Lauren Berlant Society and Space lecture at the AAG

A reminder that Professor Lauren Berlant will give the Society and Space lecture at the AAG meeting in Chicago. It’s on Friday, April 24th from 3:20 PM – 5:00 PM in Grand E/F, Hyatt, East Tower, Gold Level.

The talk title and abstract have been updated, as follows:

Affects of the Commons

“The commons” is currently a prestige concept for redescribing and rebooting democracy. In political theory after Kant it points to an unbounded, universally sensed space for the political. There’s a romantic story about the commons too, a pastoral story of nature and human creativity. Both of these are unconflicted spaces. At the same time, the concept points to an anti-pastoral process, involving rage at exploitation, theft, loss, mourning, the prospects of resistance to the state and capital, and the need to protect people from each other’s possessiveness. This register constructs the encounter with the commons as an ambivalent one, in which relations of property and intimacy encounter each other frictionally. This segment of a longer work focuses on Ralph Waldo Emerson, Juliana Spahr, and Liza Johnson, and engages the propertied and affective resonances of the commons concept. But rather than cast it as an aspirational achievement, it values the commons specifically for its negative pedagogy, its pedagogy of unlearning normative infrastructures as such.

Volume 33, Issue 2 now out

Here is the table of contents of the current issue of Environment and Planning D: Society and Space.

Living absence: the strange geographies of missing people 191 – 208 Hester Parr, Olivia Stevenson, Nick Fyfe, Penny Woolnough
The state of exception and the imperial way of life in the United States–Mexico borderlands 209 – 228 Juanita Sundberg
Cross-border marriage, transgovernmental friction, and waiting 229 – 246 Juan Zhang, Melody Chia-Wen Lu, Brenda S A Yeoh
Wet ontologies, fluid spaces: giving depth to volume through oceanic thinking 247 – 264 Philip Steinberg, Kimberley Peters
Environmental research from here and there: numerical modelling labs as heterotopias 265 – 280 Sarah Laborde
Neoliberal Niagara? Examining the political history of fish consumption advisories in New York State 281 – 295 Jordan Fox Besek
Of lobsters, laboratories, and war: animal studies and the temporality of more-than-human encounters 296 – 313 Elizabeth R Johnson
Encountering Occupy London: boundary making and the territoriality of urban activism 314 – 330 Sam Halvorsen
Towards a global genealogy of biopolitics: race, colonialism, and biometrics beyond Europe 331 – 346 Hidefumi Nishiyama
Anarchism, geohistory, and the Annales: rethinking Elisée Reclus’s influence on Lucien Febvre 347 – 365 Federico Ferretti
Violent geographical abstractions 366 – 381 Alex Loftus

Review essay: Empire on trial: the forensic appearance of truth 382 – 388 Gastón Gordillo

Brief synopses of the papers by Parr et al, Sundberg, Zhang et al, Steinberg and Peters, Fox Besek, Johnson, and Halvorsen are available here.

Regarding the remaining papers: Laborde draws on ethnographic work with fishermen and computer modellers to examine the production of local and remote knowledge about the flows of Italy’s Lake Como; Nishiyama interrogates Foucault’s articulation of racism as a biopolitical strategy through an examination of the production of racial knowledge during Japanese colonialism; Ferretti contributes to understanding of the discipline of geography’s history as well as to current debates on anarchist geographies with his paper on the influence of the work of geographer and anarchist Elisée Reclus on Lucien Febvre, founder of the French Annales School; and, Loftus follow’s Marx’s Grundrisse to trace the emergence of geographical abstractions as a central feature of modern capitalist society.

Rounding out the issue is Gordillo’s review essay on Forensis: The Architecture of Public Truth, a compilation that includes work by architects, artists, filmmakers, lawyers, and theorists on contemporary forensic practices and aims to “produce new kinds of evidence for use by international prosecutorial teams, political organizations, NGOs, and the UN.”

