Monday, October 24, 2011

The Globe and Mail Notice What "Geographers" Do Today

American-born Canadian journalist Margaret Wente loves her adopted homeland.  So in loves that she once wrote of a story of how she tried to live out Pierre Berton's saying that "a Canadian is someone who knows how to make love in a canoe" and she humorously wondered if present-day immigrants would try to live that out as well.

Sadly for her the present-day elites of geography accused her of racism.  One of those elites is the current head of the Association of American Geographers, the Canadian Audrey Kobayashi.  These geographers-elites wrote such words as "Against a backdrop of imagined wilderness, it [the love-in-a-canoe comment] privileges the universality of Canadian canoe culture, marginalizes dark-skinned bodies as peripheral to national origins, and positions white heterosexual procreation in a canoe as the highest achievement of national identity."

This so surprised and confused Wente that she looked into the present state of academic geography and wrote the article They hijacked the humanities, then my canoe.  While I wish I could defend geography here I have to agree with Wente that many academic geographers, more in the human subfield vice the physical subfield, are no longer doing geography.  She provides a few good examples of how academic geography has been hijacked by the same wave of Marxists, femistists, and even "queer" "geographies." Instead of actual geography much of what is discussed is radical theory with no real purpose or possible implementation.

This infiltration has been mirrored in lower education as documented in Global Perspectives in the Geography Curriculum: Reviewing the Moral Case for Geography.  In the meantime, those who want real geography can read National Geographic or some of the fantastic geography blogs that I follow as well as this one!

1 comment:

JMK said...

They self-identify as radical theorists, so that's how their work should be read. But since when is understanding the immigrant experience and identity politics not part of geography? It is based on people's sense of place and belonging. Geography is much more than the profiles and book reviews of National Geographic. Geography and all academia have a responsibility to interrogate how we develop knowledge systems.