Joseph E Schwartzberg
South Asia, especially India, has been my passion since my first visit to the region in 1955. Southeast Asia provides an important, but secondary, scholarly focus. There is no aspect of the human geography of those two regions that is not of interest to me; and my publications reflect that breadth of concern. They include works relating to subjects such as economic and social development, the geography of caste, folk regions, and the evolving political map. For nearly fifteen years, I and numerous collaborators, mainly historians, worked to produce A Historical Atlas of South Asia, which was originally published in 1978 and reissued in an updated edition in 1992. The joy to me of regional specialization comes largely from the opportunity it provides for field research and for interaction, not only with geographers, but also, largely through the Association for Asian Studies, with scholars in other social science and humanistic disciplines who share my interests.
For more than a decade I was one among many scholars working on a multi-volume History of Cartography. My own responsibility was to document the indigenous cartography of South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Himalayan region and Tibet, all of which is discussed in great detail in Volume II, Books One and Two. This project entailed extensive field research to uncover original cartographic artifacts in the areas in questions (alas, excluding Tibet) and in archives and museums in Europe and America. In addition to my interests in historical cartography and the history of cartography, I have a keen interest in map design and graphics in general.
I attach great importance to wedding my concerns as a scholar to my sense of being a World Citizen. This has a significant impact on the way I teach all of my courses, and is also reflected in certain of my publications; in my commitment to Minnesota Studies in International Development (MSID), a program that sends students to six Third World countries (including India) to serve as interns with grassroots development agencies; in my involvement with University's Institute of Global Studies; and in a variety of extra-curricular activities. Although I recognize the necessity for a diversity of approaches to our discipline, I believe that geographers should make greater efforts than they presently do to make themselves useful to society and to bring their unique perspective to bear in communicating with others in regard to important world, regional, and local problems. Our contacts should extend not merely to scholars in other disciplines, but to decision-makers in public affairs and business, and to the general public as well. In keeping with these concerns I have been trying since 1993 to promote a resolution of the Kashmir dispute, largely through the Kashmir Study Group, comprising a number of retired diplomats, three members of Congress, and some senior academic specialists on South Asia.