1st Edition

Making Geography Matter The Past and Present of a Changing Discipline

Edited By Noel Castree, Trevor Barnes, Jennifer Salmond Copyright 2025
    448 Pages 100 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    448 Pages 100 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    What is the purpose of Geography? What do geographers study and why? How do they seek to shape the world they interrogate?

    This book addresses these questions by examining the lives and works of individual geographers, both past and present. Like all disciplines, Geography is no more nor less than the collective endeavours of researchers and teachers operating in specific contexts. The contexts both shape, and are shaped by, these individuals. This book’s biographical and autobiographical chapters transport readers to the times and places where geographers have sought to make Geography matter. The result is a more vivid, grounded understanding of the discipline than the many high-level surveys of geographic thought-paradigms currently written for university students.

    This book’s accessible essays each conclude with a study task. Making Geography Matter is aimed at university students and their teachers who wish to understand the goals, history and evolving practice of Geography.  It provides an alternative perspective – both concrete and engaging – to the many student-focussed texts that map-out numerous ‘isms and ologies’.


    Noel Castree, Trevor Barnes and Jenny Salmond


    Part 1 – Making Geography


    2.Absolute beginner? Halford Mackinder and the popularization of geographical knowledge

    Emily Hayes


    3.Geography as the science of environmental influences: Ellen Semple and the search for disciplinary relevance

    Innes M. Keighren


    4.Keeping human and physical geography together: Richard Chorley and Peter Haggett’s scientific turn

    Trevor Barnes


    5.Contemporary geography: Advocating for a heterodox subject

    Rita Gardner


    Part 2 Making geographical knowledge

    6.Landscape and environmental change: Carl Sauer on land and life

    Kent Mathewson


    7.From mapping to GIScience: A sixty-year project

    Michael F. Goodchild


    8.Radicalizing geography: The case of David Harvey’s Marxism

    Eric Sheppard


    9.Open horizons from here to there: Doreen Massey’s geographies

    Jamie Peck


    10.Geographies of meaning and experience: Anne Buttimer’s lifeworld

    Federico Ferretti

    11.Landscape as a way of seeing: Denis Cosgrove’s symbolic geographies

    Veronica della Dora


    12.Boundaries and borders matter: Ron Johnston’s electoral geography

    Charles J. Pattie


    13.Mobility matters: Movement, meaning and practice in the context of power

    Tim Cresswell


    14.Scale matters: The case of workers and their geographies

    Andrew Herod


    15.Proximity, distance, and difference: The global and the intimate

    Gerry Pratt


    16.Which realities are we trying to understand? The workings of a physical geographer in the quest to respect river diversity

    Gary Brierley


    17.Beyond science: Climate change in a ‘wicked world’

    Mike Hulme


    18.‘Other’ geographies: Engaging with different ways of knowing, valuing, and acting in post-colonial Australia

    Sue Jackson


    Part 3 Making geographical knowledge matter beyond Geography


    19.Geographers and the national state: Dudley Stamp plans Britain’s towns and countryside

    Trevor Barnes


    20.Geographically empowering the marginalized: Bill Bunge, expeditions and maps

    Luke Bergmann and Trevor Barnes


    21.Making other economies possible: Geographies of ethical action

    Katherine Gibson


    22.Speaking truth to power: Microplastics and the sewage scandal from the rivers of Manchester to Westminster

    Jamie Woodward


    23.Talking geography in the public realm

    Danny Dorling


    Noel Castree has worked at the universities of Manchester, Wollongong and Liverpool, and the University of Technology Sydney. He’s managing editor of the journals Progress in Human Geography and Environment & Planning F. He is author of the books What Future For the Earth? (2025) and Making Sense of Nature (2013).

    Trevor Barnes is Professor and Distinguished University Scholar at the Department of Geography at the University of British Columbia, Canada, where he has been since 1983.  His research is in economic geography and on the post-War history of human geography.  He is both a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the British Academy.

    Jennifer Salmond is Professor Physical Geography at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.