All lectures are presented fully online via Zoom every Friday at 3:30 PM. The link to join the meeting is https://uwmadison.zoom.us/j/96180090381 except when otherwise indicated. Brown bag sessions start at noon on the days there are speakers. Alumni, friends and the public are always invited to attend.
Fall 2020 Lectures
September 18 - Folding The Map on Segregation
Tonika Johnson - Miriam Kerndt Lecture Speaker
Break down invisible barriers with social justice artist and photographer Tonika Johnson. She'll share how she uses her creativity to explore urban segregation and the richness of the Black community. Tonika Johnson is a visual artist and photographer from Chicago's South Side Englewood neighborhood. In 2010, she helped co-found Resident Association of Greater Englewood (R.A.G.E.) and now she serves as its full-time Program Manager. She was featured in Chicago Magazine as a 2017 Chicagoan of the Year. Her work has been featured at Rootwork Gallery in Pilsen, the Chicago Cultural Center, Harold Washington Library Center, and the Chicago Reader. Her latest multi-media project titled "Folded Map" illustrates Chicago's residential segregation.
September 25 - Building Paradise in a Tropical Swamp: The Deltona Corporation’s Fabricated Tropicality at Marco Island, Florida
In February of 1964, the Deltona Corporation of Miami announced a $500 million dollar planned community, Marco Island. Previously a seasonal fishing outpost on Florida’s southern Gulf Coast, Marco was intended to be a vacation and retirement community focused on a six mile long sandy beach. However much Deltona trilled the island’s “natural charms” to retirees and vacationers nationwide, the remote tropical sea island had to be radically transformed through dredging and filling to be fully realized.
This paper explores how Deltona’s vision for Marco collided with the environmental movement to ultimately produce a much downsized community. Using advertisements from a family archive, records from Marco’s historical society, and the State of Florida’s legislative records, it showcases a dominant trend in postwar south Florida in which developers simultaneously boasted of the tropical landscape’s natural beauty even as they sought to irrevocably change it. In doing so this paper shows how developers attempted to circumvent an increasingly regularly environment while “building paradise” in the Everglades.
October 2 - Remote sensing of permafrost degradation in the Alaskan Arctic
Mark J. Lara
University of Illinois Urbana- Champaign
Arctic regions have experienced unprecedented climate warming over the past several decades, as well as record-setting rates of disturbance processes such as wildfires, permafrost degradation, and shrub expansion. A growing body of evidence suggests dynamic interactions and feedbacks exist among Arctic disturbance regimes. However, the interdependence of these disturbances over space and time makes quantifying their impact challenging, yet paramount for improving our predictive capacity as climate change and disturbance regimes intensify. I will present recent results successfully characterizing decadal patterns, trends, and controls on various pathways of permafrost degradation (i.e. thermokarst) across the Arctic in northern Alaska.
October 9 - Mapping Urban Lesbian and Queer Lines of Desire as Constellations
Jack Gieseking - Treacy Lecture Speaker
University of Kentucky
The path to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) liberation has been narrated through a claim to long-term territory in the form of urban neighborhoods and bars. Lesbians and queers fail to attain or retain these spaces over generations - as is often the case due to lesser political and economic power - so what then is the lesbian-queer production of urban space in their own words? Drawing on interviews, archival research, and data visualizations with and about lesbians and queers in New York City from 1983 to 2009, my participants queered the fixed, neighborhood models of LGBTQ space introducing what I call constellations. Like stars in the sky, contemporary urban lesbians and queers often create and rely on fragmented, fleeting experiences in lesbian-queer places, evoking patterns based on generational, racialized, and classed identities. Lesbians and queers are connected by overlapping, embodied paths and stories that bind them over generations and across many identities, like drawing lines between the stars that come and go in the sky. This queer feminist contribution to critical urban theory extends current models of queering and producing urban space.
