Volume 2, Number 2 (2009)

Deconstructing Vegas

The 2009 Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers took place March 22-27 in the Riviera Hotel and the Convention Center, Las Vegas Nevada. Anticipating criticism about the location, the President of the AAG, John Agnew, said in the AAG Newsletter Volume 44, number 2: “Some people complain that Las Vegas is not a “real” city and that it lacks the high culture we should demand of our convention sites. It is seen as the ultimate “fake” city built on fantasies that recycle the real character of other places as presumably “cheap” (but not inexpensive!) imitations. Why go to the imitation Vegas Venice when you can go to the real thing? To me this betrays a weird snobbery about cities. Must we only meet in cities that pass some authenticity test about symphony orchestras or producing real things? Cleveland, anyone?” And he was right. A lot of attendees hated the place. We invited comments about the meeting and its venue, and short papers about the city, under the title “Deconstructing “Vegas!””. Most of the resulting submissions follow.