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Livingstone, Sauer and French Regional Geography - Essay Example

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The reporter states that while Carl Sauer and David Livingstone each contributed to geography, they represent very different modes of thought. Livingstone traveled at the end of the nineteenth century, an age of intense exploration…
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Download file to see previous pages Livingstone, initially a missionary, explored Africa during the new imperial age of exploration opening new paths for European ideals. Coming into close contact with Africa’s slave trade, he intended to replace the slave trade with Christianity and commerce as carriers of the “civilization” he felt Africa needed, but he was not successful as a missionary and made numerous geographical errors (Sykes 1996). His miscalculations nearly sacrificed his Zambezi expedition and he thought he had found the source of the Nile only to realize later that it was the upper Congo (Sykes 1996).
Sauer is considered one of the founding fathers of American geography marking the initial separation of physical geography from human or cultural geography. His predominant concern was the relationship between people and their environment and he stressed the importance of anthropology. Coming from a scientific background, his purpose was a scientific observation of other traditions and religions. In his presidential address delivered to the Association of American Geographers in 1940, Sauer explains his academic three-point underpinning to the study of geography including the studies of the history of geography, physical geography, and anthropology (Sauer 1997).
The main difference between Livingstone and Sauer can be found in anthropology, which stresses the importance of avoiding ethnocentricity. Livingstone, an example of the contrary, considered the Africans “wild” and described them as “humans of a lower form” (Crawfurd 2005). Sauer was a follower of human geography feeling “human geography... is a science that has nothing to do with individuals but only with human institutions, or cultures” (Sauer 1997) and remained interested in how the environment is managed.
“The design of science that Montesquieu, Herder, and Buckle forecast, failed because we know that natural law does not apply to social groups … We have come to know that environment is a term of cultural appraisal which is itself a ‘value’ in cultural history” (Sauer 1997). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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