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K-State Today

September 26, 2014



Faculty Lecture Series on 'The Ghost Map' begins Tuesday, Sept. 30

By Karin Westman

The Ghost Map

On Tuesday, Sept. 30, the K-State Book Network launches a four-part faculty lecture series for the 2014 common book, "The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic — and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World."

"Ghostmapping: A Public Lecture Series" draws upon the collective knowledge of the campus community to help everyone understand more about the issues raised in Johnson's book. All events are free and open to the public.

"This lecture series is an opportunity to learn from experts on campus and about the issues and topics introduced in this book from a different lens," said Tara Coleman, chair of the K-State Book Network and associate professor at K-State Libraries.

"Our faculty speakers demonstrate the depth and breadth of expertise right here at K-State," said Karin Westman, Public Relations/Event Committee chair and department head of English. "In its range, the series fulfills one of the recommendations that author Steven Johnson made during his visit to campus earlier this month: to think broadly about our world, and to surround ourselves with diverse ideas and ways of thinking."

The lecture series will include the following presentations:

Charles Sanders, associate professor of history, will present "The Blue Death: How the Cholera Epidemics of the Nineteenth Century Shaped the History of the United States" at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 30, in the McVay Family Town Hall in the Leadership Studies Building.

The waves of cholera that broke across the United States in 1832, 1839 and 1866 were so horrific that no segment of society was left unchanged. One by one previously-held conceptions of race, class, science, religion and government were destroyed when arrayed against this merciless killer, and when the dying finally ended Americans found themselves living in a nation that had been changed forever.

Huston Gibson, assistant professor of landscape architecture and regional & community planning, will present "What's So Important About Cities?" at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28, in the McVay Family Town Hall in the Leadership Studies Building.

What are the connections between the "The Ghost Map" and city planning? This lecture will discuss why cities are important, particularly exploring some of the main opportunities and challenges facing cities today – how and why they developed, how they are organized, and their primary functions.

Katherine Nesse, assistant professor of landscape architecture and regional & community planning, will present "Mapping Manhattan: Using Maps to Reveal Secrets in Our Community" at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 18, in the McVay Family Town Hall in the Leadership Studies Building.

Mapping revealed the likely center of the cholera epidemic in the mid-nineteenth century. Our more sophisticated mapping technology can reveal other hidden truths about our community today. This lecture will present maps about bicycling, food access, business development, and we will discuss what we should do with this information.

The lecture series will conclude with a presentation by Steven Higgs, associate vice president for research and research director for the Biosecurity Research Institute, at 4 p.m. Jan. 28, 2015. The title and location of the talk will be announced later this semester.

Visit the K-State Book Network website for more information about Johnson's book, event programing for the 2014 selection and the K-State Book Network.