Friday, September 22, 2006

Human Geography

In previous versions of this knowledge base, I have more or less neglected this subject, which has seriously weakened the entire program. Human geography deals with such things as the population, natural resources, and land use of a particular area. I have chosen to divide this up by area or region.
One of the various difficulties of geographers is the problem of boundaries. There are few natural dividing lines on the surface of the earth; political boundaries are quite arbitrary. In general, I have chosen to follow traditional lines, except where there seems good reason to ignore them.

This subject naturally depends heavily on nature and natural science, particularly earth science and biology. Until these are better developed themselves, I have difficulty making this connection more explicit.
It is difficult to say geography is influenced by the human body and psychology, except to note that some regions are difficult to explore and travel through due to the hardships involved. Since everyone lives somewhere, and many people live or travel in more than one place, analysis of multiple biographies is one indicator of the relative importance of various places, although it is only one such indicator. Another way biography is of use is in making note of prominent explorers and geographers.
The connections to other areas of anthropology will be highly important here, although just how much so will not be clearly evident until these areas are better developed. The areas I am currently working with are European geography, Asian geography, North American geography, and African geography.
Human geography will make use of a variety of culture-related tools. Conceptual culture will include the highly important, even essential area of maps, once it is better developed.
The institutions of family, education, economics, government, and religion will also be important, although these are not sufficiently well developed.
Sociology is useful for various reasons. The location of particular cities is a useful aid to human geography, for instance in helping to estimate population density. This overlaps somewhat with the description of peoples; although many peoples occupy only part of an area, and others occupy many areas. Much geographic knowledge has come from and through Western Civilization, with Anglic geographers especially prominent, although, especially in earlier times, Asiatic and specifically Middle Eastern geographers were also noteworthy. I don't yet have specific detail on which of these came from North Africa.
The history of human geography is also interesting. Much of it was developed in classical and medieval times, and in later medieval times, the modern exploration of the world began. It developed greatly in modern times, and by the 19th century, most of the world and its peoples had been at least roughly mapped and identified. In the 20th century, the various tools available for study of human geography have become more powerful and sophisticated, including for instance the use of airplanes and color printing in the middle part of the century, spacecraft in the late-mid 20th century, and the widespread use of computers in the late 20th century. I am unfortunately not quite up to date on developments in the last few years or current events.

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