Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Details

Gibson, C. R. (2009). Human geography. In R. Kitchin & N. Thrift (Eds.), International Encyclopedia of Human Geography (pp. 218-231). Amsterdam: Elsevier.


Human geography is a major subdiscipline within the wider subject field of geography. Traditionally, geography is considered the study of the Earth's environments and peoples, and the interactions between them. 'Geography' comes from ancient Greek origins (Eratosthenes was the first to use it), literally translating as 'to write or describe the world'. In classical and Enlightenment geography, humans and the 'natural' world were usually described in conjunction, often in a regional fashion, as Europeans encountered unfamiliar places in exploration and empire. Since the late nineteenth century, this conjoint understanding of geography - as describing the natural and human world, region by region - has gradually been augmented by more precise subdisciplinary pursuits and identities.