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By Eric S. Sheppard, Trevor J. Barnes

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The discourse that emerges from Smith's book is similar to that of Chisholm's. Again there is a focus on empirical detail, the shunning of theory (although environmental determinism appears in the introductory chapter to Smith's book, it was dropped in later editions), and a penchant for geographical categorization. Smith is perhaps even more emphatic than Chisholm in emphasizing exchange and trade. For J. Russell Smith exchange and trade are irresistible impulses. Whenever one place has a surplus of one good, and another place a surplus of a different good, trade naturally unfolds between them.

Chisholm, however, was also speaking to an emerging community of academic geographers. His work became part of the broader process of institutionalizing geography as a discipline, especially after his appointment at Edinburgh University. Through Chisholm's role as an educator, economic geography as a newly invented discipline diffused, taking on efficacy: economic geography began changing the world. Chisholm's book was intimately connected to his life and times. The colonial project was certainly helped on its way by Chisholm's writings, but it wasn't there working behind his back ensuring that he wrote only the right words or drew only the right maps.

Chisholm's book met both needs. It provided the British business class with commercial geographical information, and British schools with a curricular template, a source of classroom information, and something to be displayed both to students and to school governors and inspectors. Chisholm, however, was also speaking to an emerging community of academic geographers. His work became part of the broader process of institutionalizing geography as a discipline, especially after his appointment at Edinburgh University.

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