Articles tagged with: Michael Ripmeester

  • Info session Thursday for Vancouver Field Course

    An upcoming field course in Vancouver aims to immerse Brock students in the geographical concepts they’ve learned about in class.

    Brock students are invited to learn more about earning credit through the Vancouver Field Course (GEOG/TOUR 3F93) at a virtual information session Thursday, Dec. 16 at 1 p.m.

    Applications will soon open for the course, which is delivered during a 10-day trip to Vancouver, B.C. It is scheduled to run from May 23 to June 3, and is offered by the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies.

    Professor Michael Ripmeester, who will teach the course, says that fieldwork was a big part of why he became a geographer, and he is excited to share that experience with students.

    “Talking about geographical concepts in the field helps students see things differently than in lecture,” says Ripmeester. “It is, for example, one thing to talk about residential segregation or neighbourhood change, but it is another to see it and walk through it. I think students are sometimes surprised by the real-world ramifications of the things that we learn about in class when they have to confront them in the real world.”

    The course will help students engage with geographical theories and concepts and witness how geography can influence planning and social policy. It will cover such topics as the historical geography of Vancouver, planning and architecture, public space in the 21st century and the social and cultural geographies of the city.

    While preference is given to majors in the department approaching graduation, any Brock student with two credits from the department’s programs or permission from the instructor is eligible.

    Each student who is accepted will receive a travel award from the Faculty of Social Sciences to help cover travel expenses.

    Registration for the course is capped at 25, so students interested in the course are encouraged to email Ripmeester and to attend Thursday’s information session, where he’ll go into more detail about what the course is designed to do and what students can expect to gain from it.

    “I hope that spending time in the field and exploring a new place fuels their sense of curiosity about world, and perhaps in pursuing more Geography or Tourism courses,” he says.

    Please note that as of Sept. 7, 2021, Brock University’s vaccine mandate is in effect. Students and faculty must be fully vaccinated to participate in this field course and must provide the University with proof of vaccination status. Due to the ongoing uncertainty of COVID-19, details of this field course are subject to change.

    STORY FROM THE BROCK NEWS

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  • Longtime Geography and Tourism Studies staff member retiring this month

    There’s no telling who you might find in Virginia Wagg’s office on any given day.

    Whether it’s a student looking for assistance or a professor working out a scheduling issue or sharing a joke, the Administrative Co-ordinator and Academic advisor’s door is always open.

    And if the gallery of gifts and thank-you cards housed in the space are any indication, her help has been appreciated by the Brock community over her past 27 years with the University.

    Wagg, who will retire this month, came to Brock for a career change, having previously worked as a manager of customer service for commercial accounts at Canadian Tire Acceptance. After three years in Temporary Employment Services, she moved into what is now the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies and has been there ever since.

    Professor and current Department Chair Michael Pisaric says that Wagg’s contributions to student engagement and the daily operations of the department can’t be overstated, and that she can’t be thanked enough.

    “I think when most of our students look back at their time in the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies, one of their first and best memories is Virginia,” says Pisaric. “She has played a pivotal role in our department for 24 years and her wit, warm-heartedness and institutional knowledge have made her a key component of our department and programs, and across the University as well.”

    Professor Michael Ripmeester agrees, saying the combination of Wagg’s institutional expertise and work ethic make her contributions “impossible to account for.”

    “Whether it is a colleague working through a Workday problem or student who needs just one more course to graduate, Virginia cheerfully offers the required aid,” says Ripmeester. “But it is the little things that I will miss after she retires. Her laid-back manner and good humour bring a positive vibe to the department that will not be easy to replace, nor will her willingness to organize birthday celebrations and Christmas luncheons, to teach people to play euchre, to offer support or consolation when required, or to take a few minutes for a friendly chat. Put simply, Virginia is more than a fantastic colleague, she is also a good friend.”

    Professor David Butz remembers when Wagg joined the department full time in 1997, after Colleen Catling moved to a different position in the University.

    “Colleen helped mentor me into my first job as a professor, was a good friend and an amazing administrative co-ordinator, and I didn’t think we would be able to replace her with someone I liked as well or got along with as well,” says Butz. “Virginia proved me wrong. She, too, has been an amazing administrative co-ordinator, both in the sense of being really good at her job, and also a wonderful and true friend.”

    Butz believes that Wagg’s ability to nurture relationships with individuals in the department has created a true sense of community. “I feel that Virginia, more than anything or anyone else, has held our department together as a unit comprised of friendly and collegial social relationships,” he says.

    “Virginia is a low-key person who doesn’t draw attention to herself,” says Butz. “Her impact on the department and on myself hasn’t turned on key moments or any one thing, but rather, it’s her quiet competence, unfailing helpfulness, informality, patient willingness to listen, strong sense of welcome and hospitality, nurturing and supportive attitude to colleagues and students, unflashy thoughtfulness and generosity, ability not to leak a confidence or secret, and willingness to let us into her own life and her large, active and close family.”

