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Cultural Geography. Ptolemy’s First World Map, circa A.D. 150. ANDREW J VAGLIO Office: SOCIAL STUDIES DEPT Phone: 919-625-6291 Email: Web Page: My Teaching Philosophy.

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Cultural geography
Cultural Geography

Ptolemy’s First World Map, circa A.D. 150

Cultural geography



Phone: 919-625-6291Email:

Web Page:

My teaching philosophy
My Teaching Philosophy

  • I try to teach this class the same as I would anywhere else. Community colleges should not be second rate.

  • You are responsible for your own education, particularly now that you are in college. I am a guide, a helper, if you will. College is what you make of it.

  • I consider my responsibilities to include fairness, honesty, and compassion. Most of all, I think it is my job to earnestly attempt to make geography interesting and fun, without making it frivolous.

  • I promise this: if you take this class seriously, you will learn a great deal about the world.

What is geography
What is Geography?

Geography is a representation of the whole known world together with the phenomena which are contained therein.

Ptolemy, Geographia 2nd Century A.D.

Geography is the science of place. Its vision is grand, its view panoramic. It sweeps the surface of the Earth, charting the physical, organic and cultural terrain, their areal differentiation, and their ecological dynamics with humankind. Its foremost tool is the map.

Leonard Krishtalka, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, 20th Century A.D.

Organized knowledge of the earth as the world of people.

Dave Balogh

What is geography1
What is Geography?

Geography is the study of what is where and why it’s there.

Five key themes of geography
Five “Key Themes” of Geography

  • 1. Location– specific location, where?

  • 2. Place–unique properties of a place

  • 3. Movement– diffusion, communications

  • 4. Region– an area’s uniform characteristics

  • 5.Human-Earth Relationships–human interaction with an environment

Cultural geography

Okay, but what exactly is it?

Well, it’s a way of thinking about intellectual problems, both natural and societal, which emphasizes the importance of spatial relationships between culture and the environment. Take any social or environmental question or problem and ask yourself whether there is a spatial aspect to its answer. Chances are that space and place play a role in the explanation of that issue.

AJV - Making It Up As I Go

For example:

Why are so many plant and animal species becoming extinct at the end of the twentieth century?

Why do there always seem to be been so many wars in Africa?

How did human beings come to be in North America if they evolved in Africa? Why are the largest animals still alive in Africa but not in Europe or North America, even though people came later to those regions?

Why is corn such an important part of a traditional Mexican diet?

Why are some beers known as India Pale Ales?

Divisions of geography
Divisions of Geography

  • Physical Geography Human Geography

  • Rocks and Minerals Population

  • Landforms Settlements

  • Soils Economic Activities

  • Animals Transportation

  • Plants Recreational Activities

  • Water Religion

  • Atmosphere Political Systems

  • Rivers and Other Water Bodies Social Traditions

  • Environment Human Migration

  • Climate and Weather Agricultural Systems

  • Geography is a bridge between the natural and social sciences. Geography is a holistic or synthesizing science.

The geography of breakfast
The Geography of Breakfast

  • Take a minute to write down all of the food and drink you ate before coming to class today.

Breakfast foods
Breakfast Foods

Food Place of Origin Current Production

coffee Ethiopia Tropics

oranges South Asia, India US, Mediterranean

pork China, South Asia Worldwide

wheat Near East US, Russia, Argentina

tea China Asia

oats Near East Temperate Climates

pepper South America S. America, Worldwide

Cultural geography


Top Ten Coffee Growing Countries (Yellow)

First domesticated in Ethiopia, coffee has come to be a major export crop for colonial countries and continues to provide much of the export income in these less developed countries. In Uganda, 70-80% of export revenue is generated by coffee. Many issues are raised by the continuation of such colonial economics.

Introduction to cultural geography

Definition of Cultural Geography

History of the Discipline

Fundamental Concepts

Introduction to Cultural Geography

What is culture
What is CULTURE?

  • What are its elements?

    • Language

    • Religion

    • Food

    • Clothing

    • Art

    • Music

    • Rituals and Customs

  • How is it transferred?

    • Parents to Children

    • Schooling

    • Television, Films, Radio, and Internet

What is culture1
What is CULTURE?

  • Culture is learned behavior that is passed on by imitation, instruction, and example.

