Marvin Mikesell, Cultural Geography, and Cultural Conflict: Reflections of a Former Student and Co-Author

Authors: Alexander Murphy*, University of Oregon
Topics: Cultural Geography, History of Geography, Political Geography
Keywords: Cultural geography, cultural conflict, ethno-nationalism, history of geography
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Iberville, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Marvin Mikesell had an extraordinary career as a scholar, teacher, mentor, and disciplinary citizen. His scholarship helped to shape understandings of cultural geography in the 1960s and 1970s, and his pioneering work on cultural conflict in the 1980s served to build a bridge between cultural and political geography. During his almost six-decade career at the University of Chicago, his classes inspired generations of undergraduate and graduate students, and he was a supportive mentor to many masters and doctoral candidates. He also made important contributions to the discipline of geography—editing important geographical publications, chairing advisory committees, and serving as President of the Association of American Geographers in the mid-1970s. Marvin Mikesell continued to teach and think deeply about geographical matters right up until his death this past April. There is perhaps no better way of honoring his commitment to a scholarly life than to focus, in his honor, on some contemporary explorations in cultural geography and reflect on the connections between them and the cultural geography of fifty years ago that Mikesell did so much to advance. This paper, then, is not solely about Mikesell’s personal qualities and scholarly contributions; it also focuses on the study of culture and nationalism today against the backdrop of the framework for the study of minority-group relations he published in 1991 with the paper’s presenter.

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