History Break: Roadside Geopoetics with Ursula Lang
October 2022 Anderson Center artist-in-residence Ursula Lang is presenting a talk, Roadside Geopoetics: Public Geology and Environmental History Along the Highway, at the Goodhue County Historical Society on Wednesday, December 14 at noon as part of their free lunchtime “History Break” series.
In 1949, the Geological Society of Minnesota built the first of more than sixty roadside monuments, interpreting geological processes at sites of interest across Minnesota. In cooperation with state and local transportation entities, the monuments are built as wayside stops. Drawing on archival research, Ursula will present early findings about the inception of the Geological Society of MN, early activities of the GSM, and in particular the motivations for developing roadside markers at sites of geological interest. She will also share work-in-progress developed during her recent artist residency at the Anderson Center, which was focused on these markers and other sites of “public geology” in and around the Red Wing area.
Ursula Lang is an interdisciplinary researcher and writer, with a PhD in Geography from UMN, and a background in Architecture and Biology. She studies the social and environmental histories of place, in relation to the contested politics of land, property and the commons. Who has access to natural resources, and how do we share and sustain these over time? The answers to these questions are shaped by social differences (such as race, gender and class), in conjunction with the built environments within which we are set.
Through diverse methods including ethnography and participatory mapping, Ursula’s work aims to contribute to more just, equitable, inclusive and caring places. Her research has been published in a range of scholarly journals, in addition to her first book, Living with Yards: Nature and the Habits of Home (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2022). Her creative practice includes printmaking and mapping. Current projects explore geological time across Minnesota landscapes, and how these are interpreted through public monuments, books, and experiences in place