Anthropogeography (After Ratzel)

Anthropogeography, or the geography of Friedrich Ratzel, is widely acknowledged as the groundwork of human geography. Ratzel (1844–1904), who had studied, among other subjects, zoology in Heidelberg and Jena, was a German pharmacist, zoologist, and journalist. After having traveled over much of Europe as well as of North and Central America, he became established as an academic geographer first in Munich and then at Leipzig. Despite his education in the natural sciences, he developed a special interest into the relations between nature and humankind which led him to integrate humans firmly into his systematic pursuit of academic geography. Although he is often criticized today for his environmental determinism, it should be acknowledged that Ratzel led the way to a new form of human geography in which cultural, as well as natural, phenomena are subjected to systematic – and not only regional – study. His work, however, is characterized by a paradigmatic ambivalence which, in turn, is eventually responsible for ongoing discussions about anthropogeography’s emplacement in the history of the discipline.

Friedrich Ratzel

Tracing Anthropogeography in Ratzel’s Work and Life

‘Is Geography an Independent Discipline?’

Darwinian Concepts

Competing Geographical Imaginations

Anthropogeography as Imperialist Transformation of the Classical Paradigm of Geography

Political Impact and Deterministic Content of Ratzel’s Geography