Welcome to Advanced Placement Human Geography. This introductory powerpoint wiill introduce you to the basics of geography. Through the following presentation, you will be able to answer these questions: What is geography? What are the basic divisions of geography? What is the spatial perspective? How is the subject of geograpy studied?
The practice of geography dates back over 3000 years. The first person to coin the word geography was probably the Greek scientist known as Eratosthenes. Many refer to Eratosthenes as the father of geography. His word was created from the Greek geo, meaning ‘the earth’, and graphein, ‘to write’. Early forms of geography most definitely focused on the physical strucutre of the earth and as it developed, began to include more on the activities of the people who inhabited different regions of the known world. The most important tool of geographers developed from the science of cartography. The world cartography means literaly to map the earth. The word developed from the Latin charta and the Greek –graphie, meaning written. Early cartographers include the Greek Erastosthenes and the Roman scholar Ptolemy, who published the gazeteer, Guide to Geography, in the early century of this millenium and was the first to place a grid system on a map.
The study of Geography is typically divided into two subsets:physical and human. Many also regard environmental geography as a third. Our coursework will include components of Human Geography as well as some environmental geography. There is an assumption that students have some basic knowledge of physical earth and its processes, but if questions arise please ask. In order to know what human geography is, all you need to do is look at the table of contents in your textbook. Topics like culture, population and migration, development, urban geography and political geography will be among our areas of emphasis.
Geographers are well practiced in using the spatial perspective. I always tell my students that to understand the spatial perspective we must think of maps. The spatial perspective can be described as a way of looking at the earth’s organizational layout. Maps provide geographers with the graphic organizer of this information. When reading your first chapter in the Rubenstein textbook, terms like distribution, scale, site, and situation will relay the importance of the spatial perspective.
The five themes were written in 1984 by Joint Committee on Geographic Education of the National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE) and the Association of American Geographers (AAG). The National Geographic Society began to promote the Five Themes in 1986 as a way to reintroduce geography into school curriculum. The best way to look at the Five Themes is as a way defining what geography is. Once we know and understand the five themes, it becomes easy to answer the question of whether something is geography or not. Because many things involving social studies have some degree of geography in them, it will be frequently found that geography is everywhere!
When thinking about the first theme of location, we break it down further to a) absolute and b) relative. Absolute location refers to what is known as a global address. Keep in mind the implication of the word absolute. This global address is understood by most as latitude and longitude, which is demonstrated by the maps at the upper right hand corner of your screen. Your textbook provides a review of latitude and longitude on page 18. The latitude and longitude of the White House is approximately 39’N and 77’W. Relative location refers to where something is in relationship to something else. While the absolute location of a place remains constant, relative location changes. Your books discussion of situation on page 16 expands upon the idea of relative location. The Potomac River is west of the White House denotes relative location. Minnesota is north of Iowa or east of the Rocky Mountains do the same. Other ways of denoting location include the use of toponyms, or place names, maps, site, and distribution. All of these are discussed further in Chapter One.
The theme of place involves describing a location in terms of its human (cultural) and physical characteristics. We can describe Minnesota by saying it is filled with over 10,000 lakes, or that it was settled by many Scandanavians. The study of place embodies culture. Culture is hard to define, but an easy way to remember it is that culture includes what people care about and what people take care of. Your book further describes this on page 25. The maps on this slide show both human (religious affiliations and wind farms) and physical characteristics (physical geography of NA).
When geographers regionalize, they are taking ‘places’ with similar characteristics and drawing a boundary aroudn them. The theme of region takes the definitions begotten from the theme place and categorizes those definitions into areas of similar characteristics. Regions can be drawn from human and physical characteristics. If we were to zoom out of the map of the windfarms in Minnesota and create a map of the windfarms existing across North America, we would soon develop a map with several specific regions. The maps shown on this slide show the regions of MN’s watersheds, coal fields in the US, and on a lighter note, regions of US politics.
The questions answered by the theme, Human Environment Interaction (HEI) include: how do humans adapt to the environment, modify the environment, and depend on the environment. Your book contains a detailed discussion of cultural ecology, or the study of the relationship between culture and the environment. The two sides of the cultural ecology argument are the ideas of possibilism and environmental determinism. These are discussed on pages 25 and 26.
The theme of movement refers to the mobility of people, goods and ideas and describes the resulting interconnections from that mobility. This theme emphasizes interactions between places and regions. As examples, the US trade flows map shows the interactions in commerce between the United States and other countries and the Principle Routes of Trade and Migration exemplify the theme of movement as people migrated and traded goods in the early days of America. Important concepts included in this theme are diffusion and the forces that work against diffusion.
Five Themes Overview National Geographic Society, 1986
Location Absolute refers to global address or latitude and longitude Litchfield: 45’N 94’W Relative refers to the relationship to other human and physical features on the landscape North of Iowa
Southwestern Minnesota Wind FarmsPlace Distinguishing human and physical characteristics culture: language, religion, landforms: mountains, rivers
Minnesota Watershed BasinsRegion Combining places of similar characteristics, cultural or physical language, religion, agriculture US Coal Fields, 1897 Ten Regions of US Politics
Human Environment Interaction How does human activity impact the environment?
Movement Principle Routes of Trade and Migration Mobility of people, goods, and ideas; interactions DC Metrorail System Map US Trade Flows