Whither GeoCurrents?

Dear Readers,

The GeoCurrents make-over is now almost complete. Many thanks to Kevin Morton for so thoroughly and expertly reformulating the site. GeoCurrents is again linked to Twitter and Facebook, and has a new RSS system, as can be seen on the left-side of the site.

The “GeoCurrents Community Blog” is also active again, providing an outlet for students who share my fascination with things geographical. Andrew Linford will be posting periodically here for the next several months. His posts will be noted in the “featured” section of the blog, but will not appear in the “headline” area. As you can see, his current post examines The Economist’s “shoe-throwers” index. Andrew is particularly interested in issues of global inequality, but his posts will cover a wide variety of subjects.

I have been canvassing friends and colleagues about the directions that GeoCurrents should take, and have received conflicting advice. Some would like me to focus more on major stories, whereas others prefer the off-beat. I will try to satisfy both groups by alternating coverage, focusing on a major global issue one week, and then turning to something more obscure the next. I am now beginning to delve into the Ivory Coast, but progress will be slow, as on-line information is sparse, ethnic and linguistic categorization schemes vary considerable, and I read French slowly. I will also have to briefly suspend posting next week when I travel to Seattle to attend the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers. A series of posts on Ivory Coast will be forthcoming, but not until late April.

In the meantime, I will put together a more obscure series of posts on my own current research project, which involves the history of political mapping. I have recently been spending Friday afternoons in the Stanford University rare books collection, examining atlases and sheet maps produced in the 1500s, 1600s, and 1700s. Assisting me in this project is Stanford history graduate student Alex Statman, whose linguistic abilities extend from Latin to Chinese. As Alex and I have discovered, the reigning conceptions of political space in early modern Europe were quite different from what they are today.