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UW Celebrates Geography Awareness Week Nov. 13-17

November 10, 2017
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Rashad Shabazz, an associate professor from Arizona State University’s School of Social Transformation, is the keynote speaker for UW’s celebration of Geography Awareness Week. His speech is titled “The Geography of the Minneapolis Sound.” (University of Vermont Photo)

Geography Awareness Week at the University of Wyoming has a theme this year of “The Role of Geography in Civil Rights Movements” and a keynote speech focused on Minneapolis’s black community that will use Prince’s music for context.

The week of programming at UW, scheduled Monday, Nov. 13, through Friday, Nov. 17, was planned by the Department of Geography, Wyoming Geographic Information Science Center (WyGISC) and two recognized student organizations -- the Geography Club and the Multicultural Association of Student Scientists.

“The geography community at UW hosts Geography Awareness Week annually,” says Nicholas Jon Crane, a UW assistant professor of geography. “For the past 30 years, Geography Awareness Week has been observed at campuses across the nation every year during the third week of November.”

The week’s highlight is Rashad Shabazz’s keynote speech, titled “The Geography of the Minneapolis Sound.” It will be presented Thursday, Nov. 16, in the Berry Biodiversity Conservation Center at 5 p.m.

Shabazz, an associate professor from Arizona State University’s School of Social Transformation, has organized his talk around the question, "Is Minneapolis a Black Geography, and Does it Matter?" To do this, Shabazz will use the late musician Prince and his sound as a way "to illuminate and map how social forces such as poverty, migration and anti-black racism shaped not only Minneapolis’s urban and racial geography, but also the popular musical forms that have defined the city and its most famous son for nearly a half century."

Shabazz is a human geographer and author of the recent book “Spatializing Blackness: Architectures of Confinement and Black Masculinity in Chicago.”

Events scheduled are:

Monday, Nov. 13

-- 6 p.m.: A panel discussion, “The Iconography of Civil Rights Movements,” Wyoming Union West Ballroom, Room 220A. Two UW geographers, Jerry Webster and Crane, will speak about the relationship between cultural representation and political mobilization in the United States and Mexico. This discussion will be followed by a question-and-answer period.

Tuesday, Nov. 14

-- 5 p.m.: “My Favorite Map,” 5 p.m., Wyoming Union West Ballroom, Room 220A. This event will feature students, faculty and staff members briefly discussing their favorite maps. The brief presentations will have UW community members talking about the places represented; the ways they are represented; and why they consider these particular maps their "favorites." Snacks and drinks will be served.

Wednesday, Nov. 15

-- 5-7 p.m.: Humanitarian Mapathon, College of Agriculture Building C, Room 316.

-- 7 p.m.: Geography Bowl, The Gardens, lower level, Wyoming Union. Teams of students and others from the UW community will compete in the format of a pub quiz on geographical themes. Questions will include trivia about the civil rights movement (in honor of the national Geography Awareness Week theme) as well as more traditional geographical topics, such as land masses, geophysical processes, monuments and locations.

Thursday, Nov. 16

-- 5 p.m.: Keynote speaker Shabazz, Berry Center auditorium. Shabazz will present “The Geography of the Minneapolis Sound.”

Friday, Nov. 17

-- 2:30 p.m.: A panel discussion, titled “Navigating Academia as People of Color,” Wyoming Union Senate Chambers (Room 221). The Multicultural Association of Student Scientists organized a panel of UW faculty members to discuss this subject.

Established by a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress in 1987, Geography Awareness Week is observed the third week in November every year. Geography Awareness Week promotes what geography is, why it is important, and the relevance of a geographic education in preparing citizens to understand and debate pressing social and environmental issues and problems. This year’s national celebration is Nov. 12-18, marking the 30th birthday of what has become an important tradition in the discipline of geography.

The national Geography Awareness Week theme this year is "The Geography of Civil Rights Organizing."

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