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High will explore “urban exploring”

Steven High, the associate professor and Canada research chair in public history at Concordia University in Montreal, will present a lecture entitled “North American Post-Industrial Sublime: A Comparative Study” on March 11 at 4 p.m. The free and public lecture is part of the ongoing Humanities Center’s lecture series “New Bethlehem: Urban Utopias, Dystopias and Transformations” and will be held in Linderman Library, room 200.

High will explore the images and voices of deindustrialization in North America. He will focus primarily on urban exploration – a hobby taken up by thousands of young people who explore places they are not supposed to go, such as storm drains, sewers, abandoned buildings and tunnels. The talk will critically examine their exploration narratives as well as the imagery associated with industrial decline.

A follow-up discussion on public history and memory of workers and the Bethlehem Steel where they served will be held March 12 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Linderman Library, room 200. Both the lecture and the discussion are held in conjunction with the South Side Initiative, which brings together the university community, the people of Bethlehem, government officials, experts and developers to learn about the Bethlehem Steel site plans and address the needs of the community.

At Concordia University, High serves as the co-director of the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling. His first monograph, Industrial Sunset: The Making of North America’s Rust Belt (2003), based on oral narratives, won numerous prestigious book prizes. He most recently published Corporate Wasteland: The Landscape and Memory of Deindustrialization (2007).

High is also the primary investigator of a $1.2 million collaborative research project entitled “Life Stories of Montrealers’ Displaced by War, Genocide and Other Human Rights Violations,” which examines the life stories of Montreal residents who fled large scale violence in Rwanda, Haiti, Cambodia and Nazi Europe.

-- Tricia Long

Posted on Monday, March 10, 2008

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