December 7, 2022

COMMENTARY: Youngkin proves the political virtues of vanilla (The Free Lance-Star)

Hanna’s Plantation Museum Research Featured in Northern Virginia Magazine

Professor of Geography Stephen Hanna

Professor of Geography Stephen Hanna

Professor of Geography Steve Hanna’s work to encourage Virginia presidential plantation museums to recognize and share the stories of enslaved people was featured in an article in Northern Virginia Magazine.

Do plantation museums do justice to the memory of the enslaved? Local professor Stephen Hanna wanted to find out, so in 2014 he joined a team of researchers associated with TourismRESET, a world-wide network of scholars who study and challenge social inequity in tourism.

Hanna, who teaches geography at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, received a grant from the National Science Foundation, enabling him to lead undergraduate students through multi-year research on how narratives and exhibits about enslaved populations and slavery were presented or absent at 15 different plantation sites. The goal was to present their findings to museum managers and thus facilitate more historically accurate and meaningful tours. His team is in the final stages of publishing a book summarizing their data and findings, to be released in March 2022. Read more.

New Report Finds VA’s Presidential Plantations Need To Do More To Address Slavery (Northern Virginia Magazine)

Article co-authored by ETSU’s Dr. Candace Forbes Bright wins first Zumkehr Prize (Johnson City Press)

Hanna’s Journal Article Wins ‘Public Memory’ Award

UMW Professor of Geography Steve Hanna, seen here during a 2018 interview for ‘With Good Reason’ radio, was the lead author on a journal article that won the prestigious Zumkehr Prize for Scholarship in Public Memory. Hanna’s research involves ‘narrative mapping’ applied at Southern plantation museums to determine how the South tells its story about slavery. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

UMW Professor of Geography Steve Hanna, seen here during a 2018 interview for ‘With Good Reason’ radio, was the lead author on a journal article that won the prestigious Zumkehr Prize for Scholarship in Public Memory. Hanna’s research involves ‘narrative mapping’ applied at Southern plantation museums to determine how the South tells its story about slavery. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

As visitors to Southern plantation homes know, the information they receive depends on docents and the questions they’re asked, and by where on the site the group is congregated. In the parlor, for instance, tour-takers might hear about the residents’ family history and the placement of furniture. Outside, they will likely learn more about crops and, perhaps, the lives of enslaved people who labored in the fields.

The process of capturing and interpreting these variations is called “narrative mapping,” said UMW Geography Professor Stephen Hanna, whose research with colleagues at other universities aims to determine – and eventually change – how the South tells its story of slavery.

Hanna and his co-researchers applied the process to 170 tours at 15 different plantation museums. The results from two of those antebellum sites, Louisiana’s Laura Plantation and Virginia’s Berkeley Plantation, formed an article, published in the Journal of Heritage Tourism that won the prestigious Zumkehr Prize for Scholarship in Public Memory.

The honor would not have been possible, Hanna said, without years’ worth of help from Mary Washington students.

“They contributed their ideas, hard work and energy to the project” from 2014 to 2017, said Hanna, who served as the article’s lead author and who, as the team’s only cartographer, designed the method for graphically presenting the results. “My work with the students has become my favorite memories of my time at UMW.” Read more.

Stephen J. Farnsworth and Stephen Hanna column: How Spanberger won a district drawn by and for Republicans (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Gerrymandering and Population Changes in Virginia (Virginia Capitol Connections, Spring 2018)

What do Fredericksburg’s monuments and markers tell – or not tell – about the history of slavery in the city? (The Free Lance-Star)

Farnsworth, Hanna Columns on Virginia’s Changing Dynamics

Op-ed columns by Stephen J. Farnsworth, professor of political science, and Stephen P. Hanna, professor of geography, appeared recently in  The Washington Post and The Richmond Times-Dispatch respectively. The columns, “This one map shows the Republicans’ problem in Virginia” and “Virginia’s Changing Dynamics,” provided a post-mortem of the Virginia elections.

Fredericksburg slave auction block has history of controversy (Richmond Times-Dispatch)