‘Critical of What?': Past and Current Issues in Critical Human Geography


  • Wendy Gibbons Simon Fraser University


Sociology, Critical Human Geography, Wendy Gibbons


The paper examines how agendas of social change and emancipatory politics have and continue to influence the evolution of intellectual traditions in academia. The paper focuses on critical human geography, which is currently experiencing unprecedented institutional acceptance. In this context, the paper asks two questions: First, what role have agendas of social change played in the historical development of critical human geography? And second, what are some of the issues currently facing its practitioners? Part one of the paper provides the socio-historical context to the evolution of critical human geography. Part two explores issues currently facing critical human geographers by presenting excerpts from the results of a questionnaire on critical geography that was distributed by the author to human geographers during the months of March and April 2001. Issues explored by respondents include the politics of self-identification, activism and the academy, and the policing of what counts as critical and perceived scholarly legitimacy.

Author Biography

Wendy Gibbons, Simon Fraser University

Wendy Gibbons (wendysgibbons@hotmail.com) is a doctoral student in the Department of Geography at Simon Fraser University. The interdisciplinary path that she has traced through academia includes the Humanities and Women's Studies. Her current research in Geography focuses on issues relating to urban development, globalization, and identity. Other research interests include critical approaches to Human Geography, critical research methodologies, and the cultures of cities.