differing conceptions of the same space also underpins the previous post on geographical naming in India. So I offer you without further delay, the inspiration for this week’s post. Enjoy!