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Matt Herbert
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Before taking this class I never knew that cultural geography was an area of study that people spend devoted time to. At the begging of the class I wasn't even sure what this class was about. However, I now appreciate the concepts of cultural geography because I feel I have been equipped with terminology and methods that will help me understand, explain, and interpret different places. I can honestly say I look at places differently because of this class. I also used to not be a huge fan of public artwork, statues, etc.. but now I take the time to look at them and determine how they represent the culture in that place.
Like Mack, I also enjoyed learning about the concepts of power and identifying the influence of power over certain places. When I go to different places I like to try and figure out all the influences of power in that place. It's also kind of fun to look at the traces in how a place is bordered to try and determine what this means about how this place is ordered.
I related with Kai because he desires to become stronger, more confident, athletic, and be adventurous. Like Kai, I sometimes feel out of place when it comes to being a 'fighter' in the typical sense of the word (fighting as a soldier, being in the military, etc). I am more gentle in nature, yet I desire to become physically stronger so I can have more adventures (back packing, hiking, etc.) I also relate to Kai's loyalty and friendship with Rat. I value loyalty and I have been told I am an encouraging and supportive friend.
Toggle Commented Dec 1, 2017 on Who do you identify with? at People, Space & Place
I watched the interview with David Hahn. I thought it was interesting that he moved to Portland because of the comic community. I also like how he says Portland is very “visually interesting town” and how it is exciting and stimulating for him. He is inspired by the landscapes in Portland and incorporates that into his artwork. Before watching this interview, I never really knew there was a “comic community” per se, but now I know that there are people who live there that put their positivity and creativity towards creating a culture of people who love comics. Pretty neat!
Toggle Commented Nov 28, 2017 on Geographers at work: comics at People, Space & Place
I started reading graphic novels last year when I worked in a fourth-grade classroom as an instructional assistant. The elementary students seemed to be very interested and excited by these, so it was important to read them and keep up to speed to relate with the students. Before then, however, I had not read many comics. My attention is drawn to the pictures as well as the “sound effects.” These help me understand what is happening in the story and almost help me see it in action within my imagination.
Toggle Commented Nov 28, 2017 on Reading The Nameless City at People, Space & Place
It is interesting to think about how a modification of a story can transform it. I agree with the posts above that if the story was modified in that the Dao had to defend the city from an invasion by another “Great Nation,” there may be a transformation in the character development. The story, as it is, focuses on the relationships between Kai, Rat, and their individual relationship to the city. If the story was modified to the example above, the relationship between Kai and Rat may play out differently. If The Nameless City is turned into an TV animation series, it will be interesting to see how the story is modified and transformed.
I read the article "Photographing faith in suburbia" and found it to be really fascinating. Photography, as a method of cultural geography, is heavily based on empiricism (knowledge through observation.) Yet, the authors of this article were clever in that they sent out people with cameras to not only take pictures, but to report back what they learned verbally. A lot of the concepts mentioned in the article were a combination of the photographs mixed with the ideas, opinions, and observations of the participants. I think think is a great method to use to understand cultural geography.
Learning about how capitalism influences cultural geography has been very interesting. When I am going on a walk or a drive through different places, I often observe my surroundings and identify the ways in which capitalism has an influence there. It continues to amaze me about how much influence capitalism has over places. The most confusing topic for me was language. I found this topic to be the least helpful of them all.
One of the topics I enjoyed learning about was the concept of 'natural, normal, and novel.' I am currently a psychology major and I find it very interesting investigate why people do the things they do (social psychology). The field exercises we did for this class involved making many observations about what people do in certain places. I enjoyed identifying what actions/behaviors of the people in these places were natural, normal, and novel, and then tried to piece together and understand why these actions were this way. Learning the vast terminology of cultural geography will be helpful in my future studies!
In the American Apparel website article, the ads reflect that women should dress provocatively. The women seem to have confidence in their bodies and, except for the sweatshirt ad, show a lot of skin in the clothing they wear. From a capitalist standpoint, this is perfect for advertisement purposes because people tend to envy these models and want to be like them, and therefore buy the clothing and companies make more money. It is sad that this advertising structure has become increasingly prominent and affects how women and men see and define themselves. The men in these photos seem to be more relaxed in their clothing. It's the idea of wear whatever is comfortable, but be thin and have a decent physique.
The "Post-crisis, post-Ford and post-gender..." article talks about how the change in the economy has led young unemployed men in the U.K. to feel undervalued and inadequate. The author believes this has a direct impact on the way in how they identify themselves. They "make a virtue out of necessity', exaggerating a tough street-savvy version of masculine identity in the context of an economy and society that undervalues them." The author also emphasized that when men act with aggression, violence, etc.. it is considered normal, yet if women act this way it is considered novel. I thought this was a very interesting (and challenging) article to read, yet helpful in my understanding of how culture can impact identity.
