Susan Moffat will give a talk on The Atlas of the Albany Bulb, her oral history and mapping project about a landfill on the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay. The Atlas project will include a website presenting stories, maps, and images of this vegetated pile of rubble known for its spectacular views, informal art, dog walking, and a longstanding encampment of residents who created homes, community spaces, and monuments out of found materials. This community was evicted earlier this year to make way for a state park. In addition to the website, Moffat is contributing to an exhibit of documentary and art work on the Albany Bulb that will be mounted at the SOMArts gallery in San Francisco in February 2015.
In her talk, Moffat will reflect on how conceptions of nature and culture affect this highly contested site, which has been the location of bitter battles between people holding different notions of the proper uses of public space, and of what a park should be. She will reflect on methodological and ethical issues associated with documenting and representing people and their places, and on the different ways ethnographers, archeologists, oral historians, journalists, sociologists, urban planners, landscape architects, geographers, biologists, and others investigate urban sites like this one.
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