We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more

Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Price: $124.95

Hardback 584 pp.
146 photos; 57 figures; 103 maps, 8.5" x 11"



Copyright Year:

Imprint: OUP Canada

Share on Facebook

Companion Site
OUP Canada Gratis request form
Add to Favourites Tell a Friend

Human Geography

Ninth Edition

William Norton and Michael Mercier

With a well-balanced mix of international and Canadian examples, the ninth edition of this bestselling text traces the evolution of the discipline across the globe, examining the ways in which human behaviour transforms the earth's surface in response to changing social, cultural, political, and environmental needs.

Readership : Human Geography is a core text for human geography courses, generally taught in first and second year out of geography, environmental studies, or earth science departments at Canadian universities.


  • "This is my favourite introductory human geography textbook. . . . This text provides a solid foundation for intro human geography. It introduces the key vocabulary in an accessible way and draws in a variety of current research in a way that makes geography both interesting and approachable."
    --Patricia Fitzpatrick, University of Winnipeg

  • "Most other texts are American-focused or Canadian adaptations of American texts. Of the global texts, Norton and Mercier is the best at a comprehensive treatment of human geography."
    --Brent Doberstein, University of Waterloo

Note: All chapters end with:
- Conclusion
- Summary
- Links to Other Chapters
- Questions for Critical Thought
- On the Web
Introduction: The Roads Ahead
Three Recurring Themes
Why "Human" Geography?
The Goal of Human Geography
About This Book
The Human Geographer at Work
1. What Is Human Geography?
Preclassical Geography
Classical Geography
The Fifth to Fifteenth Centuries: Geography in Europe, China, and the Islamic World
The Age of European Overseas Movement
Geography Rethought
Institutionalization: 1874-1903
Prelude to the Present: 1903-1970
Human Geography Today: Recent Trends and Subdisciplines
2. Studying Human Geography
Philosophical Options
Human Geographic Concepts
Techniques of Analysis
3. Geographies of Globalization
Introducing Globalization
Geography as a Discipline in Distance
Overcoming Distance: Transportation
Overcoming Distance: Trade
Overcoming Distance: Transnationals
Overcoming Distance: Transmitting Information
Interpreting, Conceptualizing, and Measuring Globalization
The Global Economic System
Cultural Globalization
Political Globalization
Globalization: Good or Bad?
4. Humans and Environment
A Global Perspective
Environmental Ethics
Human Impacts on Vegetation
Human Impacts on Animals
Human Impacts on Land, Soil, Air, and Water
Human Impacts on Climate
Earth's Vital Signs
Sustainability and Sustainable Development
5. Population Geography
Natural Increase
Government Policies
The Composition of a Population
History of Population Growth
Explaining Population Growth
Distribution and Density
6. Global Inequalities
Explaining Global Inequalities
Identifying Global Inequalities
Feeding the World
Disasters and Diseases
Prospects for Economic Growth
Striving for Equality, Fairness, and Social Justice
7. Geographies of Culture and Landscape
A World Divided by Culture?
Formal Cultural Regions
Vernacular Cultural Regions
The Making of Cultural Landscapes
8. Geographies of Identity and Difference
The Cultural Turn
The Myth of Race
Identities and Landscapes
Geographies of Well-Being
Folk Culture and Popular Culture
9. Political Geography
State Creation
Introducing Geopolitics (and Geopolitik)
Unstable States
Groupings of States
Elections: Geography Matters
The Geography of Peace and War
Our Geopolitical Future?
10. Agricultural Geography
The Agricultural Location Problem
Distance, Land Value, and Land Use
Domesticating Plants and Animals
The Evolution of World Agricultural Landscapes
World Agriculture Today: Types and Regions
Global Agricultural Restructuring
Food Production, Food Consumption, and Identity
11. An Urban World
An Urbanizing World
The Origins and Growth of Cities
The Location of Cities
Urban Systems and Hierarchies
Global Cities
12. The City and Urban Form
Explaining Urban Form
Housing and Neighbourhoods
Suburbs and Sprawl
Inequality and Poverty
Cities as Centres of Production and Consumption
Transportation and Communication
Planning the City
Cities of the Less Developed World
13. Geographies of Energy and Industry
The Industrial Location Problem
The Industrial Revolution
Fossil Fuel Sources of Energy
World Industrial Geography
Globalization and Industrial Geographies
Uneven Development in More Developed Countries
Conclusion: Where Next?
Changing Human Geographies
A Changing Discipline
Being a Human Geographer: Where We Began
Suggested Readings
Appendix 1: Human Geography on the Web NEW
Online Appendices (taken from the 8/e):
Online Appendix 3: The Evolution of Life
Appendix 2: Global Physical Geography
A Habitable Planet
Global Environment
Suggested Readings
On the Web
Appendix 3: The Evolution of Life
Life on Earth
Human Origins
Suggested Readings
On the Web

