- Editor’s Introduction
Volume 58, Issue 1 of Southeastern Geographer opens with a Special Forum on The Aftermath of the Hate Rally in Charlottesville. The cumbersome title for the forum hints, perhaps, at the ways in which that startling event flummoxed many of us. Trying to make “sense” of the mass public eruption of race hatred calls for widening conversations, engaging with diverse strands of thought and realms of experience. Various histories of geographic thought prove tremendously useful here. The journal has a long history of publishing scholarship on contested landscapes, and the ways in which place and memory figure in contemporary political struggle. To put together this forum, we reached out to an established scholar of landscape, Richard Schein, as well as to a suite of other voices, weighing in on the matter at hand from a range of personal and scholarly perspectives. We offer an overview of these perspectives and our rationale for putting together the forum in the Introduction to the Special Forum.
The papers in the main body of this issue investigate socio-geographic relations related to economic development, as well as cultural, institutional and racial change. Facets of inequality and access to public space or resources are themes explored in each of the five papers.
Bise et al. (2018, this issue) investigated sidewalk network, connectivity and sidewalk quality in the college town of Starkville, Mississippi. While no racial disparity in sidewalk access was found, the quality of sidewalks in pre-dominantly Black neighborhoods were of poorer quality. Only 21 percent of the sidewalks were rated as “excellent” in Black neighborhoods compared to 75 percent in White neighborhoods. Sidewalks provide access to other modes of transportation, but more importantly facilitate social cohesion among neighbors.
Holtkamp and Weaver’s paper (2018, this issue) contributes to a growing body of empirical research on social capital and development in Appalachia, a region facing economic stagnation. The authors take an innovative approach to exploring possible links between regional place identification, social capital, and economic development. Their paper uses a set of proxies to explore patterns of economic development and distress across the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), a multijurisdictional federal economic development agency, and offers an excellent set of discussion points that we expect to fuel further exploration and debate.
Chaney, Mohamad and Williams (2018, this issue) contribute to a vein of research consistently published in Southeastern Geographer that examines process of urban change in the mid-sized cities of the southeastern USA. Their paper uses a mixed-methods design to explore barriers affecting Somali refugees in Nashville, [End Page 4] Tennessee—thought to be one of the larger concentration of ethnic Somalis in the southeastern USA. The research identifies a suite of policy and cultural barriers to Somali refugee’s property ownership that call into question the assumption of spatial assimilation theory. This seminal paper highlights the need for finer-grained analyses of refugee and immigrant residential patterns, and suggests the policy implications of such research.
Finney and Potter (2018, this issue) examine the history of the Orange Crush spring beach bash that has been a staple for students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the region for 30 years. Early Orange Crush organizers were well aware of the history of racial segregation of Tybee Island, Georgia and other southern beaches. The popularity of Orange Crush over thirty years has generated ongoing friction between beach-goers and Tybee Island residents. Finney and Potter analyze this conflict through the lenses of tourism and mobility geographies and recent work on Black sense of place.
Malhotra, Kantor and Vladhovic (2018, this issue) review access to geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) training at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). GEOINT has been identified by the US Department of Labor as one of 13 sectors projected to have an expanding workforce of well-paying jobs. To foster diversity and inclusion of in this expanding workforce, HBCUs are positioned to stimulate interest in GEOINT careers by early exposure to the field for undergraduates. The authors suggest that curricula leading to a certificate in GEOINT can complement a wide range of majors. More importantly, by including people from diverse backgrounds...