Past Place, vol. 17, issue 1 by pmv10607


									                                              Past Place, vol. 17, issue 1

Editor                                                             HGSG President’s Column .................................................. 1
Jennifer Kopf                                                      Note from the Editor .............................................................1
Sozialgeographie                                                   Historical Geographical Forum .......................................... 2
Friedrich-Schiller Universität                                     HGSG Student Awards ........................................................ 7
07743 Jena, Germany                                                Historical Geography in conference................................... 7                                          Historical Geography News ..............................................10
                                                                   New Publications and Media ............................................11

                        For more information on the AAG’s Historical Geography Specialty Group, visit

           HGS G’s P re sid ent ’s Colu mn                         under his watch. He’ll be missed, but we also welcome
                                                                   Jennifer Kopf as our new editor and wish her success.
                     Karen Morin
                   Bucknell University                             Finally, I am delighted to report that the specialty group
                                                                   will be henceforth sponsoring an annual Distinguished
I am happy to report that the first cycle of HGSG’s support        Historical Geography Lecture at the AAG meetings, the
for production of Historical Geography is successfully             inaugural lecture, this spring in Las Vegas. Thank you to
completed. The 2008 issue is in press as I write this, so it       all who submitted nominations, and to the nominations
should be in your mailboxes very soon. I want thank the            committee (Garth Myers, Dydia DeLyser, Tim Anderson,
HGSG executive board for help in this process – especially         and James Wilson). Please refer to the AAG preliminary
Tim Anderson, Treasurer, as well as Kathleen Carter,               program for further details. Hope to see you all there!
managing editor of Historical Geography, for picking up all
the loose ends of this switch over, as well as, of course,         Thank you.
overseeing production of the journal itself. While the             Karen Morin, Chair HGSG
specialty group dues increase was able to meet production
costs for 2008 (as well as our other budgetary
commitments), it did so only barely; and the specialty                                   Note fro m th e ed itor
group did lose nearly 100 members last cycle, most of
whom were students. I am not sure what to expect                                                 Jennifer Kopf
cyclically with these things, but I am sure I speak for most                           Friedrich-Schiller Universität.
or all of us in saying that we don’t want to lose those
                                                                   With gratitude and a bit of nervousness, I take up the reins
members to dues increases. Thus we need to stay vigilant
                                                                   of Past Place with this issue. This newsletter has been
about finding cost effective ways of delivering the journal
                                                                   known for years for its long-term take on the type of
to as broad an audience as possible within our small
                                                                   communication necessary to build up a community of
budget. Production and mailing costs (especially to our
                                                                   scholars. In its “Forum”, the place of historical geography
overseas members) may necessitate some changes for
                                                                   in the academy and more broadly in society has been
delivery in 2009, for instance in some sort of electronic
                                                                   debated from fresh methodological winds to historically
delivery. Please stay tuned on that.
                                                                   rooted responses to hurricane Katrina. The current face of
The deadline for submitting AAG sessions and abstracts is          the discipline, as seen in HGSG student awards and in
closing as I write this. I want to thank Patrick Vitale for        recent publications, is featured here. And of course, the
handling the session sponsorships for our group. As                newsletter has always reported on awards and other
always, please continue to encourage your students to              distinctions won by specialty group members in wider
submit papers to one of our competitions: The Andrew               arenas. I plan to continue this tradition of dialogue and
Hill Clark Award (for PhD students), and the Ralph                 communication. Departing editor Gareth John has left the
Brown Award (for MA students). Matt Farish is                      house in good order, and I am grateful for his example as
coordinating these paper competitions again this year, and         well as his assistance in the transition.
Ben Tillman, the student research awards competition [see
                                                                   Historical Geography is perhaps unique in the breadth of
announcements in this newsletter—ed]. Information on
                                                                   methods, regions, and questions asked by its practitioners.
these and other HGSG business can be found on our new
                                                                   I will seek to emphasize common interests while
webpage, My
                                                                   respecting those differences. In this, I welcome readers’
sincerest thanks to James Wilson for generously taking on
                                                                   suggestions. Please let me know your suggestions for the
the position as specialty group webmaster, on top of his
                                                                   newsletter, and how to make it more useful to you and to
current duties as secretary. I would also take this
                                                                   the subdiscipline. I hope this will continue to be a
opportunity to thank Gareth John once again for his many
                                                                   collegial, informative, and stimulating gathering point for
years of hard work editing the specialty group newsletter,
                                                                   the specialty group.
Past Place– which was much more than a mere newsletter

                                                 Past Place, vol. 17, issue 1

         Histor ical G eogra ph ical Fo rum                            contingent, changeable, determined politically and
                                                                       reproduced in everyday realities. Of course here the vision
How does the relationship between the ’story’ and                      of the unified nation-state activated an imaginative
’history’ change as events become temporally more                      geography for so many people in a very short time that
distant?                                                               this change of image very quickly had real political-
                                                                       administrative results. But it should not be forgotten that
As the 20th anniversary of the end of the political division           this change in image also changed nearly every individual
of Europe/the ‘Iron Curtain’/the ‘Cold War’ (hotly                     time geography, the time-space paths of everyday
contested beyond the lands of NATO and the Warsaw                      routines, radically. New living and work spaces, new
Pact) is approaching—the R/revolutions/(up)risings/                    infrastructures, but especially the reevaluation of
demonstrations across Eastern Europe took place                        completely different places are expressions of a world
throughout the year of 1989—this issue’s Forum examines                view oriented towards the West (or towards what it was
the above question in Eastern Europe. I asked contributors             taken to be). The Plattenbau (Soviet-style prefab housing)
to consider the relationship between the two meanings of               as an expression of uniform living quickly sank in its
Geschichte, ’story’ and ’history’, in their research fields. In        value, while the older buildings which had been looked
German, the most commonly used term for those events is                down on in GDR times experienced a renaissance which
the Wende (turn). Rather than a sharp break, that phrase               continues. Owning one’s own car made it possible for
suggests continuity between the eras on either side of it as           many to experience and demonstrate individual freedom.
well as a reorientation. The events of 1989 certainly                  City planning, which had already undergone a moderate
represent both change and continuity across the region.                reconciliation with tradition in the 1980s, now became a
                                                                       full-scale restoration project. Yet besides the rearranging
In examining the changing uses of changing history, the                and revaluing of material settings, it is primarily the
authors observe the rewriting of practices of everyday life            transformative         political     and       administrative
and the construction of taken-for-granted spatial                      territorialization that characterizes the break since 1989.
relationships in postcommunist era. Focusing explicitly on
the quotidian, social and cultural ’revolutions’ of the past           The division into territories that the government of the
20 years, Staddon suggests a slightly more sceptical stance            GDR undertook with the division into 14 counties in 1952,
to and a more careful reading of political and economic                took place with the will to transform or eliminate
structural change in the region, while Felgenhauer                     traditional regional identities. As technocratic and ‘anti-
presents an attempt to restructure assumptions of the                  historic’ constructions, these regions never were
everyday lifeworld of residents of roughly half the                    appropriated or used for personal identity by the
territory of the former GDR. Felgenhauer and Clark                     population. Additionally, they did not play an active
examine the reconstruction of the past to legitimate social            political roll in the sense of a federation.
relations in Germany and Poland today. The theme of
memory is directly taken up by Clark and Lelea, who,                   The 5 federal states in East Germany were therefore very
respectively, find continuity in the search for identity and           quickly (re-)established in 1990. Regional identities now
reflect on official vs. individual recollections of the                referred to historical and traditional units, although in the
Communist and postcommunist eras.                                      cases of the ‘hyphenated states’ Saxony-Anhalt and
                                                                       Mecklenburg-Vorpomerania there were new syntheses of
           Geographies of the "Wende":                                 historical units. In contrast to the governing districts in the
       The postcommunist (Re)Invention of                              GDR, they had wide-reaching capabilities and
                                                                       competencies for political action. But for exactly that, they
              "Mitteldeutschland"                                      are now, measured on administrative costs, actually too
                                                                       small. In the cases of Saxony and Thuringia Free States,
                    Tilo Felgenhauer                                   they are always liable to pressures of legitimation and
               Friedrich-Schiller Universität.                         action by the powerful federal states actors. The term ‘free
                                                                       state’ appears to be more of a celebratory, symbolic
What can a historically interested geography contribute to             designation. So the federal states which were formed in
a fuller understanding of events?                                      1990 appeared partially as historical units, but also as
                                                                       borders which drew limits for the economy and society.
Not only the demographic, spatial science side (migration,
structural change, etc.), but also as an interpretive science;         In this tension between the search for and construction of
it can, first of all, lay bare the constructed nature of borders       historical-regional identities on one hand and the wish for
and territories and, secondly, show in historical                      economically sensible territorial units which can be
perspective how little the appearance and disappearance                efficiently administered on the other, ’Middle Germany’
of territorialization and regionalization result from chance.          has established itself as the title of the group comprising
                                                                       Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. Although (or
In the case of East Germany/the GDR/the ‘new federal                   perhaps because) it appears to be a paradoxical description
states’ in the latter half of the 20th century, a series of            for a region which is recognized nationally as peripheral,
regionalizations occurred, and the currently existing                  the term ‘Middle Germany’ has been taken up by many
‘federal states’ form the main surface for the projection of           firms and institutions which have used the term ‘Middle
regional identities. Additionally, in the case of the three            German’ in their names over the last 20 years. Understood
states Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia, there is a                 as the region between West and East Germany, it currently
public-media supported convergence which proclaims a                   has something of a revanchist tone. Implicitly, the term
historical (and perhaps future?) unity of the three states.            ‘Middle Germany’ locates ‘East Germany’ in Poland,
                                                                       which results in a certain popularity among the political
A history of territorialization and regionalization is of              right.
course an expression of power structures, but also of
changing understandings of the world. From exactly this                The regional descriptor ‘Middle Germany’ has been
point, the Wende can be understood as a point which made               disseminated since 1992 primarily by the Middle German
the contingency of regionalization radically visible, and              television station (MDR) which, as the regional, publicly
also made it directly palpable for East Germans.                       financed station is charged with consciously nurturing the
                                                                       regional rootedness of its viewers. Its series ‘Histories of
The change was so complete and radical that it offers an               Middle Germany’, which postulates a historical unity of
object lesson in the geographies of realities that are

