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History, Topography, and Crap (literally) October 19, 2006

Posted by McStorian in ClioWired.
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In our last class we discussed maps, topography, and even looked at some maps of Washington, D.C.  If you’re actually interested in that kind of stuff, then I thought I’d point out (on my blog rather than at class, since I want to avoid looking like a shameless self-promoter) that the end of next week and next weekend is the 33rd Annual Conference on Washington, D.C. Historical Studies.  The conference runs from October 26 – 28, and is located at the MLK Memorial Library downtown.  Follow the above link for more details.

I will be presenting a paper in Saturday afternoon’s “Washington’s Not-So-Gilded Age” Session #8.  My presentation will discuss how the city’s natural topography, especially its watersheds, dictated urban development, economies, social structures, politics, sanitation, and the longevity of Washington, D.C. as the nation’s capital.  In a nut-shell – Washington’s streams were turned into canals, drains, and open sewers upon its founding – making prominent parts of the city especially “foul, repulsive, and unsightly.”  The National Mall, Botanical Gardens, and Foggy Bottom were especially disgusting and often people were forced to hold their noses while passing through – although most people avoided those areas if they could.  Now, I won’t be using any fancy technology other than PowerPoint – but it will all be maps and images – no bullet-points, I promise!

So come grill me before a live audience – it’s free!

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Comments»

1. Dieter - October 25, 2006

James,

Just wanted to mention that I still have to hold my nose when I walk past Franklin Park at 14th & J and K. The homeless people that live there use the benches and the statue of Commodore Barry as a latrine. The homeless themselves give off an especially eye-watering aroma- not to mention their begging techniques that are “in your face.” The odor of decaying trash is unescapeable all over the city and especially repulsive.

Good luck on the lecture! Wish I could go…

2. Jeremy Boggs - October 26, 2006

Hey, I’ll plan to be there…very interesting topic!


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