West, Isaac 2013 Transforming Citizenships: Transgender Articulations of the Law – A Review Forum

West_Transforming Citizenships_coverThis review forum stems from an author-meets-critics session on Isaac West’s Transforming Citizenships: Transgender Articulations of the Law, organized by David K. Seitz at the 2015 Chicago AAG Meeting. Here are reviews by Derek Ruez, Petra L. Doan, and Amy A. Dobrowolsky, as well as a response from Isaac West.

The Frontiers of Cormac McCarthy – Adam David Morton

This commentary supplements the article entitled The warp of the world: Geographies of space and time in the Border Trilogy by Cormac McCarthy by Adam David Morton that appears in Environment and Planning D: Society & Space, volume 33, issue 5. The article is free to access until December 17, 2015.


Cormac McCarthy has been proclaimed as one of the greatest contemporary writers to herald from the United States and, also, as a writer that can be set historically alongside both John Williams (Butcher’s Crossing) and Oakley Hall (Warlock), in producing a pantheon of masterpieces addressing the borders, landscapes, and geographies of the American west. Such status could be conferred as much by Blood Meridian, marked by its twenty-fifth anniversary this year, as the novels that constitute The Border Trilogy including All the Pretty Horses, The Crossing, and Cities of the Plain.

But for those interested in the political economy of space, literature has often received only passing commentary, as I have written elsewhere. Questions of literature and spatiality arise in David Harvey’s historical-geographical materialism but there are just a few references to the novel form within his spatial matrix. Yet the intersection of literature and daily life was held as highly significant for Henri Lefebvre in reflecting on the political economy of space. Persuasively, Lefebvre contends that it is through literature, among other forms, that the idea of everyday life and repetition in daily life enters our reflections. Conceptions of space and how the social relations of production shape society therefore maintain a spatial existence in and beyond literature. Moreover, it is Lefebvre that draws our attention to the unity of society and space and how the production of space is inclusive of the meaning, concepts and consciousness of space, which cannot be separated from the social relations of production of geographical space. Space is thusly regarded as co-implicated with time so that the frontiers of territory and geography maintain embeddedness in conditions of history and time. The result is a deeply spatio-temporal awareness of everyday life.

Continue reading here.

Animal performativity: exploring the lives of donkeys in Botswana – Martha Geiger and Alice J. Hovorka

This brief commentary and video supplements the article entitled Animal performativity: Exploring the lives of donkeys in Botswana by Martha Geiger and Alice J. Hovorka that appears in Environment and Planning D: Society & Space, volume 33, issue 6. The article is free to access until December 17, 2015.


Our manuscript on donkeys in Botswana was inspired by the pivotal role of working equids across the global south. Where motorized transport is unavailable or out of reach, communities depend on domesticated animals for livelihood tasks. Research within the fields of animal welfare, veterinary science, international development and human health show the improvement of human health and livelihoods through the use and ownership of especially working donkeys in marginalized communities. At the household level, donkeys are used to transport materials for sale, transport children to school, plough agricultural fields, and fetch water for cooking and livestock. At the community level, donkey transport facilitates access to resources such as hospitals, schools, government institutions and markets; all of which increase human capacity for improved health and wellbeing. Thus, if donkeys are healthy and provided care they are able to act as a vehicle for improving the human condition.

Our manuscript explores the human-donkey relationship in Botswana where smallholder farmers own donkeys as a means of subsistence and income generation. To examine this relationship we apply a feminist posthumanist iteration of performativity to capture who the donkey is, what they experience and how these performances are shaped within the context of Botswana.

Continue reading here

Society and Space Volume 33 Issue 6 now online

The December issue of Environment and Planning D: Society and Space is already up online. With this last issue in the 2015 volume, now is a good time to say THANK YOU to all of the reviewers and authors who help our editorial team realize our aim to publish empirically informed work that pushes the boundaries of theoretical debate and keeps the political and social justice imperatives of research and theory firmly in view.

