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Culture of Property Cover

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Culture of Property

Race, Class, and Housing Landscapes in Atlanta, 1880-1950

LeeAnn Lands

This history of the idea of “neighborhood” in a major American city examines the transition of Atlanta, Georgia, from a place little concerned with residential segregation, tasteful surroundings, and property control to one marked by extreme concentrations of poverty and racial and class exclusion. Using Atlanta as a lens to view the wider nation, LeeAnn Lands shows how assumptions about race and class have coalesced with attitudes toward residential landscape aesthetics and home ownership to shape public policies that promote and protect white privilege.

Lands studies the diffusion of property ideologies on two separate but related levels: within academic, professional, and bureaucratic circles and within circles comprising civic elites and rank-and-file residents. By the 1920s, following the establishment of park neighborhoods such as Druid Hills and Ansley Park, white home owners approached housing and neighborhoods with a particular collection of desires and sensibilities: architectural and landscape continuity, a narrow range of housing values, orderliness, and separation from undesirable land uses—and undesirable people.

By the 1950s, these desires and sensibilities had been codified in federal, state, and local standards, practices, and laws. Today, Lands argues, far more is at stake than issues of access to particular neighborhoods, because housing location is tied to the allocation of a broad range of resources, including school funding, infrastructure, and law enforcement. Long after racial segregation has been outlawed, white privilege remains embedded in our culture of home ownership.

Cultures of Migration Cover

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Cultures of Migration

The Global Nature of Contemporary Mobility

By Jeffrey H. Cohen and Ibrahim Sirkeci

Decentralisation and Spatial Rural Development Planning in Cameroon Cover

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Decentralisation and Spatial Rural Development Planning in Cameroon

Despite rapid urbanisation, Africa remains predominantly rural. This calls for decentralisation beyond the dominant concern by states and government with urban spaces. Rural areas, rural development and the future of rural settlements need to be understood and addressed in the context of the ongoing democratisation trends and the emergence and development of civil society. States have tended to tame rather than serve civil society in Africa. By establishing a single cultural reference and imposing a centralised state, African governments have exacerbated the fragmentation of civil society. However, political pluralism has slowly been gaining ground since the 1990s. This book explores the scope for implementing decentralisation programmes that focus on citizens in rural areas. For the purpose of decentralisation, civic participation in local politics and user participation in development programmes must be seen as two sides of the coin. The book focuses on spatial planning ñ a process concerned with spatial organisation in an integrative manner, and incorporates the design, establishment and implementation of a desired spatial structural organisation of land. This is especially relevant in a context where the formulation of guidelines for spatial development at the overall level of a state is inadequate.

Demonic Grounds Cover

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Demonic Grounds

Black Women And The Cartographies Of Struggle

Katherine McKittrick

IIn a long overdue contribution to geography and social theory, Katherine McKittrick offers a new and powerful interpretation of black women’s geographic thought. In Canada, the Caribbean, and the United States, black women inhabit diasporic locations marked by the legacy of violence and slavery. Analyzing diverse literatures and material geographies, McKittrick reveals how human geographies are a result of racialized connections, and how spaces that are fraught with limitation are underacknowledged but meaningful sites of political opposition.

Demonic Grounds moves between past and present, archives and fiction, theory and everyday, to focus on places negotiated by black women during and after the transatlantic slave trade. Specifically, the author addresses the geographic implications of slave auction blocks, Harriet Jacobs’s attic, black Canada and New France, as well as the conceptual spaces of feminism and Sylvia Wynter’s philosophies.

Central to McKittrick’s argument are the ways in which black women are not passive recipients of their surroundings and how a sense of place relates to the struggle against domination. Ultimately, McKittrick argues, these complex black geographies are alterable and may provide the opportunity for social and cultural change.

Katherine McKittrick is assistant professor of women’s studies at Queen’s University.

Derelict Paradise Cover

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Derelict Paradise

Homelessness and Urban Development in Cleveland, Ohio

Daniel Kerr

Seeking answers to the question, "Who benefits from homelessness?" this book takes the reader on a sweeping tour of Cleveland's history from the late nineteenth-century through the early twenty-first. Daniel Kerr shows that homelessness has deep roots in the shifting ground of urban labor markets, social policy, downtown development, the criminal justice system, and corporate power. Rather than being attributable to the illnesses and inadequacies of the unhoused themselves, it is a product of both structural and political dynamics shaping the city. Kerr locates the origins of today's shelter system in the era that followed the massive railroad rebellions of 1877. From that period through the Great Depression, business and political leaders sought to transform downtown Cleveland to their own advantage. As they focused on bringing business travelers and tourists to the city and beckoned upper-income residents to return to its center, they demolished two downtown working-class neighborhoods and institutionalized a shelter system to contain and control the unhoused and unemployed. The precedents from this period informed the strategies of the post–World War II urban renewal era as the "new urbanism" of the late twentieth century. The efforts of the city's elites have not gone uncontested. Kerr documents a rich history of opposition by people at the margins of whose organized resistance and everyday survival strategies have undermined the grand plans crafted by the powerful and transformed the institutions designed to constrain the lives of the homeless.

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Development, Security, and Aid

Geopolitics and Geoeconomics at the U.S. Agency for International Development

Jamey Essex

In Development, Security, and Aid Jamey Essex offers a sophisticated study of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), examining the separate but intertwined discourses of geopolitics and geoeconomics.

Geopolitics concentrates on territory, borders, and strategic political and military positioning within the international state system. Geoeconomics emphasizes economic power, growth, and connectedness within a global, and supposedly borderless, system. Both discourses have strongly influenced the strategies of USAID and the views of American policy makers, bureaucrats, and business leaders toward international development. Providing a unique geographical analysis of American development policy, Essex details USAID's establishment in 1961 and traces the agency's growth from the Cold War into an era of neoliberal globalization up to and beyond 9/11, the global war on terror, and the looming age of austerity.

