Category Archives: Geography

Argyro Loukaki’s The Geographical Unconscious – ‘absolutely fabulous’

Posted by Fiona Dunford, Marketing Executive

The Geographical Unconscious

ARGYRO LOUKAKI’s new book, The GEOGRAPHICAL UNCONSCIOUS seems absolutely fabulous. The book is not for the meek, a tour-de-force of 400-Ashage-pages, nor for the disciplinary square. It’s a collection of SNAPSHOTS that cuts through geography, art history, philosophy, and cultural studies

says Kostis Kourelis in his enthusiastic review of this recently published book, which is also commended for its innovative style.

The author uses a great visual strategy of “free sketches.” Compared to the ambitions of the whole book, this will seem rather minor, but I think it’s important. Loukaki’s free sketches are scattered through the book to make visual arguments

Dr Argyro Loukaki, author of The Geographical Unconscious is Associate Professor at the Hellenic Open University. Her book has attracted some very positive comments from other reviewers too- you can read these and access extracts from the book here

Ireland’s 1916 Rising shortlisted for the Geographical Society of Ireland’s Book of the Year award 2014

Posted by Fiona Dunford, Marketing Executive

Irelands 1916 RisingCongratulations to Mark McCarthy, whose book Ireland’s 1916 Rising, was short-listed for the 2014 book of the year award from the Geographical Society of Ireland.

The Judges’ comments:

‘immaculately researched and a lively engagement with the key critical debates surrounding issues of memory, commemoration and historical legacies surrounding the revolutionary period in modern Irish history ‘  Nessa Cronin, Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway

‘In this definitive work on the topic, Mark McCarthy traces the political, ideational, identity and iconographic impacts of the Easter 1916 Rising in Ireland… This is required reading for scholars in the field and beyond’   Pádraig Carmody, Dept of Geography, Trinity College Dublin

Mark McCarthy’s book explores why, how and in what ways the memory of Ireland’s 1916 Rising has persisted over the decades? It breaks new ground by offering a wide-ranging exploration of the making and remembrance of the story of 1916 in modern times, which is not only of historical concern, but of contemporary political and cultural importance.

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SOAS Food Studies Centre books launch

The SOAS Food Studies Centre is hosting a launch event today to mark the publication of eight books authored or edited by centre members including Why We Eat, How We Eat edited by Emma-Jayne Abbots and Anna Lavis published by Ashgate. The event, which is open to the public, is being held in the Brunei Gallery at SOAS in London from 5.30pm-8.00pm on Monday 19th May. Commentary is being provided by Peter Jackson, Professor of Geography at The University of Sheffield and Francesca Bray, Professor of Social Anthropology at The University of Edinburgh. Commissioning Editor Katy Crossan is attending the event.

Why we eat How we eatPraise for Why We Eat, How We Eat:

‘This book is a masterful examination of the multidimensional nature of eating in symbolic, economic, political, material and nutritional terms, and it is a must-read for anyone interested in food and eating.’   Stanley Ulijaszek, University of Oxford, UK

‘This work will undoubtedly shift theoretical and applied debates about food and eating to a new level, and will have significance to those many disciplines that have a vested interest in why we eat, and how we eat.’   Megan Warin, University of Adelaide, Australia

‘This fascinating book would be of interest not only to scholars in the social sciences and humanities interested in critical food studies, but to any reader interested in the social, cultural and political dimensions of food and eating practices.’   LSE Review of Books

Why We Eat, How We Eat is part of the Ashgate Critical Food Studies series. We are actively looking for innovative and original new books which further critical food research and writing . If you have an idea or proposal for a book which might be suitable for the series please contact Commissioning Editor Katy Crossan or Series Editor Professor Michael K. Goodman.

Recent reviews by the LSE Review of Books

The LSE Review of Books regularly features Ashgate titles. It’s a fantastic site for book reviews in general, and covers a wide range of social science topics, including sociology, politics and IR, architecture, planning, gender studies, to name just a few.

