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Spotlight on…Maxwell Street
journal contributionposted on 15.01.2021, 09:50 by Emma-Jane Rawlings Smith
This article puts Tim Cresswell’s most recent book Maxwell Street: Writing and Thinking Place in the spotlight.Tim Cresswell is Ogilvie Professor of Geography at the University of Edinburgh, poet and author of cultural geography titles including Geographical Thought: A critical introduction(2013) and Place: An introduction (2014). These are key texts for undergraduate geographers, and since the inclusion of place as core content in A level geography (DfE, 2014), the latter text is a must-read for teachers keen to develop their understanding of place; the most central geographical concept. Cresswell’s (2019) latest book Maxwell Street: Writing and Thinking Place will appeal to readers interested in urban life, cultural geography and the city of Chicago. It explores place from the real-world context of a colourful market in one of the city’s oldest residential districts. Such a focus on a particular locale is rarely taken in school geography, where subject content is commonly organised by themes, concepts or case studies (Taylor, 2013).Maxwell Street is a book in three parts. It reverses the usual structure of academic texts, which often start rather than end with theory. To begin, Cresswell considers how one writes about place. In part two Cresswell meanders through Maxwell Street, drawing on rich historical sources and the author’s own experience to interweave methods, texts andrepresentations in a montage format. In the final part, Cresswell contemplates how geographers think and write about place in order to provide a theoretical framework for use when exploring other places.