Here are the contents of volume 33, issue 6, which can be accessed by subscription:

Spatial big data and anxieties of control Agnieszka Leszczynski 965-984
The affect of Jugaad: Frugal innovation and postcolonial practice in India’s mobile phone ecology Amit S Rai 985-1002
Between the metropole and the postcolony: On the dynamics of rights’ machinery from the northwestern tribal belt to the “mainland” Pakistan Muhammad Ali Nasir 1003-1021
Capitalist pigs: Governmentality, subjectivities, and the regulation of pig farming in colonial Hong Kong, 1950-1970 Kin Wing Chang and Byron Miller 1022-1042
Imagining society: Logics of visualization in images of immigrant integration Sanne Boersma and Willem Schinkel 1043-1062
Terminal experimentation: The transformation of experiences, events and escapes at global airports Anthony Elliott and David Radford 1063-1079
Markets, bodies, and rhythms: A rhythmanalysis of financial markets from open-outcry trading to high-frequency trading Christian BorchKristian Bondo Hansenand Ann-Christina Lange 1080-1097
Animal performativity: Exploring the lives of donkeys in Botswana Martha Geiger and Alice J Hovorka 1098-1117
Opposing the opposition? Binarity and complexity in political resistance Leonie Ansems de Vries and Doerthe Rosenow 1118-1134
Anxiety and phantasy in the field: The position of the unconscious in ethnographic research Jesse Proudfoot 1135-1152

Review forum of Jenna Loyd’s 2014 Health Rights Are Civil Rights

Society and Space Board member Shiloh Krupar organized this book review forum of Jenna Loyd’s 2014 book, Health Rights Are Civil Rights: Peace and Justice Activism in Los Angeles, 1963-1978 (University of Minnesota Press), with reviews by Javier Arbona, Paul Jackson, Becky Mansfield, and Katherine McKittrick, with an introduction Shiloh Krupar and a response from Jenna Loyd.

Bacchetta, El-Tayeb and Haritaworn – Queer of colour formations and translocal spaces in Europe

This is a shorter version of a commentary by Paola Bacchetta, Fatima El-Tayeb and Jin Haritaworn that appears in Environment and Planning D: Society & Space, volume 33, issue 5. The full version is accessible here, with subscription.

Our intervention engages with Queer People of Colour (QpoC) positionalities as a valuable lens through which to rethink the racial and colonial imaginaries of subjects and space in Europe. We bring together race, gender, class, colonialism and sexuality, inseparably, in a shared analytic. We address multiple erasures: of genders, sexualities and race from discussions of space; of QPoC in Europe from discussions of European subjects, race and space; and from US-centric QPoC studies. Europeans are generally presumed to be homogeneously white, while racialized subjects are generally presumed to be uniformly straight and cis. Rarely is space understood as a formation that is co-constituted through sexualities with other relations of power. Our intervention radically rethinks urban environments in their relation to race, subjects and agencies. It also puts QPoC in Europe on the map.

We recognize that the categories ‘queer’ and ‘of colour’ are contingent, contested and unfinished. They can reinforce US-centricity and erase differences among gender and sexually non-conforming collectivities anywhere. When the term ‘people of colour’ travels to Europe it sometimes keeps Europe white and the US hegemonic, and dismisses local antiracist and anti-imperialist struggles as inauthentic and derivative. Similarly, ‘queer’ often circulates in ways that universalize white colonial genders and sexualities, while erasing all others. Yet “queer” entered the academy and transnational flows as an alternative to homonormative identifyers largely via working-class dykes of colour in the U.S. (Anzaldúa 2007; Bacchetta, Falquet and Alarcon 2012; Bacchetta 2002). The assimilation of ‘queer’ (and often ‘queer of colour’) into white-dominated academic formations in Europe often leaves representations of racialized people as deficient, inferior and disentitled to life chances due to their failed genders and heterosexualities, in place (El-Tayeb 2003, Haritaworn 2005).

For this project, despite these indisputable problems, we mobilize both “queer” and “people of colour” to describe radical interventions of QPoC in a Europe from which they remain violently excluded. While identities and allegiances are multilayered and shifting, today the notion of “queer people of colour” allows European QPoC activists, and allows us as scholars coming out of this context, to trace connections that are more complex than dominant US- and Eurocentric narratives imply.

Continue reading here

Review Forum on Bobby Benedicto’s Under Bright Lights: Gay Manila and the Global Scene

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 4.07.15 PMStemming from an author-meets-critics session on Bobby Benedicto’s Under Bright Lights: Gay Manila and the Global Scene at the 2015 Chicago AAG meeting, here are reviews by Geraldine PrattDerek Ruez, and David Seitz, as well as a response from Bobby Benedicto.


Aylan Kurdi: Coming to Terms With an Image

The images of the body of Aylan Kurdi, who drowned off the coast of Turkey, have shaped global perceptions of refugees and refugee policy in Europe. This is a recording of a symposium which sought to encourage more sustained reflection on the nature and meaning of these images and the ethics and the politics of their use. How do we balance the emotions that the images evoke with our drive for sober and critical analysis? Can we establish a position on the subject that in some way does justice to the boy’s life, his family members and all those affected by the consistent failure to provide a humanitarian solution for refugees in Europe? The discussion, held at the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies at the University of Amsterdam aimed to provide staff and students with – not a definitive analysis – but some ways of charting their path through the questions at hand.

