Article ID: CBB888906028

Fashioned in the Light of Physics: The Scope and Methods of Halford Mackinder's Geography (2019)


Throughout his career the geographer, and first reader in the ‘new’ geography at the University of Oxford, Halford Mackinder (1861–1947) described his discipline as a branch of physics. This essay explores this feature of Mackinder's thought and presents the connections between him and the Royal Institution professor of natural philosophy John Tyndall (1820–1893). My reframing of Mackinder's geography demonstrates that the academic professionalization of geography owed as much to the methods and instruments of popular natural philosophy and physics as it did to theories of Darwinian natural selection. In tracing the parallels between Tyndall and Mackinder, and their shared emphasis upon the technology of the magic lantern and the imagination as tools of scientific investigation and education, the article elucidates their common pedagogical practices. Mackinder's disciplinary vision was expressed in practices of visualization, and in metaphors inspired by physics, to audiences of geographers and geography teachers in the early twentieth century. Together, these features of Mackinder's geography demonstrate his role as a popularizer of science and extend the temporal and spatial resonance of Tyndall's natural philosophy.

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Authors & Contributors
Jackson, Roland
Adamo, Angelo
Tuboly, Adam Tamas
Hayes, Emily
Rankin, Jeremiah
Cantor, Geoffrey
VIET: Voprosy Istorii Estestvoznaniia i Tekhniki
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Physics in Perspective
Perspectives on Science
Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science
Llull: Revista de la Sociedad Española de Historia de las Ciencias y de las Técnicas
University of Chicago Press
Codice Edizioni
World Scientific
University of Pittsburgh Press
Oxford University Press
Il lavoro editoriale
Science and culture
Natural philosophy
Professions and professionalization
Tyndall, John
Faraday, Michael
Stebbing, Lizzie Susan
Colocci, Angelo
Kempe, Margery
Lydgate, John
Time Periods
19th century
20th century, early
Early modern
20th century
Great Britain
Weimar Republic (1919-1933)
London (England)
United States
Royal Institution of Great Britain
Royal Society of London
Royal Geographical Society
Oxford University

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