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The Center for Oklahoma Studies Symposium, Fall 2010

A multidisciplinary program & exhibit
Center for Oklahoma Studies
October 8, 2010

Oklahoma regional map

Where things are in Oklahoma, what has happened here, and what people believe about all that yield factual, fascinating and useful images of our State. Although geography is the science of where things are, that is a much more extensive enterprise than most people imagine. There are not only features such as mountains and rivers but man-made edifices and boundaries and patterns of physical as well as human occurrences that can be mapped; rainfall, tornadoes, oil and gas reserves, immigration, voting trends, and religious preferences can all be shown from both historical and current perspectives. Computer techniques and satellite sensing have made this enterprise even more fruitful in recent years.

In addition, geography has a perceptual side, and in the 1960’s and 70s, cultural geographers began studying “mental maps,” showing that regional perceptions of such ideas as the “desirability of residence” were strongly held beliefs and doubtless influenced such actions as residential choice. These mental maps have formed an important part of studies in cultural geography and the uses of it in such applied social science initiatives as city planning. This symposium will examine several of such geographical approaches to Oklahoma.

The artistic community is also concerned with representation of the land. Art, whatever the school, whatever the medium, can reflect the artist’s sense of place, and that musicians have also appealed to such images will come as no shock to Oklahomans, whose state song is the most evocative of landscape in the nation. The Center has previously sponsored presentations by Oklahoma writers and poets, who are no less beholden to the spaces, real and imagined, around us. This symposium will display other creative efforts that have sought to capture Oklahoma in artistic representations, visual and auditory. Music that has been inspired by perspectives on the landscape and the work of two artists that represent images of Oklahoma will be featured.

In short, this symposium will focus on the physical, cultural, and vernacular landscapes of Oklahoma and artistic representations of those landscapes. The keynote address will be given by Professor Wilbur Zelinsky from Penn State University. The program begins at 9:00 AM on October 8th in Willard Hall 010 on the Oklahoma State University Campus in Stillwater, with other aspects of the event being hosted across the street at Murray Hall. Registration for this event is free, but we request that you pre-register online by noon on October 5th so that we may give the reception caterer an accurate estimate of attendees.

Willard Hall and Murray Hall are handicap accessible. Both have ramp access built into the main entrance, and Willard has elevators inside. (Room 0101 is in the basement.) Bathrooms are ADA compliant. Parking can be tight, but if you have a handicap parking tag, you will probably not have a problem. If you would like to verify the location and availability of handicap parking, call OSU’s Parking & Transit Services at 405-744-6525.

This symposium is presented by the Oklahoma State University Center for Oklahoma Studies, which is sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, Edmon Low Library, and Departments of English and History. Support for this symposium from the Department of Geography at Oklahoma State University and the assistance of Professor Allen Finchum of that department are gratefully acknowledged.

Funding for this program is provided in part by a grant from the Oklahoma Humanities Council (OHC) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Any views findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of OHC or NEH.

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