                                                Past Place, vol. 17, issue 1

the three federal states, is a special example of the                retrospective examinations of the communist period and
retrospective identity construction and regionalization in           of    the    subsequent     period    of   “postcommunist
the media. ‘Middle Germany’ is intended as a substitute              transformation”. I expect though that, like so much of the
expression for a large portion of East Germany, not only to          scholarship of the last two decades, these retrospectives
erase the negative tone of the umbrella terms ‘Ex-GDR’,              will largely “miss the point”. Preoccupied as we have
‘East Germany’ and ‘New Federal States’ but also to                  been with whether or not elections have been “free fair”,
encourage the creation of a consciousness among the                  the types of privatization process rolled out in Poland or
residents of ‘Middle Germany’ by pointing to the historical          Bulgaria or Hungary, etc. we have too often neglected to
merits. ‘Middle Germany’ is presented as a source of                 think about the meaning of “transformation” for actual
intellectual and scientific accomplishments—from the                 lives; for the existential quotidian. In this essay I try to
Reformation through German Idealism to the innovations               focus on just that, from the perspective of a “Western”
and scientific region ‘Middle Germany’.                              (Canadian actually, thanks for asking!) academic who has
                                                                     studied local transformations in postcommunist Eastern
The general revaluation of historical ‘symbolic places’ after        Europe for almost two decades.
the Wende also fits with this gesture—as in, for example,
the ‘rehabilitation’ of the nationally-inspired monuments            When I lived in Bulgaria in the early 1990s there was one
of the Kaiser’s era—from the numerous scenic overlooks               common denominator to virtually all inter-personal
and destinations for excursions, certain street names, and           interactions, whether they were “red”, “blue” or any other
the WWI monuments which stand in many communities.                   political colour: the fug of those especially strong
That this awareness of the past is a very current                    Bulgarian cigarettes which were smoked by nearly
phenomenon and that the historical identity ‘Middle                  everyone. It is not an exaggeration to say that at least 3 out
Germany’ has not always been the ‘core of Germany’ is                of every 5 people smoked regularly and non-smokers (like
often forgotten.                                                     me) were generally alone at the meeting, luncheons (yes,
                                                                     there was smoking during eating!), or indeed any other
This is perhaps typical for the many forms of the late               gathering. On one occasion I made a fool of myself by
modern or post-Communist reanchoring. The MDR and                    choking on a “woman’s” cigarette (“Femina” brand if
other institutions that use the term ‘Middle Germany’                anyone is interested) in a vain attempt to fit in. I did not
represent a synthesis with a strong inner contrast between           repeat the attempt.
reason and mythology: the one as representative of the
                                                                     In this context the suggestion that smoking may soon
idea of a large, efficient and functional administrative unit,
                                                                     (from June 1, 2010 according to local papers) be banned
with a nearly ‘technical’ rationality, the other as a
                                                                     seems more immediately revolutionary than any of the
historically produced, almost mythically retrospective
                                                                     usual paraphernalia of social studies of Eastern European
vision of Middle Germans. This leads to a paradox. With a
                                                                     transformation. Yet it seems symmetrical perhaps that we
very recent political action, an ‘age-old’ Middle Germany
                                                                     should now be seeing myriad “revolutions” at the more
is retroactively constituted. This phenomenon, not
                                                                     social and cultural level almost exactly two decades after
untypical in post-Communist societies, if one thinks of the
                                                                     the demonstrations that toppled Todor Zhivkov from
renaissance of nationalism across Eastern Europe, hides
                                                                     power. Indeed, Zhivkov’s former principal residence in
the actually achieved possibilities for a democratic
                                                                     the capital was in 2000 converted to house the Museum of
multiplicity of world images underneath its numerous
                                                                     National History, which itself had to move out of the pre-
essentializations, (ie: histories) and discursive closures.
                                                                     communist home of the Supreme Court, now restored to
For historical geography, the Wende and post-Communist               Baroque, bourgeois splendor. One wonders if they took
transformation are interesting in light of the numerous              the old placards interpreting each exhibit according that
forms of the construction of space (particularly through             well-known historian F. Engels (“The following room shows
the media). These changes tell the revaluation and                   how the collectivist spirit has always lived within the Bulgarian
transformation of imaginative geographies in particularly            people”) with them to their new home. I doubt it, but I
clear and powerful ways.                                             have not had time to check for myself.

