Recapping the History of the Antipodes: Reappraising Absolute and Relative Connotations




Albert, Donald
Stockwell, Nancy
Tiller, Jim

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The Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education


During the first half of the 20th century teaching and learning about the antipodes were considered a fundamental element within the undergraduate geography curricula. However, in the 1970s the antipodes were absent from Bacon's surveys of domain, core, and sphere concepts in human and physical geography. In fast forwarding to the 21st century, the term has virtually disappeared from introductory-level geography curricula. This exploration confirms that rather than being an obscure concept, the antipodes percolate across a diverse range of illustrations in mathematics, cartography, geology, astronomy, to cultural geography, literature and social theory. Our discourse supports reclaiming the antipodes for their geodetic value within the undergraduate introductory geography curriculum, but stresses sensitivities when using relative connotations in social, cultural, and political arenas.



geography, antipodes, geodesy, geographic illiteracy, absolute location, relative location


Albert, D., Stockwell, N., & Tiller, J. (2014). Recapping the history of the antipodes: Reappraising absolute and relative connotations. Research in Geographic Education, 16(2), pp. 5-25.


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