The purpose of this paper is to elucidate how academic geography was established in Dutch universities and how it developed since 1877. The Royal Dutch Geographical Society, founded in 1873 in Amsterdam, played an important role in establishing chairs in geography at universities, mainly for training high school geography teachers. In 1877, Cornelius Kan was appointed the first professor of human geography and physical geography at the Communal University of Amsterdam. The separation of physical and human geography at Dutch universities had been a specific feature of Dutch academic geography since he retired in 1907. In 1908, the Dutch government set up a geography department at Utrecht University. Since then until the early 1970s, Dutch academic human geography consisted of the Amsterdam school of sociography and the Utrecht school of human geography. Dutch geographers refer to Human Geography as Sociale Geografie as a result of a compromise between the two schools of human geography in Amsterdam and Utrecht. The dispute between the Amsterdam school and the Utrecht school was resolved until a new generation of geographers took over during the early 1970s. However, they have responded to the restructuring of the university research system by adopting a new research funding method and research evaluation following budget cuts since the 1980s. Subsequently, the landscape of geographical research changed from individual projects to large collaborative programs under pressure to increase output and capture research funds. The human geography departments of Utrecht, Amsterdam, Groningen, and Radboud also cooperated in many ways, for instance, in a new geographical publication, Nederlandse Geografische Studies (NGS), and in the foundation of national graduate research schools, NETHUR and CERES. The national graduate schools have led to a tendency towards more mainstream geographical research. A large majority of Dutch geographical research on the Netherlands has been urban oriented since the early 1960s. Randstad Holland, as the Dutch metropolis, is the main field for studying the built environment, geography of economic actors, and socio-cultural spatial behavior of inhabitants. These research areas have formed the mainstream of Dutch human geography and the approach to applied research. The research evaluation committee of NETHUR concluded that research programs, both urban geography at the University of Amsterdam and economic evolutionary geography at the University of Utrecht, are in strong internationally competitive positions. Both political geography at the University of Amsterdam and cartography/GIS at the University of Utrecht and ITC are other major players. Recent trends against the mainstream are due to the appointment of a foreign geographer as chair and senior researcher at a Dutch university.
This article briefly reviews the development of American geography from the nineteenth century through the early twenty-first century by studying a variety of literature combined with the author's observations since the mid-1970s. The study of American geography in the nineteenth century was characterized by European influences such as the introduction of German geographical ideas. At the same time, exploring the unknown West formed a geographic tradition that emphasized field observation. The first half of the twentieth century was a period in which geography was institutionalized. Doctorates started to be conferred at newly established graduate schools of geography. The Association of American Geographers, a community of professional geographers, was formed and began to publish professional journals. Geographical themes shifted from an early emphasis on deterministic reasoning to more varied topics. Regional concepts were a major concern, and human and physical geography were combined to study regions in more detail. Following World War II, systematic geography started to gain popularity, and interest in regional geography started to decline. Quantitative methods and geographic theory started to attract many geographers who shared this interest with social scientists. By the late 1980s, as a result of recurrent “revolutions,” geography had split into many small subfields, while veteran geographers continued to publish highly respected books on regional-cultural geography. During the years of postmodernism, American geography became compartmentalized further into many small groups, without a central theme or concept to maintain the cohesion of geography as a subject. A brief overview of current geographic organizations, geographic journals, geographic departments, and research themes reveals the nature of contemporary American geography, which is characterized by diversity and dynamism.
This paper addresses the dynamic nature of geography in Canada today within the context of the history and recent trends of the Canadian Association of Geographers (CAG), activities of research groups in the CAG, changing patterns in the gender distribution of academic geographers, and regional distribution of geographers. CAG is an influential association of geographers, which plays an important role in defining fields of environmental studies and human geography. This paper examines the role of the association in the Canadian context. Furthermore, it outlines the geography education syllabus and research in the Department of Geography and Program in Planning at the University of Toronto, as well as some recent examples of successful research by Canadian geographers. All of these aspects make it clear that geography in Canada is closely related to the magnificent scale of the natural world and the diverse peoples occupying the land. Canada seems to have a national character that is distinct from the cultural and economic domination of the United States. While the interests and concerns of Canadian geographers had focused on East–West trends, growing attention is being paid to North–South trends and other aspects of Canadian geography.
This paper begins with a review of the progress of scientific geography in Brazil, and proceeds to explain academic exchanges between Japan and Brazil. The results are summarized as follows: (1) Geography in Brazil made great breakthroughs in the 1930's by actively absorbing scientific geography from Western nations, especially from France. (2) The notable progress in Brazilian geography owes much to the contributions of academic societies established in the 1930's, i.e., Institute Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (IBGE), Conselho Nacional de Geografia (CNG), Associação dos Geógrafos Brasileiros (AGB), and several leading universities. (3) Academic exchanges between Japan and Brazil in the field of geography started after World War II, when Japan resumed diplomatic relations with Brazil. The main subject of early research by Japanese geographers was the adaptation and settlement process of Japanese immigrants in Brazil. (4) From 1966, overseas scientific research expeditions by members of Tokyo University of Education and the current University of Tsukuba were conducted under Grant-in-Aid for scientific research. (5) Brazil has achieved great economic growth as a member of the BRICs. Social and environmental problems caused by rapid agricultural and fuel development have been the main subjects of Brazilian studies.
