Curiosity, Inquiry, and the Geographical Imagination


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Sauer's animating spirit of inquiry is discussed as is the work of his scholarly descendants his former graduate students.

The final section of the book is devoted to Gade's intellectual autobiography and discusses why questions occurred to him, how he went about seeking answers, and why there were some he questions be abandoned. Author: Briavel Holcomb.

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Date: Sept. Document Type: Book review.

Length: words. Sign In to view the full article. Gale Academic Onefile , Accessed 23 Sept. For Carl O. Their curiosity-driven studies converging space, time, ecology, and culture involved a fluid and unpredictable process of intellectual discovery. This book, combining the empirical with the philosophical and reflexive, describes how the power of intrinsic motivation and the thread of a romantic consciousness blend with the joy of polymathic exploration.

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It offers fresh insights and personal reflections on timely and varied topics such as urban environmental change, disease ecology, wilderness, and food plant biodiversity. Somehow he makes it all hang together and impart a clear humanistic, but also a valid scientific message. Throughout his quest to understand this geographically diverse region Daniel Gade integrates the imagination of an expert geographer with the research skills of a natural and cultural historian.

He presents a holistic vision of the Andes, and of the world, that broadens the perspective achieved solely by objective scientific methods of inquiry. In a series of essays that illustrate the convergence of nature and culture Gade demonstrates how traditional scientific preconceptions have hindered critical thinking.

Daniel W. Gade

By showing, among other examples, that highland Incas who were thought to be incapable of functioning in the jungle have cultivated coca in warm forested valleys for generations, that the absence of trees in the Andes has long been attributed solely to climate without consideration of agriculture or human activity, and that llamas and alpacas are not—as popular knowledge has long maintained—sources of milk Gade encourages us to look beyond the obvious to see the true complexity of ecological relationships. This work examines the valley of the Urubamba River in terms of vertical zonation, Incan impact on the environment, plant use, the history of exploration and the notion of discovery, the idea of land reform, and cultural contact with the European world.


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Winding its path northward from the Andean Highlands to the Amazon, the valley has served as the stage of pre-Columbian civilizations and focal point of Spanish conquest in Peru. This book should serve as an inspiration for all scholars who wish to pursue the Sauerian, counter enlightenment or post development agendas of understanding and respecting particular places in all their historical and cultural complexity, including ambiguities and contradictions.

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Valparaiso University. University of Illinois at Urbana—Champaign.

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University of Wisconsin—Madison. His main interests were in the fields of cultural geography and historical geography, as well as ethnobotany, cultural ecology, and mountain research. Moreover, Gade also investigated cultural landscapes of francophone Canada, Spain and Portugal, highland Madagascar, southern France and northern Italy. Back to Profile.


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