The Geographical Review

The Geographical Review is a scholarly publication devoted to geography. The Geographical Review publishes authoritative articles on all aspects of geography. In addition, The Geographical Review includes reviews of recent books, monographs, and atlases in geography and related fields.

Articles from January-April

A Globe That Fills the Sky: Geography from the Space Shuttle
********** Main engine cutoff! Eight and a half minutes of rocket-borne acceleration were suddenly over. The tremendous jolt of leaving the launch pad... the clang of empty booster rockets shearing away at Mach 3... the steady build of g-forces...
Archival Fieldwork Cole Harris
********** There are geographers who do not enjoy fieldwork. One of my colleagues in the late 1960s, an eminent spatial theorist, could not abide the world as it presented itself to the senses. It was too cluttered. He liked to be driven, and he...
A Window on the West Bank
********** There was a period, a window, in the mid-1990s when fieldwork on the West Bank was reasonably safe. The window opened about 1993, by which time the Intifada of the preceding five years had run its course, and it closed in October 2000,...
Betweem "In Camp" and "Out of Bounds": Notes on the History of Fieldwork in American Geography
********** Geography's recorded fieldwork tradition is as old as Odysseus and predated by much of prior humanity's recounted and remembered knowledge of places and environments revealed through mobility and interaction with one's surroundings. The...
Building Biographies: To Know Cities from the Inside Out
********** Doing fieldwork has long been associated with a career in geography. But that tradition of working in the field is threatened by a number of armchair alternatives, including obsessions with the information explosion and social theory....
Climbing Scale and Place: Geological Musings and Social Geographical Method
********** This paper retrospectively examines my two years of doctoral fieldwork in the palace of Kano, Nigeria, where I integrated my former training as a geologist into social geographical field research. At the time, I used this geological training...
Conservation's Radical Center in Geography
********** Field work is reading a landscape to make certain it persists. That statement came to me during a graduate seminar as I was trying to explain a vision I held of geography. Of course, not all landscapes can or should be sustained or conserved....
Danger, Fulfillment, and Responsibility in a Violence-Plagued Society
********** Something was not right about the bustling and vibrant market district of Huancayo, the commercial heart of the central Andean highlands of Peru. I had been away for several days, and my spirits usually soared when I returned to Huancayo's...
Decision Making in an Ethnographic Context (*)
********** One day in 1996 I made a choice to study the development of outreach programs for people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA) in Thailand. As an ethnographer, I weighed social location and distance in relation to the field and its occupants....
Doing Fieldwork: Editors' Introduction
The Geographical Review 91 (1-2):iv-viii, January- April 2001 Copyright[copyright symbol] 2001 by the American Geographical Society of New York Field-work is essentially personal observation and recording; it brings reality to geographical study;...
Doing Fieldwork in the Mud (*)
********** I study mud, an activity that confirms the apprehensions of some of my human-geography colleagues. Mud in lakes, as opposed to mud underfoot, is composed mostly of microscopic plant and animal remains and finely ground rock materials...
"Do You Really Live Here?" Thoughts on Insider Research (*)
********** One summer Saturday I was sitting at the living-room table in a run-down old house in the gold-mining ghost town of Bodie, a California State Historic Park located in the high-altitude desert east of the Sierra Nevada. Signs on the outside...
Enrichment and Frustration in Fieldwork
********** It was before 7:00 A.M., and already the temperature was in the low nineties. We were at least 50 miles from the nearest settlement, on a deeply rutted dirt road, bound for a remote cactus population to collect data for my master's thesis....
Exploration and Discovery with the Bedouin of Egypt
********** I first did fieldwork as a geographer in 1979. I traveled to archaeological sites throughout Egypt to do research for my University of Texas master's thesis on the interaction between people and wildlife in ancient Egypt. To visit the...
Feeling, Reading, and Making Bodies in Space (*)
********** My legs felt shaky, my stomach churned, and my heart jumped wildly on my first-ever day of field research, standing outside the offices of the organization that was crucial to my gaining access to a significant proportion of my research...
Field Observation, Archives, and Explanation
********** Few experiences are more intellectually satisfying than puzzling over a question posed by a landscape scene or a map, uncovering the information required to focus the problem's varied dimensions through field investigation, archival search...
Fieldwork as Commitment
********** To me, fieldwork is the heart of geography. I consider it the most magical, essential, and challenging part of being a geographer. Fieldwork is the ultimate mode of geographical exploration. It renews and deepens our direct experience...
Fieldwork in a Digital World
********** In 1993 Weekly World News created a sensation at checkout lanes everywhere with the alarming announcement that a strange creature--half-man, half-alligator--had been discovered in a Florida swamp. Geographically, it turns out, the report...
