The specialist-synthesis approach to the revival of geography: the case of cultural ecology

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

60 Scopus citations


Geography prospers within the major graduate and research institutions of the United States where and when it makes research contributions on a par with the rest of the academy; other prescriptions for its revival will have little impact in this realm. Geography has been unable to maintain these contributions when it embarks upon disciplinary trajectories that emphasize synthesis without expertise or specialization within a theoretical domain unto itself. Geography has flourished within the academy by addressing major conceptual and applied themes shared within an interdisciplinary format but by way of a specialist-synthesis fusion. This approach requires both a topical expertise commensurate with the affiliated fields of study and geographic synthesis of multi-variable interactions either in place or among places. This approach has been honed in the cultural ecology subfield of geography, a subfield perhaps more noted at the interdisciplinary level than within its home discipline. The development of the specialist-synthesis approach in cultural ecology is briefly examined, and two examples of its use are provided to address conceptual themes of multidisciplinary significance. -from Author

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAnnals - Association of American Geographers
Number of pages13
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)


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