Culture, Place, and Flows
Geography has always been about places and the differences between them.
Recently, the geographical conception of "place" has become more sophisticated, with the realization that all places are connected to other places and traversed by all sorts of flows, like migrants, money, goods, germs, satellite images, and digital data. This cluster focuses on what are traditionally considered the flows of "culture"; i.e., beliefs, representations, media, art and rituals, from one place to another. The direction and intensity of these flows follow uneven relations of power, such as those connecting the US and the rest of the world. Crucial questions for the 21st century, which are being asked with increasing urgency around us, include: Are we losing the world's cultural diversity? How are traditions remembered? How do we conceive of far-away places; our own place? How does "belonging" to a place work? How are nations and minorities "made"? How can groups have opposing ideas about the same place? How do we get to know places through film, literature, music, or painting? These questions are asked in other thematic clusters as well, but "Culture, Place, and Flows" is distinguished by a generally closer connection to the methods and concepts of the humanities—history and art history, theater studies, comparative literature, philosophy, and anthropology.
If this genre of research interests you, shoot an email to any of our faculty who work in this area—they are more than happy to work with you and answer your questions!