Rogers on Pedwell

9781137275257Amanda Rogers reviews Carolyn Pedwell’s book Affective Relations: The Transnational Politics of Empathy (Palgrave Macmillan 2014).

Pedwell’s rich study examines the diverse ways in which empathy is mobilised – from political speeches that uphold neoliberalism, to postcolonial literatures that refuse certain forms of empathic connection. Empathy is an affective relation often conceptualized in liberal and neoliberal thought as the imaginative and felt ability to “put oneself in the other’s shoes”. In challenging the appropriative dynamics of this mode of perspective taking, alongside its assumptions of universality, Affective Relations underscores the multiple configurations of empathy across different contexts. Continue reading Amanda’s review here.

Call for Applications for Society and Space Editors and Review Editors

We will soon announce editorial changes afoot at Society and Space.  We will add members to our editorial collective who share our commitment to the interdisciplinary mission of the journal and the vibrant Open Site.  If you are interested in joining the collective in the role of Editor or Review Editor, please see the below call, and please forward this widely.

Editor

Society and Space Editors work collectively in all aspects of journal and Open Site work.  We all read the 250+ annual submissions to the journal, collaborating on the decision to send a manuscript for review or to redirect the paper to another outlet.  We determine appropriate reviewers for manuscripts entering into the peer review process (see also last year’s Open Site entry on “The problems of peer review”).  While each paper has a coordinating Editor, we all weigh in on results of peer review before we write and send decision letters to authors.  We also work together to adjudicate Special Issues proposals; to write journal commentaries; and to determine Open Site content.

The Editors maintain a firm commitment to the timely review of manuscripts.  This means that we must maintain regular and responsive email correspondence with authors, the Editorial Manager (Kiersty Hong), the publisher’s representatives, and the other members of the editorial collective. Editors must also provide frequent, almost daily, input on new manuscripts and decisions through Manuscript Central, and we seek to communicate decisions to manuscript authors in a timely manner.

Editors also contribute steady content to the Open Site, including efforts to enrich the range of material and voices on its pages.  Editors work to encourage journal authors to provide supplemental content in tandem with article publication; to communicate journal news, including highlights of Board Members’ work; to conduct and coordinate interviews with authors, theorists, and scholars of interest to our readers; to support the work of the Review Editors; to edit unsolicited submissions; and to compile other materials like virtual theme issues.  Editors learn how to format entries on WordPress, the host of the Open Site.

To be considered for Editor, please submit a two page letter of interest and CV to Natalie Oswin (natalie.oswin@mcgill.ca) and Mary Thomas (thomas.1672@osu.edu).  This letter should address the following:

  • Your overall scholarly background, including areas of interest and expertise.
  • Your relationship to the journal if any, including publications, work as a reviewer, contributions to the Open Site, etc.
  • Your experience with editing and reviewing academic writing.
  • A brief vision statement outlining your potential contributions to the journal and Open Site.

Informal inquiries about the position can also be directed to Natalie and Mary.

We will hold Skype interviews with finalists during the weeks of May 11 or 18, so please submit your letters to us by May 7, 2015.  We would like for the Editor to begin work immediately if possible, although this is negotiable. There is an honorarium for the position provided by the publisher, Pion, Ltd.

Review Editor

We will also be appointing Review Editors to the editorial team.  Review Editors solicit and post content on the Open Site, primarily reviews of books, installations, and films.  Review Editors also solicit and post book review forums, commentaries, author interviews, and news of interest to journal readers.

We seek Review Editors who are willing and able to keep a steady flow of content over time.  The work of the Review Editors requires them to stay current on new publications across a wide range of presses and book series; to maintain regular and responsive email correspondence with the Editors and with contributors; to be willing to learn and master the WordPress format; to edit contributions, including attending to writing, formatting, grammatical, and stylistic concerns; to have an interdisciplinary commitment reflective of the range of interests published in the journal; and to work collaboratively, drawing on the Editorial Team and academic networks more generally to ensure vibrant interdisciplinarity in Open Site content.

