Derek H. Alderman

Derek H. Alderman
University of Tennessee | UTK · Department of Geography

PhD

About

175
Publications
120,541
Reads
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3,950
Citations
Citations since 2016
65 Research Items
2611 Citations
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Introduction
Broadly trained human geographer with interests in cultural and historical geographies of race, civil rights, and African American belonging; public memory, heritage conflict, and places of commemoration; the racialization of mobility, travel, and tourism; the politics of popular culture, media geographies, and regional identity; and social theoretical study of place naming, urban symbolic landscapes, and spatial inscription. Much work takes place in racially charged southeastern United States.
Additional affiliations
August 2012 - July 2017
University of Tennessee
Position
  • Department Head
August 2012 - present
University of Tennessee
Position
  • Professor
August 2000 - July 2012
East Carolina University
Position
  • Professor

Publications

Publications (175)
Article
Full-text available
Our paper revisits a neglected chapter in the history of geographic education-the civil rights organization SNCC and the Freedom Schools it helped establish in 1964. An alternative to Mississippi's racially segregated public schools, Freedom Schools addressed basic educational needs of Black children while also creating a curriculum to empower them...
Article
While Mount Vernon, Monticello, Montpelier, and Highland work to recover the lives of people enslaved by Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe, their institutional missions emphasize the importance of these four men within American history. The resulting impediments to honoring Black lives within these spaces can be best understood using the a...
Article
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Automobile-based tourism during the USA Jim Crow era, while providing a mechanism for African Americans to circumvent institutionalized discrimination and segregation, was nonetheless fraught with anti-black harassment and denied accommodations, and even violence. The emotional geographies that undergirded this Jim Crow travel have traditionally no...
Book
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Remembering Enslavement explores plantation museums as sites for contesting and reforming public interpretations of slavery in the American South. Emerging out of a three-year National Science Foundation grant (2014–17), the book turns a critical eye toward the growing inclusion of the formerly enslaved within these museums, specifically examining...
Article
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Social disparities in NAEP student outcomes with respect to geography provide further evidence of how far the discipline of Geography still must go to address issues of diversity, equity, inclusion. Addressing these issues requires difficult but necessary conversations and planning of initiatives along with a more fundamental re-envisioning of what...
Article
The Free Southern Theater was a Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) initiative that wanted to bring theatrical performance to rural communities in the deep Southeastern United States. To interpret the critical praxis and broader analytical importance of the Free Southern Theater, we develop and apply two conceptual frameworks: radical...
Article
Full-text available
The Free Southern Theater was a Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) initiative that wanted to bring theatrical performance to rural communities in the deep Southeastern United States. To interpret the critical praxis and broader analytical importance of the Free Southern Theater, we develop and apply two conceptual frameworks: radical...
Article
Louise Jefferson, the focus of this article, represents the intersection of two neglected cartographic cultures – women and African Americans – in the mid-twentieth century. Her work as an artist – illustrator, photographer, and cartographer – as well as her life story demonstrates that maps are more than we have conventionally defined them to be....
Article
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Responding to rising social tensions and ongoing theoretical and political changes in the study of geography, we advocate for greater operationalizing of anti-racism pedagogies within the field. Such pedagogies undermine long-standing geographic knowledge systems that marginalize and misrepresent people of color while also distorting and misinformi...
Article
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Responding to recent work in critical cartographic studies and Black Geographies, the purpose of this paper is to offer a conceptual framework and a set of evocative cartographic engagements that can inform geography as it recovers the seldom discussed history of counter-mapping within the African American Freedom Struggle. Black resistant cartogra...
Article
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In 2013, the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma ‘renamed’ Brady Street in its downtown arts district to M.B. Brady Street and designated the road as Reconciliation Way to rid itself of ties to Wyatt ‘Tate’ Brady, the original namesake. Tate Brady, a Ku Klux Klan leader, participated in a 1921 massacre that killed, injured, and displaced many black Tulsans. Ho...
Chapter
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Memorial toponyms represent highly charged civic issues within communities, but many elected officials, journalists, citizen groups, and even some scholars lack a full understanding of these struggles and what they mean. Although often taken for granted, commemorative place naming is important to people’s storytelling, lived material experiences, a...
Article
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Tourism transformation must bring an actionable focus on equity. A new normal openly recognizes the crises and tensions inhabiting tourism well before the COVID-19 pandemic along with the holistic and integrated nature of a pro-equity agenda. A resilient post-pandemic tourism must be more equitable and just, in terms of how it operates, its effects...
Article
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One of the earliest signals of the severity of the spread of COVID-19 in the United States and other countries was the swift cancelation of many highly prominent amateur and professional sporting events and seasons like the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, known as “March Madness.” The loss of March Madness is treated as a moment of cre...
