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Early research in anthropology and geography focused on the diversity of societies and cultures. Semple considered the land basis of societies, from hunter-gatherers to modern nation states. As against this environmental determinism, Boas argued that geography can modify and constrain culture but not create it. Rappaport showed how ritual can regulate, through feedback, the balance of broader ecosystems. Reflecting on work in the Amazon, Moran argued that socio-environmental debates reflect different levels of analysis. Humans altered human–environment relationships by domesticating plants and animals during the Neolithic revolution, as described by Childe. Mumford explores the evolution of cities and suburbs, including the separation of people from resources and urban pollution. We assume modern life affords leisure, but Sahlins shows the affluence of hunter-gatherers given lower environmental demands. How society adapts to natural hazards is explored by White, while Blaikie and Brookfield pioneer political ecology by showcasing the cycle of poverty and land degradation. Sustainable livelihoods require emphasis on equity and capabilities, argue Chambers and Conway.
Hal Incandenza, early in Infinite Jest, has a dream of a tennis court that is dauntingly “complex,” with “lines going every which way, and they run oblique or meet and form relationships and boxes and rivers and tributaries and systems inside systems.” Among other meanings, this court is an image of Wallace’s complex narratives themselves, landscapes that juxtapose the regulating and other effects of systems of information, computing, government, ecology and more. This essay attempts to ground Wallace’s corpus in the systems novel, a category applied by critic Tom LeClair to the postmodern novelists that most inspired him, including Thomas Pynchon, Joseph McElroy and William Gaddis. The essay will focus its readings on Wallace’s last two novels, Infinite Jest and The Pale King, and draw briefly on archival evidence at the Ransom Center that Wallace learned much about the systems novel’s grand ambitions from not just Don DeLillo’s works but the discussion of Gregory Bateson and other systems theorists in LeClair’s In the Loop: Don DeLillo and the Systems Novel.
At the turn of the twentieth century, most of the world’s pearls were extracted from rich oyster and coral reefs on the northern Indian Ocean rim. This paper returns to the sites of extraction, studying imperial maps made from 1889–1925 to delineate oyster reefs on the seafloor. Building from the submarine up, I draw on environmental, animal, and history of science studies to explore the work of mapping oceanic, animate space. Attending to the role of divers, whose labor was required to make the seafloor visible, and the lifecycles of oysters, which changed over time, I argue that the seafloor represents a kind of unruly terrain, out of both the reach and control of imperial authorities. The paper’s final section meditates on reading humans as part of Indian Ocean landscapes and the possibilities this offers for further comparative, transnational work in a materialist vein.
This article explores the geographical outlook of the late antique author Ausonius of Bordeaux (c.310–395 c.e.). It offers close readings of his poems on roads, oysters and cities, and situates him within the vibrant geographical debates of his day. Section I, on roads, argues that an overlooked passage in Epistula 24 reflects attested routes through Gaul, and that other passages in Ausonius’ letters are similarly influenced by ‘hodological’ ways of thinking. Section II, on oysters, identifies a new geographic mode, ‘teleports’, in Epistula 3, a poem in a long tradition of works that use oysters to chart imperial space and map cultural landscapes. Section III, on cities, brings the recent paradigm of ‘landmarks’ to bear on the Ordo nobilium urbium, arguing that Ausonius uses the catalogue form both to articulate imperial unity and to express pride in his homeland of Gaul. This article thus advances our understanding of three related aspects of late antique geography: it demonstrates the importance of literary texts for discussions of cultural geography; shows how conceptions of space were influenced by provincial identity; and provides further evidence of the great diversity of Roman understandings of space.
Chapter one introduces South Asia’s people, geography, and history until the late twelfth century, and examines indigenous religious traditions as well as ones introduced by forces from Central Asia and the Iranian world. For India, by which we mean historic South Asia, we discuss differences in the north and south by focusing on Chandella patronage in north India of temples at Khajuraho, and Chola rule in south India and the construction of the Rajarajeshvara temple in Thanjavur. Contemporary with the construction of the Rajarajeshvara temple is Mahmud of Ghazni’s rise to power in what is modern Afghanistan and his subsequent raids into India. While Ghaznavid sway over India was short-lived it paved the way for the introduction of Islam and Ghurid dominance.
Chapter 4 examines how the aftosa commission understood and countered opposition, using threats and targeted violence, carefully calibrated concessions, propaganda, mediation by regional bosses and powerbrokers, and information-gathering. It argues that this blend of tactics illustrates the Mexican state’s conceptions of order and security, and supports the notion of the PRI regime as a "dictablanda"- authoritarian but institutionally weak, and reliant on a complicated blend of repressive and consensual mechanisms.
