Tuesday, April 22, 2008

How to be a (School of Catholicgauze) Geographer

I was pondering what a good geographer needs besides spatial thinking. I then composed a list of things that a (Catholicgauze-style) geographer should know/have.

1. Knowledge of a foreign language: It is really hard to understand a culture if you do not know their language even if it is only a different dialect than your own native tongue. The way a culture forms their thoughts into processes reveals how they envision the world. "Language is the blood of culture -Catholicgauze."

2. Knowledge of the Environment: The world is the stage for humanity. It impacts the physical, environmental, and cultural landscapes completely. Without environmental geography you will not be able to tell the difference between the biome where poison ivy is found and where the Cloverfield monster lives.

3. Related Sciences and Arts: Economics, computers, history, art, music, geology, astronomy, political science, and more are must haves. Try taking a course in anything you can. These fields of study will enrich your study of the world with added perspectives. All these interrelated fields will add allow you to holistically understand geography.

4. Remember the Purpose of Geography: Geographers study the world and turn facts into knowledge. If only fellow academics understand your work then you have failed. Geography is so important that everyone should be able to understand the vast majority of your work. If your work can improve the world or lives of others then you have done well. (This does not refute theorists. Good theorists will create ideas that can be applied.)

5. Always Have Something to Come Home To: Too often geographers will lose perspective and allow themselves to be swallowed into their studies. Remember who you are and why you are studying your zone of geography. Having someone/something to come back to will allow be an independent observer. All the above will allow you not to lose sight of the greater picture.

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