What time human geography?

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42 Citations (SciVal)


This paper seeks to contribute to the debate concerning the current and future state of human geography by focusing on its changing treatment of the past. I argue that, while contemporary human geography has experienced a welcomed explosion in terms of its thematic breadth, it has also suffered from a considerable narrowing of the time periods that inform its empirical and conceptual studies. The paper begins by demonstrating the changing temporal focus of the subdiscipline over the past 50 years, drawing particular attention to its temporal narrowing over the past 20 years. Following this, I seek to suggest possible reasons for the foreshortening of the times studied in the subdiscipline. I then illustrate the benefits of extending our temporal frame of reference to discuss earlier times. I conclude by arguing that the project of lengthening the timeframes that we use to structure our geographical research has the potential to enable us to tell different stories about the geographical past and present.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-304
Number of pages18
JournalProgress in Human Geography
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • human geography
  • time periods
  • states
  • empires


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