    • Culture is almost entirely relative. Proper behavior shifts from culture to culture.

    • U.S. current problems: 1) little shared culture; 2) no one is teaching culture.

      • For example: sex education - Home? School?

  • Note: experiencing another culture is useful for gaining perspective on your own.

  • Harshest punishment in history?: banishment in “primitive” cultures.

Geographic importance of culture
Geographic Importance of Culture

  • Geographers study culture because it leaves dramatic imprints on the earth, both physical and cultural.

    • Language: a crystal ball into culture.

    • Religion: strongest determinant of ethics.

    • Nationalism and Borders

    • Material Culture: tools, clothes, toys, etc.

    • Architecture: Suburban garages vs. earlier porches

    • Religion: affects societal choices; creates sacred space

The cultural landscape
The Cultural Landscape

  • The result of the natural environment and all of the changes to it as a result of a particular culture. In other words, it is cultures imprint on the land. (Carl Sauer)

    • Environmental Determinism: environment is primary determinant of culture.

    • Possibilism: humans are primary determinant of culture, within limits set by the environment.

Cultural geography


Environmentally Determined?

Cultural geography

What about Bali,


Key concepts space
Key Concepts: Space

  • Latitude and Longitude - a reference system designed to provide “absolute” location (as opposed to relative locations). A system used to designate space.

  • Parallels of Latitude

  • Meridians of Longitude

The geographic grid
The Geographic Grid

Latitude- angular measurement of distance north or south of the Equator.

Range: 0 - 90 degrees N or S

1o latitude = approx. 69 miles (25,000 mi. /360o).

The geographic grid1
The Geographic Grid

Longitude - the angular measurement of distance east or west of the Prime Meridian.

Maximum value reached at International Date Line - 180o

Range: 0o - 180o E or W

Key concepts tobler s 1 st law of geography
Key Concepts:Tobler’s 1st Law of Geography

  • All things are related. However, all other things being equal, those things that are closest together are more related.

  • Related Concepts:

    • Distance Decay / Friction of Distance

    • Spatial Interaction

    • Movement

Key concepts
Key Concepts

  • REGION – an area defined by shared characteristic

    • 3 Types of Culture Regions

      • Formal - all members share a characteristic

      • Functional - defined by a node of activity and distance decay from center

      • Vernacular - perception of cultural identity

Diffusion the spread of people customs phenomenon objects or ideas
Diffusion The spread of people, customs, phenomenon, objects, or ideas.

  • Four Types:

  • Relocation

  • Hierarchical

  • Contagious

  • Stimulus

  • Use these terms to explain the spread of:

  • Diseases

  • Popular Music

  • Democratic Revolutions

  • Religious Practices

Sense of place
Sense of Place

  • Every place is unique. Imagine where you lived as a child. Where is home?

  • Why and how do places take on meaning for human individuals?

    • Sensory

    • Architecture

    • Symbolic

  • Why is each place unique?

  • Key works: Place and Placelessness - Relph, 1978

  • Topophilia - Tuan, Yi-Fu

Sense of place1
Sense of Place

Bourbon Street

Groveland, CA

Cultural geography

Timber House, Switzerland relation to physical environment?

Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey

Yurt on Mongolian Steppe

Suburban Home, Chicago

Human environment interaction cultural ecology
Human-Environment Interaction relation to physical environment?(Cultural Ecology)

  • Successful cultures are those that adapt well to their environments. (Chaco Canyon, North Africa, Fertile Crescent, Easter Island)

Chaco Canyon, New Mexico

Easter Island, Polynesia

Key concepts core periphery

Core relation to physical environment?

U.S., Europe, Japan, Australia



Controls Media and Finance

Technologically advanced


Less Developed


Dependent upon Core countries for:




Military Equipment

Key Concepts:Core-Periphery

Cultural geography

Key Concepts: relation to physical environment?Core-Periphery

Geography and politics

Ties to Military relation to physical environment?

Role in Colonization

Role in Imperialism

Role in Cold War



Geography and Politics

  • Foreign - 4) Situated in an abnormal or improper place. 5) Not natural: alien.

    • The American Heritage Dictionary

Globalization relation to physical environment?

  • The increasing interconnectedness of different parts of the world through common processes of economic, political, and cultural change. Economic globalization is happening fastest.

Panama, 1997