Fieldwork in the Madrid Geographical Circle: Roots and Development
********** I am a trained historian. Even today I confess to a fascination with deciphering and interpreting the past. I revel in the solitude and reflection of the archive and the library, and I am passionate about the facts revealed to us by writings...
Fieldwork ... with Family
********** The chestnut trees are coated in prickly bobbles, so many that they look like flocks of greenfinches pausing to collect their strength, gathering in the branches ready for great migrations. The traveller is a sentimentalist. He stops...
From Spy to Okay Guy: Trust and Validity in Fieldwork with the Police
********** Of the several sergeants in the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) whom I accompanied during eight months of ethnographic fieldwork in 1993 and 1994, one was an aspiring crime novelist. Not surprisingly, he set his stories in a police...
Geography Undercover (*)
********** In 1854 the geographer and scholar Captain Sir Richard F. Burton, disguised as an Arab merchant and using a superlative knowledge of the Muslim faith and local languages, became the first European to enter and leave the Muslim citadel...
Having New Eyes
********** The title of this essay takes its theme from Marcel Proust's much-quoted remark, "The only real voyage of discovery...consists not of seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes" (O'Brien 1948, 181). Although landscapes I have seen...
Home and Away: Bridging Fieldwork and Everyday Life
********** In the course of developing a dissertation proposal, I received advice from numerous faculty members who, having already been through the experience, wanted to impart upon me their wisdom. From several I received the admonishment to choose...
Identity, Place, and Locale in Galveston
********** After my first visit to the island city of Galveston, Texas, I knew what I wanted to do. I would examine identity and place through the lenses of ethnicity, race, and culture. Untangling relationships among these variables, along with...
Kindred Scholars: In the Field with Archaeologists
********** He discovered early on that people will put up with almost anything under the guise of archeology. Kent Flannery, 1982 What other scholarly activity has the panache of field archaeology? The airplane trips to exotic places, a dusty...
Learning to See the Impacts of Individuals (*)
********** The principal purpose of fieldwork, obviously, is data collection. Every geographer who goes to the proverbial "field" does so with the intent of gathering data that cannot be obtained otherwise (Figure 1). In this regard, fieldwork is...
Life as a Field Trip
********** I taught a course called "Environment and the Quality of Life" for a quarter-century, first at the University of Minnesota, then at the University of Wisconsin. Its basic question was: To what degree does the good life--by which I mean...
No Bad Landscape
********** In an academic world continually threatened with budget reductions and evermore-relentless calls for a wholesale redirection of departmental funds into technological upgrades, it is difficult to do something manifestly orthodox. In a...
No Dead Rabbits (*)
********** In the late 1940s and early 1950s most geography graduate programs required students to take a field course or to enroll in a summer field camp. My introduction to graduate geography in the summer of 1947 was the field camp in Lannon,...
"Not A City but A World": Seville and the Indies (*)
********** In the heart of Seville, squarely set between the ramparts of a Moorish citadel and the flying buttresses of a Gothic cathedral, lies the Archivo General de Indias--the Archive of the Indies (Figure 1). Many archives elsewhere in the...
Of "Loose" Women and "Guides," or, Relationships in the Field (*)
********** Critiques emanating from postmodernism, postcolonialism, and poststructuralism challenge objectivity in the social sciences and lay the groundwork for theories that rest on a complex of discourses, ideologies, social constructions, and...
Oral Histories and Partial Truths in Mexico (*)
********** Alberto stormed out of the meeting, fuming and cursing his enemies as he strode off into the countryside (Figure i). For months he had sought approval to sell his cousin a portion of his land, to no avail. The farmers who formed the rest...
Our Maroon in the Now-Lost Landscapes of Montserrat
********** It was already hot at 7 A.M.... Ash suspended in the air cast a yellow haze across Montserrat; heavier gray particles settled silently on the windshield as we parked in a clearing at the top of Baker Hill. Shielding our faces with our...
Playing with Children: Immediacy Was Their Cry (*)
********** I sit on the plaster ledge of a simulated cave in a museum and scratch vigorously under my arm (simulated animal skins are a bit itchy) before swinging off the bench and busying myself with bones strewn across the floor. I pile the bones...
Protecting Privacy in Foreign Fields
********** The one by whom the abject exists is thus a deject who places (himself), separates (himself), and therefore strays instead of getting his bearings, desiring, belonging, or refusing.... Necessarily dichotomous, somewhat Manichean, he divides,...
Reflections on the Art of Place Writing
********** During the 1990s we taught, both singly and together, a place-writing class at Humboldt State University (HSU) that focused either on California's North Coast or on the Trinity Corridor that connects Redding with Arcata and Eureka (Figure...
Researcher, Informant, "Assassin," Me (*)
********** Nothing in my academic training prepared me for the methodological challenges I faced while conducting fieldwork in a setting of war. No graduate seminar had schooled me in "methods in the field of battle"; no workshop offered "techniques...
