Update: Edinburgh, Maxwell Street, etc.

It has obviously been a while since I updated this blog. I have been an academic administrator (Dean) for the last three years and have now returned to the “shop floor”. I am very happy to be part of an excellent team of inspiring and creative geographers (and others) at the University of Edinburgh in the School of GeoSciences. My official title is Ogilvie Chair in Geography – a position that was previously held by the stellar scholar and writer, Charlie Withers. When I was doing my PhD the position was held by Susan Smith – whose works I read regularly. I am honored to hold this Chair.

Over the past few years I managed to finish the book Maxwell Street: Writing and Thinking Place which has now been published by the University of Chicago Press. The book considers the historical geography of the area surrounding the Maxwell Street market in Chicago, the process of writing place, and the ways we might think about place (a kind of meso-theory). The book is unusual as it is written in fragments – in a hybrid form indebted to the montage techniques of Walter Benjamin, the practice of “common-placing” (as seen, for instance, in Bruce Chatwin’s book The Songlines), and the hybrid poetry of Maggie Nelson, Claudia Rankine and others. The form is supposed to mirror the thrown-togetherness of the place (and, in some senses, all places).

Other projects in various stages of completion include a short co-written book on Eadweard Muybridge (with John Ott for the University of California Press Defining Moments in American Photography series), a book on poetry and place (Topo-poetics) and a new book of poetry called Plastiglomerate to be published by Penned in the Margins in 2020. Look out for events surrounding the publication of the latter in summer 2020!

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