USAID promotes improvement for millions by providing emergency assistance and support for long-term economic and social development. Yet the agency's humanitarian efforts are strongly influenced, and often trumped, by its mandate to advance American foreign policies. As a site of, a strategy for, and an agent in the making of geopolitics and geoeconomics, USAID, Essex argues, has often struggled to reconcile its many institutional mandates and objectives. The agency has always occupied a precarious political position, one that is increasingly marked by the strong influence of military, corporate, and foreign-policy institutions in American development strategy.

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DeWitt Clinton and Amos Eaton

Geology and Power in Early New York

David I. Spanagel

David I. Spanagel explores the origins of American geology and the culture that helped give it rise, focusing on Amos Eaton, the educator and amateur scientist who founded the Rensselaer School, and on DeWitt Clinton, the masterful politician who led the movement for the Erie Canal. DeWitt Clinton and Amos Eaton shows how a cluster of assumptions about the peculiar landscape and entrepreneurial spirit of New York came to define the Empire State. Spanagel sheds light on a particularly innovative and fruitful period of interplay among science, politics, art, and literature in American history. New Yorkers' romantic views of natural majesty and ideas about improving the land influenced scientific ideas and other features of contemporary culture. The life of Amos Eaton provides a lens through which readers gain fresh awareness of scientific knowledge, economic planning, and cultural values during the first half of the nineteenth century. Scientists of the time were fascinated by questions such as: How old is the earth? When did time begin? How might the passage of time have shaped and reshaped the original landscape? In the United States, New Yorkers of the mid-1820s mounted the most concerted effort to find answers to these large questions of natural history. Both geographic conditions and historical forces led Amos Eaton and his wealthy patron Stephen Van Rensselaer to open the Rensselaer School at Troy, New York, in 1826. Eaton thus gave America its first generation of professional scientists, many of whom formed professional organizations and standards of practice still active today. Deeply researched, this book will interest historians of nineteenth-century American arts and science, politics, and technological development.

Do, Die, or Get Along Cover

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Do, Die, or Get Along

A Tale of Two Appalachian Towns

Peter Crow

Do, Die, or Get Along weaves together voices of twenty-six people who have intimate connections to two neighboring towns in the southwestern Virginia coal country. Filled with evidence of a new kind of local outlook on the widespread challenge of small community survival, the book tells how a confrontational "do-or-die" past has given way to a "get-along" present built on coalition and guarded hope. St. Paul and Dante are six miles apart; measured in other ways, the distance can be greater. Dante, for decades a company town controlled at all levels by the mine owners, has only a recent history of civic initiative. In St. Paul, which arose at a railroad junction, public debate, entrepreneurship, and education found a more receptive home.

The speakers are men and women, wealthy and poor, black and white, old-timers and newcomers. Their concerns and interests range widely, including the battle over strip mining, efforts to control flooding, the 1989-90 Pittston strike, the nationally acclaimed Wetlands Estonoa Project, and the grassroots revitalization of both towns led by the St. Paul Tomorrow and Dante Lives On organizations. Their talk of the past often invokes an ethos, rooted in the hand-to-mouth pioneer era, of short-term gain. Just as frequently, however, talk turns to more recent times, when community leaders, corporations, unions, the federal government, and environmental groups have begun to seek accord based on what will be best, in the long run, for the towns.

The story of Dante and St. Paul, Crow writes, "gives twenty-first-century meaning to the idea of the good fight." This is an absorbing account of persistence, resourcefulness, and eclectic redefinition of success and community revival, with ramifications well beyond Appalachia.

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Dreaming of Sheep in Navajo Country

by Marsha Weisiger

This fresh interpretation of the history of Navajo (Diné) pastoralism recounts how a dramatic reduction of livestock on the Navajo Reservation in the 1930s, an ambitious attempt by the federal government to eliminate overgrazing on an arid landscape, resulted in a disastrous loss of livelihood for Navajos without significant improvement of the grazing lands.

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Driving Detroit

The Quest for Respect in the Motor City

By George Galster

For most of the twentieth century, Detroit was a symbol of American industrial might, a place of entrepreneurial and technical ingenuity where the latest consumer inventions were made available to everyone through the genius of mass production. Today, Detroit is better known for its dwindling population, moribund automobile industry, and alarmingly high murder rate. In Driving Detroit, author George Galster, a fifth-generation Detroiter and internationally known urbanist, sets out to understand how the city has come to represent both the best and worst of what cities can be, all within the span of a half century. Galster invites the reader to travel with him along the streets and into the soul of this place to grasp fully what drives the Motor City.

With a scholar's rigor and a local's perspective, Galster uncovers why metropolitan Detroit's cultural, commercial, and built landscape has been so radically transformed. He shows how geography, local government structure, and social forces created a housing development system that produced sprawl at the fringe and abandonment at the core. Galster argues that this system, in tandem with the region's automotive economic base, has chronically frustrated the population's quest for basic physical, social, and psychological resources. These frustrations, in turn, generated numerous adaptations—distrust, scapegoating, identity politics, segregation, unionization, and jurisdictional fragmentation—that collectively leave Detroit in an uncompetitive and unsustainable position.

Partly a self-portrait, in which Detroiters paint their own stories through songs, poems, and oral histories, Driving Detroit offers an intimate, insightful, and perhaps controversial explanation for the stunning contrasts—poverty and plenty, decay and splendor, despair and resilience—that characterize the once mighty city.

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