Challenges and opportunities of teaching undergraduate history and philosophy of geography courses in a post-disciplinary setting

Authors: Henry Way*, James Madison University
Topics: Higher Education, Geographic Thought, History of Geography
Keywords: history and philosophy of geography, teaching geography in higher education
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Studio 4, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Drawing on ten years of teaching and developing a “history and philosophy of geography” course, this paper discusses the opportunities and challenges of such a course in the context of an undergraduate major. Reflecting on experiences and evidence from this class that emphasizes a holistic disciplinary understanding, examples of “best practices” and learning opportunities will be illustrated, framed by a discussion of the role and value of this kind of course at an undergraduate level. The benefits and limitations of “history and nature of the discipline” type classes will be contextualized here by the nature of the degree program, with its dual emphases on human-environmental issues and geospatial technology, and the more intangible opportunities for community building in a fragmented department setting. The particular challenges of building disciplinary identity in a program that finds itself in an age and in an institutional setting that emphasizes “transdisciplinarity” and multidisciplinary engagement will be examined.

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