Saturday, February 22, 2014

You say goodbye, I say hello!

In my last post, the point of departure was this:
Given the innate interest that academics have in exploring and discussing ideas, can we--should we--expect them to use the tools like Twitter and blogging?
In addition to the couple of comments here, it turned out to be an interesting few days after that especially because of Nicholas Kristof's column, in which he raised a number of debatable and controversial points, like this one, for instance--there are:
“fewer public intellectuals on American university campuses today than a generation ago.”
Kristof's column, Professors, We Need You, triggered all kinds of responses, from academics and non-academics alike, and even generated quite some reactions on Twitter with the hashtag of #engagedacademics.

Given the Geography-is-about-everything that I love, I wonder why we are not out there with the public-at-large. Commenting on my earlier post, "Anonymous" has pointed out an example of "one geographer's effort."  It is a laudable contribution, no doubt, but is still a long way from active public engagement.

Here are two recent examples of how we academics, too, could be discussing geography with the world outside of academe.  Exhibit One is a blog post by John T. Tierney, who "is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a former professor of American government at Boston College."  In that, Tierney writes about how "geospatial information is transforming the way we see and understand the world around us."  The example he discusses there is a part of the larger project, led by James and Deborah Fallows, and in collaboration with ESRI. Exhibit Two is this post by Deborah Fallows, which is a geographic--and map-heavy--approach to understanding "what we mean when we say hello."


We do such work, and a lot more, that we could easily then engage with the public; yes?  Yet, we apparently do not.  Or, am I mistaken?

(The title, prompted by Deborah Fallow's post, is, yes, to mark the fifty years of Beatles in America.)

1 comment:

Duane Marble said...

If you have not seen it, I would strongly recommend the blog by Dr. Michael Dobson. Mike has a Ph.D. in cartography, taught for a number of years, was head of all cartography for Rand McNally, and, in recent years, has been an active consultant on mapping questions. He is currently discussing "Does Anyone Need to Know Anything About Maps Anymore?" The blog is at: