My research focuses mainly on the historical development and political usage of key geographical ideas, especially as conveyed through maps. I have written extensively on the classification of global space into large regional entities, such as continents, oceans, and world regions.
My secondary area of research is the historical geography of the Cordillera of Luzon, a mountainous area in the northern Philippines. My initial project here examined the interplay of cultural change, economic development, and environmental degradation through the course of the 20th Century.
I also write on environmental politics, propounding a techno-environmentalist position that seeks to maximize habitat preservation and restoration through pragmatic politics and the decoupling of economic processes from natural ecosystems. My recent writings on this subject have largely been in the form of book reviews published in Issues in Science and Technology.
My current research examines the various ways in which political, social, and cultural structures are expressed in in cartographic form. Over the past year, I have been examining the gradual emergence of state-centered mapping in European atlases from the late 1500s through the 1900s. In earlier periods, sovereign states rarely formed the main geographical units mapped below the level of the continent; instead, culturally, historically, and physically defined regions usually served in this function. Italy, for example, was mapped as a "country" long before it became a united, independent state in the late 1800s.
Rather than publishing my research findings in academic journals, I now post them on-line on the GeoCurrents.info weblog. My goal is to bring high-quality geographical information to the widest possible audience.
What is research but a blind date with knowledge.William Henry