Fulbright Bicentennial Chair in American Studies Inaugural Address

Fulbright Bicentennial Chair in American Studies Inaugural Address

Event time:      Tuesday, 27 November 2012, beginning at 10:00 a.m.

Place:               University of Helsinki, Small Hall, University Main Building 4th floor,

Speaker:          Professor Richard Schein, University of Kentucky

Topic:                Historical Geographies for the Present: stories of land and landscape


Richard Schein is a geographer whose work explores US settlement practices (especially questions of land and property), methodology in historical geography (especially as linked to archival practices), and US cultural landscapes, most often in urban situations and focused upon questions of race, racialization, and racism. His teaching and writing about cultural landscapes is catholic and takes several approaches which variously interrogate landscape histories, landscape meanings, and the place of landscape as facilitator and mediator of social, economic, political, and cultural intention and conflict. His theories of the cultural landscape prompt questions about how landscapes “work” to normalize or naturalize social and cultural practice, to challenge social and cultural practice, to provide moments to intervene into social and cultural practice.

Professor Schein’s Fulbright Bicentennial Address at the University of Helsinki will take these themes to a number of landscape stories illustrating places where cultural and social meanings have been claimed and contested. The stories suggest that historical geographies are foundational to present concerns about belonging, justice and equity in the United Sates, and especially as those concerns revolve around questions of “race.”

Professor Schein is spending his year in Finland pursuing several projects. He is finishing a book on racialized landscapes based on a series of case studies in Kentucky and is preparing the groundwork for a project on African American land ownership beginning in the post-Civil War era of the US south. He is lecturing and organizing seminars on the American landscape and political ecology at the University of Helsinki. He is lecturing on North American Studies and the American landscape at a number of universities in Finland and elsewhere in Europe.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 -
10:00 to 11:00