Finding a home: talking cultural geography

Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Boyd, WE 2004, 'Finding a home: talking cultural geography', Proceedings of Institute of Australian Geographers Conference, Adelaide, 13-16 April, Institute of Australian Geographers, Glenelg, SA.


We describe an inherently cultural activity: a conversation reflecting on why have we become cultural geographers, and how cultural geography affects our scholarship. Bill, an established geographer, supervises postgraduate students across the physical and human geographies. His cultural focus is the social construction of the past within contemporary landscapes. His students tend to be of his own age and life stage, mainly returning to academia after half-a-lifetime elsewhere. Peter has just completed Honours, and Wendy and David are completing their PhD research. We present the conversation as a reflection to inspire further conversations, thus enhancing understanding of cultural geography. Does it help us understand what cultural geography means for our scholarship and academic identity? We have all come to cultural geography late in our academic lives, and we all want to solve real-world environmental problems. Cultural geography provides a scholarly home resonating with our personal inclinations, so is our cultural geography an aging or maturing process? Importantly, the cultural focus certainly helps us contextualise the understanding and uniqueness of the situations we study, while real-world problems, facilitating change and multi-disciplinarity are important. Cultural geography provides opportunities to range across disciplines, borrow ideas, constructs and methods, and broaden communication.