The Meeting on "Historical Geography" in the House of Literati
Rahnamaei: The identity of a nation is formed based on its history and geography
11 Sep 2011 18:23
Tehran University professor emeritus of geography said at the meeting on "Historical Geography": history and geography are not separated, because geography and history are considered as the identity of a country or every individual as well. The discussion of historical geography should be sought in two branches of history and geography, since history and geography are formed just in the mind of a curious man.
IBNA: The special meeting of the Month Book of History and Geography held on Monday morning (September 5) in the House of Literati of Book House Institute , was dedicated to the discussion of "Historical Geography" with the presence of Dr. Hussein Qorchanlu, (full-time, emeritus professor of historical geography at Tehran University), Dr. Mohammad Taqi Rahnamaei, (emeritus professor of geography at Tehran University), Dr. Hojatollah Joodaki (history researcher) and Zahir Siyamiyan (the meeting Secretary).
Dr. MT Rahnamaei, the emeritus geography professor of Tehran University said: geography was founded in Dar-al-Fonoon as a new academic discipline in the second half of the 19th century. This field was located beside the eight other fields such as medicine, engineering, artillery, natural and etc.; all of which were considered as those days’ modern sciences. During the years after Dar-al-Fonoon, we have witnessed the presence of these two fields at the Superior Training College.
He added: In Iran, geography deals with the description of towns, villages and countries, and describes mostly the territories. History also has been changed into mere narrating events and describing those who have been influential and effective in producing a country’s history; because during the transition period, from Dar-al-Fonoon towards university, the responsible planners couldn’t realize the need for novels
He added: the book entitled: “The Nature of Geographic Science” was published in 1934, a book at the level of a great atlas which indicates how the German geographers had advanced the geographic science in 19 century, but nothing of that time could be found in this regard in Iran.
Referring also to the pathology of history he said: in the field of history we suffered from some sort of inactivity; we read about the ancient time up to the Safavid era and then till the current time we have just reviewed the history briefly; and this method shows that the history has also suffered from inactivity in its content and evolution as well.
He added: the history and geography have found no function in the country and the alumni are also those who only embark on educational jobs and teaching. This pathology of historical geography should be observed in the demand market.
He pointed out to the books on geography and said: The book "The Military Geography of Iran" is one of the most valuable resources. The author was well aware of the military geography and map reading tactics and has published several long articles and papers about British Baluchistan, Soviet Turkestan, Caucasus, Turkey, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia in the form of booklet and a small book.
Rahnamaei reminded: there is another book that is among the first books written in three volumes on “Iran Detailed Geography”, but was seen and judged as political and thus was unable to obtain enough attention in the market.
He added: looking at the scientific developments, it will be found that the Westerners have always looked at the science as a commodity which is actually subject to supply and demand. In Iran people used to give more value to medicine and engineering, and even the posts such as presidency of organizations and universities are given to doctors.
The former professor of geography at Tehran University said: historical geography is indeed the science of evolution and shows that geographical perspectives emerge over time. The natural and livelihood perspectives are also among the cases which have been shaped over time se well.
He also pointed out to the effective elements and components, and said: time, place, human and perspective are considered as the four elements and components in the historical geography. Time includes historical sense, place includes geographic sense, human includes vector of developments and prospects, and perspective also includes geographical space. This perspective may be the same forest, desert, mountains, cities, villages and ... which is manipulated by human being.
He also referred to the pathology of historical geography and said: the devaluation of geography and history is clearly observable in the schools and universities and we ought to think about a solution in this regard. If we explore and review the public and academic educational policies, we will see that modernism has not been actually implemented in the body of educational system yet.
This translator of geography books also noted: in the Hozeh Elmieh (Islamic religious schools) the obligation of the professor was mostly to raise a question and the students had to discuss over that issue. Today, the Westerners use the same way in their schools and universities in order to motivate the students to think.
He added: Every ones’ mind has been involved with history and geography; when you go abroad to visit another country, the first thing everyone wants to know about you is: “where are you from?” and if you answer that you are from Iran, everyone knows that you have an ancient history and culture. As a result, history and geography indicate the identity of a country and an individual as well. As an example, every Western farmer family has a metal detector device by which they search constantly the field to find even an old coin or other ancient things to show their identities and history older than what is expected.
Rahnamaei said: If you look at the geography in the sense of cosmology and/or to study the area of a country’s territory, we will approach to the issue locally; and if you look at it thematically it will include urbanization in the Middle East, or the Middle East Geography. The same is true about history; with the same two visions and a common scale can be an important issue in this field.
He added: it is possible to have both local and regional history and also both local and regional geography as well. No discipline can be found which has been classified in this way; which would be able to consider both the world’s history and geography at the same time.