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Ken Foote, Ph.D. - University of Connecticut. Storrs, CT, US

Ken Foote, Ph.D.

Professor of Geography | University of Connecticut


Ken Foote has studied sites associated with individual murders, as well as those associated mass murder and many other events.


Ken Foote has written extensively on American landscape history. He is best known for his book Shadowed Ground: America’s Landscapes of Violence and Tragedy that focuses on how violence and tragedy are marked and memorialized. This work continues to influence debate over sites of violence and tragedy in the U.S. and all around the world. Of special interest is how memory and memory practice is spatialized to particular places and spaces.

Ken’s other major works in cultural geography include the co-edited Re-reading Cultural Geography and the co-authored Narrating Space/Spatializing Narrative. He am also very interested in the development of national commemorative traditions in the U.S. and Europe, racialized landscapes, and the commemoration African American, Chinese American, Japanese American and Jewish American heritage sites in the United States, as well as heritage tourism, and historical GIS.

Areas of Expertise (5)


Individual Murders


Violence and Tragedy

Natural Disasters

Education (3)

University of Chicago: Ph.D., Department of Geography

University of Chicago: M.A., Department of Geography

University of Wisconsin-Madison: B.A. with Honors, Department of Geography



Ken Foote, Ph.D. Publication



Shadowed Ground loading image


2011 Presidential Plenary by Ken Foote: Geography in the Changing Worlds of Higher Education


Media Appearances (3)

A West Virginia mountain embodies the long history of the coal industry’s grip

NPR  radio


Memorializing tragedy is complicated. One way we do it is by building museums and filling them with artifacts. But events happen in places, and places are part of the story. “I think maybe one way to think about it is an anchor, that the place itself, the land anchors memory,” said Ken Foote, geographer at the University of Connecticut. Foote started thinking about the role of place in memorializing historic events in the 1980s, on a visit to Salem, Massachusetts. By then, the town was already commercializing the history of the Salem witch trials into a kitschy tourist industry, but there was no real, substantive memorial to that same history. No real reckoning with it.

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Should We Memorialize Violence?

BYU Radio  radio


Why is it that, after a tragedy, we build a memorial at the site? Maybe it starts as a makeshift monument – a pile of flowers, cards, stuffed animals and candles. Sometimes it evolves into something more formal where a community chooses to permanently memorialize a traumatic event like a mass shooting or terrorist attack. In the aftermath of a tragedy, there is always a tension between wanting to remember and wanting to forget. Guest: Kenneth Foote, PhD, Professor of Historical Geography, University of Connecticut, Author of “Shadowed Ground: America’s Landscapes of Violence and Tragedy”

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The Pulse Memorial and How Communities Respond to Tragedy

WMFE  radio


Ken Foote, professor of geography at the University of Connecticut and author of the book “Shadowed Ground,” says there has been a generational change in society’s acknowledgement that victims of crimes like the Pulse nightclub shooting need to be honored. “I think because this was a hate crime, because this was an act of terrorism against the LGBTQ population, this could be a very very important rallying point for stating rights in terms of resolving some of the issues that have been lingering for so long,” Foote says.

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Articles (3)

Beryllium Exposure Control Program at the Cardiff Atomic Weapons Establishment in the United Kingdom

Journal Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene

James S. Johnson , Ken Foote , Michael McClean & Graham Cogbill

2010 The Cardiff Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) plant, located in Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom, used metallic beryllium in their beryllium facility during the years of operation 1961-1997. The beryllium production processes included melting and casting, powder production, pressing, machining, and heat and surface treatments. As part of Cardiff's industrial hygiene program, extensive area measurements and personal lapel measurements of airborne beryllium concentrations were collected for Cardiff workers over the 36-year period of operation. In addition to extensive air monitoring, the beryllium control program also utilized surface contamination controls, building design, engineering controls, worker controls, material controls, and medical surveillance. The electronic database includes 367,757 area sampling records at 101 locations and 217,681 personal lapel sampling records collected from 194 employees over the period 1981-1997.

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From Cheltenham to Honolulu: The purposes and projects of the International Network for Learning and Teaching (INLT) in geography in higher education

Journal of Geography in Higher Education

Iain Hay , Ken Foote & Mick Healey

2010 A variety of challenges and opportunities associated with educational change, technological shifts and resource limitations make appropriate an international network for geography education. Such a network was established formally in Hawai'i during April 1999 under the name International Network for Learning and Teaching (INLT) Geography in Higher Education. INLT has the goal of improving the quality of learning and teaching of geography in higher education internationally. A number of INLT projects are outlined. These include: establishing a communication network; developing a database and clearinghouse; establishing links with other organisations; linking student projects internationally; and establishing a pilot project to explore learning and teaching strategies.

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JGHE Symposium: International Perspectives on Learning and Teaching Geography in Higher Education - Editorial Introduction

Journal of Geography in Higher Education

Mick Healey, Ken Foote, Iain Hay


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