295 episodes

Interviews with Geographers about their New Books
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New Books in Geography Marshall Poe

    • Science
    • 4.3 • 9 Ratings

Interviews with Geographers about their New Books
Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/geography

    Stefanie K. Dunning, "Black to Nature: Pastoral Return and African American Culture" (UP of Mississippi, 2021)

    Stefanie K. Dunning, "Black to Nature: Pastoral Return and African American Culture" (UP of Mississippi, 2021)

    In Black to Nature: Pastoral Return and African American Culture (University Press of Mississippi, 2021), author Stefanie K. Dunning considers both popular and literary texts that range from Beyoncé’s Lemonade to Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones. These key works restage Black women in relation to nature. Dunning argues that depictions of protagonists who return to pastoral settings contest the violent and racist history that incentivized Black disavowal of the natural world. Dunning offers an original theoretical paradigm for thinking through race and nature by showing that diverse constructions of nature in these texts are deployed as a means of rescrambling the teleology of the Western progress narrative. In a series of fascinating close readings of contemporary Black texts, she reveals how a range of artists evoke nature to suggest that interbeing with nature signals a call for what Jared Sexton calls “the dream of Black Studies”—abolition.
    Black to Nature thus offers nuanced readings that advance an emerging body of critical and creative work at the nexus of Blackness, gender, and nature. Written in a clear, approachable, and multilayered style that aims to be as poignant as nature itself, the volume offers a unique combination of theoretical breadth, narrative beauty, and broader perspective that suggests it will be a foundational text in a new critical turn towards framing nature within a cultural studies context.
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    • 43 min
    James Cheshire and Oliver Uberti, "Atlas of the Invisible: Maps and Graphics That Will Change How You See the World" (W. W. Norton, 2021)

    James Cheshire and Oliver Uberti, "Atlas of the Invisible: Maps and Graphics That Will Change How You See the World" (W. W. Norton, 2021)

    Award-winning geographer-designer team James Cheshire and Oliver Uberti transform enormous datasets into rich maps and cutting-edge visualizations. In this triumph of visual storytelling, they uncover truths about our past, reveal who we are today, and highlight what we face in the years ahead. In Atlas of the Invisible: Maps and Graphics That Will Change How You See the World (W. W. Norton, 2021), Cheshire and Uberti explore happiness levels around the globe, trace the undersea cables and cell towers that connect us, examine hidden scars of geopolitics, and illustrate how a warming planet affects everything from hurricanes to the hajj. Years in the making, Atlas of the Invisible invites readers to marvel at the promise and peril of data, and to revel in the secrets and contours of a newly visible world.
    Winner of the 2021 British Cartographic Society Awards including the Stanfords Award for Printed Mapping and the John C. Bartholomew Award for Thematic Mapping.
    Galina Limorenko is a doctoral candidate in Neuroscience with a focus on biochemistry and molecular biology of neurodegenerative diseases at EPFL in Switzerland.
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    • 1 hr 8 min
    Max Liboiron and Josh Lepawsky, "Discard Studies: Wasting, Systems, and Power" (MIT Press, 2022)

    Max Liboiron and Josh Lepawsky, "Discard Studies: Wasting, Systems, and Power" (MIT Press, 2022)

    An argument that social, political, and economic systems maintain power by discarding certain people, places, and things. Discard studies is an emerging field that looks at waste and wasting broadly construed. Rather than focusing on waste and trash as the primary objects of study, discard studies looks at wider systems of waste and wasting to explore how some materials, practices, regions, and people are valued or devalued, becoming dominant or disposable. 
    In Discard Studies: Wasting, Systems, and Power (MIT Press, 2022), Max Liboiron and Josh Lepawsky argue that social, political, and economic systems maintain power by discarding certain people, places, and things. They show how the theories and methods of discard studies can be applied in a variety of cases, many of which do not involve waste, trash, or pollution. Liboiron and Lepawsky consider the partiality of knowledge and offer a theory of scale, exploring the myth that most waste is municipal solid waste produced by consumers; discuss peripheries, centers, and power, using content moderation as an example of how dominant systems find ways to discard; and use theories of difference to show that universalism, stereotypes, and inclusion all have politics of discard and even purification—as exemplified in “inclusive” efforts to broaden the Black Lives Matter movement. Finally, they develop a theory of change by considering “wasting well,” outlining techniques, methods, and propositions for a justice-oriented discard studies that keeps power in view.
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    • 50 min
    Ruth Wilson Gilmore, "Abolition Geography: Essays Towards Liberation" (Verso, 2022)

    Ruth Wilson Gilmore, "Abolition Geography: Essays Towards Liberation" (Verso, 2022)