It is interesting to look at these pictures in terms of sex and gender in addition to race and ethnicity. If I were to have seen that nail salon photo without the context that there was going to be some sort of 'difference', I would probably not have picked up on the role reversal. (I think this is because I have not been to a nail salon before so I don't really know what is expected there.) The picture also only includes women. This is because nail salon's are usually stereotyped as places that only women go to because it is a "feminine" place.
Kamalei, when I went to Thailand a few years ago to visit a hill-tribe people called the "Hmong," I experience both a loss and gain of "white privilege" in different aspects. When buying products (such as bricks for a project we were working on), the locals would charge me 3 to 4 times the amount of the original price if I was there alone. This is because I was seen as the "white man" with a lot of money. In this situation, I experienced a 'loss of privilege' because I was white. However, when it comes to sharing ideas and making decisions as a group, with the local Hmong people, most have the idea that 'white people' are smarter, richer, and therefore "know best." We had to be very careful to not come across this way. It is very easy for people from Western cultures to go to other countries and take control, make decisions, and assert their dominance over another people group. I believe this people say we live in an "all white world."
McKenzie, funny video! I think the man asking the "Where are you from" question is exactly what Tanvi Misra is talking about. It seems like an innocent question, but when asked in the wrong context or without much thought, the question can be construed as inappropriate or rude. I find that I often times want to ask this question to generally learn more about someone, but I have to make sure I am asking it at the right time and place.
I would be comfortable with the idea of accepting ambiguity when it comes to defining adulthood. I understand the author is trying to pin-point certain milestones that define adulthood, however, becoming an adult involves the process of becoming more mature, which takes time and looks different from person to person. The description of adulthood in this article was also very "American." For example, it is commonplace for people in Asian countries to remain at home and not move out after high school. In America, moving out is commonly expected and signifies independence and maturity. Could the definition of adulthood be different from culture to culture? Or is there a more broad definition that encompasses all people?
Toggle Commented Nov 6, 2017 on Who is a youth? at People, Space & Place
The "Feral Cats in the City" article highlights the idea that "the urban environment is one where nature has been contained and transformed. The city is subject to an ordering process which signals what can be included in urban space and what does not belong.." Feral cats can be thought of as representational for the "wild" or "forest, nature, etc." The spaces in the city where feral cats are found can represent how nature in intruding into the city. Others feel that these spaces that provide habitat to feral cats are crucial and important to their survival, and thus creates conflict between the two sides. It was interesting to read all of the ways people view cats (Freud hates them, gypsies despise them, people who apparently "long for nature" love them, etc..) It's interesting to see how a city can be more-than-human because the presence of cats signify nature. And people's opinions of feral cats cause them to order and border the city in different ways.
McKenzie, I read the article at High Country which talks about private landowners shutting of public roads to public spaces. The article didn't mention why private land owners wanted to claim land that wasn't theirs (other than potential financial gain) but I am wondering if some private owners wanted to prevent over- exploitation for happening (similar to what happened in the beaver article.) I think it can be tough for officials to enforce boundaries of land because national forest spaces are very large. Also, it takes time and energy to for officials to enforce laws and boundaries (forcing private owners to rid of gates blocking public roads, etc.) It it apparent that these places are more-than-human because the value of nature affects how people behave.
The Atlatnic article on "climate change refugees" describes how nature often forces people to be mobile because of natural disasters and climate changes. When people's houses are destroyed and they lose everything they have, they then have to seek different living conditions (requiring them to move from their homeland). Nature can also affect people's mobility by causing them to choose to move before a natural disaster hits. Climate change is more-than-human because it shows how nature can directly affect humans. The recent hurricanes Harvey and Irma are examples of how nature impact the lives of humans and cause them to be mobile.
Toggle Commented Oct 30, 2017 on Linking mobility and nature at People, Space & Place
Kamalei, I too found the same article to be interesting. The quote you added, "The mobility of many youths is confined by not having access to cars and their social networks often do not extend beyond neighborhood boundaries” reminds me of how my boundaries as a kid were tied to my neighborhood. The culdesac in my neighborhood growing up was the prime meeting spot for all of us neighborhood kids. This was where I spent a majority of my time and made many memories while growing up. However, I think its important to note that parents (and their vehicles) also influence the mobility of youth. My parents owned a cabin at Detroit Lake, and I I grew up going there almost every weekend with my family. Because of my parents mobility, I was able to have experiences and develop a sort of identity in a different location than my neighborhood.
