geography

Quo vadis, Physical Geography? Part 2

First part is here. 

An oversimplified, drive-by version of the changing role of physical geography includes these overlapping and not mutually exclusive stages:

1. Discovery and exploration—collecting basic data and observations on topography, geology, biota, meteorology, oceanography, etc., often in conjunction with surveying, mapping, and collection of anthropological and economic data. In this stage physical geographers are simply, but not exclusively, Geographers. They are also, in various cases, anthropologists, biologists, ethnographers, geologists, meteorologists, oceanographers, and surveyors.

2. Holding up the Earth and environmental sciences end of the integrated geographical analysis of places, regions, and various geographical systems (e.g., transportation and settlement patterns, trade networks, cultural landscapes, climate zones, biomes, agricultural systems, etc.). Physical geographers in this stage were either specialists in the physical side of the discipline, or broadly trained geographers with substantive physical expertise.

Passport to the World Takes UK Faculty to Middle East

In support of the College of Arts and Sciences’ Passport to the World Initiative and the 2015 Year of the Middle East campaign, University of Kentucky Education Abroad partnered with the college

Trees Behaving Badly

I recently submitted a manuscript to Catena, entitled Hillslope Degradation by Trees in Central Kentucky. The reviews came back generally positive, and requesting minor to moderate revisions. I took care of those revisions, and resubmitted. The paper was then sent to a third referee, who pretty thoroughly trashed it. Catena's editor then rejected it (with option to resubmit). However, I am at an age & stage where I have to pick my battles, and this is not one I choose to fight. But I still think the paper has some worthwhile stuff in it, so I have posted it online. You can get it here

The abstract is below, but be forwarned that the third reviewer deemed it "quite poorly written", "hard to follow," and a "mishmash of various statements." I don't think it's that bad . . . .      

 

 

 

Quo Vadis Physical Geography?

The Canadian Association of Geographers recently held a special session on Changing Priorities in Physical Geography (I did not attend or participate; I was made aware of it by a Canadian colleague). The session description is given here. It got me to thinking about a piece I wrote more than a decade ago in response to a similar mandate, called Laws, Contingencies, and Irreversible Divergence in Physical Geography. I thought I would revisit what I published back in 2004 to see how it holds up. The paper focused on physical geography as science and scholarship, as opposed to the institutional politics of physical geography within geography as a whole, and relative to other disciplines. However, I did predict that physical geography—as geomorphology, climatology, biogeography, soil geography, and geospatial approaches to Earth & environmental sciences—would grow and thrive. However, I also expressed doubt that this work would continue to be called physical geography, and the extent to which it would be conducted under the institutional auspices of geography.

Looking for a New Direction in Mapping Your World?

When Gov. Steve Beshear named University of Kentucky geography professor Matthew Zook the state geographer this spring, Zook knew exactly how he wanted to honor his adopted state

Geomorphology and Graph Theory

 

Tobias Heckmann, Wolfgang Schwanghart and I recently published the second of our two articles on applications of graph theory in physical geography & geosciences: Graph Theory—Recent Developments of Its Applications in Geomorphology (Geomorphology, v. 243, p. 130-146).  The other paper, an overview of graph theory in geosciences, was promoted in this post.

Example of a structural graph, from the article. 

Five A&S Students Named Fulbright Recipients

The University of Kentucky Office of Nationally Competitive Awards has announced that five A&S students have been selected as recipients of Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarships.

Climate and History: Geography Matters

 

Just finished John Brooke’s Climate Change and the Course of Global History: A Rough Journey (Cambridge University Press, 2014). If nothing else, the book is a remarkable achievement with respect to the breadth and depth of literature and ideas brought to bear, including history, geography, geology, anthropology, economics, climatology, ecology, and archaeology. Brooke also makes a compelling case for a significant role for environmental change in general, and climate change in particular, in influencing human affairs and history (and, of course, vice-versa).

Summer Camps That Are Fun and Educational

There is a surplus of summer camps available for local children, but the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences offers a summer day camp experience beyond the norm — camps focusing on linguistics, geography, creative writing and philosophy

Geography Welcomes Carolyn Finney

The Department of Geography is proud to announce that Carolyn Finney will be joining the department's faculty this fall.

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