Although parasite community studies are growing in numbers, our understanding of which macro-ecological and evolutionary processes have shaped parasite communities is still based on a narrow range of host–parasite systems. The present study assessed the diversity and endoparasite species composition in New Zealand deep-sea fish (grenadiers, family Macrouridae), and tested the effects of host phylogeny and geography on the structure of endoparasite communities using a distance decay framework. We found that grenadiers from the Chatham Rise harboured a surprisingly high diversity of digeneans, cestodes and nematodes, with different species of grenadiers having different parasite assemblages. Our results demonstrate that community similarity based on the presence/absence of parasites was only affected by the phylogenetic relatedness among grenadier species. In contrast, both phylogenetic distance among grenadiers (measured as the number of base-pair differences of DNA sequences) and geographic distance between sample locations influenced the similarity of parasite communities based on the parasites' prevalence and mean abundance. Our key findings highlight the significant effect of deep-sea host phylogeny in shaping their parasite assemblages, a factor previously neglected in studies of parasite communities in deep-sea systems.
Africa is a massive continent. One could fit all of Western and Eastern Europe (including the UK), India, Japan and China, and the United States into the continent, and still have space left. Africa, of course, has far fewer people. In 2021 an estimated 1.4 billion people lived on the African continent. The combined number for those other countries was a startling 3.7 billion people.
This makes Africa a land-abundant continent. In other words, Africa has a low labour-to-land ratio – there are about 46 people for every square kilometre in Africa as compared to 150 people, on average, in those other regions. The numbers for China (153), Western Europe (174) and India (464) are much higher.
This high land–labour ratio is not a new phenomenon. Africa has historically also had an abundance of land relative to the number of people who can work it. As we will see in this chapter, it has shaped the types of production systems and institutions that developed on the continent.
Long-haul tourists visiting South Africa are always fascinated by the clicks of isiXhosa. Foreign to their ears, the eighteen click consonants can be grouped into three types: the ‘c’ is a dental click made by the tongue at the back of the mouth, the lateral ‘x’ is made by the tongue at the sides of the mouth, and the alveolar ‘q’ is made by the tip of the tongue on the roof of the mouth.
IsiXhosa is part of the Nguni language group, which also includes Zulu and southern and northern Ndebele. Yet few of these or the other South African vernacular languages have clicks, and those that do have them use them far less. How is it that isiXhosa came to use clicks so commonly?
One clue comes from the other languages of southern Africa that also make use of clicks – and there are lots of them.
This paper uses a robust method of spatial epidemiological analysis to assess the spatial growth rate of multiple lineages of SARS-CoV-2 in the local authority areas of England, September 2020–December 2021. Using the genomic surveillance records of the COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) Consortium, the analysis identifies a substantial (7.6-fold) difference in the average rate of spatial growth of 37 sample lineages, from the slowest (Delta AY.4.3) to the fastest (Omicron BA.1). Spatial growth of the Omicron (B.1.1.529 and BA) variant was found to be 2.81× faster than the Delta (B.1.617.2 and AY) variant and 3.76× faster than the Alpha (B.1.1.7 and Q) variant. In addition to AY.4.2 (a designated variant under investigation, VUI-21OCT-01), three Delta sublineages (AY.43, AY.98 and AY.120) were found to display a statistically faster rate of spatial growth than the parent lineage and would seem to merit further investigation. We suggest that the monitoring of spatial growth rates is a potentially valuable adjunct to outbreak response procedures for emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants in a defined population.
Undergraduate research needs to be rooted in a specific disciplinary context, such as geography. Depending on the disciplinary tradition, training students as researchers requires a research-based curriculum that involves students in the research process instead of merely confronting them with the outcome of previous research. Walkington (2019) stresses that significant progress is already visible in the field, yet myriad aspects, such as mentoring, the role of research in teacher training, or research skills and employability require further attention. This chapter takea up Willison and O’Regan’s (2007) inclusive definition of student research as “[…] a continuum of knowledge production, from knowledge new to the learner to knowledge new to humankind, moving from the commonly known, to the commonly not known, to the totally unknown.” The chapter explores possible curricular architectures for geography undergraduate programs followed by a brief discussion of geography’s special formats to foster undergraduate research.
The chapter looks at the effect of natural barriers on linguistic configuration and diffusion through illustrations of cases from Arabic and other languages. It provides examples of how different types of topographical features either facilitate or hinder communication, thus affecting the diffusion of linguistic features. It also provides a thorough introduction to the Arabic linguistic atlases available, from 1915 into the twenty-first century. The chapter highlights cases of language isolation and language contact involving Arabic.
