Research area: The history of geography

This research area reconstructs the evolution of new methods and systems of thought in geography. It simultaneously investigates how theoretical approaches and schools of thought emerge and establish themselves in society, e.g. in the school subject of geography or the academic community. This research area, which is unique in German geography, enables academics to explore the historical context of their own theories.

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Science thrives on the repeated emergence of new ideas that enable the world to be explored and explained from different angles. The discovery that previous constructs were insufficient or have become inadequate in light of new research findings ideally leads to paradigm shifts. The Archive for Geography at the IfL and the Central Geographical Library are important, publicly accessible research infrastructures that can be used to explore the evolution of new methods and thought systems in geography. In this regard, the research area that looks at the history of geography reconstructs scientific achievements from times gone by while facilitating a critical view of the way in which intellectual approaches and streams of thought were formed and implemented within society in the past, e.g. in geography lessons at school or among the scientific community. Unique in the discipline of geography in Germany, this research area thus helps scientists to familiarise themselves with the origins of their own theories.


Research projects

Narrative, Aesthetic, and Cartographic Space around 1850  - The Three Palestines of Charles William Meredith van de Velde 
“Our Field is the World”: Geographical Societies 1821–1914 in International Comparison  - Project C1 – Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) 1199: Processes of Spatialization under the Global Condition 

Completed projects

Digital Atlas of Geopolitical Imaginaries of Eastern Central Europe  [completed 04/2016]
Robinson, van de Velde, and German Holy Land Cartography in the mid-19th Century  [completed 06/2015]
DigiPortA  [completed 04/2015]