                                                                     On January 1, 2007 Bulgaria and Romania became the 26th
                 Reflections on the                                  and 27th members of the European Union, bring to a close
               Revolutions of our Time                               the period of apprenticeship known in official “Brussels-
                                                                     speak” as “accession”. This too was a revolutionary
                     Chad Staddon                                    moment, though not for the reasons that most social
            University of the West of England                        scientists loudly proclaimed (final end of the communist
                                                                     experiment, etc., etc.). Rather the revolutionary nature of
On the morning of November 25, I read that the Bulgarian             the EU’s expansion is located at the core of the Union’s
government is considering legislating for a ban on                   original genetic code – out of the ashes of WW II Robert
smoking in public places, including outdoor spaces. More             Schuman formally proposed a movement to unify the
than anything I have read about the country in recent                divided nations of Europe which would be much more
years, and I have been an ardent student of all things               than a customs or political alliance. As Jean Monnet,
Bulgarian for two decades, this particular move seems to             author of the plan, commented at the time:
me to be a real “revolution”. More than economic
privatization, joining NATO, joining the EU, becoming                    The Schuman proposals are revolutionary or they
first enamoured of and then cynical about the democratic                 are nothing. The indispensable first principle of
process, the merest suggestion that a Bulgarian                          these proposals is the abnegation of sovereignty in
government may try to limit smoking by fellow Bulgarians                 a limited but decisive field. A plan which is not
seems truly revolutionary. What’s more, the public                       based on this principle can make no useful
reaction has been fairly muted; some complaints about                    contribution to the solution of the major problems
oppressive government policies (ca plus change!) and                     which undermine our existence. Cooperation
suggestions that most will just ignore it, but otherwise                 between nations, while essential, cannot alone
nothing much from the vox populi.                                        meet our problem. What must be sought is a
                                                                         fusion of the interests of the European peoples and
As we approach the 20th anniversary of the fall of the                   not merely another effort to maintain the
Berlin Wall and the collapse of Eastern Europe’s                         equilibrium of those interests ...
communist regimes there are sure to be many

                                                 Past Place, vol. 17, issue 1

This project had the most humble, and perhaps                         postcommunist period Bulgarians have come to learn the
insalubrious, beginnings, in a Coal and Steel Community               essential truth of market capitalism: the individual is
agreement designed to help the former Allied powers                   ultimately only worth what the market will pay for their
recover from the effects of the war, still very much in               labour. Since 1989 standards of living have been radically
evidence even in the mid-1950s. Over the intervening 5                transformed, with wages falling sharply relative to the real
decades the EU has become effectively a kind of “United               cost of living such that many (especially non-urban)
States of Europe”, thus realising Schuman’s and Monnet’s              Bulgarians now depend on subsistence production from
aspirations for a Europe that would be more than the sum              allotments to survive. Currently the average wage in
of its parts. On January 1, 2007 Romania and Bulgaria,                urban Bulgaria is equivalent to a paltry €250
both formally Axis states during the Second World War,                ($310)/month. Ironically it is none other than Marx who
became full members – though many Western European                    can help Bulgarians better understand the material
members (including Britain) maintain discriminatory                   implications of their flight from communism!
“transitionary arrangements” around labour migration.
Seeing a Bulgarian, Meglena Kuneva, named EC                          My main point throughout this narrative has been to point
Commissioner for Consumer Protection – and hearing her,               out that so much that has been truly “revolutionary” since
a citizen of a former communist nation, speak passionately            November 1989 has gone relatively unnoticed.
about consumer rights, absolutely felt like a revolution.             Overshadowed by seemingly larger and more impactful
                                                                      shifts in political structure (“democratisation”), economic
Revolutions too I saw in the streets of Sofiya when I was             system (“privatisation” and “deregulation”) and social
last there, in June 2007. Consumer culture has spread                 organisation (in Hungarian émigré financier George Soros’
outward from its original nucleus along Vitosha Avenue                terms the creation of an” Open Society”), more abiding,
into first the inner and then the outer suburbs. The                  experiential, quotidian revolutions have gone virtually
country’s first McDonald’s outlet (I hesitate to call it a            unnoticed. One reason for this is surely journalistic and
“restaurant”!) opened in 1993 and by 2007 there were more             scholarly “fashion” – many of both classes of Western
than a dozen outlets in the capital alone. In 2006 the Mall           professional flooded into Eastern Europe in the 1990s to
of Sofia opened, bringing together more than 75 separate              report on the trials and tribulations of transition, but have
retail outlets and the inevitable cineplex and fast food              subsequently moved on to newer, more exciting, stories in
plaza. This wave of “progress” has been largely halted by             other parts of the globe. What is therefore inevitably
the global banking crisis (which has caused investors to              missed are the inexorable, but infinitesimally slow,
suspend similar projects elsewhere in the county), though             workings of these revolutions in ways of life sketched out
only temporarily.                                                     above. I am not saying that things were “better” under
                                                                      communism (though some, nostalgically, do); rather I am
Transport culture too has changed remarkably since my                 saying that the 20th anniversary of the Fall of Communism
first visits to Bulgaria so long ago. Then, there were                in Europe gives us an opportunity to weigh up the gains
relatively few cars on city streets and the county roads and          and the losses in a more critical and objective manner.
those that did appear were inevitably old Skodas,
Wartburgs, Moskvichs and, that emblem of European                                Past, Present, and Missing:
communism, the Trabant. I even owned a Trabant for a
                                                                               Poland’s Second “Twenty Years”
time (a 601 Combi if anyone is interested!) in the mid
1990s, partly out of curiousity, but also because I felt at the
time that to understand the existential world of
                                                                                          Elizabeth Clark
postcommunism one must try to enact it. So I shared a flat                           West Texas A&M University
with several students, ate only local food, failed to take up
                                                                      All Poles are born historians. I came to this conclusion
smoking (see above) and struggled to keep the old Trabbi
                                                                      that wonderful summer of 1989, as a mathematician
going. Eventually it caught fire outside the “Sofialand”
                                                                      expounded on Jan Sobieski and an engineer lectured me
amusement park (opened in 2002 by Italian investors) and
                                                                      on Stalin’s expulsions. How is it that Poles on the street
I had to seek alternative transport. By 2007 I had to look
                                                                      are bound up in informing the outsider, the Westerner, the
much harder to find the old Wartburgs and Trabbies;
                                                                      American, about Polish history? Poles, it seems, feel
partly because most of them have gone to the burgeoning
                                                                      keenly the loss of freedoms epitomized by dominance
scrapheaps and partly because the roads are now so
                                                                      from the outside. Polish historians refer to Poland’s brief
choked with cars that seeing anything clearly can be
                                                                      interwar independence as “the Twenty Years.” The
                                                                      Second Republic lasted from 1919 to 1939 and constituted
On a related note, street names have changed almost                   a period almost as significant in Polish memory as the
beyond recognition in many Bulgarian cities, largely as a             whole of the Jagiellonian Dynasty (1385-1572). Now, as
result of the collective desire to de-communise the urban             another twenty-year anniversary approaches, it is
fabric itself. Thus, my old Bulgarian language tutor Mr               impossible to ignore that this marks a second watershed
Radev woke up one day in the late 1990s and found that                for Polish statehood and independence.           Nearly a
he no longer lived on Communist Manifesto Boulevard.                  generation after the 1989 revolutions, how do Poles
Similarly Engels, Chavdar (a Bulgarian partisan), Marx,               approach history, place and memory?
Lenin and all their comrades have been forced to climb
down from their long-held perches on street corners to be             A Missing History
replaced by icons (Bulgarian love icons!) more attuned to
the “novo vreme” (new times).           More spectacularly            Young children in Poland learn that their nation’s defining
Bulgaria’s first communist leader, Georgi Dimitrov, was               characteristic is partition. First, the Partitions of 1772,
evicted from his version of Lenin’s Tomb and the site was             1773, and 1795, and then the de facto partition between
left derelict before being used to stage outdoor operas in            Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in 1939, and again,
the summertime, only being finally demolished in 2003.                the inevitable reference to the “betrayal” of Yalta, and
                                                                      finally, the Oder-Neisse Line and Communist domination.
A more subtle, and sinister revolution, has also occurred             Clinging to history, having it permeate every element of
with respect to the Bulgarian people’s sense of self-worth.           life and conversation is not concomitant with periods of
Whilst it is undeniable that during the communist period              outside oppression. It is also a theme in Poland today.
political, economic, social and cultural freedoms – all               During a recent study trip with students and faculty, a
freedoms in fact – were closely constrained and subject to            fellow historian and I began to keep a count of how many
the often-suffocating diktat of the state apparatus, in the           times we heard the question “Have you ever heard of the

