In this line of research, the EHGO team considers the various spatial, social and political practices of geography. These projects aim to investigate the production and circulation of spatial knowledge (and more specifically of geographical knowledge), inside the environments where this knowledge is developed.
The challenge here is to reappraise the epistemology and history of geography, confronting them with notions such as scale, circulation, and actors in different areas of knowledge.
Five groups are currently working on these research themes:
Geography in the colonial context
This research is a part of the program “Construction and circulation of geographical knowledge concerning French Africa (19th - and 20th centuries)”. The group aims to track professional careers, with a focus on the political commitment of the main actors (the military, geographers, administrators), and consequences on their careers. The central issue is the label “colonial geography”.
A crossed history of French and German geographies in the 20th century
This international project (“German geography, French geography: a crossed history (end 19th – 20th century)” began in 2007, with participation by members of the EHGO team, and researchers from Leipzig and Berlin. The intention of this group is to study the cultural and scientific exchanges and transfers between France and Germany during the first half of the 20th century, corresponding to the period of the predominance of and competition between these two “national schools”.
Administrative knowledge of space
This project (“Administrative divisions and territorial projects: district as a tool for power”) aims first to examine administrative knowledge on district spaces. It focuses on the the territorial district as a means to wield administrative power. It investigates stability and innovation in territory since the end of the 18th century. The French spot is examined both on national scale and in case studies. The cases in Germany, Italy, Spain and Greece are also explored, in comparative manner.
Geographers and the issue of ethics
The two main lines of research in this project are: 1/ institutional: inventory of the existing “ethical principles” in geography, sociology and anthropology, and of the current European, Britain and Canadian articles of legislation in this field; analysis of the legislative texts and of their effects on geographical production. 2/ Epistemological: what is, or could be, an “ethical geography”, in relation to the issues in geography on the one hand, and in the new cartographic practices (“participative cartographies”), on the other. What are the orientations of the international debate on this matter?
Contemporary French geography and its new concepts
This project intends to study the epistemic status of the individual in contemporary French geography. Examining different topics (variety of the research projects, emergence of new theoretical discourses, development of practices derived from social sciences, ideological evolution), the aim is to understand the contemporary epistemological situation and the differentiations to be taken into account. The research program offers new readings of texts written in the period 1970-1990, to detect the emergence of this new theme: the individual.