Friday 4 January 2013

The Historical Geographies of Yi-Fu Tuan

Although academic institutes traditionally consider history and geography as two distinct subjects, the fact is that the temporal cannot ever be fully separated from the spatial. All of human social structuring, from the small scale structure of our family unit, to the large scale structure of human society, is context dependent. These structures involve the unfolding of historical geographies - the simultaneous making of history and construction of human geography. 
One of the people who has spent a liftime studying historical geographies is the interesting Chinese-American geographer Yi-Fu Tuan, born in Tientsin China in 1930. Tuan created a unique blend of human geography and philosophy and published many books and papers on the subject. A good profile on his life and work is given HERE and his description of his intellectual development and career is HERE.

Since 1985 YiFu has been sending regular Dear Colleague letters, then less frequent essays, to the members of his department at University of Wisconsin, Madison. An archive of these communications is HERE.

Tuan still walks every day between his appartment and his office - as an active emeritus professor at Madison. 

 Below a picture of Yi-Fu Tuan in the field in Arizona about 1954 (image from HERE).