Derek H. Alderman is Professor of Geography and Betty Lynn Hendrickson Professor of Social Science at the University of Tennessee. He is a past President of the American Association of Geographers (2017-18). Dr. Alderman’s specialties include race, public memory, symbolic landscapes, heritage tourism, and critical place name study—all within the context of the African-American struggle for social and spatial justice. He is the author of over 150 articles, book chapters, and other essays along with the award-winning book (with Owen Dwyer), Civil Rights Memorials and the Geography of Memory. He is co-editor (with Reuben Rose-Redwood and Maoz Azaryahu) entitled The Political Life of Urban Streetscapes: Naming, Politics, and Place (Routledge).
Dr. Alderman is perhaps best known for examining the politics of naming USA streets after Martin Luther King, Jr., and he frequently uses this scholarship to engage and inform the news media, government officials, community activists and organizations, and the broader public. He has been interviewed or quoted over 180 times in print, radio and television media outlets, including CNN, MSNBC, New York Times, CityLab, Washington Post, USA Today, The Guardian, and BBC Radio News. He is the 2017 recipient of a Distinguished Career Award from the Ethnic Geography Specialty Group of the AAG.
Dr. Alderman's recent work includes a NSF-funded project that examines the contested place of discussions of slavery at plantation museums in the southeastern United States, with an emphasis on reforming the way these institutions represent racism, memory, and African American identity. He is also involved a NSF-funded project that examines the role of counter-mapping, geospatial intelligence, and opposition research within SNCC, the important 1960s civil rights organization.