Presents Now Past – Facets of the Archive for Geography

In the Archive for Geography there are around 130 bequeathals made by renowned geographers from higher education, travelling researchers and private learned individuals, as collections of documents from geographical clubs, associations and editorial teams of periodicals. This material reflects the history of geography as a discipline in the 19th and 20th centuries.

On 26 poster boards, the exhibition shows 14 representative stocks of items intended to serve as examples. One area of emphasis is significant representatives from the study of geography in Leipzig institutions of higher education, who decisively shaped German and international geography:

  • Friedrich Ratzel (1844–1904), who counts as the founder of anthropogeography and whose political geography and ethnography was later used as argumentation for asserting a scientific basis for certain views on geopolitics and on races;
  • Joseph Partsch (1851–1925), who made a name for himself as a specialist in regional geography, both domestically and abroad as an explorer of other countries,  as well as a glacial morphologist;
  • Ernst Neef (1908–1984), who from his bases in Leipzig and Dresden decisively shaped landscape ecology as a science, developing a large school for this field of scientific enquiry;
  • Hans Meyer (1858–1929), who became famous through research trips to Africa and South America, acquiring fame in 1899 as the first person to climb Kilimanjaro.

The documents from the First German South Pole Expedition (1901-1903), also on display, or Emil Trinkler's 1927/28 Central Asia Expedition, offer interesting insights into the everyday research work of the geographers. Also presented are the geographical science structures which were in place during the Nazi regime or in the GDR Communist years. Finally the exhibition vividly presents aspects of the more recent history of ideas in this discipline, such as the Central Place Theory by Walter Christaller or the social geography of Wolfgang Hartke.


Heinz Peter Brogiato
Tel.: +49 341 600 55-126



15.04.2018 to 20.04.2018, Perm, Russia

The city in the spotlight – methodological and epistemological challenges of studying urban governance

Call for applications: Spring School, 15–20 April 2018, Perm State University, Russia  

17.04.2018, Berlin

The Arctic: potential for conflict and cooperation

Lecture and discussion with Nadir Kinossian (IfL), Christoph Humrich (Groningen University) and Heidi Kassens... 

24.05.2018 to 26.05.2018, Jena

Globalization and digitization — (new) geoinformation relationships in the world

Interdisciplinary workshop from 24 to 26 May 2018 in Jena 


Kinossian, Nadir
Cities as haunted landscapes. -
In: City & society, 2018
Bruns, Bettina
Small-scale smuggling (general). -
In: The global encyclopaedia of informality/ 2. - The global encyclopaedia of informality / Edited by Alena Ledeneva. - London : UCL Press, 2018, Seite 90-94
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