    Many of Wagg’s colleagues say they will remember her thoughtful co-ordination of birthday and work anniversary celebrations, which she managed through a list that included preferences on cake versus pie as well as whether individuals wanted to have a big celebration or fly under the radar.

    They also say they’ll miss her at the lunch-hour euchre games that have long brightened up the department with laughter and ribbing — and helped ensure that coworkers took their much-needed lunch breaks. Wagg also shared her euchre love with the wider Brock community, organizing several successful progressive euchre tournaments at the annual Wellness Day event.

    More than anything else, Wagg says she’ll miss the people and the friendships that have filled her workdays for the past 27 years. She plans to visit and already keeps in touch with several former students and colleagues on social media.

    She’s also looking forward to spending more time with her family — be it travelling with her husband once restrictions are lifted, hanging out with her daughter and granddaughters, or helping her mother host four generations at weekly Sunday dinners.

    Since an in-person celebration is not possible due to public health guidelines, students, alumni, staff and faculty are invited to share fond memories and well wishes online.

    STORY REPOSTED FROM THE BROCK NEWS

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  • Micheal Ripmeester featured on The Brown Homestead Podcast

    Dr. Mike Ripmeester was recently interviewed on The Brown Homestead podcast to discuss the controversial statue of Private Alexander Watson that sits in front of St. Catharines City Hall.

    Episode 5: What to do about Watson

    In this episode, we dig into the complicated question of what to do about the controversial statue to Private Alexander Watson in front of St. Catharines City Hall. Brock University professors Michael Ripmeester (GeoTour) and Russell Johnston examine the complex history of the monument and walk us through ways that its challenging narrative offers opportunities for education and reconciliation.

    Listen here.

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  • Authors explore contested monuments at workshop led by Brock researcher

    FROM THE BROCK NEWS | by 

    In the wake of the murder of George Floyd in the spring of 2020, a global movement led to the toppling of hundreds of monuments commemorating historical figures and events.

    The trend fascinated Professor Michael Ripmeester in Brock’s Department of Geography and Tourism Studies, who, along with Associate Professor Russell Johnston in the Department of Communication, Popular Culture and Film, has been studying memory and the ways in which people engage with the landscape since about 2003. Ripmeester says that while the act of removing or destroying monuments to affect public memory is nothing new, the wave of reckoning with landscapes that spread around the world last year was different.

    “People have been toppling monuments since ancient times, often related to regime changes — so, for example, statues of the former leader get destroyed and replaced with statues of the new leader,” says Ripmeester. “But over the last year, there has been a global recognition of the legacies of colonialism and racism, and that has sparked a massive reconsideration of monuments all over the globe.”

    To delve deeper into the movement, Ripmeester teamed up with colleague Matthew Rofe of the University of South Australia to collect essays that critically engaged with how landscapes are contested by individuals, groups and institutions for a future special issue of the journal Landscape Research.

    But when response to their call for papers quickly outsized the available space in the journal, Ripmeester and Rofe decided to explore the possibility of a book project.

    To that end, they hosted a virtual authors’ workshop in late July entitled “Global Iconoclasm: Contesting “Official” Mnemonic Landscapes.” Using funding from the Council for Research in the Social Sciences (CRISS) and Brock’s Social Justice Research Institute (SJRI) to support participants, they invited 10 authors to share their contributions and provide constructive feedback on each other’s essays.

    Some of the landscapes discussed during the workshop included monuments to fascism that remain standing in Italy, the contrast between monuments to British history and local usage of the heritage site at Victoria Falls in Africa and the Tsunami Museum in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, which doubles as an emergency shelter for future disasters while memorializing the 2004 tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people.

    “Something that came out in a number of papers is how we need to ensure that we don’t go back to what we did before,” says Ripmeester. “Moreover, the papers explore how we can help people understand structural and systemic racism in ways that both acknowledge the harm done and allow people to move forward with a sense of seeking justice for people who have been marginalized by collective memory.”

    He explains that monuments and other historic sites are places where memory is stored, just as memory is stored in archives, museums and school curricula. Their authoritative weight as well as the intertextuality of the narratives they represent tell a common story about identity — but historically, they are rarely inclusive.

    “Those with time and political, cultural, social and economic power determine what monuments are created, so when you look at a monument or you look at a historic site, you’re looking at a very specific manifestation of power,” he says. “Some groups have been completely left out of contributing to public identity, but we’re starting to see that change. For example, in Vancouver, Jim Deva Plaza was built and named in honour of one of the pioneers of LGBTQ rights in the city.”

    In addition to co-hosting the workshop, Ripmeester also presented a paper co-written with Johnston about the contested memorial to Pte. Alexander Watson at St. Catharines city hall.

    Ripmeester and Rofe were also recently awarded funding to support their research into a virtue-based approach to landscape management and their efforts to, as Ripmeester describes it, “build a network of scholars, artists and practitioners who have interests in thinking about collective memory, reconciliation and healing” — a theme that emerged in many of the workshop’s papers.

