Cosgrove, Denis 1948-2008 (Denis E. Cosgrove, Denis Edmund Cosgrove)

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Cosgrove, Denis 1948-2008 (Denis E. Cosgrove, Denis Edmund Cosgrove)


See index for CA sketch: Born May 3, 1948, in Liverpool, England; died of stomach cancer, March 21, 2008. Cultural geographer, historian, educator, and author. Cosgrove became the Alexander von Humboldt Professor of Geography at the University of California in Los Angeles after a long academic career at British institutions, from Oxford Polytechnic in the 1970s to Royal Holloway, a college of the University of London, in the 1990s. In the 1980s he supplemented his teaching career with work as the director of the Landscape Research Group, but teaching was a commitment that he took quite seriously. Cosgrove was a cultural geographer—an academic who was less interested in the scientific and statistical elements of conventional geography and very much interested in the impact of the landscape and environment on culture, society, the arts, and the humanities. He was also interested in the history of geography and the representation (cartography) of landscape and topography. He explored the roles that imagination and ideology play in the realm of the mapmaker; for example, a tendency of temperate-zone cartographers of the past to depict the temperate zones as larger and more prominent than they actually are relative to the rest of the globe. Cosgrove's specialty was a new one for its time, and he founded the journal Ecumene: A Geographical Journal of Environment, Culture, and Meaning (now Cultural Geographies) as a scholarly meeting place for others of like mind. His focus on the role of creativity and imagination in geography earned him several honors, including the Back Award of the Royal Geographical Society. Cosgrove wrote or coauthored several books that have been described as scholarly in nature but rewarding to the diligent reader. They include The Iconography of Landscape: Essays on the Symbolic Representation, Design, and Use of Past Environments (1988), The Palladian Landscape: Geographical Change and Its Cultural Representations in Sixteenth-Century Italy (1993), Apollo's Eye: A Cartographic Genealogy of the Earth in the Western Imagination (2001), The Universe: A Convergence of Art, Music, and Science (2001), and Geographical Imagination and the Authority of Images (2006). Additional titles were reported to be in various stages of publication at the time of his death, including Geography and Vision: Seeing, Imagining, and Representing the World.



Times (London, England), April 10, 2008, p. 59.