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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Department of Geography, Environment and Society Coffee Hour

Please join us Friday, April 10th for the Department of Geography, Environment and Society Coffee Hour in Blegen Hall 445 beginning at 3:30. Complimentary refreshments and coffee will be served starting at 3:15. This week, there will be two talks from GES graduate students. Following are the talk details:

"They're treating us like Indians":
Land, autochthony, and political myth in the Keystone XL struggle
Kai A. Bosworth
Dept. of Geography, Environment, and Society, University of Minnesota

Geographers and political ecologists have recently turned to materialist accounts of land, energy, and infrastructure to offer accounts of how the properties and features of infrastructure can generate political controversy. Yet the political formation of these 'material publics' also spins out to affect and create political myths of belonging, property, and identity in American environmentalism. How does 'protecting the land' become a foundational myth for political controversies and contestations? In this talk, I provide an account of the Keystone XL struggle that situates 'land' not as a pre-existing foundation, but instead a set of dynamic relations (re)generated by infrastructure controversy in western South Dakota. I examine how 'land' - as a signifier, discourse, and a social practice of relating with the Earth - is generated anew and thus reworks the foundational myths of North American settler colonialism. I use the classical Greek concept of 'autochthony' - the feeling of belonging to or being borne from the Earth - to help navigate the ways in which the political mythology of 'land' is created by sociotechnical infrastructure projects and sedimented through liberal narratives of multiculturalism, property rights, and public political participation. Understanding 'land' in such a fashion has wide ranging implications for how we conceptualize rural identities, American environmentalism, and the political actions of material publics in the Anthropocene.

Matching Flight Departure Patterns with Daily Residential Experience: A Fine-Grained Spatiotemporal Analysis

Dudley Bonsal

Dept. of Geography, Environment, and Society, University of Minnesota

Residential accounts of experiencing airport noise often address how the noise corresponds to and disrupts day-to-day activity. Federal regulation of the noise, however, operates at broader spatial and temporal scales. To give greater consideration to the correspondence between noise and daily life, I adopt a fine-grained GIS approach to analyzing flight departures from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, specifically focusing on times of day and week, frequency of flights, and altitude. Through analysis of large volumes of flight pattern data, I provide a representation of airport noise that highlights the spatial and temporal varieties of residential experience.