    Gathering together Ruth Wilson Gilmore’s work from over three decades, Abolition Geography: Essays Towards Liberation (Verso, 2022) presents her singular contribution to the politics of abolition as theorist, researcher, and organizer, offering scholars and activists ways of seeing and doing to help navigate our turbulent present.
    Edited and introduced by Brenna Bhandar and Alberto Toscano, Abolition Geography moves us away from explanations of mass incarceration and racist violence focused on uninterrupted histories of prejudice or the dull compulsion of neoliberal economics. Instead, Gilmore offers a geographical grasp of how contemporary racial capitalism operates through an “anti-state state” that answers crises with the organized abandonment of people and environments deemed surplus to requirement. Gilmore escapes one-dimensional conceptions of what liberation demands, who demands liberation, or what indeed is to be abolished. Drawing on the lessons of grassroots organizing and internationalist imaginaries, Abolition Geography undoes the identification of abolition with mere decarceration, and reminds us that freedom is not a mere principle but a place.
    In this interview, we spent time unpacking how the book came to be, its focus, and its central concept: abolition geography. Among other things, we discussed the meaning and merits of taking a specifically geographical approach to abolition, Ruthie’s activist and intellectual influences, and the role of scholars in bringing about a more just world.
    Ruth Wilson Gilmore is Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences and American Studies at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, where she is also Director of the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics. She is also the author of Golden Gulag and Opposition in Globalizing California.
    Catriona Gold is a PhD candidate in Geography at University College London. She is currently researching the US Passport Office's role in governing Cold War travel, and broadly interested in questions of security, surveillance and mobility.
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    • 57 min
    Mahshid Mayar, "Citizens and Rulers of the World: The American Child and the Cartographic Pedagogies of Empire" (UNC Press, 2022)

    Mahshid Mayar, "Citizens and Rulers of the World: The American Child and the Cartographic Pedagogies of Empire" (UNC Press, 2022)

    In this episode of New Books in Literary Studies, John Yargo spoke with Mahshid Mayar about how children’s puzzles and schoolbooks at the turn of the 20th century helped shape U.S. political relations with the world. Professor Mayar is an assistant professor of American Studies at Bielefeld University and research associate at the English Department, Amherst College. Mahshid has just published Citizens and Rulers of the World: The American Child and the Cartographic Pedagogies of Empire, with the University of North Carolina Press. Citizens and Rulers of the World recovers how American children at the turn of the 20th century navigated knowledge about world geography in the shadow of the rapidly expanding American empire.
    John Yargo recently received his PhD in English literature from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, specializing in the environmental humanities and early modern culture. His articles have been published or are forthcoming in the Journal for Early Modern Culture Studies, Studies in Philology, and Shakespeare Studies.
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    • 39 min
    Douglas Booth, "Bondi Beach: Representations of an Iconic Australian" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021)

    Douglas Booth, "Bondi Beach: Representations of an Iconic Australian" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021)

    Today we are joined by Douglas Booth, Dean of Adventure, Culinary Arts and Tourism at Thompson Rivers University in British Columbia, Canada and Professor Emeritus at the University of Otago. He is also the author of Bondi Beach: Representations of an Iconic Australian (Palgrave MacMillan, 2022). In our conversation, we discussed the geological and climatological origins of Bondi Beach; the contested histories of iconic Australian archetypes such as surf bathers, surf life savers, and surf boarders; and what it might mean to write an autobiography of Bondi Beach.
    In Bondi Beach, Booth works across the boundaries of the social and physical sciences, encompassing anthropology, geography, geology, history, and hydrology. In the first two chapters of the book, he critically assesses the role of sand and storms as actors in shaping the beach, which only arose in its current instantiation 6,500 years ago. Current debates over the shape of the beach can take the “natural” as desirable, but as Booth shows in his chapters “Nature and Culture” and “Pavilion,” powerful civic forces can also help to remake the environment to suit human needs.
    When it comes to the beach, Booth seems to argue that the only constant is change. His chapters on the Eora (Indigenous Australians) and Berewalgal (European settler-colonists) trace the changes in beach use. Contrary to later colonial officials’ assertions, the Eora did not leave Bondi barren, nor was their use of the land static, but instead Indigenous Australians use of the land altered in response to the environment and the development of new fishing and manufacturing techniques. Eora and Berewalgal people possessed different ontological understandings of their relationship to the country. Indigenous Australians saw themselves as part of the land and as a consequence worked within its homeostatic limits. Settler-colonial people saw their role as one of management and consequently they sought policies to make the land more useful from an economic point of view, causing significant changes to the geographic and social landscape of the Bondi-Rose Bay Valley.
    Booth’s work challenges assumptions that underpin the historical discipline: how do we recapture the past, what facts do we include and what do we leave out, and how do organize our histories into narratives. His chapters on avatars of Australian beach culture: surf bathers, surf life savers, and surf boarders simultaneously highlight the impossibility of writing origins stories while they also highlight the various narrative possibilities of different mythological types. There is no single authoritative history of surfing in Bondi – but it is open to numerous story arcs: surfers as heroes or victims, surfers as environmental crusaders or landscape devastators, and surfers as counter-cultural icons or social problems.
    In his last chapter, “Autobiography” Booth writes a biography from the perspective of Bondi Beach. This “autobiography” is of Booth’s imagination, but it’s daring narrative form offers new possibilities for thinking through what the natural environment might think of man’s stewardship of space.
    Booth’s work has broad appeal – clearly of interest to people who are focused on sports studies, but also broadly to scholars from a range of fields, both physical and social sciences, who want to re-think the assumptions of our disciplines.
    Keith Rathbone is a Senior Lecturer at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. He researches twentieth-century French social and cultural history. His book, entitled Sport and physical culture in Occupied France: Authoritarianism, agency, and everyday life, (Manchester University Press, 2022) examines physical education and sports in order to better understand civic life under the dual authoritarian systems of the German Occupation and the Vichy Regime. If you have a title to suggest for this podcast, please contact him at keith.rathbone@mq.edu.au and follow

    • 1 hr 8 min

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