To be considered for Review Editor, please submit a two page letter of interest and CV to Natalie Oswin (natalie.oswin@mcgill.ca) and Mary Thomas (thomas.1672@osu.edu).  This letter should address the following:

  • Your overall scholarly background, including areas of interest and expertise.
  • Your relationship to the journal if any, including publications, work as a reviewer, your contributions to the Open Site, etc.
  • Your experience with editing and reviewing academic writing.
  • A brief vision statement outlining your potential contributions to the Open Site.

Informal inquiries about the position can also be directed to Natalie and Mary.

We will hold Skype interviews with finalists during the weeks of May 11 or 18, so please submit your letters to us by May 7, 2015.  We would like for the Review Editors to begin work immediately if possible, although this is negotiable.  There is an honorarium for the position provided by the publisher, Pion, Ltd.

Open access highlight papers updated

The ‘highlights’ section of the Environment and Planning D: Society and Space website has been updated. The following recent papers are now available open access:

On the peripheries of planetary urbanization: globalizing Manaus and its expanding impact 32(6) 1071 – 1087 Juan Miguel Kanai

Botanical decolonization: rethinking native plants 32(2) 363 – 380 Tomaz Mastnak, Julia Elyachar, Tom Boellstorff

The right to infrastructure: a prototype for open source urbanism 32(2) 342 – 362 Alberto Corsín Jiménez

Agency, affect, and the immunological politics of disaster resilience 32(2) 240 – 256 Kevin Grove

Dissolving city, planetary metamorphosis 32(2) 203 – 205 Henri Lefebvre [translated by Laurent Corroyer, Marianne Potvin, Neil Brenner]

What is a destituent power? 32(1) 65 – 74 Giorgio Agamben G [translated by Stephanie Wakefield]

A new urban dispositif? Governing life in an age of climate change 32(1) 49 – 64 Bruce P Braun

Feminicidio, narcoviolence, and gentrification in Ciudad Juárez: the feminist fight 31(5) 830 – 845 Melissa W Wright

Tracking and tracing: geographies of logistical governance and labouring bodies 31(4) 594 – 610 Annja Kanngieser

Disciplining de facto development: water theft and hydrosocial order in Tijuana 31(2) 319 – 336 Katharine Meehan

Insensible worlds: postrelational ethics, indeterminacy and the (k)nots of relating 31(2) 208 – 226 Kathryn Yusoff

Dissimulated landscapes: postcolonial method and the politics of space in southern Sri Lanka 31(1) 61 – 79 Tariq Jazeel

Mapping children’s politics: the promise of articulation and the limits of nonrepresentational theory 30(5) 788 – 804 Katharyne Mitchell, Sarah Elwood

Queer ecology: nature, sexuality, and heterotopic alliances 30(4) 727 – 747 Matthew Gandy

Everyday state formation: territory, decentralization, and the narco landgrab in Colombia 30(4) 603 – 622 Teo Ballvé

Between us in the city: materiality, subjectivity, and community in the era of global urbanization 30(3) 468 – 481 Martin Coward

From toxic wreck to crunchy chic: A photo essay – Leslie Kern

The following photo essay is a supplement to Leslie Kern’s article, “From toxic wreck to crunchy chic: environmental gentrification through the body”, that appears in issue 1 of the 2015 volume of Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. As in the paper, here she draws on her research on Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood to consider how a polluted past can be mobilized as an asset for neighbourhood rebranding and gentrification. The paper will be open access until April 27, 2015. 

Gentrification is a global phenomenon that transforms cities, neighbourhoods, and everyday lives. Cities like Toronto, Canada have seen a variety of neighbourhoods – working class, commercial, ethnic – remade by an influx of wealthier residents and new retail enterprises. But what if your neighbourhood is better known for abattoirs, toxic chemicals, and diesel trains than Victorian housing stock, ethnic restaurants, or historical significance? For over ten years, (2000-2010) I lived in a formerly industrial Toronto area that was considered by some to be “too shitty to even wreck.”

