The city is absent & geography is destiny

Of the various maps of Los Angeles that I’ve referred to in my research, perhaps my favourite is this one, taken from the LA County Sheriff’s Department 1975-6 report.


Source: Fiscal Year 1975-6 Statistical Summary, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, via NCJRS

It shows LASD station boundaries throughout Los Angeles County; it is, in other words, a map marking out territory under the jurisdiction of the Sheriff’s Department – either unincorporated county land, or incorporated cities that have contracted the LASD to provide law enforcement.

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‘…you have to have a place…’

Approaching the end of a summer in which for various reasons I’ve been unable to concentrate on my thesis to the degree I would have liked, I’m excited to be getting back to things tomorrow, and in particular, resuming my research into South (Central) LA.

I thought I’d mark the occasion with a line I encountered during a recent re-reading of Chandler’s The Long Good-bye; it’s an apt epigraph for my thesis, and a good reminder to keep myself grounded in the material, the geographical and the historical, during the moments I’m tempted to fly a little too far into the conceptual.

No matter how smart you think you are, you have to have a place to start from; a name, an address, a neighbourhood, a background, an atmosphere, a point of reference of some sort.