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The geography behind civil rights movements, February 26

image of a mural filled with civil rights leaders and social justice advocates

Photo from Derek Alderman.

headshot of Derek Alderman

Professor of Geography Derek Alderman of the University of Tennessee.

Civil rights struggles are a matter of work—the product and process of physical, emotional, and social labor. Whether spectacular moments of formal protest, or daily acts of defiance, the movements often involve the strategic planning and mobilization of resources, bodies, and information.

Professor of Geography Derek Alderman will discuss the geographical work behind civil rights movements in his talk “Civil Rights as Geospatial Work: The African American Freedom Struggle as Counter-Mapping and Radical Place-Making” at 4 p.m. Monday, February 26, in the Old Main Room of the Bone Student Center at Illinois State University.

This is a free event and open to the public, and is part of the Distinguished Geographer Lecture Series.

Alderman is a professor of geography at the University of Tennessee and president of the American Association of Geographers (AAG). His research and teaching specialties include race, public memory, heritage tourism, critical place name study, and the African-American experience—including slavery, the Jim Crow and Civil Rights eras, and more contemporary social and spatial justice campaigns. The author of more than 110 articles, book chapters, and other essays, Alderman co-authored the award-winning book Civil Rights Memorials and the Geography of Memory.

In his research, funded by the National Science Foundation, Alderman studies the politics of remembering slavery at southern plantation museums and identifying places for making interventions in the historical neglect of enslaved identities and struggles. He is also exploring the role of resistant geospatial intelligence and counter-mapping within SNCC (Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee), one of the important organizations of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.

He is the recent recipient of the Distinguished Mentor Award from the National Council for Geographic Education and the Distinguished Career Award from the Ethnic Geography Specialty Group of the AAG.

The Distinguished Geographer Lecture Series is sponsored by the Illinois State University Department of Geography, Geology, and the Environment with generous support from Professor Emerita of Geography Joan Miller. Those who need special accommodation to fully participate in this event can contact the Department of Geography, Geology, and the Environment at (309) 438-7649.

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