Thursday, February 02, 2012

Through the Looking Glass: Geography and History Gibberish

A quasi-Catholicgauze rant

A quick look at several American Association of Geographers specialty groups reveals many academic geographers who focus on topics barely (if at all) geographic.  These groups have siblings in other social science fields such as history.

Recently the historian KC Johnson wrote about how the Montana Supreme Court has forced to consult old history texts because modern historians produced nothing of relevance or use.  Others have also noticed a change in the last decades in the various sciences.  The conservative Weekly Standard wrote a feature on how a congress of academic Medievalists focused on matters of little use and trivia.  Meanwhile Alex Standish has pointed out that what is taught as geography in geography is not really geography.

Trivia has its place and as do rare in-depth studies of minutia (like some of my blog posts for instance).  However, the purpose of study and education should produce knowledge that is useful in some way, shape, or form.  Sadly much money ear-tagged for education in academia, including tax money in the form of grants, is wasted on the overproduction of pointless knowledge.  The excess of this waste is actually choking real education by denying it resources and clouding peoples' minds. 

I take great joy in people contacting me saying they wish their geography class "back in the day" taught things like I blog about.  I am glad to be such a service but I wish the various levels of classes would teach what I discuss.  Geography and other fields can be useful, informing, and interesting if taught correctly.  That is what I am trying to do.  I hope I can fill that role for you, my readers.

1 comment:

shaqlvaney said...

I've been reading this blog for about a year and wanted to take a moment to thank you for the work you put into it. I read it fairly regularly and enjoy the knowledge it imparts on me.