Week 2 Overview

Week Two: Topics in Space and Place: Doing GeoHumanities (July 31-August 4)

This week will move from a general discussion of the genealogy of space and place to topic- based discussions of space and place as they are mobilized by scholars in a range of humanities disciplines. The topics will be:

  1. Space, Place, and Displacement,
  2. Space, Place, and Memory, and
  3. Space, Place and Creative Practice.

Monday, July 31, 2017

On Monday the course will feature visiting lecturer Wendy Harding, and we will consider the role of displacement as a form of exploration of being-in-place (linking back to Janz’s lectures in week one). Here, exploration and travel will be used as ways into thinking about the human engagement with place. We will watch and discuss the movie Patience (After Sebald) about the author WG Sebald and his relationship to the places of the east of England – often constructed through walking.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

On Tuesday we will explore these themes further in a discussion (Harding, Cresswell, Brown) of the work of Rebecca Solnit (Savage Dreams) and her consideration of connections between place and identity in the US context. In the evening, join us at Proof Gallery for an exhibition of maps from Rebecca Solnit’s latest book, Nonstop Metropolis, a collaboration with Joshua Jelly-Schapiro. The gallery will also host a reading by Cresswell of his place-based poetry sequence Fence along with a discussion of creative approaches to writing space and place.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Wednesday will move to the topic of ‘space, place and memory’ with a panel discussion with Harding, Kanouse, Cresswell, and Brown. The afternoon workshop will continue the discussion from Week 1 on creating a geohumanities research project.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

On Thursday discussion will switch to the links between space and place and the creative arts in an exploration of publicly engaged practices with artists whose work is consistently informed by work in the humanities. In addition to dialogue on the arts and public humanities,  the morning will feature an artist talk and walking tour with Catherine d’Ignazio and Andi Sutton concerning their environmental art and public education project, Boston Coastline Future Past.

Friday, August 4, 2017

To round out the week, participants will be led on an interactive guided walk of Deer Island by Nicholas Brown. Deer Island is one of 34 islands in the Boston harbor and part of the Boston Harbor Island National Recreation Area. Since 1995 it has been home to the Deer Island Waste Water Treatment Plant, the second largest sewage treatment plant in the United States. In less than two decades the plant has transformed what had been the nation’s dirtiest harbor into its cleanest urban harbor. The National Park Service describes the island as having a “varied past.” An interpretive sign near the main parking lot explains: “Since colonial days, Deer Island has served as a detention center for American Indians, a quarantine station and hospital for immigrants, an asylum for the city’s social outcasts and the poor, a reformatory for juvenile delinquents, an orphanage, a prison for petty criminals, and a military post.” We will explore the place-memory nexus through this fascinating history.