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forgive my ignorance(Cultural Geography)


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Hi all. I am a cultural anthropology undergrad who is very interested in pursuing a PhD. However, I'd like to do my graduate work in something that wouldn't force me to be a professor. Geography sounds interesting, but unfortunately my school doesn't offer any geography outside a GIS course. I'm still kind of confused as to what separates cultural geography from cultural anthropology. Would anyone be kind enough to enlighten me about your wonderful field? also, how is the job market for cultural geographers?

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Hello, I don't consider myself a cultural geographer, but I have some background in it and have taken a few classes in cultural geography. I can tell you about the basic things cultural geographers study:

-Globalization: How has globalization effected the cultures of various areas. With information traveling faster than ever (TV, internet, etc.) this has an effect on popular culture throughout the world. Trends started in one country can catch on in another almost instantly (music, fashion, video games). Another good example is food. Almost every large city in the world has a McDonalds and other fast food places. Globalization also brings ethnic foods to places as well (think of the number of Chinese/Indian/Mexican/etc. restaurants found in the U.S.)

-Cultural assimilation: When people immigrate from one place to another, what traditions do they keep from their homeland, and which ones do they change to the culture of their new home? Also, when large numbers of immigrants from one specific area to another specific area, it can have an effect on the surrounding culture (for example Chinatown in various large cities).

-Religion: Religion can have huge impacts on the culture of areas such as clothing, food, entertainment, architecture, etc.

-Environmental Determinism vs. Possibilism: There is a debate in cultural geography over environmental determinism (the environment determines the culture of an area) vs. possibilism (the environment has an effect on the culture of an area, but ultimately determined by the social conditions of the area)

One of the biggest things I had to do in one of my classes is study an areas "sense of place". Now this is a phrase that is kind of open-ended. But basically you study how people work, live, and interact with other people and the environment in the area, and how this differs from other areas. For example, the "sense of place" of New York City would be far different than a rural town in the Midwest.

Now I am not really sure what cultural anthropologists study (please excuse my ignorance), but basically cultural geographers how culture relates to a specific area.

Unfortunately, I don't think there is a huge job market for cultural geographers outside the academic world. Perhaps you could become a writer or something like that, but I think the large majority of cultural geographers stay in the academic world.

I hope this helped to answer some of your questions. If something isn't clear or if you have anything else to ask I can try to help.

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