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Cultural Geography in India: Nature of its Marginality and Future Agenda

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Geography is a vast field of study in which all sub-fields are not treated at par in practice. There has been a continuing debate on what constitutes the “core” of geography and accordingly what all are “hardcore” geographies? Naturally, the debate, on what is geographical and what is not still continues. Long back, Carter (1968, 2) remarked, “Geography, like other fields, is plagued at times by its public image”. Even now it is an unresolved issue as a matter of fact. This problem is not theoretical or imaginary; there are real-time instances of discriminations for and against a particular sub-field. Discrimination against the physical geography subfields are little known compared to many human geographies which have been rejected as non-geography; of course, at many places complaint against the neglect of the former could be found (as indicated in the last chapter of this book). Such treatments are met mostly by the upcoming fields (of human) geography often rubbished and blamed to be “nongeography” with a common askance “is it geography?” Or, “how is it geography?” Often a young researcher working/worked on a nonconventional theme faces such rude and baseless questions—no matter whether s/he works on crime, health, or sacred places. Themes in cultural geography are often victim of such misconceptions in India and such works are not only rejected but also publicly ridiculed! Here, it needs to be confessed that it is simply impossible to substantiate these facts as they are part of (verbal) interactions which take place either in the course of a vivavoce or interview(s) for selection, seminar and conferences, and also in departmental corridors and on tea/coffee tables. It is very difficult to reason out why such tendencies are found. Perhaps it is because of our jaundiced or myopic academic vision which may develop due to our lack of knowledge of the history of geography (perhaps that is why Sauer (1956) insists on compulsory course in history of geographic thought) or sheer ignorance or personal bias — liking/disliking. In addition to that, the nature of this problem varies from institution to institution, society to society and from country to country.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • Indian Geography in the 21st Century: The Young Geographers Agenda
    This book, primarily a collection of statements on action agenda to be pursued in geography in India, consists of nineteen chapters exclusively authored by the young geographers. It is organised into five parts: Part I provides "The Contextual Orientation", Part II contemplates on "Reshaping Geography Education", Part III explores "Resurrecting Physical Geography", Part IV looks at "Retrieving Human Geography", and Part V: "The Summum Bonum" attempts to garland the emerging thoughts. The book seeks to provide a peep into the future Indian Geography and serve professional geographers, researchers, teachers and students alike.
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