Returning Home and to the Field (*)
********** Last week I "returned from the field." Even though I am back home I certainly don't feel at home. I feel disoriented for all sorts of reasons. Because I came back during the sixth week of the semester, I feel like an outsider in my workplace,...
Searching for Order on the Balkan Peninsula
********** My fieldwork is in Macedonia because jarring juxtapositions fascinate me. Picasso did it with legs and eyes; the Washington Post does it with bra ads and stories about human-rights abuses; and the Balkan Peninsula did it with cultural...
Stranger, Trailer, Fieldwork, Girl
********** You lost?" The sudden voice synced with the clicking of my camera shutter and sent a fearful shock through my body. A tall, lanky man in faded jeans and a thin, tattered T-shirt, topped with a baseball cap, loomed from the tiny door frame...
Talk Is Cheap: Cultural and Linguistic Fluency during Field Research
********** A great attraction of geography for many practitioners is an opportunity for the kind of field research that regularly takes us from our natal culture and plunks us, Cinderella-style, into places with significantly different pumpkins...
Teaching the Borderland
********** Fieldwork is a much-heralded element of geographical tradition. For some of us on the landscape side of the tradition, fieldwork is even a primary inspiration. But, as with the sister discipline of anthropology, fieldwork has evolved...
The Aerial Field (*)
********** Since the 1970s academic geography has steadily distanced itself from the land. Embraced instead are styles of inquiry ostensibly more theoretical, whether these thrilling fancies are fashioned in conjunction with economics, statistics,...
The Field as Here and Now, Not There and Then (*)
********** I would emphasize in all of this, the success of the fieldwork hinged not so much on a determination to ferret out "the facts" as on a willingness to leave some stones unturned, to listen to what my informants deemed important, and to...
The Four Square Laundry: Participant Observation in a War Zone (*)
********** I awoke one morning to see him in my bedroom pointing [a submachine gun] at me. "Right," he said, "you're a Four Square Laundry job." This was an allusion to being an army spy. Frank Burton, quoted in Jeffrey A. Sluka, 1995 Thanks...
The Geographer as Voyeur. (the Geographical Review)
********** Whether they are aware of it or not, I suspect that what has motivated the instigators of this special issue of the Geographical Review is no slight nervousness over the intellectual respectability of fieldwork within the geographical...
The Kindness of Strangers
********** Through fieldwork and travel I became a geographer. Exploring the relationship between people and their environments, be they familiar settings or exotic ones, is a prime privilege of this profession. I think of fieldwork as the lifeblood...
The Languages of Foreign Fieldwork
********** Overseas investigation is today a diminished part of academic geography's self-image, in stark contrast to such fields as anthropology, where foreign fieldwork is acknowledged as a fetish. The minority of geographers who are fueled by...
The Nietschmann Syllabus: A Vision of the Field
Editor's Note: Few geographers have attained legend as did Barney Nietschmann. Prom the late 1970s to 1999 he taught and inspired a generation of field geographers at the University of California, Berkeley; before that, he was a distinctive force at...
Theory in the Field
********** In the more than thirty years since we began our graduate training we have singly and jointly conducted fieldwork in the United States, India, Canada, and Sri Lanka. Our discussion here is about our work in Bedford, New York, although...
Veterinary Geography as Interdisciplinary Research (*)
********** When I worked on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in the early 1990s as part of the Basic Veterinary Worker (BVW) Project, nearly everyone I met, from U.N. and NGO workers to journalists, was obsessed with "getting inside" Afghanistan....
Visual Literacy
********** The illiterate of the future will be the person ignorant of the use of the camera as well as of the pen. --Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, 1936, quoted in Traub 1982, 23 Whenever a camera shutter opens and closes, recording a latent image on...
When the Lights Go Out
********** When I was a young man, a teenager, I don't recall ever thinking or telling anyone that I thought I was immortal. Or, for that matter, claiming to be immune to the consequences of high-risk behavior. But thinking and telling are not the...
Which Truth? Cultural Politics and Vodka in Rural Russia (*)
********** After what level of alcohol consumption does an informant become unreliable? How do I distinguish between an emphatic opinion, delivered under the candor-producing influence of alcohol, and unrestrained hyperbole, wrought by intoxication?...
Within the River: Collaboration and Methodology (*)
********** The solidarity rally through the Narmada river valley arrives at Nisrapur, a village of 10,000 people near the banks of the river. This village is one of 62 slated for submergence as a result of the construction of dams along the Narmada.......
Working with Young Men
********** Sometimes, especially in the early stages of becoming a geographer, one of the most difficult questions to answer is, "What sort of research do I want to do?" Our discipline is so diverse and extensive and the possible range and mix of...
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