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Dr. Derek Alderman

Specialties: cultural and historical geography
See Also: Personal Website, Curriculum Vitae, Follow Him On: Twitter,, ResearchGate, Linkedln

alderman_pic_webI am a cultural and historical geographer interested in race relations, public memory, popular culture, and heritage tourism in the U.S. South. Much of my work focuses on the rights of African Americans to claim the power to commemorate the past and shape cultural landscapes as part of a broader goal of social and spatial justice.

My work spans many aspects of the southern landscape, including Civil Rights memorials (esp. streets named for Dr. King), slavery and plantation heritage tourism sites, NASCAR, Graceland and Memphis, Mayberry and film tourism, and even the cultural geography of kudzu.

In August of 2012, I proudly joined the faculty at Univ. of Tennessee-Knoxville after serving at East Carolina University since 2000. I also held a tenure-track position at Georgia College (1998-2000), a visiting position at Georgia Southern University (1995-1996), and temporary faculty/graduate teaching positions at the University of Georgia (1990-1998).

Contact Information

Dr. Derek Alderman
Ph.D., University of Georgia
408 Burchfiel Geography Bldg.
Knoxville, TN 37996-0925
Phone: (865) 974-0406

I am a devoted scholar-teacher who enjoys working and publishing with students, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. I am also committed to conducting critical public scholarship that engages, informs, and helps the news media, government officials, community activists and organizations, and the broader citizenry.

I founded and co-coordinate the RESET (Race, Ethnicity, and Social Equity in Tourism) Initiative, and currently work with a team of five universities on a large NSF-funded project on race, slavery and plantation tourism.  More recently, Dr. Josh Inwood (Penn State) and I have received a NSF grant to examine the role of geospatial intelligence (the strategic use of counter-mapping, social and spatial data collection, and social network analysis) in the anti-racist, political mobilization activities of SNCC, a major civil rights organization of the 1960s. I currently serve as Past President of the American Association of Geographers, being only the second University of Tennessee faculty member to hold this position. I am a former co-editor of the peer-reviewed journal Southeastern Geographer.

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