Humanistic Geography

The manner of approaching within the field of human geography that seeks to put humans at the centre of geography. (Gregory et al., 2009, pp. 356-357). It gives a central and active role to human awareness, human agency, human consiousness and human creativity.

This definition was clear with our class example of how assembly lines de-humanize workers. It takes their sense of consciousness and creativity.

“During the 1970s several sets of reactions to the excesses of spatial science emerged as human geographers began to question its deficiencies. One of these reactions became known as “humanistic geography”.

From Tim Cresswell, “Humanistic Geographies” in Geographic Thought, (Wiley-Blackwell: 2012).

5 thoughts on “Humanistic Geography”

  1. Humanistic geography seems to be the way that humans think about the physical layout of the world based around their individual self. For example, people will often think about their homes as the center of the world and will generally have more knowledge about the physical layout of the areas in which they are familiar with. Geography in this sense, is thought of in a human perspective in which names of places and physical symbols are used as a locative measure rather than geographic coordinates. Throughout human history, this has been the most common way in which people thought about the physical layout of the world.

    1. I find Human Geography to be so interesting in the idea that humans look at the center of their lives as the center of the world. It is awesome to think about all the different perspectives and knowledge that humans can share about world. It could be said each individual may have their own distinct view on what geographic location is the center of their life. An example could be some people may believe the United States is the center of the world because it’s where they live, and some of the world’s most popular athletes, singers, and actors live there. But, to others maybe if they live in another country, they think their country is the center of the world for various reasons. This brings me back to my point that there are so many different humanistic perspectives on geography and the center of human life its endless.

  2. I thought that the quote “a map is a social construction of the world expressed through the medium of cartography” from an earlier reading reflected the idea of humanistic geography (Harley 35). It does so by focusing on how humans ultimately recreate that world based on how they perceive it. In doing, humans shape not only maps, but also the world around them through their limited, socially constructed perceptions.

  3. Francaviglia’s Cartography and the Mormon Exodus shares some of the important aspects of humanistic geography in the cartographic choices of the Saint’s own mapmaking through their travels. The Saints had their own awareness as to what was most important to them– primarily keeping their community safe– during their travels and therefore they viewed the maps with their own interpretations and their own expectations. I think another aspect of humanistic geography is that while geographic and mapping choices are made based off of peoples own personal choices, there also is a need to understand that people reading maps will have their own awareness, consciousness, and creativity in the ways that they view the map based on their needs.

  4. After completing both tasks for this class in regards to the Story Mapping Project and the We are All Mapmakers project, I can finally see parallels to Creswell’s key ideas of how we cannot escape the idea of implementing societal & personal influences on the process of cartographic process. This is an idea Ramachandran alluded towards in her introductory chapter of her book The Worldmakers. In regards to our group’s project which was on the origins and rapid spread of Scientology, and others such as the rise of Catholicism( & Spread) as well as the narratives of the survivors of Auschwitz Concentration Camp, there was always an agenda involved whether to tell a story or the influence of a story. Humanistic Geography as stated above “gives a central and active role to human awareness, human agency, human consciousness and human creativity.” Throughout the semester I do not think we were able to come across one map that was independent from one of these ideas, which says a lot about society confinements to these ideologies. Considering that these four ideas control the way we construct our maps, one can conclude that the reasoning each map is different or is perceived different is on the basis that no society has parallels in the relationship of these criteria. In essence each society promotes differences in agency, consciousness and creativity hence the production of different stylistic maps.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.