Making the case for Geography — ASN Events

Making the case for Geography (14194)

Ruth Fincher 1
  1. University of Melbourne, Carlton, VIC, Australia

If we accept that Geography as a particular discipline deserves to be fostered, and to be positioned successfully within our universities and research communities as opposed to having its intellectual concerns presented as part of a range of other disciplines or inter-disciplines, then a case must often be made institutionally to ensure that such an outcome is achieved. This talk reflects upon the ways in which a case is being made presently for Geography, in two ways: (1) by describing institutional contexts (local, national and international) in which work to situate Geography more visibly is being undertaken, and (2) by considering the differences between the ways critical geographers and critical urban planners investigate the city, asking the question ‘what is the geographer’s city?’ The talk is one based in my personal experience of Geography over the last decade or so, in which I have been involved as an institutional player in a range of attempts to make a case for our discipline, and in which (as an urban geographer) I have had the opportunity to compare the variety of ways that social scientists (including geographic ones) approach the city and the urban. Colleagues have asked me to offer reflections on recent efforts to the position Geography institutionally, in order to pass on stories of what has been important to successful outcomes that might be useful to future generations of Geographers who may find themselves in uncertain waters institutionally; I will draw on the reflections of others to build up a picture of the situation. The part of my talk about the geographer’s city offers reflections on ways to distinguish our own approaches to the interdisciplinary field of urban studies, making it distinctive.