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Colloquium Talk

Geography Colloquium Series

Dr. Lisa Bhungalia is a political geographer specializing in race, violence, and empire with a regional focus on the Southwest Asian and North African region. Her research explores the relationship between US empire, late modern warfare, and transnational linkages and encounters between the US and North Africa/Middle East region. 

                                                                                                                                 Dr. Lisa Bhungalia, Kent State University

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White Hall Classroom Building 122
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Library Talk Series

"Guides for Queer Folks: Travel Guides, Maps, and Materiality"

Borrowing from scholarship in map studies, critical cartography, queer media studies. and critical bibliography, this talk examines the utility of queer geographic information as expressed through its materiality. Through an examination of queer spatial information from the 1930s to the mid-2000s—primarily travel guides and maps but also magazines, postcards, and advertising—this talk explores two main arguments. Firstly, that the physical arrangement of queer spatial media and the work individuals undertook to collect, circulate, protect, and keep up to date this information in the pre-digital era reveals this information's politics and perils. Secondly, the presentation argues that to understand these social currents there is a need for renewed attention to physical media and physical interaction during the archival research process. The talk concludes by examining the presenters’ efforts in developing an archival collection of queer spatial information.

Jack Swab, University of Kentucky

 

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Location:
The Great Hall, Special Collections Research Center
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Geography Colloquium Series

“Seeds help me keep my proximity to all the things I don’t want to forget, through stories, flavors and recipes”

Turkish seed keeper Mehmet Öztan will discuss how seeds connect him to his memories of people, places and time; and how they helped him build relations with people of other cultural backgrounds while he is far away from his homeland and living in rural West Virginia. Öztan will also share his thoughts about racism in seed industry as an immigrant seed professional with a decade of experience in the field.

Dr. Mehmet Öztan, West Virginia University

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Location:
White Hall Classroom Building 122
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Geography Colloquium Series

"Communal data governance: digital access and protection in indigenous territories of Oaxaca, Mexico"

With expanding internet coverage,  the issues of access to information in native languages and data protection have become increasingly important in indigenous communities in Mexico, long subject to discrimination and extractivist economic practices. This talk examines the issue of communal data governance in Oaxaca, exploring how indigenous rights and traditions of self governance are being extended into the realm of Information and Communication Technologies.  

Dr. Oliver Froehling, University of Kentucky

 

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Location:
White Hall Classroom Building 122
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Geography Colloquium Series

"Necropolitics, Border Walls, and a Murder of Jim/Juan Crow in the Mexico-US Frontera"

Across the Mexico-US borderlands, overlapping white supremacist and Anglo-nationalist movements are building private walls as monuments to Donald Trump. Many social justice activists and ecological stewards have warned that these Trumpist border walls present specific and new threats to social and ecological landscapes, particularly along the riparian sections of the borderlands. To slow their building and, even, topple these walls, many activists and ecological caretakers are working to fortify networks with similar efforts elsewhere. In an effort to provide analyses useful to such justice endeavors, I employ Achille Mbembe’s concept of necropolitics to situate the borderland activist struggles against the Trumpist walls within a broader context of struggle against the commemoration of racist terror in the US South. Specifically, I use Mbembe’s theorization of necropolitical deathworlds to illustrate some potential common cause linking protests against Trumpist walls in the Paso del Norte region of the Mexico-US border with a Black Lives Matter/Say Her Name coalition that is bringing down Confederate monuments in central Texas. In placing these movements in connection with each other, I highlight a synergy of the white supremacy of Jim Crow with the Anglo nationalism behind a Juan Crow variant of racist terror and anti-immigrant hatred driving the Trumpist wall constructions. Recognition of this convergence is one way, I maintain, for identifying opportunities for making common cause across Americas’ myriad struggles to destroy the racist monuments that glorify the necropolitical legacy of racist colonialism and its ongoing social and ecological devastation.

Dr. Melissa Wright, Penn State University

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Location:
UK Athletics Association Auditorium, William T. Library
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Enforcing equality: court rulings, indigenous women, and political participation in Oaxaca, Mexico

Within the last decade, Mexico´s federal electoral courts have taken unprecedented steps to promote affirmative action in favor of women´s political participation. At the federal, state, and municipal levels, this has largely meant rulings that support legislation on gender-based quotas for public posts.  A stumbling block to this affirmative action initiative has been the predominately indigenous municipalities that hold local elections through tradition and custom instead of universal suffrage and secret ballot. Legally recognized as part of indigenous people´s collective right to self-determination, election through custom and tradition has been difficult to fit into existing juridical logics of gender equality.  In the past three years, however, a growing number of electoral conflicts appealed to the federal courts have brought the question of indigenous women´s political participation to the forefront. I examine several of these cases to explore how the courts mediate between the question of collective self-determination and individual women´s rights, how they seek to promote a liberal notion of gender equality, and how women and communities are responding to their rulings in unexpected ways.  I argue that what is at stake is more than just women´s political participation; rather, these rulings reflect contemporary contestations over gender, indigeneity, modernity, and democracy in Mexico more broadly.  
Holly Worthen is a Professor at the Instituto de Investigaciones Sociológicas at the Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico.  She received her Phd in Geography from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Her work focuses on gender, migration, development and indigenous politics.
 
Date:
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Location:
231 White Hall Classroom Building
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Large-Scale Numerical Linear Algebra Techniques for Big Data Analysis

As the term ``big data'' appears more and more frequently in our daily life and research activities, it changes our knowledge of how large the scale of the data can be and challenges the application of numerical analysis for performing statistical calculations on computers. In this talk, I will focus on two basic statistics problems---sampling a multivariate normal distribution and maximum likelihood estimation---and illustrate the scalability issue that many traditional numerical methods are facing. The large-scale challenge motivates us to develop linearly scalable numerical linear algebra techniques in the dense matrix setting, which is a common scenario in data analysis. I will present several recent developments on the computations of matrix functions and on the solution of a linear system of equations, where the matrices therein are large-scale, fully dense, but structured. The driving ideas of these developments are the exploration of the structures and the use of fast matrix-vector multiplications to reduce the quadratic cost in storage and cubic cost in computation for a general dense matrix. ``Big data'' provides a fresh opportunity for numerical analysts to develop algorithms with a central goal of scalability in mind. Scalable algorithms are key for convincing statisticians and practitioners to apply the powerful statistical theories on large-scale data that they currently feel uncomfortable to handle.

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Location:
CB 335
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