                                                        Past Place, vol. 17, issue 1

Polish Partitions?”1 This question was asked by tour                           than 100 km over the Polish-Ukrainian border have been
guides and scholars, bus drivers and expatriates. Only by                      published, beginning almost immediately after the
going back to 1772, could Poles begin to explain                               collapse of Communism5.
themselves. Want to understand Krakow? First, you need
a lesson on the history of Galicia and the Habsburgs.                          Missing Populations
Curious about Warsaw?         An explanation of Jozef
Poniatowski is in order.     For every era, there is a                         Just as there is a “Polish Question” in Europe, so too is
connection back to the heart of every Pole, a common                           there a “Jewish Question” in Poland. Neither is fully
history, a national story.                                                     legitimate, and neither is fully dubious. Poles will report
                                                                               “Six million Poles died in World War Two, half of them
The Muzeum Powstanie – The Warsaw Rising Museum,                               were also Jews,”6 bringing the Nation to the center, and
which opened for the 60th anniversary of the Rising, amid                      moving any question of Polish acceptance of Jews as
much fanfare—gives an excellent example of changes in                          Polish during the Second Republic to the periphery. At
the Polish national story since the end of Communism.                          the same time, Jewish cultural festivals abound today.
The museum itself has a voice -- an echoing, whispering,                       Kazimierz, the former Jewish district of Krakow, has been
throbbing, singing voice. Recordings of radio broadcasts                       experiencing a revival for the past ten years, and attempts
and a thumping heartbeat emanate from a wall                                   to mark the space of the Warsaw Ghetto have been made
dominating the entryway. Audio and video recordings of                         official. A young, small Reform Jewish community in
Rising participants hum through headphones as observers                        Warsaw offers stimulating discussion and open services to
pass. Each of the 63 days is given its own “calendar card”                     Poles and visitors alike.7      Woodcarvings of klezmer
– available online and in English and Polish throughout                        musicians were for sale in Krakow’s Rynek in 1989, and
the museum.2 High school students bustle past, on a                            are today. Challah, that braided bread most associated
mission to collect all the dates. And how does this relate                     with Friday evenings in Jewish households, can be bought
to 1989? It must. For the history of the Rising (“Uprising”                    at any Polish bakery. Judaism thus remains visible in
being a distasteful term in post-Communist Poland) was                         Poland’s physical and cultural landscapes, despite
suppressed under Soviet supervision. There was no                              attempts to deny or erase it.
reconciling the destruction of Warsaw by the Nazis, the
crushing of the Rising under the noses of the Red Army,                        Cold War historiography in Poland was overtly political in
which sat, at Stalin’s instruction, across the Vistula that                    its references to the Holocaust. The Red Army liberated
fateful summer of 1944, with an approved and comradely                         Poland. The Red Army liberated the camps. The Soviet
history during the Cold War. The jubilant reclaiming of                        Union rescued Poland from the fascist menace. Any crime
the Rising is evident not just in the exquisite care taken by                  committed by “Hitlerites” was fodder for reinforcing the
the museum’s creators, but all around the city marked                          Polish-Soviet connection. The worse, the better. At the
sites related to the Rising, remind one “this is a noble                       Auschwitz-Birkenau Place of Remembrance and Museum8
place, a place of resistance, an historic place.”                              essential recent revisions to Poland’s Holocaust history
                                                                               include a renovated Hungarian national exhibit, a new
A Missing Country                                                              Roma exhibit funded in part by the EU, new plaques with
                                                                               revised death figures (from 4 million deaths to just under 2
The legacy of the Partitions has given Poland a rather                         million) at Birkenau’s 1967 monument, and an active
flexible approach to reality when it comes to borders.                         educational center which provides seminars and
Brian Porter’s question “Who is a Pole and Where is                            workshops. For forty years following WW II, the Polish
Poland?”3 echoes this. The first “Twenty Years” was more                       government was responsible for funding the museum and
medieval in shape and philosophy than postwar Poland.                          maintaining the site. In 1990, a council and a foundation
With Jozef Piłsudski and his distinctly Commonwealth                           were established to offer advice and fundraising
attitude at the helm of a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic state,                  assistance. As in other areas of Polish society, non-
the Second Republic found its identity in a “Big Poland.”                      governmental organizations and foundations are still
After the war, a smaller, more artificial Poland emerged,                      trying to find their place.
though not without its historical roots and merits. Still, to
act bereft, in the face of massive Soviet power, would have                    Poland’s self-perception has not escaped scrutiny.
been a death sentence. No amount of longing for the                            Scholarship about the Holocaust and memory studies
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, or even the hard-won                           related to World War Two have burgeoned. Around the
victories of the Polish-Soviet War in 1920, would bring                        world, the word “Auschwitz” conjures up horror,
back another Poland. Massive population transfers and                          empathy, and disgust.        How Poles respond to the
border shifts destined Poland to an unnatural                                  substantial increase in tourism related to the Holocaust
homogeneity.                                                                   will determine whether they will retain control of the
                                                                               narrative about World War Two in Poland. Jonathan
After 1989, Poles were freed of the restriction on longing                     Huener;’s Auschwitz, Poland, and the Politics of
for the East. No wonder that Lithuania, still simmering                        Commemoration, 1945-19799 and Genevieve Zubrzycki’s The
from the absorption of Vilna/Wilno/Vilnius in 1920, was                        Crosses of Auschwitz: Nationalism and Religion in Post-
skittish about Poland after 1989.4        In the popular                       Communist Poland 10 and others offer close investigations of
imagination, sentimentality about former Polish regions                        the politics of Holocaust history in Poland. The absence of
and a strange affection for new/old territories has                            Jews from Poland’s population is not just the result of the
emerged, exemplified in popular publications.            For                   Holocaust, but the story of the Holocaust dominates the
instance, several reminiscences about the city of L’viv, less

                                                                                 Irina Kotłłobułatoa, L’Viv on old postcards (Międzynarodowe Centrum
  We got to 13, in almost as many days.                                        Kultury w Krakowie, 2006); Wspomnienia o zyciu kulturalnym i
2                                                                  obyczajowym Lwowa, 1918-1939. (Ossolineum 1991)
3                                                                              6
  Brian Porter, “Who is a Pole and Where is Poland? Territory and Nation         This is in response to the standard figure of 6 million Jews lost in the
in the Rhetoric of Polish National Democracy before 1905,” Slavic              Holocaust. It is true, Poland lost most of its Jews, and the greatest number
Review,Vol. 51, No. 4 (Winter 1992), pp. 639-653.                              of Jews lost were Polish. The competitive martyrology of Poles and Jews
  Poland officially recognized Lithuania August 26, 1991 and the               is a topic worth contemplating, but elsewhere.
countries established diplomatic relations September 5, 1991 and ten    includes an open invitation to services and meals.
years later they signed a defense agreement, signifying that Poland,             Miejsce Pamięci i Muzeum Auschwitz-Birkenau
already a member of NATO supported Lithuanian NATO membership                    Ohio University Press, 2003
(effected 2002).                                                                  University of Chicago, 2006

