Campus News

Finding a Hopeful 'Place' with Limited Space

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 2, 2011) — After a well-attended opening lecture with Ann Kingsolver last week, the University of Kentucky's "Place Matters" series continues on Thursday with renowned geographer John Pickles.

Pickles, the Phillips Distinguished Professor of International Studies and Chair of the University of North Carolina's Department of Geography, will present "On the Limits of Planetary Space: Globalization and the Politics of Hope" at 3:30 p.m., Thursday, March 3 in the William T. Young Library Auditorium.

UK anthropology professor Hsain Ilahiane and UK geography professor Patricia Ehrhamp will participate as discussants in Pickles' lecture.

Pickles is an economic geographer trained in political economy and development studies, cultural and social theory and continental philosophy. His research currently focuses on global production networks, European economic and social spaces particularly post-socialist transformations in Central Europe and Euro-Med Neighborhood Policies in southern Europe and the cultural economies of maps and mapping. He has recently completed books on globalization and regionalization, state and society in post-socialist Europe and a history of spaces.

Pickles' research and teaching focus primarily on issues of geographical and social change, particularly in regions that are undergoing major ruptures in socio-economic life and under conditions of economic -- and often physical -- violence. These concerns have their roots in questions of geographical uneven development, whether in post-war Britain, colonial and post-colonial Africa, the unraveling of state socialism in Central Europe, the building of the new Europe, or the operation and effects of global apparel production networks. Each is heavily inflected through his reading of critical theory, hermeneutic phenomenology, cultural studies and post-structural social theory. 

"Place Matters," a four-part lecture series exploring the importance of place in research, pedagogy and citizenship will continue the global conversation, according to UK sociology professor and series organizer Dwight Billings.

"We aim to focus on how Place Matters in Appalachian Studies, but also, how our concerns—the role of place in scholarship, teaching and citizenship—are shared across many disciplines and programs at UK," Billings said. "While the theme of connectivity can be found throughout 30 years of work in Appalachian Studies, we continue to discuss our region's connection to a wider world with its constant flow of populations, resources, and ideas."

Sponsored by the Department of Appalachian Studies, the College of Arts and Sciences, the University of Kentucky Appalachian Center and the Appalachian
Graduate Research Community, Place Matters continues through April.

In addition to an elite group of visiting scholars, discussants from areas like Asian Studies, Indian Studies, English, Sociology, Anthropology, and Gender and Women's Studies will be reacting to the papers.

"We too often tend to discuss important matters in the isolation of our own disciplines -- not always reaching acrossthe academic silos that we inhabit," said Billings. "We're hoping to reach across through those disciplinary barriers to provoke new conversations."

The Appalachian Studies Program is an interdisciplinary program of the College of Arts and Sciences that includes faculty affiliates in Arts and Sciences and the colleges of Education, Fine Arts, and the Health Sciences. The program is devoted to promoting scholarship and teaching about Appalachia and service to the Appalachian region, as well as bringing together and augmenting our collective, university- wide strength in Appalachian research and education.

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