8/27, Monday

by hlegris

BEFORE CLASS: Post responses in Blackboard to the thread that reads: personal concepts of space/place/history: write me a description of a place that you keep returning to, repeatedly, and try to articulate why, what draws you back – remember, a place is a more open concept than simply a physical space. (Due by Monday, August 27th at 11am)

This assignment is, of course, related to Annie Dillard’s work as well as Pinepoint, but is a personal writing, not a direct response to the readings you’ve done. Think, memoir, memory, and description.

IN CLASS: We will discuss the assigned readings (Schein, Rich: “Belonging Through Land/Scape” – Adams, Shelby Lee “Of Kentucky: Photo Essay – “Shelby Lee Adams Invited Me to a Party”) – know in advance that Shein’s work will take the most time of the three and is related to Lexington, specifically, as will our research, ultimately.

Schein’s work is dense and laden with some jargon of his field, which is Geography, but try not to get to freaked out or caught up in the fact that he uses discipline-specific language. I would like you to think about how he presents and questions several different concepts in relation to place, identity, and belonging. Also, pay attention to the way that he organizes his paper and creates arguments using research.

While you’re reading, for example, try to consider the following questions as guides (some ideas to consider that we’ll delve more deeply into during class but that will also help you pinpoint some of the author’s arguments and main driving forces):

-What does it mean when, historically, African American landowners were excluded from property-holding record-books? How does(n’t) the state sanction identity and belonging? Who gets written into history and why?

-How is property intertwined with belonging and citizenship in the United States?

-How can communities find new forms of legitimacy and write/rewrite spaces to serve their needs?

-Historically-speaking, how is family related to individual identity and property?

-What new information did you learn about Lexington, especially in terms of space, race, and history? Were you surprised?

-How can something seemingly simple like a gate or a false hill or an empty space speak about history, race, belonging, values, and exclusion? How does Schein illustrate connections between the past and the present using simple aspects of space?

-How does the treatment of property reflect the belonging, hierarchies of power, racial tensions, and cultural landscapes?

-How is the Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden powerful? How does it rearrange power for the African American community around the East End?  

In class, we will do a writing exercise in response to Shelby Lee Adams’ work and the article “Shelby Lee Adams Invited Me to a Party” so try to think about your reactions to these two pieces in tandem – is Adams making a visual argument?

Monday and Wednesday, I’ll present some wordpress tutorials and I will provide an explanation of the objectives with your wordpress blog in terms of how it will help you aggregate research and ideas throughout the course of the semester – you will be creating your wordpress blog the week of the 27th, so if you want to start checking it out then feel free to explore the http://www.wordpress.com site.