Article
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Scholars are increasingly studying memory-work as an essential place-defining force within cities, but few scholars have analyzed urban redevelopers as agents of memory-work. Using the Montgomery Builds effort to redevelop the Kress Building as a "memory moment," we argue for a broader reading of memory-work that recognizes the broad spectrum of so...
Article
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There are growing debates over removing the names of racist historical figures from public schools and university campus buildings, streets, and other public spaces. This article develops a pedagogical framework for transforming the classroom into a “toponymic workspace,” where students can understand and possibly make interventions in the politics...
Chapter
Full-text available
Memorials and monuments are of increasing interest to geographers, growing out of recognition of the social nature of commemoration, and the important role that the construction, interpretation, and contestation of spaces and places play in the process and politics of remembering. Geographers envision these public symbols as part of larger cultural...
Article
Full-text available
This article advances three interrelated arguments. First, by focusing on the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee’s (SNCC) Research Department, an undertheorized chapter in the civil rights movement, we advance an expressly spatialized understanding of the African American freedom struggle. Second, by focusing on an SNCC-produced pamphlet tit...
Article
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To realize the full educational value of The Green Book requires seeing it as more than just an historical documentary source or a mere artifact from an earlier period. Inspired by the work of historical sociologist and geographer Adrian Evans, we stress the need to enliven the travel guide by recovering the seemingly ordinary details of how and wh...
Article
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Foundational to Jim Crow era segregation and discrimination in the United States was a “ra-cialized reputational politics,” that constructed African Americans as not only inferior, but as villainous threats to the normative order, leading to the lynching of thousands of African Americans. While black villainy is a destructive force within society,...
Article
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This article, structured as a prompt-and-response work, is authored by members of a research team investigating how slavery is absent and present at tourism plantation museums in the U.S. South. The prompt for the discussion grew out of E. Arnold Modlin’s concern that, even at museums where narratives and landscapes center on enslaved people, the p...
Article
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We revisit Martin Luther King Jr’s famous Letter from a Birmingham Jail (2013 [1963]), using his words to frame our thinking about the promise, limits, and efficacy of dialogue. The life and death politics of everyday oppressed people should directly inform any consideration of the merits of scholars engaging in (or disengaging from) dialogue, what...
Article
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This special forum, derived from a featured session at the 2017 meeting of the American Association of Geographers (AAG) in Boston, seeks to carry out a grounded discussion of public intellectualism during the turbulent Trump era and beyond. Our hope is to demonstrate the capacity of geographers to participate in and contribute to debates beyond th...
Article
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Museums and heritage tourism sites are highly curated places of memory work whose function is the assembling and ordering of space and narrative to contour visitors’ experiences of the past. Variations in such experiences within and between sites, however, necessitates a method that: (1) captures how guides, visitors, and exhibits interact within s...
Chapter
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Situated just outside of Charleston, South Carolina, Middleton Place Plantations and Gardens must surely rank among the most beautiful places in the Southeastern United States. These “oldest formal gardens in North America,” feature structural elements found at Versailles as well as a terraced lawn sloping down to the Ashley River. During peak seas...
Article
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Through our engagement with the ‘Freedom Singers’, we advocate for approaching the archive through the racial politics of atmosphere to understand both the affective, emotion-laden practices of the past and the affective work carried out by contemporary researchers within the archive. This atmosphere provides an important pathway for identifying an...
Article
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A number of U.S. universities are embroiled in debates over the long-time commemoration and valorization of white supremacy through the campus landscape. Recognizing place naming as a legitimate political arena, activists have called for—and in some instances succeeded—in removing from university buildings the names of historical figures shrouded i...
Article
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In the southeastern United States, operators of plantation museums have traditionally engaged in a selective and romanticised remembrance of the antebellum past that has regrettably silenced and marginalised the historical experiences and struggles of enslaved African people. More recently, some plantation managers have sought to engage in the ‘mem...
Article
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Article
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Heritage tourism plays an increasingly important yet controversial role in interpreting the emotionally and politically charged memories and legacies of African enslavement. Antebellum plantation museums in the southeastern USA remain relatively underanalyzed by researchers, despite their tradition of ignoring and minimizing the contributions and s...
Conference Paper
