Vision and the cultural in geography: a biographical interview with Denis Cosgrove

2014-11-06T14:46:50Z (GMT) by Tim Freytag Heike Jons
Through his work on the social and cultural politics of landscape and representation Denis Cosgrove has established an approach to cultural geography that is firmly rooted within the tradition of the humanities. Studying the historical and symbolic meanings of landscape in a Western European tradition that stretches from early Renaissance Italy to the modern world, his main books include 'Social Formation and Symbolic Landscape' (1984), 'The Iconography of Landscape' (1988) and 'The Palladian Landscape' (1993). More recently, he has explored the workings of mapping and cartography in 'Mappings' (1999) and 'Apollo's Eye: A Cartographic Genealogy of the Earth in the Western Imagination' (2001). The following interview conversation, conducted during the Hettner Lecture in Heidelberg on 30th June 2005, aims at offering insights into the interrelations of Denis Cosgrove's biography and his scholarly work. Drawing upon Livingstone's approach of considering the interplay between biography, place and scientific practice in order to achieve a deeper understanding of his oeuvre (Livingstone 2002), we hope that our interview contributes to ongoing discussions on Cosgrove's approach to cultural geography and stimulates an interest in rethinking different ways of practising cultural geography.