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Carl Sauer on Culture and Landscape

Readings and Commentaries

480 pages / 6.12 x 9.25 inches / 1 halftone, 2 line drawings, 3 charts

ebook available


  Paperback / 9780807133941 / May 2009

Perhaps one of the most distinctive and studied geographers of the twentieth century, Carl O. Sauer (1889-1975) had influence that extends well beyond the confines of any one discipline. With a focus on historical and cultural geography, Sauer's essays have garnered praise from poets, natural historians, and social scientists alike who continue to explore Sauer's work. In Carl Sauer on Culture and Landscape, editors William M. Denevan and Kent Mathewson have compiled thirty-seven of Sauer's original works, including rare early writings, articles in now largely inaccessible publications, and transcriptions of key oral presentations that remain little known.

A student of the relationships between land and life, people and places, Sauer helped establish landscape studies in cultural geography and paved the way for paradigmatic shifts in the scholarly assessment of Native American history. By strongly advocating a land ethic, "a responsible stewardship of the sustaining earth," for his own and for future generations, Carl Sauer supplied an esthetic rationale and a historical perspective to the environmental movement.

The volume opens with two extended essays on Sauer's critics and his works. Essays by prominent geographers and other authorities on Sauer introduce each section of the book, adding a contemporary element to the presentation and interpretation of Sauer's life and scholarship in areas such as soil conservation, man in nature, and cultivated plants. A complete bibliography of his publications and an extensive compilation of commentaries on his life and work make this an indispensable reference.

Carl Sauer on Culture and Landscape sheds new light on Sauer's contributions to the history of geographic thought, sustainable land use, and the importance of biological and cultural diversity--all of which remain key issues today.

William M. Denevan is a professor emeritus in the Department of Geography at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is the author of Cultivated Landscapes of Native Amazonia and the Andes and editor of The Native Population of the Americas in 1492. Kent Mathewson is an associate professor in the Department of Geography and Anthropology at Louisiana State University. He is the author or coeditor of several books, including Culture, Land, and Legacy: Perspectives on Carl O. Sauer and Berkeley School Geography.

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