The Odor of Orlando

rethinking the city

Winter 1970 – Snow, Post Vomit and the Bugaloos

As I enter Stephenson Elementary, my face is smacked with a mix of cold snowy air and piney peppermint cleaner.  Pencil shavings, eraser dust, Emeraude perfume, Play-Doh, cupcake frosting, milk, and the interior of a corn chip laced Bugaloo’s lunchbox, fortify my nostrils.

This is my earliest smell memory.  A serious student of the senses for about a decade, I know that smell, as well as all the senses, affect our life experiences. But, how does smell coincide with our relationships to cities? While further exploring this question, I found Emily Badger’s wonderful article In Praise of Smelly Places.

In it, Badger references many intriguing notes on the impact of smell including the research being done on the subject by Victoria Henshaw with the Manchester Architecture Research Center. I’d love to participate in one of Henshaw’s  “smell walks,” detailed…

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About J. Chambliss

Julian Chambliss is professor of History and coordinator of the Africa and African-American Studies program at Rollins College in Orlando, Florida. With research, teaching, and service centered real and imaginary urban spaces, he is an interdisciplinary scholar and award-winning teacher. He has designed digital humanities projects to investigate community and document black culture in the United States. Follow him on Twitter @JulianChambliss.
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