Retrospective on nature-society geography: Tracing trajectories (1911-2010) and reflecting on translations

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This study uses an intellectual history approach to construct a retrospective on Annals nature-society geography during the past century (1911-2010). It begins by identifying six areas of topics and approaches that have emerged as primary clusters in the 1990s and 2000s: (1) environmental governance and political ecology; (2) environmental hazards, risk, and vulnerability science; (3) land use and cover change science; (4) human-environment interactions; (5) environmental landscape history and ideas; and (6) scientific concepts and environmental management. A combination of continuity and change involving the core areas of human-environmental scholarship is found to distinguish Annals publications during recent decades (1990-2010) vis-à-vis preceding periods (1911-1969, 1970-1989). The current plurality and partial intersection of core topics and approaches is mostly a contrast to previous predominance and distinctness of the Sauerian Berkeley School and the Chicago School of hazards research. Reflection on this intellectual history sheds light on issues of the timely role of nature-society within the geographic discipline and in relation to environmental interdisciplinarity and policy. Using the concept of translating across knowledge domains, Annals writings demonstrate the expanded, multistranded intellectual spaces of nature-society geography.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1076-1094
Number of pages19
JournalAnnals of the Association of American Geographers
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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