RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2012

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206 New and Emerging Research in Historical Geography (1)
Affiliation Historical Geography Research Group
Convenor(s) Kim Ross (University of Glasgow, UK)
Jake Hodder (The University of Nottingham, UK)
Chair(s) Kim Ross (University of Glasgow, UK)
Timetable Thursday 05 July 2012, Session 1 (09:00 - 10:40)
Room Appleton Tower - Room 2.05
Session abstract This session aims to provide an informal and relaxed forum for postgraduates undertaking research in historical geography to present at a major conference. Building upon past successful HGRG postgraduate sessions, it is hoped that a friendly and supportive atmosphere will produce stimulating debates on the issues raised and provide postgraduates with helpful feedback on their work. There is no chronological or geographical limit to papers and they can be variously theoretical, empirical and/or methodological in orientation.
Linked Sessions New and Emerging Research in Historical Geography (2)
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: AC2012@rgs.org
Matters of style and substance: British regional landscapes and the place of the dry-stone wall
Mhairi Paterson (University of Glasgow, UK)
Dry-stone walls extend for hundreds of thousands of miles across the British countryside but remain a commonly overlooked feature. They have a rich landscape heritage – their style varies according to underlying geology and techniques of craftsmanship. Walls are markers of local distinctiveness and set in stone histories of changing agricultural practices and land enclosure during the 18th and 19th centuries.
To demonstrate and celebrate this country craft, the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain produced ‘The Millennium Wall’: an outdoor museum which features nineteen sections of wall each built in the style specific to various regions of Great Britain. From each of the regions, craftspeople brought local stone and techniques to construct a feature showcasing a regional geography of substance and style. Employing the Millennium Wall as an example of the enduring significance and appeal of this traditional craft, this paper will consider how a wider historical geography of dry-stone walls and walling can be undertaken, so as to accommodate lore and language from older landscapes and nation-building stories, alongside new kinds of voluntary conservation work that re-animate processes of “culture-keeping” and re-invent communities of practice.
Navigating the ‘world of the miniature’ in Britain: The geographies of material scale modelling and models of places and spaces, c1930 – today
Rob Mackinnon (Aberystwyth University, UK)
Despite the emergence of a critical academic literature on the implications of abstract quantitative modelling for geographic world-views and a broader literature on the social construction of scale, there have been almost no detailed studies of the conceptual dimensions of material scale models and modelling or studies which explore the identities, materials, knowledges, motivations and techniques of scale modellers and the affects of such modelled environments. Emergent from early work-in-progress which seeks to explore how and why people make, use, and encounter miniature models of places and spaces, this paper seeks to navigate through, and draw Geography’s attention to, the fantastical ‘world of the miniature’. The paper asks of the diverse identities, communities, materials, knowledges, motivations and techniques that have been imbued with the scale modelling of spaces and places, how model spaces and places have been imagined, experienced, represented, used, debated and contested, the representations of modellers, and the spaces in which models have been produced and set since the early 20th century. In engaging with some of these issues, the paper will think critically about ‘scale’, ‘analogy’, ‘copy’, ‘simulation’, ‘utopia’, ‘fantasy’, ‘idealism’, ‘play’, ‘craft’, ‘scientific experimentation’, and ‘knowledge’ among others.
Circulating tropical nature: Design principles in Jamaican gardens
Duncan Taylor (Queen's University Belfast, UK)
Botanical gardens are increasingly understood as spaces in which representation of science, empire, culture and the biogeographical all go hand in hand (Brockway, 1979; Endersby, 2000; Schiebinger and Swan, 2005; Johnson, 2011). Archival material relating to the botanical gardens of Jamaica (from 1774-1907) has been viewed with the aim of interpreting the historical geographies of such spaces. This paper will interrogate the material with an eye to the natural history networks of ‘overlapping and contested material, cultural and political flows…’ (Featherstone et al., 2007: 386). The gardens were adaptive and generative forces in the natural history networks. I plan to detail here, how the design principles and foundation debates of the botanical gardens were created out of and set in motion local and transnational knowledges.
Practicing Cold War memories through geocaching
Gunnar Maus (University of Kiel, Germany)
This paper is about my ongoing PhD-project on memory practices of the Cold War in Germany. Conceptually, I follow on from work on the geography of memory, which has generally characterized memory as a means to socially construct place-based narratives of collective and individual identity. I want to focus on memory-in-the-making, i.e. on the practices of remembering that have only started to imbue specific locales with meaning within the two decades since the fall of the Iron Curtain.
While my project also examines well known modes of heritage-production such as in museums and heritage protection public bodies, here, I want to focus on geocaching as a way to bestow meaning upon Cold War relics. In this paper, I want to present my conceptual approach which is based on practice theory as well as on ethnographic research. Preliminary results from fieldwork will show how geocaching can be seen as a way to produce place-based memories on one side and how this corresponds to wider practices of memory on the other side. My aim is to bind together both the historical geography of Cold War militarized landscapes in Germany and a vision of how individuals produce embodied memories before they become manifest in commemorative plaques, statutory heritage status or other conventional forms of publication.
'Handle with Care: Developing Creative Strategies for "Difficult" Natural History Museum Collections'
Jennifer Hood (University of Glasgow, UK)
The practice of bird egg collecting in Britain is now illegal, and as a result, museums with large collections of bird eggs - such as Glasgow Museums whose holdings number more than 30,000 - are faced with a difficult task when considering the public exhibition of such socially, and morally, contentious natural artefacts. As a result, such egg collections are largely under-exhibited. In response, this paper will consider the historical origins and contemporary legacy of egg collecting, and the resultant ethical and pragmatic difficulties of exhibiting bird egg collections in a modern museum environment. This will be supported by a tentative outline of ongoing archival research garnered from the collections of Glasgow Museums, as well encompassing broader thematic research regarding contemporary museum culture, wildlife crime and the geography, or 'biogeographies', of natural history collections.