This study reviews current trends and issues in geography and geography education in Korea. The first geographers' society was established in 1945 after the country was liberated from Japan. Despite its short history, geographical studies in Korea have sharply increased during the last 60 years. Against this background, the features of geographical studies in Korea can be summarized as follows: first, geography in Korea was required to emphasize its character as a science of the nation until the 1980s due to its geopolitical situation. Since the 1990s, however, the mainstream of geography in Korea has focused on area studies in other countries. This is partly due to the globalization of the Korean economy and an increase in the number of geographers studying abroad, especially in the United States. It should also be noted that radical geography has contributed to the linearization of Korean society since the 1980s.
This paper examines the status of geography in modern China, which started at the beginning of the twentieth century when an academic geographical society was established and departments of geography were introduced in some universities. Due to the historical situation during the Japanese-Chinese War, the civil war between the Communist Party and the Nationalist Party, and the foundation of the People's Republic of China, Chinese geographers took the path of contributing to the construction of the socialist country. They engaged in comprehensive field research, framing urban and regional planning, and proposing strategic policies for the Party and Government. They organized academic societies, research institutions, and universities on a large scale, in order to carry out tasks commissioned by the authorities. Physical geography and economic geography enjoyed important positions under the influence of socialist ideology from the USSR during the period under a planned economy, while almost all academic activities were severely disrupted during the Cultural Revolution. In comparison, various fields of geography later developed under economic reforms and an open-door policy. In particular, many talented young academics began to study human geography, including economic and urban geography. Some practical fields involving technical skills and professional knowledge are very popular at universities as the market economy grows rapidly. Geographers have consistently paid attention to relationships between man and nature as one of the core subjects of geography, and recently have tried to address various questions in the context of global change. The direction of Chinese geographers in terms of missions and practical activities, however, have led to the self-criticism that theoretical studies have been played down. It seems not to be sufficient for Chinese geographers to take time and pursue fundamental research subjects, and discover important research subjects that have not yet been noticed by the general public. Nevertheless, geography in China is promising. The rest of the world is taking an interest in China. When we consider global issues, for instance, environmental disruption, utilization of natural resources, economic growth, and regional disparities, it is impossible for us to ignore the existence of China. It is clear that Chinese geographers will play an important role in international academic circles in the future.
In Taiwan, geographical research, especially human geography reflects contemporary political and social changes. This paper examines the transformation of geographical research under a period of social and political changes in Taiwan. After the Japanese colonization ended in 1945, The Republic of China, led by the Kuo Ming Tang (KMT, Nationalist Party) became the new ruler of Taiwan. In 1949, the KMT moved its government to Taiwan and placed martial law. Until martial law was lifted in 1987, Taiwanese society experienced political turmoil, and the academic environment was also affected. The history of geographical research in Taiwan began in 1946, when the first geography department was established at National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU), a university that specialized in training high-school teachers. Geography came under the Department of History and Geography until 1962, when an independent Department of Geography was established. The initial mission of the department was to cultivate patriotism and loyalty to the government. The second department was founded at the National Taiwan University (NTU) in 1955 with the meteorology division under the Faculty of Science. The third department of geography was established in 1963 at a private university, Chinese Culture University, and was affiliated with the university's Faculty of Science. Two other departments were established at Changhua University of Education and Kaohsiung University of Education in the 1990s. The fact that these departments were affiliated with the Faculty of Science shaped the initial characteristics of geographical research, which emphasized the physical sciences. This bias was also rooted in the Japanese colonial period (1895-1945), because the only Japanese geographer at that time, Tomita Yoshiro, specialized in geomorphology. After Japanese colonization, those geographers who had gained advanced degrees in Japan considerable influence on research in this field. They brought the prevailing Japanese methodology of geography, particularly of geomorphology, climatology, and regional/settlement geography. This methodology was characterized by detailed ethnographic field investigation. Due to this institutional background, during the early stage of the development of geography in Taiwan physical geography was predominant, while human geography was studied only as a part of regional and industrial geography. The political situation intensified this tendency in academia; themes related to political and social issues were avoided in academic research. View PDF for the rest of the abstract.
