RGS-IBG Annual International Conference

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference


Bringing geography to the book: charting the reception of Influences of geographic environment

It has been noted recently that ‘If the history of the book is now an established discipline, the geography of the book is still making up its rules’ (Price 2003, 334). Whilst geography has formed an important, yet often covert, component in the description and analysis of print culture, its specific and potential contribution to understanding the making, distribution, and reading of books has yet to be fully outlined.

This paper seeks to describe the different ways in which Ellen Churchill Semple’s 1911 volume Influences of geographic environment was received and understood—to explain why it was read both as a timely manifesto for a scientific approach to geographical research, and also a text which might damage the discipline’s legitimacy. In exploring what I would like to call Influences’ trajectory of diffusion, I argue that it is possible to chart a geography of its reception—to reveal a spatial particularity in its reading and reviewing. In so doing, I address more general questions relating to the epistemic and methodological bases of book geography, and describe the contribution that geography can make to explaining how knowledge and ideas, in the guise of the book, are communicated and received.

Period30 Aug 20061 Sept 2006
Event typeConference
LocationLondon, United KingdomShow on map