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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Blog Assignment #1, 2014

Please post a paragraph-long question in response to the reading for Wednesday's class. Post your question by noon on Wednesday.

12 comments:

  1. The article discusses the issue of telling only "part of the story" at various points, in reference to certain landscape restoration efforts (in Lexington, areas like Thoroughbred Park). What are some other ways that one can shed light on, or keep in mind the whole-story within a given landscape - apart from monuments or memorial items? Or perhaps, what else in conjunction with such items?

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  2. Why does the article only identify "Academics and scholars from half a dozen fields-architects, landscape architects..." as the interpreters of American cultural landscapes? I see everyone being part of the interpretation, because each individual's thoughts on the subject, whether specified in the article or not, are based on their own interpretation. Is that incorrect thinking?

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  3. According to Schein, since the “real danger” in the dimensions of a landscape is within the aesthetic serving to “mask or hide or normalize potentially racist, social, and cultural ideals” (such as in Thoroughbred Park), could not any cultural landscape be “racialized” either positively or negatively according to the audience?

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  4. In places such as Thoroughbred Park and others around the nation, it is clear that there have been blatant acts of racial landscaping. While these parks represent parts of history, they are lacking all inclusive racial histories of these locations. Moving into a time where racism is continuing to grow to be less acceptable, we must wonder whose job it is to “fix” these racially divided landscapes. Will this be accomplished by reconstructing said landscapes or simply flushing them out to be inclusive of their entire background?

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  5. I must admit that before reading this article I had not known the story behind Cheapside's name. It was just something that I had accepted in my time here. I think it is important to reach out to the community when thinking about these issues. What could we do to correct the wrongs and what can be done to prevent more of them in the future?

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  6. Many of these radicalized landscapes throughout the United States have been forgotten and like it was described in the text, they have "naturally decayed". For those looking into improving our cities, what is being done today to try and improve theses areas which have been abandoned and which have "naturally decayed?"

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  7. Like many of the other questions already posted here, mine pushes at what already exists in order to call for something better/more complex than landscape that normalizes already existing race relations (that is, race relations based on white privilege). At the end of his essay, Schein urges us to see that "there is always the possibility of resistance in and through the landscape" (217). One possibility Schein brings up is including a statue or plaque of Isaac Murphy in Thoroughbred Park. However, not only is there not a statue of Isaac Murphy in the park, but the efforts to create a memorial garden in honor of Isaac Murphy just a couple of blocks North of the park have now been stalled for years. If funding--public and private--for ways to complicate racialized sites is scarce, how can we go about resisting through landscape? Can there be a sense of communally shared responsibility to do this?

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  8. This question references the discussion of the slave market at Cheapside on page 211. Schein states that "The market's exact site is dominated by a statue of John Breckinridge..." and though this statue is still in place, the site has changed since the publication of the article. It is now dominated by a pavilion built to serve many functions (including the weekly farmer's market). Because much of the money for the pavilion came from 5/3 Bank, there is a very prominent sign with their logo on the pavilion. The Breckinridge statue also has a sign, it says "Erected By The Commonwealth of Kentucky, 1887." It seems that this site has been programmed (for lack of a better word) by interests both larger than Lexington (the state of KY) and smaller (a private corporation).

    Are there any examples of city directed development of spaces (rather than development by state interests or commercial interests) that suggest that cities (as a result of representative governmental structure) are better at realizing built environments that are sensitive to the entire community?

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  9. On page 210 the author talks about the courthouse downtown and how it is basically a location that represents the confederacy due to all of the stories behind the plaques and monuments. My question is how do we preserve our history while making the form of representation and the chosen highlighted parts of history less racialized? How can we as a progressive community change this so that it is more equal for all parties involved in the history demonstrated in the landscape around the courthouse?

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  10. I understand that it is important to change the racialized landscapes in how they represent the people who live there, especially areas that demonstrate decay. However, for some examples that are brought up, such as the statues at the courthouse square, they present not just the injustice of our past, but a piece of our history. At what line should progressive change be drawn to preserve some parts of Lexington's history?

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  11. In areas of racial landscaping, what are some ideas that have been proposed to fix the landscaping to make it more inclusive of more ethno-racial groups? Should current landscapes just be modified (such as adding a plaque for Isaac Murphy)? Or would that be considered a half-hearted attempt from the white majority? Completely redoing a landscape would probably be far too expensive and difficult to carry out.

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  12. In my Schooling in American Culture class we recently read the introductory chapter to Henry Giroux's book "Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism". The main assertion of this chapter was that Americans are wrongly assuming that America is operating as a democracy. Instead Giroux claims we are operating as an authoritarian society with a friendly face. The difference between traditional authoritarianism and our friendly form is that it is based on economic instead of political sovereignty. Do you feel that this difference is represented in our landscape?

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