There have been four periods in the development of geography in modern Vietnam since 1954: 1954-1959, 1960-1974, 1975-1985, after 1986. Since 1990, faculties of geography in Vietnam have been modified to include new fields of study with a liberal policy from geography research methods and geography education under the influence of the former Soviet Union. Traditional physical geography includes soil science, geomorphology, climatology, and vegetation subjects with GIS, remote sensing, ecology, and sustainability recently added. In recent years, human geography has included rural geography, urban geography, social geography, tourism studies, and sustainable development studies. Considering global climate change and sea-level change, Vietnamese geographers are interested in studying the natural environmental and environmental change, and are aggressively promoting environmental change studies, especially on coastal areas. Vietnamese students studying in Japan are the main drivers of environmental change studies after returning to Vietnam.
This paper presents an overview of the current status of geography in Indonesia with particular reference to the university education system. Geography as a discipline apparently occupies a peripheral position in the academic institutions of Indonesia as shown by the fact that so far only three universities offer geography-majors among the nation's some four-hundred colleges. The geography of Indonesia today is characterized by three major trends. The first is a preference for physical geography in accordance with the perception that geography as a whole is one of the natural sciences. The second trend can be observed in the remarkable emphasis placed upon new technologies applying spatial information, which are both subject of study and advanced tools. Finally, geography seeks to play an active role as a practical science within the context of a nation addressing development and integration.
This paper examines the present status of geography in India and problems based on trends in modern history, geography education and research. Geography has developed remarkably in higher education since the country won independence from Great Britain. Large numbers of universities and colleges have been established since the 1960s, and departments of geography have also opened rapidly with a spatial bias towards the North India Region. In 1992, 66 university departments in the country taught geography and undertook research. Human geography receives more emphasis than physical geography. In the former, agricultural geography and urban geography were the most active fields of the research. Regional planning has also occupied the interests of geographers under the country’s planned economy. In recent years, the technologies using computers such as GIS and remote sensing have been introduced into the discipline, and have driven development in geography departments. However, various problems are pointed out in the present status of geography. There are questions about innovation in geographical theory, methodology and education.
This paper presents an overview of geography in Australia. It answers three main questions. Does the teaching of geography in Australia focus on specific topics? How is geography taught in secondary schools? And, what differences are there in the approaches taken to geography in Australia and Japan. In Australia, geography is first taught in year five at primary school level. The teaching of geography aims to provide background knowledge that is essential to understand both natural and human elements of the world and how they interrelate. This enables students to better understand the impacts of human beings on natural environments. The teaching of geography in Australia is more advanced than it is in Japan. According to the website of the Institute of Australian Geographers, geography is taught at 18 of 41 universities in Australia. At these universities, geography programs are supported by a wide range of resources and include specialized research groups such as physical geography, GIS, remote sensing, and human geography. Some Australian universities have recently reformed their teaching systems. In this process, geography departments were merged with those of other disciplines, which resulted in a decline in the number of geographers. However, based on the above, geography is widely accepted as an academic subject in Australia.
In New Zealand, one of the priority areas of research during the early stages of the development of geographical studies has been to clarify the country's natural and regional features after the settlement of Europeans. The local scope of geographical studies, characterized by detailed descriptions and systematic analyses of local phenomena continued well into the 20th century. Excellent works, masterpieces of regional geography published in New Zealand between the 1960s and the 1970s were based on extensive fieldwork and firmly grounded in the conceptual framework of traditional regional geography. Since the 1980s, geographical studies in New Zealand have been characterized by an increasing openness to global perspectives, although informed by local viewpoints and anchored in the traditional framework of New Zealand regional geography. Such an evolution from local to global perspectives in geographical studies has been stimulated by active exchanges between the association of New Zealand Geographers and foreign geographical associations. Particularly productive have been exchanges between New Zealand and Australian geographical societies (such as the Institute of Australian Geography), resulting in innovative approaches and new perspectives in systematic fields of geography such as geomorphology, climatology, and agricultural and rural geography. Such valuable contributions of geographical research in New Zealand have gained international recognition, and are expected to continue providing inspiration in various fields.
This paper describes the academic themes, lessons and social problems geographers are addressing in modern Africa, as well as university geography education and the education levels in Sub-Sahara Africa, related to colonial policy, socio-economic stability, and population. Nature, culture, and society in Africa are both diverse and attractive to academic researchers. According to one estimate, there are more than 1,000 languages and ethnic-groups on the continent. We hope to research the uniqueness of nature, cultures, and societies of Africa. African people face social problems of poverty, economic disparity, social conflict, civil war, diseases, land degradation, etc. Japanese geographers should tackle these problems with African researchers in order to contribute to political stability, social welfare and development. South Africa is the most active country engaging in geographical research and education in Sub-Sahara Africa. According to the history of South African academe, the South African Geographical Society and the Society for Geography were integrated in 1994 to establish the Society of South African Geographers. South African geographers considered this movement to be a historical event under political changes that emerged during the new era following the policy of apartheid. Geographers are tackling social problems of Sub-Sahara Africa and social responsibility is important for academic researchers in Africa. Japanese geographers need to build stronger and wider partnerships with African geographers to achieve further social responsibility.