Revisiting explanation in Geography

Type: Virtual Panel
Sponsor Groups: Economic Geography Specialty Group, History of Geography Specialty Group, Political Geography Specialty Group
Organizers: Henry Yeung
Chairs: Henry Yeung


Just about half a century ago, David Harvey (1969: 486) ended his Explanation in Geography by the grand statement that “By our theories you shall know us”. Today, it is not exaggerating to claim that human geography has been characterized by lots of theories but perhaps too few good explanations of diverse geographical phenomena. Geographers are now better known for their theories than their explanatory power. This panel seeks to bring together a number of leading and mid-career geographers to engage in a constructive dialogue on what Geography’s explanatory mission might be and how we can achieve it better in the next one to two decades. This epistemological task is particularly necessary and timely in the present world in which intellectual critiques and academic theories seem to have lost their public appeal and trust in many democracies. Revisiting explanation in human geography can be a way forward to rebuild the analytical rigor and public relevance of our discipline.


Type Details Minutes
Introduction Henry Yeung National University of Singapore 5
Panelist Susan Roberts University Of Kentucky 10
Panelist Eric Sheppard UCLA 10
Panelist Matthew Sparke University Of California Santa Cruz 10
Panelist Michael Storper London School of Economics - London 10

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