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by Archaeology Newsroom

Geography and Time

Geography is not only the science of Space, but also of Time, since these two concepts are inseparable. However, depending on the era and the geographical schools and doctrines, the Time of Geography appears, disappears and is metamorphosed. The Middle Ages show little interest in Geography and their approach is a scholastic one: Time is frozen in antiquity. The Renaissance revives the interest in the real Space-Time concept, as Geography becomes the instrument for the great explorations and the recipient of the information they produce. Modern Geography meets the great currents running across the history of Europe, such as centralization and absolutism, nationalism, industrial revolution, colonialism, etc. It reaches maturity in the early twentieth century, when, through geographical determinism, it establishes a clear hierarchy of the various time-entities, i.e. earth structure and form, biology world, economy, society, etc. Post-modernism and globalization questioned the harmony of the classical geographical model, but they did not propose reliable alternatives for the revival of the geographical view. Thus, the two main streams of the “new Geography”, the quantitative and the Marxist, tried to renew the science by refuting either Time or Space.

The article presents various phases of the relation between Geography and Time and underlines that Geography needs to be adjusted to the “new times” of our epoch: the time of the Internet, the time of Dissemination, etc. This adjustment has to rely upon the re-interpretation of the geographical tradition, both modern and pre-modern.