Recent reviews of Ashgate books include:

Dynamics of Political Violence: A Process-Oriented Perspective on Radicalisation and the Escalation of Political Conflict, edited by Lorenzo Bosi, Chares Demetriou and Stefan Malthaner

Unconventional Warfare in South Asia: Shadow Warriors and Counterinsurgency by Scott Gates and Kaushik Roy

The Greening of Architecture: A Critical History and Survey of Contemporary Sustainable Architecture and Urban Design, by Phillip James Tabb and A. Senem Deviren

Media and the Rhetoric of Body Perfection: Cosmetic Surgery, Weight Loss and Beauty in Popular Culture by Deborah Harris-Moore

The Impact of Racism on African American Families: Literature as Social Science by Paul C. Rosenblatt

The Greening of ArchitectureUnconventional warfare in south asiaThe impact of racism on african american familiesDynamics of political violence

For more reviews visit the LSE Review of Books

Ayona Datta on The Intimate City: Violence, Gender, and the ‘Descent Into The Ordinary’ in Delhi

Posted by Katy Crossan, Commissioning Editor

Ayona Datta, author of The Illegal City: Space, Law and Gender in a Delhi Squatter Settlement , will be giving the Urban Geography Plenary Lecture at the Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting in Tampa, Florida next week (8-12 April 2014).

Her lecture, The Intimate City: Violence, Gender, and the ‘Descent Into The Ordinary’ in Delhi draws on the accounts of men and women facing the immanent violence of demolition of their homes in Delhi slums to ask what their stories of gendered and sexualized violence within the slums tell us about the ways that violence might be conceived in the city. Ayona will also discuss how the intimate and the urban are linked during the protests across Indian cities after the brutal gang rape of a student in Delhi in 2012  and how the intimate city can be made a part of a wider agenda of urban geography.

The Illegal City was honoured at the Geographical Perspectives on Women Speciality Group (GPOW) book event and nominated for the AAG Meridian Book Award in 2013. Discounted copies will be available for purchase from the Ashgate stand in the conference book exhibition.

The Illegal CityPraise for The Illegal City:

‘At its core, it is an immensely scholarly work that adds substantive and methodological value to urban development studies. It is rich with insights and observations that may lead to further work…’    Times Higher Education

‘This compelling analysis sheds new light on interstices of vulnerability that are often hidden from view or simply neglected and attributed to the “normality” of life among the poor. The Illegal City is immensely smart and will appeal to a wide readership.’    Cecilia Menjivar, Arizona State University, USA

‘The Illegal City is a thought provoking study of the double nature of law as both threat and hope in the lives of people in squatter settlements in a city. Paying close attention to the processes of governmentality through which space is categorized and acted upon, Datta produces an excellent ethnographic account of the fine workings of power and domination that are reproduced within the slum. Especially interesting is the way she tracks the manner in which gender folds into other differences and produces the uneven subjectivities through which law is encountered. This book is theoretically bold and ethnographically well anchored in the lived experiences of the poor.’    Veena Das, Johns Hopkins University, USA

Ayona Datta is Senior Lecturer in Citizenship and Belonging at the University of Leeds and currently co-chair of the Feminist and Women’s Studies Association, UK. Read more about her work on gender, citizenship and urban life on her blog, The City Inside Out.

The Processes of Remembering the First World War

During the First World War centenary years, Ashgate’s blog will play host to a series of blog entries – contributed by Ashgate authors – that reflect upon the Great War’s impact upon history and culture over the last one hundred years, and explore issues raised by the latest research in war studies.

ross j wilsonThis first entry is contributed by Ross J. Wilson, author of Cultural Heritage of the Great War in Britain (2013).

With the advent of the hundredth anniversaries of the First World War, questions have been raised as to the ways in which the conflict is remembered in Britain. Over the last few decades, concerns have been expressed that media representations of the ‘mud and blood’ of the Western Front have dominated popular understandings of the war.

However, rather than assume the public passively consume film and television, perhaps it would be better to ask why particular ideas of the conflict persist? What do these visions of the past do for those who honour them today?

