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Subject Information

Geography / Earth Sciences



Martin Scheuplein

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Library Holdings and Acquisitions

Due to the long tradition of the subject at MLU, the library has an extensive old stock of literature relating to geography. After 1945, it was possible to acquire Western literature, next to literature produced in the GDR, on a large scale through purchase or by means of extensive exchanges and gifts. Likewise, there is still a considerable stock of Russian-language specialist literature present in the collection today. Per the 3rd university reform of the GDR in 1968, the Geographical Institute of the University of Leipzig was dissolved. The library and teaching collection henceforth were integrated into the holdings of the Department of Geography at the University of Halle.

The current collection foci are aligned with the prevailing profile of university teaching and research. A special focus constitutes the collection of national atlases and teaching materials for geography didactics. The acquisition of electronic media is continuously gaining in importance.

Finding and Using

Specialized literature on geography is mainly located in the Branch Library Geosciences . More recent literature is shelved according to the RVK, whilst older holdings are shelved according to an individual classification system.

Collection of Subject-Relevant Links


Electronically available journals of the specific subject are indexed in the Electronic Journals Library (EZB).


There are various subject databases available for researching subject-specific literature. Those are indexed in the ULB's Database Information System (DBIS).

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History and Profiling of the Subject

Since the beginnings of the University of Halle, students have been offered lectures on geographical matters. However, this happened within the framework of studies in theology, philosophy, mathematics or economics (political sciences). It was not until 1873 that an independent chair for geography was established at the University of Halle-Wittenberg. Since then, the subject of geography has been continuously represented there as an independent unit of the university.


In the subject’s early years, the study focus primarily lay on training geography teachers. However, new areas of specialisation soon emerged from the fledgling geography department in Halle. Especially noteworthy in this context are regionally focused studies of Germany and historical geography.


The Second World War as well as the GDR’s higher education politics from 1969 onwards marked a drastic caesura for the subject. Independent geography sections were formed at the universities of Berlin, Greifswald and Halle as well as at the specialised teacher training colleges in Potsdam and Dresden. The geography institutes at the universities of Rostock, Jena and Leipzig, on the other hand, were dissolved. The content of the subject, which has already been offered as a degree course in Halle since 1951, was now leaning more towards an increasingly politically controlled landscape ecology, (Marxist-Leninist) economic geography, agrarian geography and territorial planning.


After 1989, new professorship chairs were created at the Institute of Geography, whose content was rather aligned with contemporary research foci in geography. Thus, geography chairs for cartography and remote sensing as well as spatial and environmental planning were temporarily staffed. The current foci of geographical studies relate to the areas of physical geography/geoecology, anthropogeography, sustainable landscape development and digital geography. In addition, after long vacancy, there is once again a professorship for the didactics of geography with a focus on sustainable education in existence.