                                                        Past Place, vol. 17, issue 1

discussion of this empty place in Polish culture.11 Judaism                    tensions of negotiating a history among people with
thus remains visible in Poland’s physical and cultural                         different experiences and to reflect on how the story of the
landscapes, despite attempts to deny or erase it during the                    history changes depending on varying experiences of the
Cold War.                                                                      present. Particularly for those who are experiencing
                                                                               hardship, the communist era tends to be romanticized.
The landscape also points to a missing German
population. In addition to Lithuanians, Belorussians and                       Ten years after the Revolution, the history of the 1989
Ukrainians lost in the Western shift of Poland’s borders in                    Revolution was still not included in the main museum in
1945, Poland also lost its German minority as individuals                      Timisoara, adjacent to the central plaza where thousands
migrated Westward to Germany. This was effected both                           of people raised their voices in protest and near where
formally, through agreements made at Potsdam in 1945,                          some, including children, were lined up in front of a
and informally, as individual communities pressured                            church and executed. A docent working there said that the
ethnic Germans to flee. Poles from Soviet territory were                       public was not ready for an exhibit on the Revolution, and
resettled into “empty” lands and homes, from                                   there was not yet a consensus for a public presentation of
Breslau/Wrocław to Danzig/Gdańsk. Poles must grapple                           the history. Part of this lack of consensus was because
with the simultaneous victim/perpetrator identity vis a vis                    former communists still held power in the 1990’s. Part of
Germans, as well as with their relationship to the Jews.                       the silence is because of the sense of betrayal, as some felt
They must also deal daily with the landscape left them by                      that the Revolution had been co-opted. Depending on
these ‘invisible’ populations. Sites of Jewish cemeteries or                   political affiliation, urban or rural, education and ethnicity
massacres remain unmarked, but also unplowed by                                different myths and interpretations of the Revolution are
generations of Polish farmers. Land use patterns and                           supported. Some also question whether to call it a
roadways cut by Germans mark centuries of a mixed                              Revolution at all.
Polish-German population that exists no more.
                                                                               Public memorial sculptures, rather than official histories in
Conclusion                                                                     museums, were a more dominant mode of collective
                                                                               remembrance early on. At a cemetery in Timisoara there is
In the end, what becomes clear is that Poland, like other                      a flame lit in constant vigil for the memory of those named
East European countries, must first complete her story                         and unnamed who died. The Memorial Museum of the
from 1945, before entering a new era. As a nation marks a                      1989 Revolution is a grassroots effort to mourn and
second “Twenty Years” and a Third Republic, as oral                            celebrate the heroism of those who took to the street. In the
historians collect the last of the stories, Poland’s “Greatest                 immediate years after the Revolution, there were streets
Generation” can look at the country they had to accept as                      that were renamed in honor of the Revolution, monuments
their own, and say, “Now we are complete.” Reconciled to                       that were built, and outpourings of flowers that were
her present, Poland can value her past. Whether this will                      given in remembrance of those who died in protest.
be as possible in the political realm as it has been in the                    However, as the years passed, the public memorials also
historical realm remains to be seen.                                           began to wane. Fifteen years after the Revolution, some
                                                                               debated whether the city government should take on the
       Romania: the politics of remembering                                    role of providing flowers at the base of the monuments on
         communism and the revolution                                          holidays since people were no longer carrying on this
                                                                               tradition. Was this because the memory of the Revolution
                       Margareta Lelea                                         was no longer important; because it was considered a
               University of California at Davis                               ‘false’ Revolution, or a ‘stolen’ Revolution, or because
                                                                               there were regrets or because people wanted to move on?
The 1989 Revolution in Romania brought an end to the
totalitarian rule of Nicolae Ceausescu, a dictator whose                       When I began my research in 1999, it was a study of the
iron grip on the country became increasingly austere and                       contemporary moment, specifically of entrepreneurship
                                                                               and changing livelihood strategies in the mostly rural
cruel in its last years. Romania’s was the only violent
Revolution in the Eastern bloc, in which more than one                         communities along the western border. Interspersed in
thousand protesters were killed and more than three                            these interviews are reflections and recollections of the
thousand were injured; with the majority of the casualties                     communist era. Those who had enthusiastically seized
occurring in the struggle for power after Nicolae and Elena                    opportunities and succeeded in the postcommunist era; or,
                                                                               it could be argued that some of them were better
Ceausescu were executed. The communist period is
remembered either for repression, fear and scarcity on the                     positioned from the communist and even pre-communist
one hand or for security, equality and modernization,                          era to succeed, were more likely to focus on the hardships
depending on an individual’s experience with post-                             of the past era. The owner of two small shops distanced
communist realities as well as their lived experiences with                    himself from the political violence of the past saying, ‘I
the communist past and the ideals that each of the two                         don’t want to go back, with everything that I went through
                                                                               - as I had been smothered by the old regime, with those
periods represent.
                                                                               politics.’ A mother of three who ran a supply store with
The twentieth anniversary of the 1989 Revolution offers us                     her husband emphasizes what has been gained since the
a moment to re-consider how the communist era is                               Revolution, ‘Children are healthier. We didn’t even know
remembered, and how this history is told. I will start with                    what oranges were. We would drink juice like tuica [a
a few thoughts on how the Revolution is remembered in                          kind of Romanian whisky] - in little shot glasses - so that
Timisoara, a multi-ethnic city in the southwest of the                         there would be some left for tomorrow.’ Others blamed
country known as the birthplace of Romania’s 1989                              the scarcities on the lack of capitalist work ethic and
Revolution. I then focus on how the communist era is                           efficiency, identifying with an entrepreneurial spirit that
discussed in interviews that I conducted with                                  stands in contrast to the previous era. One such
entrepreneurs, laborers, and farmers living in rural areas                     entrepreneur said, ‘People who worked, before ’89 - they
along Romania’s western border (1999 - 2005). In doing so,                     didn’t do anything. This is still a problem - it has remained
I hope to offer a window of understanding on some of the                       our inheritance. Those who went to work just pretended to
                                                                               work... Instead they would just sit around and tell stories’.
 I refer readers to Michael Steinlauf’s pathbreaking book Bondage to the       For those struggling in the face of neoliberal restructuring,
Dead: Poland and the Memory of the Holocaust (Syracuse, 1997) for              the memory of the communist era is more frequently
more information about 1968 and pressures on Polish Jews.

