University of Minnesota
Department of Geography, Environment and Society

Department of Geography, Environment
and Society's home page.

Ralph Hall Brown Day

Minnesota Geographer

Minnesota Geographer magazine

Read Minnesota Geographer online

May 2, 2014: BROWN DAY

Brown Day Lecture
Friday May 2, 2014
3:30-5:15 (coffee and cookies at 3:00pm)
Honeywell Auditorium, L-110 Carlson School of Management.

Mona Domosh
Professor of Geography
The Joan P. and Edward J. Foley Jr. 1933 Professor
Vice President, Association of American Geographers
Dartmouth College

Title: "From the U.S. South to the Global South: Practicing Development at Home"

Abstract: Drawing on a range of works that extend from gendered historical analyses of colonialism to critical histories of development, and based on archival research in Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi, I argue in this talk that what we now call international development – a form of hegemony different from but related to colonialism – needs to be understood not only as a geopolitical tool of the cold war, but also as a technique of governance that took shape within the realm of the domestic and through a racialized gaze. I do so by tracing some of the key elements of the United States’ international development practices in the postwar era to a different time and place: the American South, a region considered ‘undeveloped’ in the first decades of the 20th century, and the agricultural extension practices that targeted the rural farm home and farm women, particularly African-American women. Thus I am able to interrogate two relatively unexamined elements that are key to understanding the making of American international development: that much of its early focus was on governing through biopolitical practices of the domestic (food preparation, health, and sanitation), and that those practices were based on the agricultural extension work of the United States Department of Agriculture in the American South.

Held each spring, Brown Day brings together friends and colleagues for a noon time potluck lunch, an afternoon lecture by a prominent visiting Geographer, and an evening banquet that celebrates the achievements of the past year, and recalls our history, which spans over three-quarters of a century.

The day is named in honor of Ralph Hall Brown, eminent faculty member in our department from 1929 to 1948, and author of Mirror for Americans (1941) and Historical Geography of the United States (1948).

The evening program includes an awards ceremony that recognizes the achievements of our undergraduate and graduate students. It also offers news from colleagues afar, entertainment and humor, and the results of our annual photo contest.

Recent Ralph Hall Brown Memorial Guest Lecturers

  • William J. Cronon, Frederick Jackson Turner and Vilas Research Professor of History, Geography, and Environmental Studies, UW-Madison, "The Portage: Reflections on Nature, History and Storytelling in the Making of an American Place" (2013)
  • Susan Cutter, Carolina Distinguished Professor and Director, Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute, Department of Geography, University of South Carolina, "Moving from Hazard Vulnerability to Disaster Resilience: The Experience from Mississippi's Gulf Coast." (2012)
  • John Adams, Emeritus Professor, Department of Geography, University of Minnesota, “A SHORT HISTORY OF OUR GEOGRAPHY DEPARTMENT, 1925-2010: COFFEE HOURS AND TEA PARTIES.” (2011)
  • "Celebrating the Life and Contributions of Professor Fred Lukermann" A panel discussion with Terkenli Theano, Robert Sack, and Trevor Barnes. Chaired by John Adams (2010).
  • Karl Zimmerer, Professor and Head of the Department of Geography, Pennsylvania State University, "Environment or Nature-Society?: Geographic Trends and Trajectories" (2009)
  • William E. Doolittle, Erich W. Zimmermann Regents Professor in Geography, Department of Geography and the Environment at the University of Texas at Austin (2008)
  • David Ley, Research Chair of Geography, University of British Columbia, "Millionaire migrants: Transnational circulation and urban transformation." (2007)
  • Victoria Lawson, Professor, and Thomas L. & Margo G. Wyckoff; Endowed Faculty Fellow, Department of Geography, University of Washington, and Past President of the Association of American Geographers, 2004-05. (2006)
  • Professor Glen P. McDonald, Professor and Chair, Department of Geography, University of California, Los Angeles, "Glimpses of time past and time future from the last woods on earth: Historical biogeography of the circumpolar boreal zone and its role in global climate change" (2005)
  • Professor Karl B. Raitz, University of Kentucky, "The Rock Fences of Kentucky's Bluegrass" (2004)
  • Professor Judith A. Carney, University of California-Los Angeles (2003)
  • Yi Fu Tuan, Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin, "Sense of Place: Its Relationship to Self and Time" (2002)
  • Dr. Thomas J. Wilbanks, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (2001)
  • Michael F. Goodchild, "Scales of Cybergeography" (2000)
  • David Harvey, "Spaces of Utopia" (1999)