Alastair Dougal Couper, 1931-2018; David Lowenthal, 1923-2018


During the past fortnight, Geography has lost two of its most storied and influential practitioners.


Alastair Couper was Professor of Maritime Studies at the University of Cardiff, Wales, where he was Director of the Seafarers International Research Centre. He worked fearlessly to expose “theft, slavery and violence at sea” [Fishers and Plunderers, 2015; Voyages of Abuse, 1999]. Ten years at sea as a master mariner was his prelude to academia, the World Maritime University (Malmö, Sweden), and the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. Alastair’s maritime history of the Pacific peoples originated in his Ph.D. thesis at ANU.


David Lowenthal was Professor of Geography at University College London, following many years at the American Geographical Society in New York. He received the British Academy Medal in 2016 for The Past Is a Foreign Country—Revisited, honouring “a landmark academic achievement which has transformed understanding in the humanities and social sciences.” His deeply insightful works have ranged from the West Indies and George Perkins Marsh through heritage issues to landscape interpretation—including Australia. Few of us will die at 95, as David did, while proof-reading his last book, Quest for the Unity of Knowledge.


The saddest of farewells to you both. May we forge on in your wake, with fair winds and a following sea.

Emeritus Professor Bruce Ryan
University of Cincinnati, USA

September 21, 2018

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