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  • Association of Pacific Coast Geographers Annual Meeting September 28-October 1, 2011 San Francisco, California:Abstracts for Oral Presentations and Posters

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Oral Presentation Abstracts

Heather R. Agnew,, California State University, Fullerton. Beasts of Burden or Empowered Entrepreneurs: Examining Agency and Female Drug Traffickers. Since the early 1970s, the American-led war on drugs has transcended international borders with the objective of eliminating American drug demand. As drug policies have emphasized interdiction as a supply-side solution, increased security measures to curb supply have failed to deter drug traffickers, who have circumvented these controls through innovative distribution techniques. Drug cartels, once male-dominated, now rely on a stable supply of female couriers as human containers to move products from the Third World to the First. I examine how international drug cartels rely upon geographically based gender and cultural stereotypes to facilitate drug trafficking and how these stereotypes have reconstructed a new, dominant, drug-mule profile as female. Situating my study within the context of globalization, I argue that this new profile places the female body within international security debates about drug trafficking and terrorism in the context of the post-9/11 security state, making women the newest targets in the war on drugs.

Clark Akatiff,, Palo Alto, California. The Roots of Radical Geography: A Personal Account. Using collected documents and ephemera from the period, this paper addresses the social and political maelstrom surrounding the beginnings of radical geography. Focus is on the 1970 AAG Convention in San Francisco and how that event crystallized the radical thoughts and behaviors of the time in both their strengths and weaknesses. Specific emphasis is placed on "People's Geographical Expeditions," student rebellion, psychedelic consciousness, and shifting paradigms in academic geography. It is submitted that the events of that time were a flawed but critical step in the eventual establishment of radical or socialist geography, which—though the consequences for most of the principals involved were personally mixed or negative—nonetheless provided a jumping-off point for subsequent development. It is based on the author's knowledge of the events as a participant and as an observer. It is also a reflection on the current state [End Page 152] of radical geography as it exists after the author's many years of absence from the halls of academia.

Melinda Alexander,, Arizona State University. "The Circle of the We": Narratives of the Lost Boys of Sudan. The story of a particular group of refugees, the Lost Boys of Sudan, has been told in many ways over the past decade, through different voices and media. The young men who act as public speakers in Phoenix, Arizona, are conscious in updating the story and filling in blanks. Yet their stories remain subject to their own partial tellings and to audience interpretation. In this paper, I examine the story of the Lost Boys of Sudan and its multiple facets and tellings, and discuss insights as to how the story is interpreted by local audiences. This process is a significant part of constructing a cultural trauma; the process by which suffering is acknowledged, collective identities formed, responsibility assigned, and lessons learned. Both storytelling and audience identification are key in the expansion of belonging, as well as a robust and just humanitarianism.

Katie Algeo,, Western Kentucky University. National Park Origins: Structure and Agency in the Creation of Mammoth Cave National Park. American culture tends to essentialize U.S. national parks as outstanding features of the natural and/or cultural landscape that must be preserved, but this simplistic viewpoint masks complex cultural and political histories behind the creation of individual parks. This paper uses a case study of Mammoth Cave National Park, one of a trio of Eastern parks authorized in 1926, to theorize about the set of factors, including local boosterism, railroad interests, regional economic development, and Park Service expansion, that has worked in many areas in balance with the agency of key actors to move parks from idea to reality. Similarities and differences between the historical trajectories of Mammoth Cave and its peer Eastern parks...


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