University of Minnesota
College of Liberal Arts
cla@umn.edu
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Lawrence M Knopp Jr

Department Affiliations

Narrative

My interests cross many of geography's subfields but have tended to coalesce around questions of power as they relate to the spatiality of sexuality, gender and class. In the early stages of my career this meant investigating links between urban land, housing and labor markets, regional economic change and the construction of place-based gay identities, communities and political movements. The focus then was squarely on the political-economic side of the equation, with inquiries into gentrification, other forms of urban land-use change and regional economic restructuring. More recently, my approach has been to examine directly the cultural transformations and conflicts associated with these processes. This has led me to an engagement with certain poststructuralist and postmodernist literatures and to a questioning of a rigid distinction between "political economy" and "culture". As a 1992-94 University of Minnesota McKnight-Land Grant Professor, for example, I investigated differences in the ways in which gay male cultural identities and politics are expressed and constituted spatially in the U.S., U.K. and Australia. While important links to land markets and economic restructuring are still emphasized in this analysis, so too are various representational, symbolic and discursive issues, such as the spatiality of media representations of gay men and the relationships between sexuality and nation-building projects. More recently, I have begun a collaborative project (with University of Washington Assistant Professor of Geography Michael Brown) looking critically at academic discourses of diffusion, by examining the social and geographical origins and spread of "queer" cultural and political practices in Duluth, Minnesota and Seattle, Washington.


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