The Atlantic Cities blog recently profiled a study by Professor Mark Ellis and colleagues arguing that US cities are diversifying even as they are becoming increasingly segregated. As colleague Richard Wright of Dartmouth argues, ”You can have segregation and diversity in the same place, at the same time”. Their research, The Racially Fragmented City? Neighborhood Racial Segregation and Diversity Jointly Considered:
reflects on the racial configuration of urban space. Previous research tends to posit racial segregation and diversity as either endpoints on a continuum of racial dominance or mirror images of one another. Segregation and diversity must be jointly understood and are necessarily related, but in this paper we make the case that the neighborhood geographies of US metropolitan areas are simultaneously and increasingly marked by both racial segregation and racial diversity. We inspect the neighborhood racial structure of several large metropolitan areas for 1990 and 2000 to demonstrate the “both/and”-ness of segregation and diversity.
The project’s MixedMetro website explores “the complex patterns of segregation and diversity in these communities shape the lives of the people who call them home. It is designed to help users explore patterns of racial composition in major US metropolitan areas and individual states by state or metro area, and offers lots of maps of urban residential population patterns.
Professor Michael Brown and UW Tacoma colleague Larry Knopp have been getting a lot of media attention for their ongoing study, “Biopolitical Geographies”. They are investigating the relations in the Pre-AIDS era between Seattle’s Gay & Lesbian community and health-promotion agencies. The project engages with urban, political, and health geographies, as well as urban gay history
They are specifically exploring gays and lesbians’ relations and interactions with two parts of state/local governments: The Seattle-King County Public Health department and the Washington State Liquor Control Board, as well as the community’s efforts in health promotion and self-regulation. Issues such as “VD” control, contact tracing, (spatial) regulation of gay bars and taverns, and behavior all are of interest. As Brown puts it,
We are especially interested in these two state agencies because while we know a lot about other arms of the state (for example, the City Council, Human Rights Commission, the Police, and the courts), less is known about these more everyday, behind-the-scenes agencies. Research on other cities, however, have suggested that these agencies had quite powerful effects on gays’ lives and community formation. Yet Seattle has a distinct political and cultural geography, so we’re interested in finding out specifics of this city. Indeed, preliminary findings are suggesting a more complicated set of relations than the academic literature would suggest! They resonate with recent theoretical work on the geographies of governmentality and biopower.
Brown goes on to explain that “We are interested in the Pre-AIDS era (approximately before 1983) in Seattle, because this was a time of great social change in sexuality and local governance. We are doing both archival research and interviews with people who remember “VD” control back then, were treated or contact-traced by SKCPH, dealt with the Seattle Gay Clinic; or folks who worked in, managed, owned, or just hung out in old Seattle gay bars, taverns, or lounges.
The 50 people interviewed so far have offered insights that include:
- “Blue laws” that regulated liquor sales could have quite an effect on gay and lesbian spaces: they dictated the floor plans of taverns, their visibility to the street (important if people were “in the closet”), and even the conduct of patrons.
- Lesbians were required to wear at least three articles of feminine clothing, or else they risked being kicked out of a bar for appearing too “butch.”
- Health department investigators could be discreet, but were sometimes known to call the homes of closeted gay men who sought treatment for STDs – perhaps leaving a phone message with unassuming wives – to inquire about other sex partners.
“What’s emerging from our research is an understanding by bar owners and patrons of standards of behavior that had to be adhered to,” Knopp said. The liquor board had broad authority to control the conduct of patrons and even declare decorations in bars or restaurants to be too sexually suggestive, he added.
The board was allowed to enforce “the spirit of the law as well as the letter of the law,” Knopp said, giving plenty of wiggle room to reflect the pervasive homophobic attitudes at the time.
Like the TV character Sal Romano in “Mad Men,” many gay Seattleites in the pre-AIDS era were in the closet, married and outwardly living as straight people. They feared losing their jobs or housing, being physically assaulted, being subjected to derision from family and friends, and other consequences of living an openly gay life.
Even in liberal Seattle, many people at the time considered homosexuality a moral failure or mental illness.
“Just because it’s a liberal city doesn’t mean that there wasn’t moral regulation,” Brown said. “We want to know how gay men and lesbians interacted with local policies related to day-to-day life.”
This research is funded by the National Science Foundation (#1059732), endorsed by the Northwest Lesbian & Gay History Project, and Approved by the UW Human Subjects Division.
If you are interested in being interviewed, please contact email@example.com . Interviews are anonymous and confidential, transcripts will be returned for your editing. They take less than an hour and can be done at a time and place of your convenience. Thanks!
Link to UW News Story on this research project
Link to Seattle Weekly article
Congratulations to Geography faculty member Sarah Elwood, winner of this year’s Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest award the UW offers for oustanding teaching. Sarah joined our faculty in 2006, after teaching at DePaul University and the University of Arizona. In her own words,
My research intersects critical GIS, and urban and political geography. I study the social and political impacts of spatial technologies such as GIS, and the changing practices and politics of local activism, community organizing, and other modes of civic engagement. My current research focuses on emerging geospatial media – an ever-expanding range of interactive web-based technologies that enabling collection, compilation, mapping, and dissemination of spatial data by vast numbers of people. With colleagues at UC-Santa Barbara and Ohio State University, I am currently studying these new forms of ‘volunteered geographic information’, examining their content and characteristics, methodologies for working with these data, and the social and political practices in which they are implicated. In a parallel project, Katharyne Mitchell and I are examining the role that interactive geovisualization technologies might play in fostering collaborative learning, critical thinking and civic engagement among young teens. My research and teaching having long been structured around action research and university-community collaboration
Student characterizations of the effects of Sarah’s teaching always seem to run to superlatives, emphasizing her commitment to student learning & engagement, and her inclusive, interactive classroom teaching style:
- Prof. Elwood takes the time on a daily basis to mentor students. She has a unique approachability which allows her to gracefully adapt and personalize each lecture for the students in the class. Prof. Elwood’s discussion based lecture format is a cut above any other teaching style I have encountered at UW, making her a truly effective teacher
- Sarah Elwood is time and time again a caring teacher who works with her students to help them understand even the seemingly simplest things and inspires her students to use their skills to better their communities.