To answer this issue, the ‘meanings’ of the war of 1914-1918 within contemporary society across Britain can be examined. These meanings can be identified through the manner in which the conflict is still used as a mode of conveying ideas and values.

For example, expressions associated with the war, such as ‘over the top’, ‘in the trenches’ or ‘no man’s land’, punctuate everyday language, not just as a means of vivid illustration, but to communicate ideas about responsibility, blame and collective identity.

For example, dissenting groups might describe themselves as ‘in the trenches’ over government reforms or ‘in no man’s land’ after the withdrawal of funding. These concepts are employed purposefully to highlight neglect or to assign blame.

These terms are used in a wide variety of contexts in political, media and public discourse, to describe a range of issues, as the First World War is employed as a means of understanding contemporary society.

Similarly, the suffering of the troops on the battlefields has become a feature of modern British identity politics, as communities associate themselves with the trauma of the war. To state a connection to this sense of victimhood provides a point of identification.

In this sense, to bear witness to the victims of the past provides contemporary individuals with a means to highlight current fears and anxieties. Whilst most frequently associated with the memorialisation of the Ulster Volunteers in Northern Ireland, this is not a unique phenomenon.

Distinctive narratives of suffering and victimhood in the war have been utilised by Scottish, Welsh and northern English communities in recent years, as well as political groups of all persuasions, to assert their rights and interests.

The critique of the ‘popular memory’ of the First World War in Britain is an act which obscures the complex processes of remembering that occurs within groups, communities and individuals.

The First World War is a symbolic resource enabling current generations across Britain to ‘return to the trenches’, not as the result of a vapid viewing of Blackadder Goes Forth, but as a means to shape contemporary ideas, debates and identities.

Cultural Heritage of the Great War in BritainCultural Heritage of the Great War in Britain, published in the series Heritage, Culture and Identity, addresses how the war maintains a place and value within British society through the usage of phrases, references, metaphors and imagery within popular media, heritage and political discourse. Wilson explores why wider popular debate within historiography, literature, art, television and film draws upon a war fought nearly a century ago to express ideas about identity, place and politics.

Ross J. Wilson is Senior Lecturer in Modern History and Public Heritage at the University of Chichester.

Simon Sleight on Young People and the Shaping of Public Space in Melbourne, 1870–1914

Simon Sleight has spoken on ABC’s By Design Radio programme about how young people and a dynamic youth culture shaped the early development of Melbourne.

You can download the programme from the By Design web pages

Baby booms have a long history. In 1870, colonial Melbourne was ‘perspiring juvenile humanity’ with an astonishing 42 per cent of the city’s inhabitants aged 14 and under – a demographic anomaly resulting from the gold rushes of the 1850s.

Young People Public Space MelbourneSimon Sleight’s book Young People and the Shaping of Public Space in Melbourne, 1870–1914 looks beyond those institutional sites so often assessed by historians of childhood, and ranges across the outdoor city to chart the relationship between a discourse about youth, youthful experience and the shaping of new urban spaces.

Play, street work, consumerism, courtship, gang-related activities and public parades are examined, and reveal a hitherto hidden layer of city life. Capturing the voices of young people as well as those of their parents, Sleight alerts us to the ways in which young people shaped the emergent metropolis by appropriating space and attempting to impress upon the city their own desires. Here in Melbourne a dynamic youth culture flourished well before the discovery of the ‘teenager’ in the mid-twentieth century; here young people and the city grew up together.

About the Author: Simon Sleight is Lecturer in Australian History at King’s College London. He is also Adjunct Research Associate with the School of Philosophical, Historical & International Studies at Monash University in Melbourne.

Review: “Marvellous Melbourne”, a precocious new world city of the late nineteenth century, is the site for this rich and acute study of how young people carved out their own spaces in the urban outdoors. Simon Sleight draws on a remarkable range of sources to illuminate the subversive perspectives of Melbourne’s youth. The book contributes to the burgeoning international scholarship on young people’s historical experiences, and is recommended reading for historians, geographers and sociologists alike.   Stuart Macintyre, University of Melbourne, Australia

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