    He points to one author from Australia who wrote about a prison site where Indigenous men and boys had died and been buried in unmarked graves far from their home territories, violating their ancestral burial practices of being interred in one’s own country and a familiar landscape.

    “In trying to address this tragedy, the architects charged with designing the commemoration worked with Indigenous spokespersons and the communities of all the deceased to be respectful of not only local culture but also the cultures of the peoples to whom these men belonged,” Ripmeester says. “In the end, they built a site that includes a memorial garden that reflects the country. It’s a beautiful example of how Indigenous people and governments can work together to create a site that can lead to reconciliation through recognition of harm done and also toward overall healing.”

    STORY FROM THE BROCK NEWS

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  • Julia Hamill successfully defends MA Geography thesis

    The Department of Geography and Tourism Studies would like to congratulate Master of Arts in Geography student, Julia Hamill, on the successful defence of her thesis titled “‘Molida’, That’s Shimshali Food: Modernization, Mobility, Food Talk, and the Constitution of Identity in Shimshal, Pakistan” as well as on the successful completion of all requirements for the MA in Geography.

    Congratulations and thanks to Julia’s supervisory committee: Dr. David Butz (Supervisor), Dr. Mike Ripmeester (Committee Member) and Dr. Nancy Cook (Committee Member).

    Many thanks as well to Julia’s External Examiner, Dr. Hasan Karrar (Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan) and Defence Chair, Dr. Rosemary Condillac.

    Wishing you all the best with your future endeavours, Julia!

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  • Michael Ripmeester acknowledged for 25 years of service to Brock

    Slide showing names of individuals who have served 25 years at Brock

    The Department of Geography and tourism Studies would like to congratulate Dr. Michael Ripmeester on being recognized for his 25 years of service to Brock University today at the President’s Holiday Celebration. We are thankful for the countless contributions he has made to our Department, and to Brock as a whole.

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  • Book celebrates work of late Brock cartographer

    Alun Hughes, a longtime member of Brock’s Department of Geography, had an enormous appetite for local history.

    Between 2003 and his untimely death in 2013, the trained cartographer wrote extensively about the geography and history of the Niagara region.

    Hoping to honour his passion, Hughes’ former colleagues have come together to release a book of his essays, History Made in Niagara, and will host a launch for the publication on Wednesday, May 29.

    The book was compiled by Hughes’ former colleagues from the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies, Professors Mike Ripmeester and David Butz and retired cartographer Loris Gasparotto.

    Everyone is welcome to attend the free event, to be held from 7 to 9 p.m. at Brock’s Pond Inlet.

    History Made in Niagara can be purchased at the launch for $35 (cash only).

    More information about the event can be found on ExperienceBU or by calling 905-688-5550 x3484.

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  • First year Geography students participate in Blanket Exercise

    The Department of Geography and Tourism Studies would like to thank Archdeacon and Haudenosaunee Elder, Valerie Kerr, who came in to facilitate a Blanket Exercise Workshop with our students in GEOG 1F90 (Intro to Human Geography class) on March 20, 2019.

    The KAIROS Blanket Exercise program is a unique, participatory history lesson – developed in collaboration with Indigenous Elders, knowledge keepers and educators – that fosters truth, understanding, respect and reconciliation among Indigenous and non-indigenous peoples. Learn more at https://www.kairosblanketexercise.org/.

     

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  • Department welcomes visiting scholar from Huaqiao University, China

    Professors shaking hands

    Dr. Michael Ripmeester welcomes Dr. Leon Lian Dong to Brock.

    The Department of Geography and Tourism Studies is pleased to welcome Dr. Leon Lian Dong to Brock. Dr. Dong will be with our Department as a visiting scholar from February – August 2019.

    Dr. Dong is a professor of Landscape Architecture, and the Director of the Center for Sustainable Landscape Research, School of Architecture, Huaqiao University, China. Dr. Dong obtained his PhD in Building Science, from Chongqing University, China, in 1992, and then did his post-doctoral research at Purdue University, Iowa State University and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA. Dr. Dong has thirty years of teaching and research experience, multi-disciplinary background. He has completed more than 30 research projects and 40 consulting projects, published 6 books, and nearly 100 research papers.

    Dr. Dong’s current research areas include:

    1. Sustainable site planning and landscape design for tourist destinations
    2. Landscape microclimate design
    3. Human-environment interactions

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  • Geography student wins award for best graduate course paper

    The Department of Geography and Tourism Studies would like to congratulate our current MA Geography student, Jennica Giesbrecht, on being chosen as the 2018 Faculty of Social Sciences Best Graduate Course Paper award. Jennica’s paper, which was submitted to Dr. Michael Ripmeester for GEOG 5P40 (Historical Geographies of Culture  and Power), is titled “Reclaiming Death Care and Negotiations of Culture, Power, and Authenticity.”

    Congratulations Jennica!

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