“Historical geography’s contributions to understanding South Africa.”

Part of a larger study evaluating the contributions of historical geographers to understanding the settler colonies of the British Empire, the work at STIAS will focus on historical geography in South Africa, beginning with the work of NC Pollock and S Agnew (1963), and focusing in particular on the contributions of AJ Christopher, Professor Emeritus at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, who published a number of atlases, books, and articles on the development of the country and its human geography during the apartheid era. This work will consider Christopher’s work alongside that of historical geographers elsewhere and students of South African history who addressed related topics, and offer a close assessment of his scholarly contributions. Here as in the other studies in the book of which this is a part, Wynn will seek to produce “intellectual biographies” that set his subjects’ work in the contexts of time, place, and personal experience, while remaining aware of the limitations and pitfalls of such an approach. He has found that immersion in the locale in which the subject-scholar worked is invaluable in sharpening his grasp of the issues and challenges they faced.

Project leader(s):
  • Graeme Wynn (Department of Geography, University of British Columbia)

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