This blog is mostly professional, but may have some personal notes in it as well, as it affects my professional activities.

Its namesake stems from my PhD research into regional identities in the late eighteenth century in what is now southern Bavaria.

I blog about issues related to information literacy, access to library resources, the environment, and the Historical Geography of Rupertsland.

Some sources regarding his life and work.

Fischer, H. (1988) ‘Schön und vortrefflich’: die ‘Charte von Schwaben’: Ein kartengeschichtlich bedeutsames Werk zu Beginn des 19. Jahrhunderts, in: Beiträge zur Landeskunde: Regelmässige Beilage zum Staatsanzeiger für Baden-Württemberg, Juni 1988, 3:1–8.

Fischer, H. (1988) Die ‘Charte von Schwaben’ im Massstab 1:86,400: Erläuterungen, in the series: Reproduktionen alter Karten, Stuttgart.

Fischer, H. (1993) Die ‘Charte von Schwaben’ 1:86,400, Cartographica Helvetica 7 (1993) 1–10.Gradmann, J.J. (1802) Das gelehrte Schwaben: oder Lexicon der jetzt lebenden schwäbischen Schriftsteller, Ravensburg.

Günther, Siegmund (1922) Eine Kartierung Oberschwabens um die Wende des achtzehnten Jahrhunderts, Sitzungsberichte der mathematisch-physikalischen Klasse der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu München, Jahrgang 1921 315–330, 317n.

Wolfart, P. (2008) Mapping the Early Modern State: the Work of Ignaz Ambros Amman, 1782–1812, Journal of Historical Geography, 34(1):1-23.

"Ignaz Ambros von Amman" in Wikipedia [short entry but cites Wolfart (2008).]

Indigenous Studies Portal News

Thursday, April 3, 2014

What do Manitoba and the Crimea have in common?

Several events / news stories over the last few months have reignited my thoughts about regional / community identity that I thought I'd left behind when I defended my thesis, getting on to almost 20 years ago.  The first, was the events in Crimea.  The second, closer to home, a question of who should be on the Manitoba Walk of Fame, therefore, who is a Manitoban.

I have to confess I don't of course have the answers, but I want to share my own thoughts.  Crimea is an issue that no sane commentator, let alone politician should touch with a barge poll, especially not a nuclear tipped one.  Academically a very interesting question, is it Russia? Is it Ukraine? Is it an independent Tartar territory, and if so, do the Tartars even have a modernist sense of territorial contiguity, or do they subscribe to some pre-(or post) modern sense of territoriality, where they carry their identity with them, wherever they travel? I have no idea, of course, but I'd be willing to bet that none of the current occupiers or contending occupiers have given this option much thought.  In reality, of course, it is much more than academic. Lives have been lost, and many more before the issue is resolved, and I want to be very clear, that I'm not taking a stance here at all. I only hope somebody figures it out soon.

But the notion of what makes someone belong to a region does raise some questions regarding my second question, who should be on the Manitoba Walk of Fame? Who is sufficiently Manitoban.  On the possible list of contenders are several people who haven't lived in Manitoba or contributed significantly to its cultural wellbeing. I'm thinking of Neil Young who left, as I understand it as a teenager, and only makes sporadic visits, but also luminaries like Marshall McLuhan, who while he certainly may have developed his ideas here, also didn't leave a unique stamp on Manitoba.  Again I'm stumped, but I have some idea, that questions of identity / belonging rest somewhere with the actions of the individuals, and not with the territory itself.  Crimea, like Manitoba is a bounded piece of geography that has had human activity enacted upon it, and that activity, in turn has coloured subsequent activity. It has become an organic being that exists because of the activity it hosts, and the debate about who is, or who isn't a member of the club, whether carried out through military occupation, or much more harmless ponderings of who should be in the Walk of Fame, is but one contributing factor to a set of questions that cannot be resolved easily.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Political Geography should be viewed with respect

Just a brief posting, very raw thoughts, but came across recent study that tried to compare administrative differences across Canada, but failed to articulate, that there are vast differences in the political / administrative landscape of Canada. In short, they do things differently in Quebec, than they do in Manitoba, Alberta, Ontario, and even smaller regions within the provinces.