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Over the past few years, a number of U.S. colleges and universities have become embroiled in debates over the long-time commemoration and valorization of white supremacy on and through the campus landscape. Recognizing place naming as a legitimate political arena, the continued inequalities and alienation faced by students and faculty of color, and...
Article
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This paper examines owners of plantation heritage tourism sites as memorial entrepreneurs who control and negotiate the inclusion and specific treatment of the history of African enslavement. Interviews with owners of four South Louisiana plantations are used to document and analyse their complex relationship with the topic of slavery. Interviewed...
Article
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This article explores spatial mobility as a form of African American resistance and self-determination. We argue for examining the everyday activism and “countermobility work” of ordinary people of color as they move in ways that subvert, negotiate, and survive white supremacy. These ideas are developed through a historical case study not typically...
Article
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On 17 June 2015 Dylann Roof, a self-avowed white supremacist, walked into Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and sat down for a Bible study. After spending forty-five minutes attending the service, he pulled a Glock 41 .45 caliber handgun from his backpack and opened fire, killing nine people. Roof then fled and was ultimately arrested twen...
Research
Full-text available
Invited contribution to Sacred Matters: Religious Currents in Culture, web magazine for public scholarship. Available online at https://scholarblogs.emory.edu/sacredmatters/2015/08/13/graceland-graffiti-elvis-fans-as-place-makers-and-memory-agents/
Research
Full-text available
Invited contribution to Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina, open access project directed by Fitzhugh Brundage and published by Carolina Digital Library and Archives. http://docsouth.unc.edu/commland/features/essays/alderman_two/
Research
Full-text available
Invited contribution to Commemorative Landscapes in North Carolina, open access project directed by Fitzhugh Brundage and published by Carolina Digital Library and Archives. http://docsouth.unc.edu/commland/features/essays/alderman_one/
Article
Full-text available
Memorials and monuments are of increasing interest to geographers, growing out of recognition of the social nature of commemoration and the important role that space and place play in the process and politics of remembering. Geographers envision these public symbols as part of larger cultural landscapes that not only reflect certain perspectives on...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding disparities in visitation rates to heritage sites and patterns in public support for preservation and remembrance of African American heritage could greatly inform decision-making and management philosophies of park/historic site operators, preservationists, and other entrepreneurs. Informed by critical theory, this study examined her...
Article
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With the recent death of John Winberry, geography has lost an important voice in the study of the southeastern United States. His research on the invasive kudzu vine was an early and important contribution to southern environmental history. Over forty years ago, John and co-author, David Jones, traced the evolution of kudzu’s reputation and role wi...
Article
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This special issue of Southeastern Geographer, guest edited by Tyrel “Tink” Moore and Derek Alderman, honors the work and friendship of Dr. John J. Winberry, who passed away in March of 2012 (Carbone 2012). John was a devoted student of the American South and he played a major role in ensuring the Southeastern would become a leading outlet in geogr...
Article
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Within the study of southern plantation house museums, the cultural power that tourists exercise in interpreting, reacting to, and even shaping historical narratives has received limited attention. The purpose of this paper is to advance our understanding of the agency of visitors at plantation museums, paying particular attention to their verbal e...
Chapter
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Chapter
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The struggle to recognize the memory of historically marginalized groups such as African Americans is not an easy and direct representation of heritage through the landscape. In particular, street name commemoration is a process that can be fraught with conflict because of the complex dialectic between remembering and forgetting and the difficulty...
Article
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Using one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s last public pronouncements as a foundation, we argue that access to public transportation is an important civil right in the United States and that public transportation continues to have a direct bearing on economic opportunities of poor people of color as well as their general right to the city and its many s...
Article
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The study of the memorialization of landscapes of violence is a vibrant field both within and beyond geography. Previous scholarship has highlighted the contestation that surrounds the memorialization of landscapes of violence as well as the politics of memory that are manifest on the landscape. To date, however, little work has explicitly theorize...
Article
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This article examines the characteristics and opinions of tourists visiting Laura Plantation Museum in southern Louisiana, paying close attention to their interest in slavery relative to other narrative themes presented at the site. Laura is noted for its “big house” as well as its remaining slave quarters, but museums are built as much around narr...
Article
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Numerous studies have been conducted on local resident attitudes regarding tourism development and its impact, but there is limited research that compares the attitudes of both local full-time residents and second home property owners. This study investigated factors that influence the extent of each group of property owners’ support for future tou...