Making Human Geography  book cover
1st Edition

Making Human Geography

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ISBN 9781462512836
Published January 15, 2014 by Guilford Press
292 Pages

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Book Description

This book cogently examines how human geography has developed from a field with limited self-awareness regarding method and theory to the vibrant study of society and space that it is today. Kevin R. Cox provides an interpretive, critical perspective on Anglo-American geographic thought in the 20th and 21st centuries. He probes the impact of the spatial-quantitative revolution and geography's engagement with other social sciences, particularly in social theory. Key concepts and theories in the field are explained and illustrated with instructive research examples. Cox explores both how new approaches to human geography get constructed and what each school of thought has contributed to understanding the world in which we live.

Table of Contents

1. Human Geography: The First Half Century
2. Long Live the Revolution!
3. Social Theory and Human Geography: Material Matters
4. Social Theory and Human Geography: Worlds of Meaning
5. New Understandings of Space
6. Methods in Question
7. Human Geography and How and Why Things Happen
8. Making Space for Human Geography in the Social Sciences
9. Making Sense of Human Geography, Past and Present

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Kevin R. Cox, PhD, is Distinguished University Professor of Geography at The Ohio State University and has been a Guggenheim Fellow. He has written a number of books, including Political Geography: Territory, State and Society and Spaces of Globalization: Reasserting the Power of the Local.


A brilliant and comprehensive survey of the development of human geography over the past century, with special reference to the critical period of the last 50 or 60 years. The book provides a masterful survey of the many and often torturous debates that have characterized the field, and includes penetrating interpretative commentaries on what was--and is--at stake. Making Human Geography is essential reading for all geographers and is an indispensable text for undergraduate and graduate students in human geography.--Allen J. Scott, PhD, Distinguished Research Professor of Geography, University of California, Los Angeles

In this creative and personable review of the past century of geographic thought, Cox demonstrates the ongoing power of spatial thinking. Using an informal and accessible style, he deftly takes the reader through the profound changes wrought by the spatial-quantitative revolution on up to the present. Students and practitioners interested in where geography has been and where it's going will find this book full of rich detail, from a scholar who has been at the center of the discipline's debates and transformations.--Katharyne Mitchell, PhD, Department of Geography, University of Washington

Cox offers not so much a history as an interrogation of human geography, presenting challenging ideas in an easily accessible manner. In the mid-1970s, Cox suggested human geography was ‘social science emergent’; now, nearly four decades later, he tells us how it has exploded to become a truly relevant and exciting intellectual pursuit. There is no better book available for introducing young geographers to the turns, contradictions, and achievements of Anglo-American human geography.--Peter J. Taylor, PhD, Faculty of Engineering and Environment, Northumbria University, United Kingdom

-_x000D_[Cox is] a human geographer who has made significant, long-term contributions to the vitality of the discipline….More than any other political geographer of the past thirty years, Cox has situated the field in fundamentally important debates across the social sciences about liberalism and modern democracy. Cox's book demonstrates many of his traits as an academic: It's a tour de force, it homes in on crucial issues, and it is written with evident enthusiasm and sympathy for a discipline finding its feet in the much larger world of ideas and competing visions of scholarship….Few books about human geography have had such a positive impact on the discipline. Cox has created something unique.--AAG Review of Books, 7/21/2015ƒƒMaking Human Geography stands apart: a towering contribution that brings a fresh, novel, and compelling proposition to the table….Making Human Geography commands an exceptional degree of authority and insight. This is as much an ethnography as it is a historiography….It brings to life the dramas that have surrounded the history of geographic ideas and debates, and narrates these dramas with clarity and verve. Honed from teaching history of geographic thought courses at Ohio State for over twenty-five years, it bears the wisdom of a work that has been years in maturation. In a crowded marketplace, it stands out as one of the best books in the genre.--Economic Geography, 8/18/2016