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Comparison Between Livingstone and Sauer - Essay Example

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 This essay "Comparison Between Livingstone and Sauer" discusses professional careers of Carl Sauer and David Livingstone have both contributed to contemporary geography, they are products of very different time periods characterized by very different modes of thought.  …
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Comparison Between Livingstone and Sauer
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Download file to see previous pages Sauer, however, began to head the geography department at Berkeley in 1923, when geography was beginning to take form as an established discipline (Bruman 1996). In the late nineteenth century, geography was more of a reading genre than it was part of institutionalized academia. Robert Mayhew explains, in an essay by Wendy Gibbons, that geography texts were "essentially gazetteers, with headed paragraphs for conveying information about the nations of the world, starting with the mathematical location before moving on to descriptive geography" (Gibbons 2001). Thus, given the different expectations of the time periods, the initial purposes, final results and methodology between the two men were also different.
Each time period has its own academic trends and priorities. Prominent public figures are often direct or indirect products of their intellectual surroundings. Therefore, it is valuable to take a look at the academic climates in which Livingstone and Sauer made their respective contributions as well as their various purposes in embarking on their adventures, whether they be academic or otherwise.
Livingstone conducted his explorations during what is considered the new imperial age of exploration. This was a time of expansion, the expansion of territories as well as of ideas. With the best of intentions, Livingstone helped pave the way for European colonialism and exploitation. Industrialisation brought with it the desire for imported minerals and natural resources (Crawfurd 2005). Since the accepted idea of the time was that Europe was far superior to Africa, the country that first set foot onto uncharted African territory was practically considered its owner. Even though slavery had been abolished in Europe, it was the Africans that did most of the excavating, exploring, translating and carrying. Africa at this time was seen as a mysterious and dark land, ripe for exploration and conquest. It was the perfect space to play out the prominent ideas of the time.
Livingstone was initially a missionary. He began his explorations not so much as an attempt to map uncharted territory, but more as an effort to open up new paths to commerce and Christianity. While working to construct missionary stations deeper into the "Dark Continent's" interior, he came into close contact with Africa's slave trade. His intention was then to slowly eradicate the slave trade by replacing it with the trade of European goods. He believed that "civilization" must be brought to Africa and that Christianity and commerce were the perfect carriers. Livingstone was not very successful as a missionary and made numerous geographical errors (Sykes 1996). After all, he converted only one African who later reconverted and various miscalculations nearly sacrificed his Zambezi expedition. Later he thought he had found the source of the Nile only to realize that it was actually the upper Congo (Sykes 1996). Still, he represents for many the spirit of the explorer. His contributions to the geography of Africa are invaluable. It was he, after all, who first began to draw attention to Africa and her people.
Carl Sauer is considered one of the founding fathers of American geography. He marks the initial separation of physical geography from human or cultural geography. His predominant concern was the relationship between people and their environment.   ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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