But many studies fail to acknowledge this, perhaps for fear of reprisals. Political Geography has become very tainted since events of the 1st and 2nd World War, and probably rightly so.  But it can't be ignored. Quebec, like Scotland in the UK has a very different legal structure, and is not directly related to the fact that they speak a different language. They follow different legal code (common law vs Napoleonic/codified).  This has wide and important implications that are often ignored in many comparative studies. I wonder if it is ignored out of ignorance, or out of fear of treading too close to the notion of a 'distinct society'.

Jus Sanguinis for Cows? Are you what you eat?

Follow this link for context, but main point of interest is misguided use of ascription of identity, in this case cattle. Let me see if I understand this correctly.  Because animal is born in Canada it will forever be Canadian, even though it may be plugged full of same hormones, as its American counterparts, as it is raised in the United States.

So I am born in America, but plugged full of Canadian Ideology, cultural markers, but I will for ever be labled American? A wider and more peculiar application of jus sanguinis.  The more I think about this, this probably didn't make sense in a world where, some what naively it was assumed people (and cattle didn't travel), and it certainly doesn't make sense in the contemporary world of global travel.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Don't think I've had a chance to mention publication of new book that comments on Metis Identity, and serves to some degree as an update to volume produced by Brown and Peterson Being and Becoming Metis in North America, back in 1985.

Contours of a PeopleMetis Family, Mobility, and History, edited by Nicole St. Onge, Carolyn Podruchny and Brenda Macdougall. I've got a chapter in this one, Against spatialized ethnicity.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I'm beginning to wonder if we're entering (or indeed have entered) an aspatial arrangement, and if technology is leading the charge.  A few recent examples have struck me and got me wondering if it was technology that caused earlier shifts in the late eighteenth century that had western european society moving from a non-spatial (or better yet aspatial) world to a more fully spatialised one, a world where ideally there was full congruence between the Nation and the State.

In the current context, I'm struck by communications technology in particular that no longer cares where we are to assign identity (in this case telephone numbers).  Although somehow they manage to charge for long distance calls. Consider for example MTS's recent approach to a lack of numbers. They've chosen to add three digit codes to all new phone numbers, but where in the past this was known as an 'area code' and truly did refer to an area, the new system presumably because of the mobility of the telephones, simply adds these numbers to any new line.  There is no longer a good way to determine where physically a phone number  is located. If this is the case, what was the technology in the eighteenth century that provided the push into a spatial world. Was it, as I had surmised many years ago, the advent of surveying and cartographic techniques, pioneered by Ambros von Amman, David Thompson, and the rest?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Court upholds native fisher's tax exemption, by Alexandra Paul, Winnipeg Free Press, March 22, 2012.

From this story alone, having not actually read the ruling itself, nor analysed the other cases that have ruled on section 87 of the Indian Act, I'm fascinated by what I see as a trend towards establishing 'indianness' (for lack of a better word) by the principle of jus sanguinis, a right that as the old phrase has it can 'be carried on one's back'.  This is in marked distinction to the territorially bounded principle used in other cases.
 In short, it is no longer necessary to remain on reserve, and I assume more to the point for future decisions, to somehow prove that you or your ancestors were on reserve, or in that specific geographical locale at the time a treaty was signed, to claim rights that were promised and reiterated in various court rulings to ones identity as an aboriginal person.

This deserves closer attention, both to the use of section 87 in recent cases, and the increased recognition that your status / rights to conduct business, engage in social discourse, or otherwise exist as a Canadian, are not bound by the border markers of the reserve.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Been a major career shift since last blogs in the spring. I'm now manager of a publicly accessible database of social services.  Our agency also holds several contracts to supply data and access to individually tailored concerns.  Not that much of a shift from my interests, and a wonderful opportunity to engage in my passion for providing equitable and easy access to what I believe to be relevant information.  Also has me commuting in a very different part of the city, so you can look forward to comments related to the cycling / transportation infrastructure in my town. I also provide commentary on twitter.