The Myth of Continents: A Critique of Metageography

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University of California Press, 1997 - Nature - 344 pages
4 Reviews
In this thoughtful and engaging critique, geographer Martin W. Lewis and historian Kären Wigen reexamine the basic geographical divisions we take for granted, and challenge the unconscious spatial frameworks that govern the way we perceive the world. Arguing that notions of East vs. West, First World vs. Third World, and even the sevenfold continental system are simplistic and misconceived, the authors trace the history of such misconceptions. Their up-to-the-minute study reflects both on the global scale and its relation to the specific continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa—actually part of one contiguous landmass.

The Myth of Continents sheds new light on how our metageographical assumptions grew out of cultural concepts: how the first continental divisions developed from classical times; how the Urals became the division between the so-called continents of Europe and Asia; how countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan recently shifted macroregions in the general consciousness.

This extremely readable and thought-provoking analysis also explores the ways that new economic regions, the end of the cold war, and the proliferation of communication technologies change our understanding of the world. It stimulates thinking about the role of large-scale spatial constructs as driving forces behind particular worldviews and encourages everyone to take a more thoughtful, geographically informed approach to the task of describing and interpreting the human diversity of the planet.
  

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Review: The Myth of Continents: A Critique of Metageography

User Review  - Collin Case - Goodreads

This was some good shit. So, the way to my academic-heart is to name-drop Edward Said a few times. Lewis and Wigen definitely deliver in that category. One of my roommates made fun of me reading a ... Read full review

Review: The Myth of Continents: A Critique of Metageography

User Review  - Andrew - Goodreads

A fantastic book for changing the way you think about geography. It may not set up an alternative "metageography" as well as it deconstructs the existing options, but it does a good job of clearing ... Read full review

Contents

North South
1
and the Three Worlds
4
I
8
The Architecture of Continents
21
The seven continents and their displacement in the popular imagination
38
The Spatial Constructs of Orient
47
Seven versions of the West
51
Migrations of the East and the Orient
57
Toynbees civilizations of A D 1952
128
Civilizational boundaries circa 1200 ca
144
6
157
Gilles and Didier Robert de Vaugondys depiction of Asia 1798
160
S August Mitchells view of Asia 1849
164
Standard world regions circa 1975
169
A heuristic world regionalization scheme
187
NOTES
207

The Cultural Constructs of Orient
73
Eurocentrism and Afrocentrism
104
5
124
BIBLIOGRAPHY
285
INDEX
335
Copyright

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About the author (1997)

Martin W. Lewis is Associate Research Professor of Geography, Duke University, and author of Wagering the Land: Ritual, Capital, and Environmental Degradation in the Cordillera of Northern Luzon, 1900-1986 (California, 1992) and Green Delusions: An Environmentalist Critique of Radical Environmentalism (1994). Kären E. Wigen is Associate Professor of History, Duke University, and author of The Making of a Japanese Periphery, 1750-1920 (California, 1995).

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