(This post was written as part of PreservationNation’s coverage of the National Preservation Conference, October 2-6, 2007.)
From "Root Shock" to root vegetables, the two keynote speeches of the 2007 National Preservation Conference's Closing Plenary differed in their respective topics, but at root (do you get the theme here?), Dr. Mindy Fullilove and Arlin Wasserman shared a key value that is also near and dear to the preservationists sitting in the audience: the critical importance of place.
As we filed in to the Orpheum Theater in downtown Minneapolis on Saturday morning (past many of our familiar colleagues clad in some very unfamiliar attire: straw hats and bandannas. Hmmm, could all of these people have lost a bet, or was it a collective overreaction to Garrison Keillor's admonition that preservationists need to lighten up? More on this mystery in a minute), we were looking forward to an interesting double-bill.
Dr. Fullilove is a social psychologist who focuses on the psychological harm done to individuals when their community is dispersed and their social networks are disrupted. Wasserman, whose work focuses on "terroir"—French for "the taste of place"—is a self-described "foodie" who travels the globe tasting some of the world's greatest food. Wasserman's work forces him to drink Champagne in France, sample arugula in Cuba, and seek out iced cider in Quebec.
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