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Bringing Geography to Book: Ellen Semple and the Reception by Innes M. Keighren

By Innes M. Keighren

Ellen Semple’s affects of Geographic atmosphere (1911) -- a treatise on what might later be known as environmental determinism -- coincided with the emergence of geography as an autonomous educational self-discipline in North the US and Britain. hugely debatable and written through considered one of America’s first woman specialist geographers, it used to be thought of via a few a monument to Semple’s scholarship and erudition, whereas for others it was once conceptually unsuitable. And but its impact at the improvement and path of the hot self-discipline of geography used to be profound. Innes Keighren explains why Influences... was once encountered another way by means of diverse humans, at diverse occasions and elsewhere, and divulges why the booklet aroused the passions it did. the result's a pioneering paintings that gives a wholesale re-visioning of ways within which geographical wisdom is disseminated.

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Additional resources for Bringing Geography to Book: Ellen Semple and the Reception of Geographical Knowledge (Tauris Historical Geography Series)

Example text

Rather than being simply a temporally-fixed event – the moment when the reader scans a line of text and begins to consume or construct its meaning – reception is also what happens next. The reception of Influences of Geographic Environment was, then, a question not only of its initial reading, but also of the role of anthropogeography in informing then-current discussions in geography; of its incorporation into teaching curricula; and of the subsequent rejection of the geographical perspective it sought to convey.

197 The Association, from its founding, comprised the leading American geographers and afforded Semple a warrant of professional credibility that complemented the positive reception of her scholarship. The Association’s subsequent annual meetings provided her also with an important platform from which to communicate her ideas. Semple devoted much of 1905 (her first year as a professional geographer) to work on Influences, but took time away for a further visit to Europe. ’199 Although Keltie was keen for Semple to lecture before the Society (and, indeed, also invited her to contribute a paper to The Geographical Journal), her plans changed and Semple returned to the United States without addressing the Society.

Rather than marking the terminus to this particular element of her research, however, the book was a prompt to a new and important phase of geography’s disciplinary development. In the chapter which follows, I trace the initial reaction to Semple’s book through an examination of reviews in the popular press and academic literature, and describe how these early readings framed the response to Influences. 45 3 Popular and scholarly reviews of Influences Common to work in the history of science and literary criticism is the idea that reception includes the afterlife of an initial textual encounter.

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