October 16 - The Urgency of Abolition Geography for Political Ecology
University of Washington in Seattle
Building on forthcoming publications in the special issue of Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography, this talk focuses on the importance of abolition geography for our current political conjuncture. In particular, the site fight against the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington, reveals the importance of immigration enforcement and detention in the fight to abolish jails and prisons across the United States.
November 6 - Drivers of hot and cold past wet states recorded by lakes in the western United States
G.K. Gilbert’s 1890 monograph on Lake Bonneville for the United States Geological Survey initiated over a century of research on Quaternary lakes in the American west. The continuation of this work is increasingly pertinent with the need to test climate models used to forecast future water resources in the region as the climate warms. Importantly the presence or absence of lakes in terminal basins provide an unequivocal measure of wetness. In this work I will show that wetter conditions during both colder- and warmer-than-present periods in the past are recorded in shoreline and outcrop data from the latest Pleistocene and the middle-Pliocene. Using hydrologic scaling relationships, I demonstrate that: 1) Pleistocene lakes during glacial maxima in the northern Great Basin do not require substantial precipitation increases to explain many lake shoreline extents; and 2) middle-Pliocene lakes would have required up to a doubling of precipitation in the southwest. These inferences provide quantitative targets for assessing the performance of climate model simulations of the terrestrial water cycle.
November 13 - Movement analytics for sustainable mobility: Using new geospatial and moving objects data to understand the environmental, social and economic performance of urban transportation
Harvey J. Miller
Ohio State University
Contemporary humanity enjoys mobility levels that are unprecedented in history. While this has benefits, it also has enormous social, health and environmental costs. Mitigating these costs and making transportation more equitable and effective is crucial if civilization is to survive the 21st century — a world that will see 9 billion people, most of whom will crowd into cities. This lecture will describe the concept of sustainable mobility and how new, data-driven science allows scholars and practitioners to address these essential issues. I will provide examples from my research and projects from the Center for Urban and Regional Analysis (CURA) that illustrate ways to leverage these new data sources to gain insights into mobility dynamics and their implications for urban sustainability.
November 20 - Indigenous Movement: Extractivism & Locating the Grounds of Indigenous Freedom
University of Toronto
The fields of Indigenous Geographies and Indigenous Studies have provided crucial theorizations on Indigenous place-based ontologies and practices, and how ties to place are at the core of Indigenous struggles for decolonization and freedom. In this presentation, I seek to build on such thinking by centering Indigenous movement as an analytic that incites a radical consciousness of genocidal violence and decolonial futures. My analysis emerges from historical and contemporary Mushkegowuk (Cree) mobilities through the nation’s regional waterways in and beyond so-called northern Ontario Canada. Through Mushkegowuk movement, I trace the expansiveness of extractive geographies, from mining developments called the “Ring of Fire” in rural areas, to seemingly distinct and incompatible spaces of colonial state violence against Indigenous peoples in urban centers, such as in the city of Thunder Bay. Within these conditions of violence, I am interested in exploring how Mushkegowuk movement is a source of theory that makes the links between the socio-political formations that constitute Mushkegowuk life. In particular, I examine how regional rivers are a site of confluence, and how movement on such rivers elucidates the connectivity of colonial regimes of power, as well as Mushkegowuk political agency and interconnected struggles for freedom.
December 4 - Tribal Cultural Resource Preservation & Its Implications For ‘More-Than-Human’ Environments
Ohio State University
It is commonly thought in settler society that death is the end of any political agency or political processes that surround the human body, or any other living thing. However, the work that is being done by tribes to help protect their environments and sacred spaces in the name of cultural resource management and protection have done much to disprove these ideas in regard to Indigenous bodies and Indigenous environments. In this talk, I will explore how aspects of my dissertation research have influenced and ‘given life’ to my current research agenda, which is to investigate how processes of tribal cultural resource protection can help maintain and preserve our more-than-human environments going into the future. I argue that the defense of both the living and the dead is part of the long tradition of resistance by Indigenous nations, a tradition that becomes more important in an era of climate crisis.