Department of Geography
Condon Hall 107G
1251 University of Oregon
Eugene, Oregon 97403-1251
Telephone (541) 346-4500 Fax (541) 346-2067
This page serves as a gateway to basic information on my research and teaching activities at the University of Oregon. Please contact me or stop by if you are curious about any of the material included on the pages that are linked to it. In addition to my primary work in the Department of Geography I am involved in a number of activities here and elsewhere.
I am the Academic Director of the Carnegie-Global Oregon Ethics Initiative. In conjunction with my Fellowship with the Carnegie Council for International Affairs in NYC, I work with students at the University of Oregon to explore the role of ethics in our professional lives. This program operates as a small cohort of students that begin with me in their freshman year, and continue on (hopefully) all the way until graduation. We split our time between dialogue with visitors (Sister Helen Prejean of "Dead Man Walking" Fame, Nigerian author and MacArthur Genius Award recipient Chimamanda Adichie, FreddieMac CFO Ross Kari, and Banque AIG President Jim Shephard, and one of my former students, Captain Chad Plaisted of the US Army Special Forces have been some of our many fine guests), exercises that test our ethical compasses, and volunteer work in the community.
I am the chair of the UO Steering Committee for the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program, which brings students from campuses into penitentiaries to conduct blended classes with campus-based and incarcerated participants. The University of Oregon has one of the most vigorous programs of this sort in the world, and we are extending our engagement with the incarcerated population beyond regular "for credit" courses to a variety of opportunities for dialogue and shared learning. Together we are creating a model for campus-prison partnerships in higher education.
I am one of the co-chairs of the Peace Studies minor at the University, and do some of the advising for that program.
CRES 410/510 Negotiating Northern Ireland (offered in the Alternative Dispute Resolution Program in the Law School)
HC 424, taught at the Oregon State Penitentiary in association with the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program and the Honors College (information on the Inside Out Program can be found at http://www.insideoutcenter.org/home.html ) In the penitentiary I have taught Post-Conflict Transformation (2011), Divided Societies (2012), Culture Wars in America (2013), and I will be teaching Geographies of Inequality in Spring 2014.
607 Nature & Domination in Western Traditions - Winter '99
607 Geography, Ethics, and Democracy - Winter '02
607 Geography and Hegemony - Winter '05
607 Geography of War and Peace - Winter '08
607 Geographies of Incarceration - Winter '11
608 Thesis Writers' Workshop
A bit of poetry to capture a mood...
Birches, Revisited: October
At last the silver birches look like Frost,
archaic as he must have seen them
in Vermont. My nostalgia's not for him,
but for the alders, priests who skim
the granite on our hill at any cost,
passing judgments on the ridge, the hem
of malls and sturdy parking lots
I cringe past and use. Tainted emblems of our lust
for sultry trinkets. Bodies pay their fees
for breathing, and all our tortured writhing
soothes us on our way to heaven.
Spirits suffer anyway, each fall.
Sentimental trees - spindly, cold and tall -
birches stand in spite of us and poetry
that praises "nature" like a long lost friend,
we who drive for groceries, shoes, and pens.
Some powerful geographic metaphors from a speech given at the United Center in Chicago by Jesse Jackson in the summer of 1996. Food for domestic thought:
What is our challenge tonight? Just look around this place.
This publicly financed United Center is a new Chicago mountain top.
To the south Comisky Park, another mountain top.
To the west, Cook County Jail. Two
ball parks and a jail. In that jail
mostly youthful inmates, 80 percent drug positive, 90 percent high school
dropouts, 92 percent functionally illiterate, 75 percent recidivism rate.
They go back sicker and sicker.
Between these mountains of the ball park and the jail was
once Campbell's Soup and Sears and Zenith and Sunbeam and stock yards.
There were jobs and there was industry.
Now there's a canyon of welfare and despair.
This canyon exists in virtually every city in America.
Thanks to Aaron McGruder and Boondocks, who are too "political" for my local newspaper....
And to conclude, a bit of geography, Baltimore style. From the final credits in the film Diner:
Modell: Would you look at this, another article that’s talking about this theory of evolution. Can you believe this? I don’t buy the whole thing. They’re saying that millions of years ago there was a swamp, alright, and in the middle of this murky disgusting boggy water swamp there’s an amoeba. Now this amoeba meets another amoeba and they have a kid who’s a fish who crawls onto land and from one lousy amoeba millions of years ago today there’s some guy with a winter coat on a corner yelling “taxi!”? Where’s that connection, how can that possibly… an amoeba has no legs, it’s got nothing, there’s no connection. It’s all animals, it’s not just people…
Eddie: It can happen. What do you mean it can’t evolve? Maybe it floats.
Shrevie: You’re going to argue this with him?
Modell: It’s not even just people. It's animals, it’s chickens, how can chickens live in a swamp? They can’t even make it out of a pot of frying oil. Chickens, dogs, birds, cows… cocker spaniels puppies living in a muddy swamp. It’s enough to make you sick.
Eddie: Well girls... girls, girls don’t come from the same swamp, that’s for sure.
Modell: I don’t know who makes up this… I mean the guy who makes up this stuff, it’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. People do not come from swamps..., they come from Europe.
Eddie: Where do people in Europe come from?
Modell: What am I, Rand McNally?