45th Annual Ellen Churchill Semple Day

  • Associate Professor
  • Geography
869 POT
(859) 257-2138

Semple Day is our annual, Spring celebration of the Geography Department at the University of Kentucky. Come and reacquaint yourself with the Department and University, and enjoy the day’s highlights: an afternoon open colloquium by a distinguished visitor and an evening celebration at the Lyric Theater in downtown Lexington, only a few blocks from campus. The reception provides a chance to catch up with friends (and make new ones), a venue for a brief program of awards and recognitions, and a convenient departure point for post-Semple celebrations on your own in one of the many new restaurants and watering holes in Lexington’s burgeoning downtown food scene.

The event will start at 2:00 PM Friday in the President's Room in the Singletary Center with an address by Professor John Paul Jones III and then move to the Lyric Thearter at 6:00 PM.  The title of our invited speaker's talk is "Fleshing out Topological Space"

Can we reconfigure recent work on topological space, so productively brought to bear in an understanding of power in geography, to understand the spatialities of and among flesh, objects and viral life? This talk expands on topology via touch – a ‘tactile topology’ – that focuses on the material connections among mobile bodies. The engine of topological transformation thus becomes the various materials and forces that grab onto each other, interpenetrating and reassembling at various speeds and intensities, such that diverse proximities and distances, contacts and connections, are made and remade. The argument is grounded via a reading of Steven Soderbergh's 2011 film, Contagion, which tracks the virulent outbreak of a largely fatal zoonotic disease. The film invites speculation on what a tactile topology might feel like, and in particular on what touch implies for the concept of topology. (This talk is based on collaborative work with Deborah Dixon, School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK).

Professor Jones is a human geographer with a long held interest in social theory, the history of geographic thought, and geographic methodology. He has shaped debates over spatial science and contributed methodologically to the spatial contextualization of regression models. He has since written on theories of social space and has contributed to debates on scale within human geography. Since the 1990s his work has been informed by developments in critical social and cultural theory, especially poststructuralism. This research has examined issues of representation, identity, and spatial ontology and epistemology. His recent or current NSF-funded collaborations include examinations of: (a) the globalization of the civil society sector in Oaxaca, Mexico; (b) the socio-political foundations of mosquito management in southern Arizona; and (c) the co-productions of scientists and artists in areas of climate change, geovisualization, and bioart.

Please see invitation below for more information about the event and banquet reservations.

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