I resonate with the feeling of value as a result of productivity. After a productive day of completing homework, running errands, being busy, and overall getting things done, I feel really great about myself. During a day that I haven't accomplished a lot, it is easy for me to feel more negative about myself. After reading this article I am beginning to understand how the structure and ideologies of productivity that have been modeled and taught to me throughout the years have played (still play) a role in how I recognize my self worth. It can be easy to let productivity define us, especially if we aren't focused on the interpersonal relationship aspects that Peggy and Kaylee talk about. If we revisit the famous question "What is the meaning of life?" we can determine the essentials of who and what we live for, as well has why and how we live for them. We should be careful not to let anything else define our identity and how we feel about ourselves.
Toggle Commented Oct 25, 2017 on Commodifying yourself at People, Space & Place
It is evident that technology has been and will continue to replace human jobs. It is difficult to weigh the value of technology against the disadvantages of unemployment. Technology allows for new medical advancements that save lives, makes information readily available that helps with education, increases the efficiency of agricultural processes that increases food production, among many other benefits. Unemployment creates situations in which people are not able to purchase food, shelter, medicine, and other basic needs. Since technology is not going to go away (unless there is a natural disaster, nuclear warfare, etc..) it might be helpful to look at how technology might free up humans to focus on other things. For example, there are many countries with significant amounts of poverty and high percentages of death from lack of basic needs. What if there were new jobs created that allowed unemployed people to seek employment to help these struggling people? What if technology changed the structure of our capitalist economy that allowed food to be cheaper and basic needs to be more accessible? It seems that so many other factors come into play when thinking about our economy than just technology (housing market, etc..) It is clear that our current structure of capitalism is leaving some people in poverty. Without a change to this structure, technology might prove to help financially stable/wealthy people and worsen the conditions of people in poverty.
Toggle Commented Oct 25, 2017 on A capitalist future at People, Space & Place
In the bicycle article, the normative practice has been that bicyclists are to follow traffic laws and stop and stop signs and red lights. People transgress this when they disregard the traffic laws and continue through anyway. It seems the idea to change the laws and allow people to make an "Idaho stop," (meaning they can treat stop lights and stop signs as a yield signs) they are trying to make something novel into something normative. I agree with Katie in that having bicycles follow traffic laws might make the actions more predictable and thus be more preventative of collisions. However, having taken a driver education instructor's course a couple summers ago, I know driver's also transgress the law and fail to yield, check blind spots, etc. I think it is up to both the driver and the bicyclist to communicate with each other, yield when necessary, and not transgress when something becomes normative as in the instance of safety.
John, I really liked your idea of gaining a new understanding of sense of place by visiting and experiencing different places and locales. Since 'sense of place' is the idea that place defines identity, it's interesting to think about what someone's experience may be when moving from one geographical location to another. What happens to their identity? For example, I met a couple people from WOU that recently moved here from Saipan (a small island east of the Philippines). They talk a lot about the non-representational aspects of living in Monmouth that are completely different from that of Saipan. Some of their examples are people drinking coffee every morning, grilling cheeseburgers on barbecues, and other examples of routines/actions that we don't normally consider. I imagine if I moved to Saipan I would experience a whole new sense of place. For example, the people in Saipan believe in Animism, (the belief that objects have a spirit within them such as a rock, or tree). Next time I see them I'll ask them how they feel the "place" in which they came from affects their "sense of place."
Toggle Commented Oct 17, 2017 on Place as locale at People, Space & Place
McKenzie, you mentioned that you understood place as more of a general description of the location and that space has to do with sense of place. I think what the author of chapter four is trying to do is separate the idea of place and space. Space is the scientific, open, detached, and more general idea of an area. It is looked at as a "range of scale" meaning space can be a chair, your body, a room, a country, a continent, etc. There is a quote from chapter four that says "geographical space becomes place when human beings imbue it with meaning." Therefore, place is intimate, peopled, emotive, politicized, cultured, and otherwise a humanized version of space. It is also fashioned by culture and context and influenced by humans and non-humans in which traces are left by intent or accident. Therefore, sense of place refers more to the emotional, experiential, and affective traces that tie humans into particular environments. It's also the idea of "who we are" and "where we are" in which place defines identity. I hope this helps! I am still trying to wrap my head around everything too.
The “Feeling Fat” article makes the argument that body weight should not reflect the health of a person. The article expresses that our culture today (North America) puts a strong emphasis on the importance of body image through media and people feel negatively about their bodies when they do not match up to these unrealistic standards. In terms of cultural geography our bodies are the ‘geography’, and the way we feel about ourselves in non-representational. In response to the value media places on extreme thinness, bulky/muscled physique, people try to obtain this body image to feel better about themselves. Many people try to make their body image representational to communicate their value and worth. People shouldn’t feel shame about themselves because of their body image, nor should they base their value and worth on themselves if they have an “excellent physique.” It may be a healthier approach to keep body weight and personal identity separate. As a side note, it’s also important to realize that obesity in America is a problem and this may actually represent poor health in someone who is obese. People shouldn’t stop trying to be healthy in spite of America overemphasizing and overvaluing unrealistic expectations of body image.