Robert C. West

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Geography & Anthropology


This collection of English translations samples the writings and/or critiques thereon of six important German geographers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: those of August Meitzen, Eduard Hahn, Otto Schliiter, Alfred Hettner, Siegfried Passarge, and Karl Sapper. Each of these scholars influenced in various ways the course of modem geographical thinking and instruction in German universities, and their methodologies were also adopted in part by professional geographers in other European countries and in the United States. Four of them—Hahn, Schliiter, Hettner and Passarge— were students of Ferdinand von Richthofen, often considered the “father” of professional geography in Germany. In their writings, most of the men considered herein dealt mainly with the substance and methodology of human geography, but two, Passarge and Sapper, having received formal training in geology, considered problems in physical geography, although both treated various aspects of anthropogeography and ethnography. In the same vein, some of the human geographers of this group, namely Hettner and Schliiter, occasionally wrote on physical geography and emphasized that subject in their teaching. Writings of other leading German geographers of the time period here considered might well have been included; for example Friedrich Ratzel, whose first volume of his Anthropogeographie (1882) dealt in part with the influence of nature on mankind, and led directly to the ideas of one of his American students, Ellen Churchill Semple, who was instrumental in establishing the dogma of environmental determinism among geographers in the United States during the early part of this century. (from Introduction)


© Copyright 1990 Department of Geography and Anthropology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. Reprinted with permission.