“What do you care what other people think?” Until recently, the Junction didn’t seem to.

“What do you care what other people think?” Until recently, the Junction didn’t seem to.

Gentrification seemed a distant threat, even as neighbourhood after nearby neighbourhood sprouted Starbucks, sushi bars, and salons. But the Junction maintained its infamy as a zone with both high poverty and high pollution rates. Named for the railroad that cuts through it, the Junction had hosted Toronto’s stockyards as well as numerous manufacturing and processing plants, until deindustrialization and relocation cemented a long period of decline. It has also long been home to a concentration of social services and spaces that serve low-income people, including a women’s shelter and rooming houses. With a reputation as a polluted and derelict zone with a socially-marginal population, the Junction was largely ignored by real estate agents, property developers, and new commercial enterprises.

Continue reading here.

 

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In the Meantime reviewed

s-l500Ella Harris reviews Sarah Sharma’s In the Meantime: Temporality and Cultural Politics. The book came out last year with Duke University Press and further information about it can be found here.

Forthcoming papers

Issue 2 of the 2015 volume of Environment and Planning D: Society and Space will go to press soon. In the meantime, many of the papers slated for that issue are up online:

In Encountering Occupy London: boundary making and the territoriality of urban activism, Sam Halvorsen situates an examination of Occupy London within literatures on boundary-making, and argues that Occupy’s practices of encountering provide ways to rethink the production of territoriality.

Practices of encountering are also examined in Elizabeth Johnson’s Of lobsters, laboratories, and war: animal studies and the temporality of more-than-human encounters. Through a reflection on field notes from an ethnographic encounter with lobster experimentation, she argues for the need to examine wider temporal and spatial relations, and particularly political economies, as important elements in any encounter.

Living absence: the strange geographies of missing people, by Hester Parr, Olivia Stevenson, Nick Fyfe and Penny Woolnough, seeks to understand urban geographies of absence through an analyses of the restaged testimonies of ‘missing people’.

Juanita Sundberg’s The state of exception and the imperial way of life in the United States-Mexico borderlands situates recent events in the US–Mexico borderlands in relation to modalities of power used in the expansion of US imperial hegemony, in order to support ongoing efforts to forge coalitions better able to contest legal suspension as a predominant technique of government.

In Cross-border marriage, transgovernmental friction, and waiting, Juan Zhang, Melody Chia-Wen Lu and Brenda S A Yeoh likewise consider governmental rationalities around border-crossing, here in relation to the experiences of Chinese marriage migrants in Singapore. [Note: for more papers on the governance of migration flows, see the virtual theme issue on International Immigration on this site]

In Wet ontologies, fluid spaces: giving depth to volume through oceanic thinking, Philip Steinberg and Kimberley Peters expand on work on volume that seeks to destabilise static, bordered, and linear framings of place, territory, and time, arguing that a ‘wet ontology’ can reinvigorate, redirect, and reshape debates that are restricted by terrestrial limits.

Finally, Jordan Fox Besek’s Neoliberal Niagara? Examining the political history of fish consumption advisories in New York State examines the ways that conservationist and neoliberal logics converge in environmental policies geared towards support for recreational anglers rather than those who fish for subsistence.

 

Also up early online are two papers that will appear in theme issue titled ‘War, law and space’ (guest edited by Craig Jones and Michael Smith) that will be published later this year:

Zoltán Glück’s Piracy and the production of security space utilizes Foucault’s analysis of security and Marx’s analysis of capital circulation to offer an analysis of the new institutional patchwork of ‘counterpiracy’. And, in Securitizing instability: the US military and full spectrum operations, John Morrissey examines the recent broadening of the US military’s overseas mission into what it calls ‘full spectrum operations’ and critiques how it is being enabled by what he terms ‘full spectrum law’.

‘Charlie Hebdo’ and the Politics of Response – A Forum

Photo by Rhodri Davies, used with permission.

Photo by Rhodri Davies, used with permission.

