Presenting (Virtually) at UTK Geography Symposium ’21 this Friday

Time to shake off the dust and clear off the cobwebs! After a year bereft of conferencing, I’m excited to announce that I will be presenting my research on using music videos to teach Geography this Friday morning at 11:30 AM ET. Anyone interested can access the Zoom Link here, and the password is “geosym2021.”

My presentation is entitled ‘Dreaming of Distant Pleasures: Teaching Geography with Music Videos,’ and I’ll paste the abstract below. I’m looking forward to seeing some old friends/colleagues and finally getting a long-in-the-works piece of pedagogy work out there. Hopefully this will see the light of day in some journal before too long.

“See” you on Friday morning if you want to check it out! The rest of the 2-day schedule is available here, with links.

Music videos are unmistakably geographic. Academics have been preoccupied with them since long before MTV, culminating in what cultural critic Simon Frith said, by 1988, had
“generated more scholarly nonsense than anything since punk.” Despite videos’ potential for communicating and understanding sense of place, however representative, geography research on the cultural constant has been limited. Even more limited has been any approach to using music videos to teach geography. In my time teaching undergraduate courses on World Regional Geography, the Geography of Popular Culture, and related cultural topics, music videos have consistently provided valuable perspective into how artists represent and reproduce place. Additionally, the reoriented access to music videos in the streaming video era, especially those previously propelled by heavy rotation on MTV, MuchMusic, and an array of upstart cable networks in the late-20th century, has given life to countless forums of (often highly personal) open-access ethnographic content. This paper seeks to build off of Smiley and Posts’ (2014) foundation on the valuable role that popular music plays in geography pedagogy. Using multiple examples of videos and video-related assignments, I argue that music videos provide an excellent foundation for communicating and understanding the relationship(s) between music, memory, and place.

Sources Cited:
Frith, Simon. Music for Pleasure: Essays in the Sociology of Pop. New York: Routledge, 1988.
Smiley, Sarah L, and Chris W Post. “Using Popular Music to Teach the Geography of the United States and Canada.” Journal of Geography 113, no. 6 (2014): 238-46.

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