Martin W. Lewis

in The Oxford Handbook of World History

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199235810
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History


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This article describes the link between history and various geographies. History and geography were once commonly regarded as sibling disciplines. Despite their long-recognized affinity, history and geography increasingly parted ways as academic professionalization and specialization strengthened during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Historians grew skeptical of the hard linkages that geographers of the time posited between historical development and the natural landscape. They also increasingly focused on national history, regarding the territories of nation-states as holistic totalities requiring little geographical attention. Geographers, for their part, disengaged from historical concerns as they turned increasingly to theory and method. In the latter decades of the twentieth century, the two disciplines began to shown some signs of reconvergence. Most geographers now recognize the need for historical contextualization, just as many historians have rediscovered the importance of spatial relations while discovering the utility of geographical methods.

Keywords: world history; geography; historical development; academic professionalization; natural landscape; national history; spatial relations

Article.  8088 words. 

Subjects: History ; Historical Geography

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