Help Search Campus Map Directories Webmail Home Alumnae Academics Admission Athletics Student Life Offices & Services Library & Technology News & Events About the College Navigation Bar
MHC Home College Street Journal

High-Tech Connections Made Possible in Interactive Classroom

Weissman Center to Offer Leadership Courses During J-Term

Sharon Stranford: Exploring the Mysteries of the Immune System

New Admission Program to Cast a Long Shadow

For Peter Houlihan, a Day at MHC Is Often a Walk in the Woods

Conflicts and Compromises of Public Space Discussion Set for November 14

Weissman Center Panel Discussion Not Run of the Mill

Letting Imagination Fly: Dancer Garcia Morales Visits MHC

Front-Page News


Nota Bene


Mount Holyoke College News and Events Vista The College Street Journal Archives

November 9, 2001

Conflicts and Compromises of Public Space Discussion Set for November 14

In post-Revolutionary France, the reassertion of church authority was symbolized by the erection of mission crosses in villages and fields throughout the countryside.

An historical perspective on conflicts and compromises of public space will be the subject of the third program of the yearlong series Building Meaning: Architecture and Public Space in the New Millennium. Sponsored by the Harriet L. and Paul M. Weissman Center for Leadership, the series is designed to explore how society shapes, and is shaped by, buildings and public spaces. It began in October with discussions of women and public space and the many "lives" of factory buildings. The third panel discussion, "Contested Ground: Meaningful Landscapes and Cultural Conflict in the Past," is scheduled for Wednesday, November 14, at 7:30 pm in Gamble Auditorium.

Guest speakers will be Brian Osborne, professor of geography at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario; Anne Kelly Knowles, author and scholar from Washington, D.C.; and Amy Hillier, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania Population Studies Center and a research associate at that university’s Cartographic Modeling Laboratory. The discussion will be moderated by Mount Holyoke history professor Robert Schwartz, who has recently been collaborating with historical geographers like them for his research on the relationship between railways and rural development in Victorian England.

"The conflict between different cultures over the possession of territory is as constant as it is varied in time and space," says Schwartz. He notes as examples the seventeenth-century appropriation of Amerindian land in the American Northeast by English and French settlers, the historic struggles over territory in the Balkans, and the reassertion of church authority in post-Revolutionary France, symbolized by the erection of mission crosses in villages and fields throughout the countryside. Historical geographers who study territorial claims have equally varied interests, Schwartz adds, citing the panelists’ research on the settlement of Welsh immigrants in Ohio, the early iron industry in Pennsylvania, and the use of monuments to mark contested territory in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Canada, but all are interested in ways of reading and interpreting the meanings in historical landscapes.

"Prominent themes in historical geography include the study of humans as agents of environmental change and the nature and location of cultural conflicts over territory and public space—the relationship between cultural ‘habit’ and physical ‘habitat’ over time and in space," says Schwartz. "Unlike the normal run of historians, historical geographers are especially concerned with spatial relationships in the past, such as how settlement patterns, economic development, and land use varied over time according to topography, climate, and other characteristics of specific localities and regions."

Schwartz notes that the panel is scheduled during Geography Week in the United States—"a perfect opportunity for students and the public to get historical geography’s valuable perspective on a wide range of our current concerns."

In addition to participating in the panel, Osborne will remain on campus for three days (November 12–14) to visit classes and offer two seminars, one for faculty (Tuesday, November 13, 4–5:30 pm, Skinner 202) and one for students (Wednesday November 14, 4–5:30 pm, Skinner 202). Questions about these events should be directed to Robert Schwartz at

Home | Directories | Web Email | Calendar | Campus Map | Search | Help

About the College | Admission | Academics | Student Life | Athletics
Offices & Services | Giving | News & Events | Alumnae | Library & Technology

Copyright © 2001 Mount Holyoke College. This page created by Office of Communications and maintained by Don St. John. Last modified on November 9, 2001.

History of Mount Holyoke College Facts About Mount Holyoke College Contact Information Introduction Visit Mount Holyoke College Viritual Tour of MHC About Mount Holyoke College