                                                 Past Place, vol. 17, issue 1

romanticized. A cooperative shopkeeper who only                      Each award carries with it a $100 first prize. Second prizes
privatized upon threat of losing his shop space is critical of       of lesser amounts may be awarded at the discretion of the
the current disparities remarking, ‘Each day, you hear that          competition judges. Please note: If the paper you wish to
someone was let off work, that they were let go... and what          enter for the Ralph Brown award is based upon research
will they do? How are they to survive... I don’t know how            conducted while you were a Master’s student, you are
we will get by’. A former worker on the agricultural                 eligible to enter this competition even if you are now a
cooperative lamented, ‘Anyway you slice it, it was better            Ph.D. student. In evaluating the papers, preference will be
before. You had a place to work; there was no                        given to those based on primary sources of information
unemployment. And everything wasn’t so expensive...                  rather than literature reviews. Regardless of which
You cannot allow yourself very much.’ An entrepreneur                competition you enter, please indicate in your e-mail to
who owns a shop in an impoverished village, echoed the               which one you are applying. The deadline for receiving
same sentiment saying, ‘There weren’t any goods, but the             materials is March 1, 2009.
people had money. Now, it is the opposite. People no
longer have funds, so in some ways it is the same’. With             The committee members are: Dr. Matthew Farish (chair),
the 2007 accession to the European Union and with the                University of Toronto,; Dr. Jamie
maturation of a new generation with no lived experience              Winders, Syracuse University,;
of the communist era or the 1989 Revolution, there are               Dr. Lawrence Berg, University of British Columbia,
writers, like Ileana Silveanu, who want the pain of the past
to be addressed and recognized instead of forgotten,                             Stud en t R esearc h A ward s
ignored, or viewed through rose colored glasses. The                                2009 Call for Submissions
politics of remembering continues.
                                                                     Student members of the Historical Geography Specialty
The memory of the past is mediated by the experience of              Group (HGSG) are invited to submit proposals for the
the present, while the interpretation of the present is              HGSG Student Research Award. The specialty group will
likewise mediated by the experience of the past. This                grant two prizes in 2009. The awards will be $400 for the
dialectic is at work in shaping the evolving production of           Carville Earle Award recognizing research at the Ph.D.
space. The story of this era, what is remembered and what            level and $200 for the Terry G. Jordan-Bychkov Award
is forgotten by individuals and then the negotiation of              supporting Master’s level research.
what is collectively recorded as history or what is silenced
from history, influences the parameters of what is                   Students seeking funds to underwrite thesis or dissertation
perceived as possible in the present.                                research should submit a two-page summary of their
                                                                     proposed research on a topic in historical geography. The
                                                                     statement should spell out the research question and how
                                                                     archival and/or field work is necessary to complete the
    Histor ical G eogra phy Sp ec ialty Group
                                                                     project, and specify the archives collection and/or field
                Stud en t A ward s                                   research site to be utilized. The award may be used to
                                                                     cover travel and related research expenses. In addition to
       Stud en t Pa pe r A ward Comp etition
                                                                     the two-page summary, applicants should include a short
    2007-2008 HGSG Student Paper Award Winners:                      budget of estimated expenses.         The student’s major
                                                                     advisor must also submit a letter of support to the
We are pleased to publish the winners of the Student                 committee’s chair that verifies the student is making
Paper Award, announced at the latest annual meeting of               progress toward conducting their research. A two-page
the AAG.                                                             report will be required upon completion of the funded
Ralph Brown Award (Masters'):                                        portion of the project and will be published in Past Place.
Tomas Jonsson, York University                                       Please submit your two-page proposal with budget via e-
"Houses of Culture and Memory: Tracing the shifting                  mail by February 23, 2009, to Dr. Ben Tillman, Chair,
terrain of cultural institutions in Post-Socialist Estonia"          HGSG Student Research Awards committee, Texas
Andrew Hill Clark Award (PhD):                                       Christian University,
Emilie Cameron, Queen's University
"’To mourn’: story, history, and materiality in the
Canadian Arctic"                                                                     Confer ence R epor t s
Clark Award Honorable Mention:                                       So many conferences, so little time! I have requested
Philip Birge-Liberman, Syracuse University                           reports on conferences outside the AAG, in order to
"Constructed nature: Boston’s Emerald Necklace as a                  highlight the activities of historical geographers. Members
response to urban crisis"                                            of the specialty group may also be interested in the
                                                                     upcoming conferences listed in the News section of this
              2009-2009 Call for Submissions
The Historical Geography Specialty Group (HGSG) of the
AAG will sponsor two student award competitions in                        Historical geography at the Canadian
2008-2009: The Ralph Brown Award for papers written by                         Association of Geographers
Master’s-level students; and The Andrew Hill Clark
Award for papers written at the PhD-level.                                               Arn Keeling
                                                                              Memorial University of Newfoundland
Eligibility for the awards is open to any graduate student
                                                                     Historical geography was prominent in both the setting
who has or will present a paper at any professional
                                                                     and the activities of the 2008 Canadian Association of
conference beginning the day after the 2008 AAG Annual
Meeting and ending the last day of the 2009 Annual                   Geographers Annual Meeting in Québec City, Canada.
Meeting. Students wishing to participate should send                 The meeting coincided with the 400th anniversary of the
copies of a conference-length paper of no more than 11               Ville de Québec, the historic capital of French North
double-spaced pages plus notes, figures, etc. to each                America and an urban landscape rich in historical
                                                                     monuments, sites and associations.
person listed below. Papers should be sent by e-mail in
doc or rtf format. All questions should be directed to the
Paper Awards Committee Chair.

                                              Past Place, vol. 17, issue 1

Held in conjunction with the International Geographical
Union’s Commission on the Cultural Approach in
Geography,      the   conference    featured     significant
contributions by historical geographers. The annual Wiley
Lecture was delivered by the renowned Québec historical
geographer Serge Courville, who was also honoured with
a tribute by his longtime friend and fellow student of
Québec historical geography, Cole Harris. Both lectures
explored the shaping of the Québec landscape and the
continued association of French-American culture and the
land. Sponsored by the IGU, Derek Gregory delivered a
historically   informed     and    theoretically    incisive
examination of the American military engagement in Iraq
and Afghanistan entitled “’The Rush to the Intimate’:
Counterinsurgency and the Cultural Turn in Late Modern
War.”                                                              St. Gabriel Church. Photo by Scott Roper.

The joint conference featured presentations by historical          October 15-18, 103 geographers, historians, students, non-
geographers on a wide range of topics, from urban                  academic professionals, and others belonging to one or
landscape change in Regina, to the environmental history           both organizations converged on Baton Rouge to share
of Toronto’s rivers, to the longue durée of mineral                their passion for historical geography, landscape studies,
exploitation in Latin America, to the history of invasive          and material culture. Craig organized and hosted the
lamprey management in the Great Lakes, among others.               meeting, most of which was held at the historic Heidelberg
Historical geographers were also prominent amongst the             and Capitol House Hotel (now the Hilton Baton Rouge
conference organizers, which included Matthew Hatvany              Capitol Center).
and Caroline Desbiens of Laval University and Étienne
                                                                   After the River Road excursion, Malcolm Comeaux of
Rivard of the Centre interuniversitaire d’études
                                                                   Arizona State University provided a thought-provoking
                                                                   keynote address entitled "Cajuns: Environments and
Finally, the CAG’s newly formed Historical Geography               Material Culture," and briefly demonstrated the intricacies
Study Group convened to chart future initiatives. The              of local accordion music. Additionally, Jay Edwards of
group is determined to emphasize the creation of                   Louisiana State University led a day-long field trip to New
opportunities and incentives for students to attend the            Orleans on Saturday, taking participants to the Pitot
CAG, in order to promote continued renewal in the                  House, the French Quarter, and the devastated Lower
discipline. The HGSG also sponsored an informal social             Ninth Ward.
night at the Pub St.-Alexandre in Vielle Québec – the
                                                                   On Friday, members of both the Pioneer America Society
perfect way to celebrate a historic city and historical
                                                                   and the Eastern Historical Geography Association
                                                                   presented 52 papers at the conference, once again
        Along the River in Baton Rouge:                            illustrating the breadth of research in historical geography
                                                                   and landscape- and material-culture studies.          EHGA
       The 2008 PAS/EHGA Joint Meeting                             members presented papers on a range of topics including:
                       Scott Roper                                 a Depression-era reforestation program in New York; the
          Castleton State College, Castleton VT                    survival of Chile's historic nitrate mines; German
                                                                   impressions of New Orleans in the nineteenth century; and
On Thursday, October 16, I found myself speeding                   the life and music of Patsy Cline in the context of cultural
through the Louisiana countryside, riding with five other          geography. PAS:APAL presentations ranged from studies
passengers (mostly historical geographers) in a van driven         of Tennessee log buildings, to Creole dance halls of
by Artimus Keiffer, Executive Director of the Pioneer              Louisiana, to an eight-paper symposium of cultural
America Society/Association for the Preservation of                geography and material culture studies.
Artifacts and Landscapes (PAS:APAL). Perhaps because
of our overlapping interests, every time we came close to          At the banquet which followed the paper presentations,
catching the bus we were following, one of us would see            the Pioneer America Society recognized Marshall S.
something interesting along the roadside and force                 McLennan with the Henry H. Douglas Distinguished
Artimus (who was more than willing) to slam on the brake           Service Award, presented "to an individual who has made
s and turn the vehicle around to allow us to take                  significant contributions over the years in furthering the
photographs. When we lost the bus—which happened                   Society's goals through service, teaching, publications,
frequently—Martyn Bowden of the Eastern Historical                 and/or the promotion of historic preservation." Ann
Geography Association took control from the back of the            Smart Martin and David Robertson shared the Fred B.
van, shouting out directions with a level of accuracy not          Kniffen Book Award, Martin for Buying into the World of
yet achieved in GPS technology. We did not get lost, and           Goods:    Early Consumers in Backcountry Virginia, and
joined our fellow tourists at St. Gabriel Church, built by         Robertson for Hard as the Rock Itself: Place and Identity in the
Acadian refugees in 1772; the River Road African-                  American Mining Town. Amy Potter of Louisiana State
American Museum in Donaldsonville; the Carville                    University received the Hubert Wilhelm Student Research
Hansen's Disease Center; and other sites along the                 Award for her paper, "There's No Place Like Home:
Mississippi River.                                                 Rebuilding Community in the Lower Ninth Ward."