Speakers: Sébastien Chauvin, Polly Pallister-Wilkins, Darshan Vigneswaran, Hernan del Valle (MSF, Amsterdam, and Saskia Bonjour – not present, but with a textual contribution below: Amade M’charek (Anthropology, UvA)

Invoking the child as totemic image – Pallister Wilkins

Aylan Kurdi Symposium – Amade M’Charek

A Migration Scholar’s Responsibility – Saskia Bonjour

The politics of human shielding: a supplemental essay by Neve Gordon and Nicola Perugini

The following essay is a supplement to The Politics of human shielding: On the resignification of space and the constitution of civilians as shields in liberal wars, by Neve Gordon and Nicola Perugini.  The article now appears Online First at the journal’s Sage homepage and will appear in a future issue of the journal. It is free to access for a limited time.

An Israel Defense Forces infographic.

An Israel Defense Forces infographic.

Urban areas, as Stephen Graham once put it, “have become the lightning conductors for our planet’s political violence’, while ‘warfare strongly shapes quotidian urban life”. [1] As cities are increasingly becoming primary theatres of warfare, they are not simply the site in which contemporary conflicts take place, but are also, as Eyal Weizman cogently observes, a medium of violence.[2] Accordingly, it is not only true that within urban warfare civilians inevitably occupy the front lines of the fighting and that noncombatants and combatants as well as civilian and military edifices overlap, but also that civilians are progressively becoming a technology of warfare. This is clearly seen through the mounting news reports about human shields coming from Lugansk in East Ukraine, Mosul and Ramadi in Iraq, Kobane in Syria, Gombe in Nigeria to Gaza City, cities where civilians are increasingly being used as an instrument of protection, coercion or deterrence.

International humanitarian law (IHL) prohibits the use of civilians “to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield, favor or impede military operations”. Accordingly, parties to a conflict are not allowed to “direct the movement of the civilian population or individual civilians in order to attempt to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield military operations”.[3] By couching human shielding in this way, IHL effectively does two things: on the one hand, it prohibits the transformation of civilians into human shields, while, on the other, it allows military forces to attack targets that are protected by human shields (provided they abide by the principle of proportionality), thus combining the prohibition of using human shields with the legality of killing them.

Continue here.

Volume 33 Issue 5 now out – currently free to access

This issue is free to access for a limited time as part of a free trial period with SAGE, the new publisher of Environment and Planning D: Society and Space [November 1, 2015 update – the free to access trial period is now over].

It begins with a provocative commentary on European queer of colour politics (Bacchetta, El-Tayeb, and Haritaworn), then moves into articles that offer critical analyses on the following topics: race and gender violence in Vancouver, Canada (Collard); the politics of nuclear remediation in the United States (Cram); informal labour in a Soweto garbage dump (Samson); spatial history in literary representations of border landscapes (Morton); the biopolitics of planning in Halifax, Canada (Rutland); the mapping of Bangkok’s Rattanakosin historic district (Rugkhapan); satellites as the extraterrestrial footprints of global capitalism (Damjanov); geoengineering and Transition Towns (Martindale); indigeneity and participatory cartographies in Perija, Venezuela (Sletto); and, prison transfers in Britain as spatio-temporal regimes (Follis).

Queer of colour formations and translocal spaces in Europe Paola Bacchetta, Fatima El-Tayeb, and Jin Haritaworn 769-778

Into the archive: Vancouver’s Missing Women Commission of Inquiry Juliane Collard 779-795
Becoming Jane: The making and unmaking of Hanford’s nuclear body Shannon Cram 796-812
Accumulation by dispossession and the informal economy – Struggles over knowledge, being and waste at a Soweto garbage dump Melanie Samson 813-830
The warp of the world: Geographies of space and time in the Border Trilogy by Cormac McCarthy Adam David Morton 831-849
Enjoyable life: Planning, amenity and the contested terrain of urban biopolitics Ted Rutland 850-868
Mapping the historic city: Mapmaking, preservation zoning, and violence Napong Tao Rugkhapan 869-888
The matter of media in outer space: Technologies of cosmobiopolitics Katarina Damjanov 889-906
Understanding humans in the Anthropocene: Finding answers in geoengineering and Transition Towns Leigh Martindale 907-924
Inclusions, erasures and emergences in an indigenous landscape: Participatory cartographies and the makings of affective place in the Sierra de Perija, Venezuela Bjørn Sletto 924-944
Power in motion: Tracking time, space, and movement in the British Penal Estate Luca Follis 945-962


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