Instructor Resources:
Instructor's Manual:
For each chapter:
- 6 learning objectives
- Expanded key concepts (2-5)
- 4-5 discussion questions
- 3-5 teaching aids
Image Bank:
- All photos, tables, and figures from the book
Test Generator:
For each chapter:
- 75 multiple choice questions
- 30 true-or-false questions
- 15 short-answer questions
- 12 essay questions
PowerPoint Slides:
- 30-50 slides per chapter
Student Resources:
Student Study Guide:
- RSS feed of human geography news stories
For each chapter:
- Chapter overview
- 6-10 learning objectives
- Key terms
- 5-7 research questions
- 7-10 relevant weblinks
- Interactive practice quizzes
-- 10-12 multiple choice questions
- 5-7 interactive study flash cards
- 2-3 YouTube videos with 2-5 questions for critical thought per video
- 3-5 suggested readings
Online Appendices:
- Appendix 1: Global Physical Geography (taken from the 8e)
- Appendix 2: The Evolution of Life (taken from the 8e)
- Additional content tied to text via "More Online" icon
Google Earth Tutorials:
- 24 Google Earth tutorials (12 new to this edition)
E-Book (ISBN 9780199019564)

William Norton is a senior scholar in the Department of Environment and Geography at the University of Manitoba. He is also an author, with Margaret Walton-Roberts, of the third edition of Cultural Geography (OUP Canada, 2013).

Michael Mercier is an assistant professor in the School of Geography and Earth Sciences at McMaster University.

Qualitative Research Methods in Human Geography - Edited by Iain Hay
Communicating in Geography and the Environmental Sciences - Iain Hay and Philip Giles
Making Sense in Geography and Environmental Sciences - Margot Northey, Dianne Draper and David B. Knight
Canadian Oxford World Atlas - Edited by Quentin Stanford

Special Features

  • International examples throughout offer students a global perspective on human geography.
  • The only ground-up Canadian book of its kind, incorporating a wealth of up-to-date Canadian examples where appropriate.
  • Praised by reviewers for its clear and comprehensible presentation of concepts and examples.
  • The product of a lifetime of teaching and research, the text offers an authoritative and comprehensive introduction to the discipline.
  • Thematic approach provides context through three recurring themes - Humans and Land, Regional Studies, and Spatial Analysis - that organize and unify the text.
  • An excellent art program features easy-to-read maps, beautiful photographs, and full-colour boxes and figures.
  • Historical coverage of the discipline helps students understand the origins and evolution of human geography and provides insight into its future.
  • An engaging box program highlights attention-grabbing topics that invite students to think about ideas in human geography from many angles:
  • Contributed Focus on Geographers boxes feature active geographers discussing their current research, offering students insight into the careers of human geographers.
  • In the News boxes draw students' attention to current events that relate to human geography.
  • Examining the Issues boxes look at key theoretical areas of the discipline such as environmental determinism, Marxist thought and practice, psychogeography, and the geography of fear.
  • Around the Globe boxes explore topics such as the World Trade Organization, declining fertility, and flooding in Bangladesh, offering students a global perspective on human geography.
  • Additional web content indicated in the text by a marginal icon.
New to this Edition
  • Thoroughly updated and expanded discussions of key topics - including urban issues (Ch. 11-12), deindustrialization (Ch. 13), aging populations (Ch. 5), Islamic State terrorism (Ch. 3), and Ebola (Ch. 6), as well as enhanced and streamlined coverage of globalization (Ch. 3) - to provide students with a current introduction to human geography.
  • Streamlined to present content more efficiently to provide a book that works in one-semester courses.
  • Fully updated statistics, maps, and tables throughout provide a current look at the discipline.
  • Companion website - updated student resources include Google Earth tutorials, student quizzes, and video links.