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Cultural Geography. James Leigh, University of Nicosia. Tracy Bucco. Nature of Cultural Geography Part 3. (Tracy Bucco). This lecture’s reading. Fellman, J. Getis, A. and Getis, J. (2005), Human Geography: Landscapes of Human Activities, Latest Edition, New York, McGraw-Hill.

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Cultural Geography

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cultural geography

Cultural Geography

James Leigh, University of Nicosia

Tracy Bucco

this lecture s reading
This lecture’s reading
  • Fellman, J. Getis, A. and Getis, J. (2005), Human Geography: Landscapes of Human Activities, Latest Edition, New York, McGraw-Hill.
    • Chapter: Introduction: Some Background Basics
  • Leigh, J. and Hill, S. (2007), Safari Through Culture, Behaviour and Communication, Nicosia, Afi (Touch) Editions.

Roman Empire,

Roman Empire ~AD 117

  • What does the expansion of one empire mean for another?

Video – “Imperial History” – Visual

(4 minutes)

2 cultural diffusion
2. Cultural diffusion
  • Spatial spread through communication and contact
  • Types of diffusion
    • Expansion Diffusion – from one to the next
    • Relocation Diffusion – e.g. immigration
    • Hierarchical Diffusion – leapfrogging even bypassing many intervening persons (places)

Cultural diffusion

(Jordan & Domosh)


Hierarchical diffusion

(Fellmann et al)

diffusion over time
Diffusion over time
  • The number of adopters grows until > ½ adopt the innovation, then the numbers of adopters increases at a decreasing rate

(Fellmann et al)

Thanks to diffusion

no man is an island

100 pure diffusion
100 % pure diffusion …

When an American awakes in the morning, he is in a bed built on a pattern which comes from the Near East and was later modified in Northern Europe before it was transported to America. The cotton of his sheets is from a plant originally domesticated in India, or linen, domesticated in the Near East, or silk, which was originally used in China. All of these materials were spun on a process invented in the Near East. He may then put on his moccasins, originally from the Indians of the Eastern woodlands, and go into the bathroom, whose fixtures are a combination of recent European and American inventions. He will then take off his pyjamas, a garment invented in India, and wash with soap which was invented by the ancient Gauls. When he shaves he performs a ceremony which was a masochistic rite probably derived from either Sumer or ancient Egypt. He returns to the bedroom and dresses. His day-time apparel was originally derived from skin clothing of the nomads of the Asiatic steppes. He puts on shoes made from skins tanned by a process invented in ancient Egypt, and cut to a pattern derived from the classical civilizations of the Mediterranean, and ties around his neck a strip of bright coloured cloth which is a surviving remnant of the shoulder shawls worn by the seventeenth-century Croatians. Before going out for breakfast he glances out the window, made of glass invented in Egypt, and if it is raining he puts on his overshoes made of rubber discovered by the Central American Indians and takes an umbrella, invented in south-eastern Asia. Upon his head he puts a hat made of felt, a material invented in the Asiatic steppes. …

100 pure diffusion1
… 100 % pure diffusion

… On his way to breakfast he buys a paper, paying for it in coins, an ancient Lydian invention. At the restaurant a whole series of borrowed elements confront him. His plate is made from a form of pottery invented in China. His knife is of steel, an alloy made first in southern India, his fork a medieval Italian invention, and his spoon a derivative of a Roman original. He begins breakfast with an orange, from the Eastern Mediterranean, a cantaloupe from Persia, or perhaps a piece of African watermelon. He also has coffee, an Abyssinian plant, with cream and sugar. Both the domestication of cows and the idea of milking them originated in the Near East, while sugar was first made in India. After his fruit and first coffee he goes onto waffles, cakes made by a Scandinavian technique from wheat domesticated in Asia Minor. Over these he pours maple syrup, invented by the Indians of the Eastern woodlands. As a side dish he may have an egg of a species of bird domesticated in Indo-China, or thin strips of the flesh of an animal domesticated in Eastern Asia which have been salted and smoked by a process developed in northern Europe. When he is finished eating he may read the newspaper, imprinted in characters invented by the ancient Semites upon a material invented in China by a process invented in Germany. For all of these blessings he will thank his Semitic God in an Indo-European language with influences from Latin, Greek, French, Italian, German, Arabic and historic languages of Great Britain and just about every language there is (adapted from Linton, 1936, p. 326; and Bradley, 1974, pp. 54-74).

  • The modern technological information age offers communication and transport virtually instantaneously. Leads to diffusion of ideas, beliefs, behavior and innovation worldwide – in an apparently globalized world.
  • But as we become closer together we are increasingly further apart?

(Ben Justice)

3 cultural ecology
3. Cultural ecology
  • Is the study of cause-effect interplay between culture and the physical environment
    • People  influence  environment
    • Adaptation
      • Man to environment (adaptive strategy)
      • Environment to man
  • Possibilism replaced environmental determinism
    • Many routes or ways for adaptation in modern technological age
    • Different cultures perceive and treat natural environment differently
  • Now verbal emphasis on Cultural Ecology but is it only words? Still locked into Possibilism?
  • Are there limits to development?
  • Or are all things possible?
  • What about the interaction between culture and the physical environment – does one enhance or limit the other?

Video – “End of Suburbia, Trailer”

(3 minutes)

4 cultural interaction
4. Cultural interaction
  • How the cultural traits influence one another
  • All facets of culture are
    • Functionally interdependent
    • Systematically and spatially intertwined
    • Example: Religious beliefs influences
      • Shopping behavior
      • Voting
      • Diet
      • Employment
      • Social standing
      • E.g. Mormons shopping habits – no alcohol, no cigarettes, no caffeine etc
5 cultural landscape
5. Cultural landscape
  • Is the visible, material landscape that cultural groups create in inhabiting their area
    • Fashioned from the physical landscape
    • By the group’s culture
      • Shelter
      • Food
      • Clothing
  • Reflects
    • Belief
    • Identity
    • Heritage

Dubai hotel,

Many visual items are used in the course.
  • They have been collected in “notes” over several years.
  • If any items are unreferenced please let us know.
  • We would be happy to give credits.
  • James Leigh, University of Nicosia

(Tracy Bucco)