Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Virtual Geography Convention 2014: Free Articles from the Journal of Historical Geography

Welcome to the Virtual Geography Convention 2014!  If you wish to submit to the virtual geography convention please contact catholicgauze [at] gmail [dot] com.
The Journal of Historical Geography is offering free access to certain articles as part of a celebration of the 2014 Association of American Geographers convention in Tampa, Florida.

The top three articles of interest are

The politics of the forest frontier: Negotiating between conservation, development, and indigenous rights in Cross River State, Nigeria

Nigeria's once thriving plantation economy has suffered under decades of state neglect and political and civil turmoil. Since Nigeria's return to civilian rule in 1999, in a bid to modernize its ailing agricultural economy, most of its defunct plantations were privatized and large new areas of land were allocated to ‘high-capacity’ agricultural investors. This paper explores the local tensions associated with this policy shift in Cross River State, which, due to its favorable agro-ecological conditions and investment climate, has become one of Nigeria's premier agricultural investment destinations. It shows how the state's increasing reliance on the private sector as an impetus for rural transformation is, paradoxically, crowding out smallholder production systems and creating new avenues for rent capture by political and customary elites. Moreover, as Nigeria's most biodiverse and forested state, the rapid expansion of the agricultural frontier into forest buffer zones is threatening to undermine many of the state's conservation initiatives and valuable common pool resources. The paper goes on to explain why and how private sector interests in Cross River State are increasingly being prioritized over natural resource protection, indigenous rights over the commons, and smallholder production systems.  [Full article]

American capitalist experiments in revolutionary-era Russia

In this paper I document one particular moment in the making of the United States’ hegemony by tracking the lives of two American businessmen in revolutionary-era Russia. Drawing on a diverse array of archival sources (letters, diaries, photo albums, memoirs), and focusing on the training, practices, encounters, degrees of embeddedness and personal situations of two men (Walter Dixon and Boies Hart), I suggest that revolutionary-era Russia served in some ways as a proving ground for testing the effectiveness of American corporate structure, geoeconomic imaginations, and commercial practices. Although these two businessmen were minor figures in the much larger story of the making of American hegemony, their experiences in revolutionary Russia – experiences that were mediated through geoeconomic imaginations, local knowledge of place, degrees of embeddedness, personal encounters with people, places and networks, early twentieth-century ideals of manliness, and feelings of trust, anxiety, and fear – bring to life the uneven, chaotic, risky, and at times unsuccessful and violent ways that American capital began to move through difference in space. [Full article]

More than this: Liveable Melbourne meets liveable Vancouver

Lessons from two leaders in the liveable cities race, Vancouver and Melbourne, demonstrate that these cities have followed a quite similar development, policy and planning path and now ride the crest of the wave while facing comparable challenges in preparing for the future. Success in urban liveability speaks to the conditions of life for the luckily satisfied few. An urban liveability that is also sustainable is possible but demands thinking about two other groups for whom the city is responsible: those who cannot meet their needs today, and those who will live in the future city. Melbourne offers an exciting notion of what living in the city is for and a sociability in public life that benefits from an intact equity argument at the national scale. Vancouver, by contrast, offers a compelling vision of urban life, for good, throughout the life cycle, one that brings with it an increasingly interactive, partnership-oriented and aspiring relationship between urban residents and their local government. The City of Melbourne is the showpiece, the workplace, and the venue for the young and restless to play. Vancouver has a regional government able to do the heavy lifting of narrowing the urban/suburban divide in metropolitan vision and priorities. In Melbourne, no such metropolitan entity exists, and regional governance is the domain of the state government, protecting established relationships and sharing common interests with big developers. [Full article]

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