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Haskins Lecturers

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Donald W. Meinig

1992 Haskins Lecturer


Maxwell Research Professor of Geography, Syracuse University

The lecture was delivered on April 30 during the 1992 ACLS Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL

From the lecture program:
Donald W. Meinig is a native of the state of Washington. He holds degrees from the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, (B.S. 1948) and from the University of Washington, Seattle (MA 1950, Ph.D. 1953). He served on the faculty at the University of Utah from 1950 to 1959, and has been at Syracuse University since that time, serving as Chairman of the Geography Department from 1968 to 1973. In 1973 the Board of Trustees of Syracuse University in recognition of "distinguished scholarship and service" designated him Maxwell Professor of Geography. In 1990 he was appointed Maxwell Research Professor.

Professor Meinig has been a Fulbright Research Scholar at the University of Adelaide in Australia (1958) and a visiting professor at St. Andrews University, Scotland (1973) and at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1974). He has been a guest lecturer at more than 60 colleges and universities in the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, Israel, Australia, New Zealand and China.  In 1983 he was the President’s Guest Lecturer at the 50th Anniversary of the Institute of British Geographers in Edinburgh, gave the Carl O. Sauer Memorial Lecture at the University of California, Berkeley, and gave the Keynote Address to the CUKANZUS historical geography meeting at Oxford University. In 1965 he was awarded a citation "For Meritorious Contribution to the Field of Geography" by the Association of American Geographers for his work in historical geography. In 1966 he received a Guggenheim Fellowship for research on the cultural geography of the American West. In 1980 he was given a Faculty Enrichment Grant from the Canadian Embassy for field study in Atlantic Canada. In 1986 he was awarded the Charles P Daly Medal by the American Geographical Society, and the Master Teacher Award of the National Council on Geographic Education. In 1991 he was the first American-born geographer to be elected a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy. He is the author of numerous articles, most of which deal with the historical and cultural geography of the American West, as do three of his books: The Great Columbia Plain (1968), an award-winning study of his home region in the Pacific Northwest; Imperial Texas (1969), an interpretation of the sources and patterns of Texas culture; and Southwest: Three Peoples in Geographical Change (1971). He is currently at work, aided by an NEH fellowship (1987), on an historical interpretation of the full course of American regional and national development as outlined in "The Continuous Shaping of America: A Prospectus for Geographers and Historians," American Historical Review 83, 1978. Volume I of this projected 4-volume work, Atlantic America1492-1800 was published by Yale University Press in 1986, Volume II, Continental America1800-1867 is in press.

Professor Meinig has also been interested in the study and appreciation of landscape as expressions of history and culture, as displayed in the book The Interpretation of Ordinary Landscapes (1979) which he edited and to which he contributed several essays, including "Symbolic Landscapes" and "Reading the Landscape: An Appreciation of W G. Hoskins and J. B. Jackson." He served as Chief Editorial Consultant to the National Geographic Society for the 17-part series of maps on "The Making of America" published at intervals, 1983-88, and Chief Geographic Consultant for the NGS Centennial Project, Historical Atlas of the United States (1988). He was a member of the New York Council for the Humanities from 1979 to 1986.

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