The day-long "River Road" field trip, led by Craig Colten          The EHGA and PAS:APAL will rekindle the fun and
of the Department of Geography and Anthropology at                 enthusiasm they shared in Baton Rouge at their next joint
Louisiana State University, was just one of the memorable          meeting, this one planned for October 29-31, 2009, in
highlights from the 2008 Pioneer America Society/Eastern           Pipestem, West Virginia. Dawn and Marshall Bowen will
Historical Geography Association joint meeting. Between            host the event, and have selected "Heritage Preservation in
                                                                   Appalachia" as the conference theme. Additional details,
                                                                   as well as information on PAS:APAL award recipients, are
                                                                   available on the Pioneer America Society's web site,

                                                Past Place, vol. 17, issue 1

      Report on the 2008 RGS-IBG Annual                              Merle Patchett (University of Glasgow) and Kate Foster
                                                                     (Glasgow Sculpture studios) on ‘Dead biogeographies –
           International Conference
                                                                     and how to make them live’, which explored the idea of
                     Lowri M. Jones                                  ‘vivifying’ collections of taxidermy specimens. An active
          Royal Holloway University of London                        member of the HGRG committee, Merle was also
                                                                     responsible for a two-part session that revealed the
Framed by Noel Castree’s open-ended but challenging                  vibrancy of work currently being undertaken within the
theme of ‘Geographies that Matter’, the 2008 RGS-IBG                 postgraduate community. A valuable forum for students
Annual International Conference clearly demonstrated the             to present their research in a friendly and supportive
vitality and dynamism of historical geography today. As              atmosphere, these sessions also offered those of us in the
one of the largest and most active research groups of the            audience tantalising glimpses into the historical
Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British            geographies of colonial copyright (P. Hatfield, Royal
Geography), the Historical Geography Research Group                  Holloway University of London), camouflage as science
(HGRG) maintained a strong presence at the conference                and art (I. Forsyth, University of Glasgow), and
this year, sponsoring nine different sessions in total. With         nineteenth-century spirit photography (E. Roberts,
a further five sessions sponsored by the History and                 University of Exeter).
Philosophy of Geography Research Group (HPGRG), the
work of historical geographers made a significant impact             On the final day of the RGS-IBG, a colleague commented
on the conference proceedings. Ranging across the world,             that the conference had seemed quieter than previous
above the globe, and even delving under the earth, the               years – at least when it came to chatting over coffee or a
material presented in these sessions, which also spanned             beer in the leafy surroundings of the Royal Geographical
the centuries, illustrated the diversity of current historical       Society garden. The number of registrations was actually
geography research and practice. To mention but a few –              up. It seems that conference-goers were curtailing the
Ruth Craggs and Hannah Neate (University of                          usual post-session debates, networking, and even lunch, in
Nottingham) co-convened a session that engaged with the              favour of attending keynotes and paper sessions –
historical geographies of science in ‘Locating Knowledge:            testament perhaps to the way in which Castree’s challenge
Alternative Spaces, Networks and Histories’; Richard                 was met.
Healey & Humphrey Southall (University of Portsmouth)
turned attention to methodological questions with papers
on ‘Uncertainty and Inference in Historical GIS’; and with                      Histor ical G eogra phy N ews
a session on the ‘Historical Geographies of the
Subterranean’, Sarah Cant (University of Plymouth) and               The British Society for the History of Science will be
Heidi Scott (University of Aberystwyth) introduced                   holding their Postgraduate Conference at the University of
conference-goers to the underground spaces of Rome, of               Manchester, 7-9 January 2009. This annual event gives
early colonial Peru, and those inhabited by Devon’s bat              postgraduates an opportunity to meet, to share ideas and
population!                                                          experiences, and to give papers in a friendly and
                                                                     supportive environment. In 2009, the conference will be
In response to Castree’s call to situate Geography in the            hosted by the Centre for the History of Science,
wider world, the historical geography sessions at the RGS-           Technology and Medicine at the University of Manchester.
IBG also made a convincing case for the sub-field’s                  Papers will be given by both UK and international
contemporary relevance, enlivening dusty archival                    postgraduates who carry out research in any areas of the
materials, reconsidering orthodox histories in light of              history of science, technology and medicine. For further
postcolonial theory, and questioning how such pasts may              information, please email
bear upon the present. A three-part session entitled ‘Using
Histories Politically’ commenced proceedings for the
HGRG and the HPGRG, and in some ways set the tone for
                                                                     14th International Conference of Historical Geographers
what was to follow. Co-convened by Richard Phillips &
David Featherstone (University of Liverpool), this session           Welcome to the 14th International Conference of Historical
begun a discussion of the political uses of historical               Geographers (ICHG) at the Graduate School of Letters,
geographies of imperialism and the Atlantic with a paper             Kyoto University, Japan. It gives me great pleasure to host
by postcolonial historian Bill Schwarz (Queen Mary,                  the first ICHG held in East Asia, where distinctive
University of London). Papers included in the session                traditions of historical geography have developed. I hope
went on to address important philosophical and                       that the confluence of multiple genealogies in historical
methodological issues concerning the production and                  geography will inspire the reorientation of alternative
‘political animation’ of histories and historical                    perspectives and studies.
geographies. Themes surrounding the writing, silencing
and reclamation of histories introduced in ‘Using Histories          Akihiro Kinda
Politically’ were later picked up in a session that addressed        Director ICHG 2009 Organizing Committee
the role of ‘Indigenous knowledge, resistance and agency’            Conference Themes
in the historical geographies of geographical field science          Papers are invited on all aspects of historical geography,
and exploration. Co-convened by Nicola Thomas, Jude                  especially the following:
Hill (University of Exeter) and I, this session was also                  •    Theory and history of historical geography
illustrative of the interdisciplinary nature of much of the               •    Digital humanities and Historical GIS
research presented, as speakers drew on such backgrounds                  •    Mapping, survey and geographical knowledge
as the history of science and cultural anthropology.                      •    Nature and environmental change
The productive and affective outcomes of such                             •    Population, health and welfare
interdisciplinary meetings and dialogues were examined                    •    Farms, food and rural landscape
explicitly in a session entitled ‘Archaeology meets                       •    Urbanism and built environments
Geography’ (D. Tolia-Kelly & R. Hingley, Durham                           •    Industrialization and capitalism
University). Meetings and minglings were again the focus                  •    Networking, communication and globalization
of discussion in a session concerned with ‘Remaking and                   •    Tourism, sport and recreation
Tracing Biogeographies’ (G. Davies, University College                    •    Heritage and landscape conservation
London & J. Lorimer, University of Oxford). Of particular                 •    Power, imperialism and colonialism
interest for historical geographers here was a paper by                   •    Historical geographies of East Asia

                                             Past Place, vol. 17, issue 1

Important Dates                                                         Hard as the Rock Itself: Place and Identity in the
                                                                                    American Mining Town.
Submission of Abstracts: 31 January 2009
Acceptance of Papers: 28 February 2009                                                  David Robertson
Early Registration: 31 March 2009                                                       SUNY-Geneseo
Further information on the submission of abstracts, the            The first intensive analysis of sense of place in American
registration method, field trips, accommodation and                mining towns, Hard as the Rock Itself: Place and Identity in
detailed    programs   available   on   the   website:             the American Mining Town provides insight into the                                 struggles and rewards of life in these communities.
                                                                   Robertson contends that these communities—often
ICHG 2009 Organizing Committee                                     characterized as derelict, as sources of debasing moral
Email:                                      influence, and as scenes of environmental decay—have a
Fax: +81-75-761-0692                                               strong and enduring sense of place and have even
c/o Department of Geography, Graduate School of Letters,           embraced some of the signs of so-called dereliction.
Kyoto University, 606-8501, Japan                                  Robertson documents the history of Toluca, Illinois;
                                                                   Cokedale, Colorado; and Picher, Oklahoma, from the
                                                                   mineral discovery phase through mine closure, telling for
Alberto Giordano (Texas State University-San Marcos) and           the first time how these century-old mining towns have
Anne Kelly Knowles (Middlebury College) have received a            survived and how sense of place has played a vital role.
two-year grant of $429,236 from the National Science
Foundation for a project titled "Holocaust Historical GIS"
that will involve ground-breaking application of GIScience
models and methods to carry out four case studies that
examine geographic aspects of the Holocaust from the
continental to the local scale. This collaborative research
effort includes colleagues from the U.S. Holocaust
Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., which is
providing much of the data for the project, as well as from
six other universities in the United States, United
Kingdom, and New Zealand.