In this chapter we address structural (long-term) factors that may affect the fate of regimes across the world in the modern era. This includes geography (e.g., climate, soil, topography, and waterways), Islam, European influence (via colonialism, religion, language, and demography), population, and diversity (ethnic, linguistic, or religious).
This chapter summarizes the explanations developed in preceding chapters, fits them into a more comprehensive theoretical framework, and tests them using path analysis, which helps researchers understand causal sequences. Democratization is characterized by punctuated equilibrium. Distant historical factors such as geography and demographic characteristics, together with incrementally changing aspects of social and economic development, affect a country’s level of democracy, but only roughly. Institutions and organizations such as a healthy civil society, the rule of law, and institutionalized political parties, tend to reinforce one another and keep each country’s level of electoral democracy close to an equilibrium or set point. However, short-term economic performance, anti-system movements, and opposition campaigns can sometimes disturb the equilibrium, making significant upturns and downturns possible.
This edited volume surveys and retests most of the central explanations for democracy outcomes (levels of electoral democracy and upturns and downturns in it) using Varieties of Democracy data. After a chapter describing historical trends, other chapters survey and test hypotheses concerning geography and demography; international influences; economic determinants; institutions; and social forces. The volume concludes with a new theoretical framework emphasizing the historical sequencing of different kinds of causes. The conclusion also uses path analysis to integrate the most promising hypotheses from the preceding chapters into causal sequences explaining levels, upturns, and downturns.
This chapter introduces the setting and context of the narrative. The Low Countries were a heavily urbanized corner of Europe situated at the delta of several of the continent’s major river systems. The region was economically prosperous, thanks to well-developed systems of trade, manufacturing and agriculture. Its three million inhabitants were linguistically and ethnically diverse and ranged from high-ranking nobles to middling business to hardscrabble farmers. The region was divided economically between an urban, commercial, maritime west and a rural, agricultural east. Political power was local and decentralized, although the Habsburg dynasty, especially Charles V, was engaged in an ongoing effort to centralized and consolidate their dynastic power at the expense of local nobles and city governments. The chapter also describes the vibrant state of late medieval Christianity in the region, including lay enthusiasm for devotional practice and the emergence of Christian humanism.
Covers the last century of the school’s activity, including lesser-known figures such as Euphrates, Hierocles, Cleomedes, Philopator and Aurelius Heraclides, as well as Marcus Aurelius. Emphasizes the amount of activity in physics and logic as well as in ethics.
The chapter is devoted to the work of Posidonius in all its aspects and argues that he created a second major synthesis of Stoic thought, expanding the school’s attention to the sciences and history while making innovations in logic, physics and ethics. Argues that Posidonius was a more conservative Stoic than is often thought.
The introduction outlines the two major arguments of the book. Firstly, the sheer laboriousness of doing science in remote locations, and the inherent dependency of naturalists and surveyors on Himalayan peoples’ expertise and labour. Secondly, the way that the imagining and remaking of the Himalaya was complicated by comparisons with the Alps and the Andes, and the recognition of the commensurability of mountain environments globally. Together, these approaches work to offer wide-ranging insights into the trajectories and consequences of emerging imperial visions of the globe in the nineteenth century. The introduction also lays out the geography, scope and scale of the Himalaya as treated in this book, and how the remaking of these overwrote existing understandings of the mountains in South Asian cosmology. This is followed by a discussion of the story of measuring mountains in relation to wider debates in historical geography, the history of science and the history of the British Empire in South Asia, as well as interdisciplinary questions about mountains, exploration and indigenous labour.
This chapter examines two aspects of Strabo’s self-definition, both of which are indirect and reveal the twin preoccupations with intellectual distinction and political utility, especially in connection with the value of Greek education for the Roman imperial project. The geographical aspect of Strabo’s self-definition inscribes him in a tradition whereby Asia Minor is the main source of intellectual capital, from where it flows largely towards Rome. Strabo’s philosophical self-definition ranges much more widely than the doctrines of the Hellenistic schools: the Geography opens with an argument aimed at demonstrating that geography is a philosophical pursuit, which appeals to a tradition of wisdom going back to Homer. Geography’s philosophical credentials also include ‘wide learning’ (exemplified primarily in technical mathematical knowledge), as well as manifold benefits under the general umbrella of the ‘art of living’. The chapter nevertheless argues that there is more than ‘pseudo-philosophisation’ in Strabo’s work, in the form of clear Stoic echoes, albeit not centred around the theme of divine providence, where Strabo makes innovative, ‘un-Stoic’ remarks.