geography

musings

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Just two weeks left in the semester. We’re all limping or somedays skipping to the finish line. I just returned from New Orleans where I attended my first Association of American Geographers (AAG) conference.

It was great meeting new people including professors and students from the University of North Alabama. This conference had some of the most laid back group of scholars I have ever seen. I was told that the field work often finds such individuals dressing more casually. Whatever the reasons, I can dig it.

Above is a picture of the Mississippi River right there near the French Quarter. Seeing it again brings memory of my past research on the antebellum South as it relates to freed people relocating to Cincinnati owing to their messy ties to monied white slaveholders.

The river gives way, too, to thoughts about my ongoing interest in the Florida peninsula as a space to understand the across time negotiations of marginalized groups.

That’s a fancy way of saying “the shape of the state or my awareness of the landscape and the power of other people in it who look (or don’t look) like me has had some effect on how I make my life a little better.”

Says the Seminole Indian.

Says the turn of the century black Bahamian.

Says the UM football player circa 1980s.

All this as I head next to the North American Society for Sport History meeting in Winnipeg (NASSH) to present a paper and keep pushing my thinking. Tina Campt’s Listening to Images (Duke University Press, 2017) was reading material on the Amtrak I took down to NOLA and back.

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Speaking of NOLA again, I loved my stay at the Tapestry Troubadour. Cheaper than the conference hotel with an Erykah Badu-like portrait in my room

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Loved, too, the decor at Red Gravy where I had brunch with Alisa Shockley of Temple.

IMG_1049.JPG She was in my Summer Pre-doc cohort at U of Illinois eight years ago. I remember smiling as I heard her present her work on space in Chicago, one of the cities where I first learned about historical geography.

Other highlights included hearing cultural studies scholar George Lipsitz, author of the one of the assigned readings my grad students discussed via the GroupMe app that I used on the Amtrak. “Black freedom,” he said as a commenter on one panel, is “predicated on space and location.”

I hear you.

I also appreciated hearing him quote Tricia Rose when he addressed the need to find “much to love in the unloveable.” Common ground is so necessary for the oppressed groups who are pitted against each other.

I dug, too, mention of landscape as archive. I take note of this as I head out into the “field” next fall with my Antebellum America class.

What will be our soundtrack? I ask with memory of DJ Lynnee Denise‘s presentation at AAG (and my earlier use of vinyl, mix tapes and music in the classroom) in mind.

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Meanwhile, just glad to be home after scary weather on the ride back. Here’s a photo of Meridian, Mississippi, as we approached that city’s train depot with a tornado warning.IMG_1081.JPG

Postscript: Also digging catching up on Bey at Coachella and watching the names of students enrolled in my two Fall 2018 classes. New faces and old ones. Yes! Can’t wait to meet them all.

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