Transcript of What is Geography?
What is Geography?
It might not be what you think it is!
Some people believe it has to do with:
- Memorizing where things are located.
- Knowing what those things/locations are “good for”.
- Because of this, some people think geography is like a big quiz game . . .
Geography is so much more!
These days . . . most GEOGRAPHERS don’t worry about committing every single location to memory. They know that reliable location information is a mouse click or finger swipe away!
Instead, GEOGRAPHERS focus more on: Describing and explaining how locations: interact with, and relate to, one another; are arranged the way they are; and have become what they are now!
GEOGRAPHERS also use CRITICAL THINKING to PROJECT what different locations might be like in the future . . .
This work is interdisciplinary because geography is a blend of the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities.
This interdisciplinary blending has created many geography sub-disciplines.
Being a Geographer requires the development of several skills . . .
Skill Set 1: Spatial Thinking (visualization) Which means asking questions like (referring to a map showing the distribution of young people under the age of 25 in Syracuse), where are the high and low points? Are there clusters? Are there trends as you move across the map? Are sore thumbs—places that are very different from those surrounding them? Are there “exceptions”—major discontinuities that break up the patter?
And then starting to answer those questions . . .
Skill Set 2: Spatial Representation (Mapping, graphing, and using geographic information systems) Photo: CommunityGeography.org
Skill Set 3: Spatial Theorizing (Developing verbal concepts, frameworks and mathematical models)
These are marketable skills!
There are jobs for people who have acquired them . . . especially if they have earned a degree (or have minored in) Geography!
Professional Geographers . . . Travel all over the world to do their work!
(A picture of Professor Natalie Koch exploring the landscape in Turkmenistan A picture of Professor Jake Bendix taking time to see the sights during a conference in Moscow. A picture of Professor Anne Mosher pulling pints in a Lancashire, England pub between visits to British model company towns.)
Professional Geographers study important issues . . . like sustainability, gentrification, climate change, food security, industrial and deindustrialization, human rights, etc.
(Not every professional geographer, however, is a professor of geography who works in a university!)
Geographers find employment in . . . the public sector, the private sector, and with not-for-profit organizations and NGOs.
But what we’ve told you here doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what it means to learn geography or be a geographer at Syracuse University!
To learn more, check out the various specialty area tabs on this website!