- Sarah seems to actually enjoy teaching. She’s enthusiastic, incredibly understanding, and very easy to work with. She goes out of her way to be available to students, and creates an environment in which students feel encouraged to ask questions and learn.
- Professor Elwood pushed our class to collaborate on and create much of the subject matter in class. She guided our discussions with thoughtful comments and insight, allowing for us to do our own learning. Fantastic energy, fantastic class, fantastic teacher
- Professor Elwood encouraged my learning through her genuine enthusiasm and passion not just for the field of geography but for my own personal achievement and grasp of the curriculum. She makes classes enjoyable and engaging and encourages open and thoughtful discussion where anyone can contribute. She is accessible as a professor and as a person and I have thoroughly enjoyed every class I have taken with her. In all of my work she has added her input when asked and really encourages me to go above and beyond.
- Professor Elwood is really a great teacher who cares about her students, whether we have learned anything from the course or not. She is always energetic, ready to teach, cheerful and helpful. I love having her as my professor and she makes me enjoy learning GIS.
- Dr. Elwood’s approach to my G490 is unlike any I have had at the UW. Much of the content is student directed, which I enjoy, and it ties a creativity aspect to putting ideas together
- Of all of the professors I have had both within and outside of the Geography Department at UW, Sarah Elwood has stood out as an incredibly supportive and nurturing professor. Her approach to students in the classroom and one-on-one surpasses the energy and sincere responsiveness of many other professors I have had at UW, and she truly lives up to all that it means to be a university professor. In my experience, she has been a mentor, advisor, director, research boss, friend, and cohort member. Having her as a professor has made my time and experience in university and in the Geography department invaluable. For me, she is a real icon of the department
- Professor Sarah Elwood is absolutely passionate about what she teaches. I’ve so far taken two GIS classes with her and definitely learned a lot from her. Her lectures are lively and she explains things well. People can ask her questions and share a lot of their experiences in class, as well, so it’s a nice atmosphere. Tests and assignments are always fair and we are tested only on what we’ve discussed in class/lecture. One can easily see Elwood’s passion and great knowledge of GIS. It encourages me to learn even more about the software and the social and technical aspects of it. Additionally, she cares a lot about her students learning. Overall, Sarah Elwood is awesome.
- Professor Elwood’s explanations and style of teaching is very clean, straightforward, and easy to understand. Simultaneously though, she is a joy to listen to. For me, the combination of these two things plus the fact that I was very interested in the content of the classes was hugely encouraging to my learning.
- Sarah Elwood is one of the most positive and energetic professors that I have had at the UW. The community that she creates in her classroom reflects these qualities. Regardless of how tired or stressed I might be when I arrive to class, I consistently leave energized and excited about what I’ve learned!
- Dr. Elwood offered practical advice I have taken to heart: “In the field of GIS, you have to be ready to constantly learn new tech.”
Professor Elwood is the fifth Geography faculty member to receive this award, joining David Hodge, Vicky Lawson, Matt Sparke and Steve Herbert.
Click here for an extended Q & A with Professor Elwood on her views of teaching and learning.
Holly Candage, a senior double majoring in Geography and Comparative History of Ideas (CHID), has been awarded the Bonderman Travel Fellowship. This fellowship enables UW graduate students and undergrads in the honors program to engage in independent exploration and travel abroad. The Fellowship is intended to introduce students to new cultures, peoples, and areas of the world.
Holly is interested in how spirituality overlaps in people’s everyday lives and how this manifests itself in arts, politics, religious practices, agricultural practices, or in the way people cook and eat together, communicate and commune with each other, and relate to or experience the environment and other species. With the Bonderman Fellowship, Holly will be spending ten months traveling in: Mexico, Central America, Spain, Morocco, Sicily, Lebanon, Greece, the Balkans, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and ending my travels in India, where I will travel by train from the South to the North.
Details about the fellowship are below. Congratulations Holly!
The Bonderman Travel Fellowship offers University of Washington graduate students (including those in the Law and Business Schools and other graduate and professional programs) and undergraduate students in the University Honors Program (Interdisciplinary, Departmental or College Honors) and in UW Tacoma’s Global Honors Program an opportunity to engage in independent exploration and travel abroad.
Bonderman Fellowships enable students to undertake independent international travel to explore, be open to the unexpected, and come to know the world in new ways. Because Bonderman Fellowships are intended to foster independence, Fellows may not participate in a program or organization, engage in formal study at a foreign university, conduct research or other academic projects, or travel with an organized group while carrying out the obligations of the fellowship. Bonderman Fellowships are intended to introduce students to cultures, peoples, and areas of the world with which they are not familiar. Preference will be given to candidates without extensive international travel experience.
The Bonderman Travel Fellowship program was created in 1995 through a gift from David Bonderman, who earned his undergraduate degree in Russian from the University of Washington in 1963. After graduating from Harvard Law School, he received a Sheldon Fellowship that allowed him to travel internationally, an experience that had a profound impact on his life. Now a successful investment adviser, Mr. Bonderman provides opportunities to current UW students for similarly transformative travel experiences through this fellowship program.