Geographical Imaginations

To assume that we are entitled to speak only of what we know by virtue of
our own experience is not only to reinstate an empiricism: it is to
institutionalize parochialism. Most of us have not been very good at
listening to others and learning from them, but the present challenge is
surely to find ways of comprehending those other worlds—including our
relations with them and our responsibilities toward them—without being
invasive, colonizing and violent. If we are to free ourselves from
universalizing our own parochialisms, we need to learn how to reach
beyond particularities, to speak of larger questions without diminishing the
significance of the places and the people to which they are accountable. In
doing so, in enlarging and examining our geographical imaginations, we
might come to realize not only that our lives are ‘radically entwined with
the lives of distant strangers’ but also that we bear a continuing and unavoidable responsibility for their needs in times of distress.

– Gregory, D., Geographical Imaginations, 205.

“Alabama’s Racial Gerrymandering Goes Before Supreme Court”

One year after Shelby v. Holder and the and the gutting of the Voting Rights Act, Al Jazeera America has some incredible reporting out of Alabama, where the state is once again taking on the United States Supreme Court like it was a S.E.C. championship game.

“It goes back to the 2010 election, when Republicans gained control of the state legislature for the first time since Reconstruction. The GOP now occupies the governor’s seat, every elected, statewide executive-branch office and supermajorities in both houses. The legislators in this majority are exclusively white. . .”

“. . . Alabama is still ‘one of the most polarized electorates in the nation,” said Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center. By packing high concentrations of black voters into majority-minority districts, he said, the state has created “bleached white districts and super-majority black districts where candidates for public office have little incentive to reach across the racial divide to appeal to voters of a different race. The [Supreme Court] case is important because we need, as a state, to reverse the pattern of polarized voting, not to exacerbate it.”

What This Is

This site aspires to create an online space within which we are able to reconsider popular notions of what it means to be country, Southern, rural, small town, backwoods, and queer. The work here seeks to offer an alternative to the irrevocable metronormativity of modern queer consumer culture and the unflinching “pride” of “post-liberation” LGBT identity politics. The discourse of queer liberation has been insistent upon equating a fruitful queer life with the utopia of the city and its cosmopolitanism. Country queers have no role in this narrative, save that of the naive migratory queer that escapes provincialism in a coming-of-age escape from the country into the city…

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