Between Livingstone and Sauer: A Comparative Essay

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While Carl Sauer and David Livingstone have both contributed to contemporary geography, they are products of very different time periods characterised by very different modes of thought. As such, the final product of their professional careers is also quite different.


Sauer, however, began to head the geography department at Berkeley in 1923, when geography was beginning to take form as an established discipline (Bruman 1996). In the late nineteenth century, geography was more of a reading genre than it was part of institutionalised academia. Robert Mayhew explains, in an essay by Wendy Gibbons, that geography texts were "essentially gazetteers, with headed paragraphs for conveying information about the nations of the world, starting with mathematical location before moving on to descriptive geography" (Gibbons 2001). Thus, given the different expectations of the time periods, the initial purposes, final results and methodology between the two men were also different.
Each time period has its own academic trends and priorities. Prominent public figures are often direct or indirect products of their intellectual surroundings. Therefore, it is valuable to take a look at the academic climates in which Livingstone and Sauer made their respective contributions as well as their various purposes in embarking on their adventures, whether they be academic or otherwise.
Livingstone conducted his explorations during what is considered the new imperial age of exploration. This was a time of expansion, the expansion of territories as well as of ideas. ...
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