Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Reasons for Our Light Rail Project

Somehow, traveling along the light rail prompts long moments of daydreaming and introspection. During that time, we often return to a particular question: we research literature, so what led us to this project about the light rail?

It’s a question that we have varying or extended responses.

Sometimes, we consider that our interest in select writers led us here. Ralph Ellison, Margaret Atwood, Colson Whitehead, and even Jane Jacobs all focused on cityscapes. They helped nurture our interest in paying close attention to the cultural dynamics of a particular locale.

Sometimes, we feel that it was our students who brought us here. We educate experienced students from Chicago and Carbondale, newly graduated students from East St. Louis, and returning students from Belleville and Collinsville. Their background got us thinking on the various ways in which diverse students travel.

Other times, we believe it was the absence of certain kinds of cross-regional travel writings about the Metro East that inspired us to take up this project. What better and unique way to chart the region than by way of the light rail?

And still at other times, it was our recent interest in politics that inspired this project. The use of public transportation in this area reminds us about the obstacles and portals to progress.

Of course some of our reasons have been re-shaped by our experiences riding and thinking more about the light rail. So as we continue traveling on the routes, we'll keep updating and sharing our growing list.

No comments: