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17 FEB 2023 (FRI) 10:30-12:00


Geography Distinguished Webinars Series

Tales of the quantitative revolution in Anglo-American geography: English croquet lawns and US Highway 151

Date: 17 FEB 2023 (Friday)

Time: 10:30-12:00 (HKT)

Language: English

Via Zoom: Zoom link will be provided upon successful registration



Drawing on archival material as well as oral histories, this paper examines the geographical origins of the quantitative revolution in Anglo-American geography. Although seemingly producing the same outcome, a sweeping universal scientific method, how the quantitative revolution happened including its impetus, form and rationale varied according to where it happened. As in all things, geography mattered. I use two primary cases to make my argument. The first is the work of Dick Chorley and Peter Haggett who worked together at Cambridge University from 1958 onwards. Their revolution was neither violent nor acrimonious, but English genteel. In large part this was because in terms of class and standing both Chorley and Haggett as Oxbridge undergraduates and then teaching staff at Cambridge were already insiders, part of the establishment that they were ostensibly trying to overthrow. It was different in America where the gloves came off. In that case, it was an outsider, the German politically radical refugee, and not even a proper-paid up geographer, Kurt Schaefer at the University of Iowa, who tried to unseat American heartland regional geography embodied in its most vehement defender, Richard Hartshorne at the University of Wisconsin. The road between the two institutions, US Highway 151, was bloodied.

Professor Trevor BARNES

Professor and Distinguished University Scholar, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

Speaker Bio:

Trevor Barnes is Professor and Distinguished University Scholar at the Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. He has taught at UBC since 1983. His research and writings have focused on a variety of substantive and theoretical topics in economic geography, and more recently, on the history of Anglo-American geography. He is the co-author with Brett Christophers of Economic Geography: A Critical Introduction (2018) and a co-editor with Eric Sheppard of Spatial Histories of Radical Geography (2019).



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