Idaho State University has a funded assistantship available
for students who would like to enroll in the GIS-based
M.A. program in Historical Resources Management
beginning in January 2009. Additional funding may be                            Buying into the World of Goods
available for students who wish to begin their program in                  Early Consumers in Backcountry Virginia
August 2009. Assistants receive a stipend, tuition waiver,
and health insurance. For more information on ISU's                                   Ann Martin Smart
unique, collaborative M.A. degree, which trains students                            University of Wisconsin
to use geographical tools in historical analysis, please           How did people living on the early American frontier
contact the program director Dr. Kevin Marsh                       discover and then become a part of a consumer economy?
(       or     visit     our      website:        Reconstructing the world of one country merchant on the                                               edge of the upper Shenandoah Valley between 1760 and
                                                                   1810, Ann Smart Martin reveals how the acquisition of
                                                                   consumer goods created and validated a set of ideas about
Dr. Graeme Wynn of the University of British Columbia              taste, fashion, and lifestyle. Her analysis of account ledgers
was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in             illuminates everyday wants, transactions, and tensions
July. The citation to the RSC reads as follows:                    and brings some customers to life: a planter looking for
                                                                   just the right clock, a farmer in search of nails, a young
    Graeme Wynn is among the leading Historical                    woman and her friends out shopping on their own, and a
    Geographers and Environmental Historians in the                slave woman choosing a looking glass. This innovative
    English-speaking world. He is particularly known               approach distils abstract social and economic systems into
    for his analyses of the social and environmental               intimate triangulations among merchants, customers, and
    ramifications of staple trades, especially in the              objects and creates its own kind of community and
    forests of colonial New Zealand, of the                        landscape.
    environmental impact of industrializing societies,
    and of the regional historical geography of early
    Canada. He is a meticulous researcher, a charming
    writer, and a fastidious editor. His recent                    The Engineers Club of Dayton Foundation received a 2008
    environmental history of Canada is a much-                     Award of Excellence in History Outreach from the Ohio
    anticipated and ground-breaking work. He leads                 Association of Historical Societies and Museums
    the     interdisciplinary   collaborations    that             (OAHSM), for the locally produced documentary film,
    distinguish the current burgeoning of Canadian                 Ropewalk: A Cordage Engineer’s Journey Through History.
    environmental history.                                         The film trailer, and more information, can be seen at
As reported by Scott Roper (above) the Fred Kniffen Book
Award was shared by Ann Smart Martin of the University             “Ropewalk,” a one-hour documentary film by Athens, Ohio
of Wisconsin, Madison and David Robertson at SUNY                  filmmaker Steve Fetsch (2006 OAHSM Award Recipient)
Geneseo. Both authors have kindly provided summaries of            explores rope’s ancient beginnings, world history and
their volumes. Details on the Kniffen award can be found           future possibilities, focusing on Xenia’s Hooven & Allison
at                       Co., one of America’s last natural-fiber ropemaking
                                                                   companies. The film, released on DVD in April 2008,
                                                                   includes extensive interviews with Beavercreek resident

                                                Past Place, vol. 17, issue 1

Bill Hagenbuch, retired president and chief engineer of
Xenia’s Hooven & Allison Co., as well as archival footage             I.B. Tauris is pleased to announce
that illustrates the local cordage industry’s role in                 TAURIS HISTORICAL GEOGRAPHY SERIES
agriculture, industry, and world history. Ropewalk was
produced by the Engineers Club of Dayton Foundation in                Series Editor: Robert Mayhew, University of Bristol
cooperation with the Cordage Institute. The film was
inspired by the video ‘A Forest Returns’, which was                   EDITORIAL BOARD:
featured in an earlier edition of Past Place.                         David Armitage, Harvard University.
                                                                      Jeremy Black, Exeter University.
Ropemaking was once Xenia’s largest industry, employing               Laura Cameron, Queen's University, Ontario.
thousands of people at six rope factories, of which the               Felix Driver, Royal Holloway, University of London.
Hooven & Allison was the largest and longest lasting.                 Michael Heffernan, Nottingham University.
Xenia’s Hooven & Allison plant closed in 2004 after 135               Nuala Johnson, Queen's University, Belfast.
years, and burned in 2005. Hagenbuch has been                         David Livingstone, Queen's University, Belfast.
preserving the legacy through community presentations,                David Matless, Nottingham University.
and now in the documentary film. Hagenbuch brings the                 Miles Ogborn, Queen Mary, University of London.
story to life through his personal and family history in              David Robinson, Syracuse University.
ropemaking across several generations                                 Charles Withers, Edinburgh University.
                                                                      Brenda Yeoh, National University of Singapore.
                                                                      Though long established as a field of inquiry, historical
           New Publica tion s an d Me dia                             geography has changed dramatically in recent years
I am pleased to call attention to the following recent media          becoming a driving force in the development of many of
releases and publications. If you would like to include a             the new agendas of contemporary geography. Dialogues
notice for a forthcoming or recently released book or film            with historians of science, art historians and literary
in Past Place that you think would be of particular interest          scholars have revitalized the history of geographical
to historical geographers, please contact the Editor. Please          thought, and a new, vibrant, pluralistic culture of
note that the following write-ups are publishers’                     scholarship has emerged. The Tauris Historical Geography
announcements and press releases, not reviews by the                  series provides an international forum for the publication
Editor.                                                               of scholarly work that encapsulates and furthers these new
                                                                      FORTHCOMING TITLES IN THE SERIES:
Dirt: New Geographies of Cleanliness and                              Zambesi: David Livingstone and Expeditionary Science in
Contamination                                                         Africa by Lawrence Dritsas
        Ben Campkin (Editor), Rosie Cox (Editor)                      New Spaces of Exploration: Discovery in the Twentieth
                                                                      Century by Simon Naylor and James Ryan (eds)
                                                                      Scriptural Geography: Portraying the Holy Land by Edwin
                                                                      City and Cosmos: The Medieval World in Urban Form by
                                                                      Keith Lilley
                                                                      The Series Editor and Publishers welcome proposals for
                                                                      the Series
                                                                      Series Editor
                                                                      Robert Mayhew
                                                                      School of Geographical Sciences
                                                                      University of Bristol
                                                                      BS8 1SS, United Kingdom

Dirt - and our rituals to eradicate it - are as much a part of        David Stonestreet
our everyday lives as eating, breathing and sleeping. Yet             Geography Editor
this very fact means that we seldom stop to question what             I.B.Tauris Publishers
we mean by dirt. What do our attitudes to dirt and          
cleanliness tell us about ourselves and the societies we live         I.B.Tauris Publishers, 6 Salem Road, London W2 4BU, UK,
in? The contributors to this work expose the interests                Tel: +44 (0) 20 7243 1225; Fax: +44 (0) 20 7243 1226
which underlie everyday conceptions of dirt and reveal      
how our ideas about it are intimately bound up with issues
of race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality and the body.
Exploring a wide variety of settings - domestic, urban and
rural - this original work reveals how attitudes to dirt and
cleanliness become manifest in surprisingly diverse ways,
including the rituals associated with death and burial;
interior and architectural design aesthetics; urban
infrastructure, regeneration and renewal; film symbolism;
and consumer attitudes to food. This is a rich and
challenging work that extends our understanding of the
cultural manifestations of dirt and cleanliness.


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