Tag Archives: academia

A recent project

pages.uoregon.edu/eslager/CulturalGeog

I made this map for a final project for a cultural geography course this spring, and it comes with a request for viewers to submit markers of their own content, so check it out.

The idea of the map is to share stories or artifacts about places that are a little rough around the edges but that still inspire affection and pride. It’s not a radical map; it’s not connected to any goals for social change or political progress; it’s just a very simple testament to the places we love.

I’ve been feeling a little guilty lately that so few (if any) of my maps actually have that kind of goal—and that I’m not involved in more of the activism that a good map could be useful for. How do I balance the expectations and responsibilities of my grad program for me to do work that will advance my career and their reputation with what I think is the actually important work of fighting for justice? Lately, I’ve been failing on the side of too little of the latter.

Lots of good things to think about after this weekend, though: http://amc.alliedmedia.org/

off the road, up in the air

This weekend was a blessing to me. After the week’s goodbyes, car troubles, and diminishing time for making a decision about grad school, I was able to attend an interview weekend for an interdisciplinary, interdenominational fellowship for humanities students from faith-based undergrad institutions. I was the only geographer there, so it required the usual explanations of my discipline and research interests as well as some refreshing and challenging conversations about being a Christian in the academy. I really hope to receive the fellowship, but regardless of whether I do or not, the weekend was a wonderful chance to meet students with similar commitments as me and to reflect on and articulate those commitments and on my general academic goals. It was also nice to see an old friend from Calvin who I hadn’t seen in some time.

While I’m writing this I’m sitting on a plane back to Minneapolis. It is so interesting to see the world from a plane, particularly in a season not always shown in the satellite images we’ve become so accustomed to looking at on Google Earth. Most of the snow has melted, but there are still long straight lines of snow piled along the sides of certain roads and curves of ice edging Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes. The Mississippi still looks enormous, if not yet so muddy. Glowing clusters of orange streetlights make the cities stand out against the fields.

The Twins are playing at home tonight; my aunt and uncle are at the game, and judging by the lights and the look of the stands, the game is still going on. After I land, I’ll take the tram into the city and meet them near the stadium. I’m finding travel wearying this week, but it is so wonderful to be traveling towards people I know and not only away from them.