There have by now been many pieces published in response to the events that took place in Paris between 7 and 9 January 2015 that we now associate with ‘Charlie Hebdo’. Indeed, so much has been written that the novelist Hari Kunzru claims that he can barely bring himself to sit down and read the commentary. Many of us will share the feeling that we can’t bear to hear any more about the War on Terror: about the familiar discourses of ‘civilization’ and ‘barbarism’ (Marshall), the ‘political-theological spectres’ that hang over the event (Leshem), the recognisable pattern of ‘mobile, irruptive violence’ (Coward) and the style of the event, which quickly finds its ‘genre’ in 24 hour news media (Anderson).

Spectacular acts of violence such as those witnessed at the Charlie Hebdo offices on the 7th January 2015, where 8 journalists including the magazine’s editor, 2 police officers, 1 caretaker and 1 visitor were killed, are of course designed to demand a response. Such events, and the responses by political leaders to them, are also designed to polarize opinion, and to bolster ideas about ‘us’ and ‘them’. On this occasion, those ideas played out in the affective atmospheres conjured by the #jesuischarlie hashtag, which invited people to position themselves as either ‘for Charlie’ or ‘against Charlie’. Tariq Ali writes that this compulsion to announce ‘Je suis Charlie’ reminded him of the mood in the UK and US following the events of 11 September 2001, a mood described by Judith Butler as one of ‘heightened nationalism’, which made it impossible to oppose having to be ‘with us’ or ‘against us’, or query the terms through which that opposition was framed.[1]

What is going on, then, in this compulsion to respond? What is at stake in the scenes of ‘liberal solidarity and resentment’ (Baldwin) that we witnessed on the 10th of January, in one of the largest collective gatherings to take place in Paris since the Second World War? How do some of the responses circulating serve to solidify identity positions, re-draw power positions, so that the shock of the event nevertheless returns us to a familiar politics, where some can feel comfortable whilst others, especially minority communities, are placed on the alert? If these attacks, and others like them, are purposefully designed as ‘affective forms of violence’ (Coward), then perhaps remaining indifferent to the event of ‘Charlie Hebdo’ might offer an alternative ethical response.

This collection of short, largely spontaneous responses were first presented at an event organized by the Politics-State-Space research cluster at Durham University Geography Department. All of the contributors seek ways of responding to this event that refuse the ‘imaginative geographies’ of ‘us’ and ‘them’ (Closs Stephens), as well as other familiar framings through which this event has become known, but all nevertheless note the very difficulties of addressing ‘Charlie Hebdo’ otherwise, and in ways that refuse the ‘languages of terror’ (Ferreboeuf) in particular.[2]

[1] Judith Butler, Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence. London: Verso, 2006.

[2] Thanks to all the participants who took part at the original event, all the contributors, and especially to Ben Anderson, Martin Coward, Paul Harrison and Natalie Oswin for their encouragement.

Angharad Closs Stephens, Department of Geography, Durham University

Ben Anderson, Becoming-Event

Andrew Baldwin, Tolerance and Resentment

Angharad Closs Stephens, Aesthetic Responses

Martin Coward, On Urban Violence

Rebecca Ferreboeuf, Languages of Change

Noam Leshem, Toward Another Political Theology

David Jones Marshall, Scales of Response: Between Elsewhere and Civilization Itself

 

Note from the editors: Also on this site, see the related commentaries Hate, by Mustafa Dikeç, and Resisting through and with comics, by Juliet J. Fall.  

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iBorder, Borderscapes, Bordering: A Conversation – Chiara Brambilla and Holger Pötzsch

Holger Pötzsch’s article “The emergence of iBorder: bordering bodies, networks, and machines” appears in issue 1 of the 2015 volume of Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, and is now open access for one month. Extending the insights of that piece, he and Chiara Brambilla discuss a range of theoretical and methodological issues in border research in the following conversation:

Holger Pötzsch: In the article on iBorder published in Society and Space, I argue that contemporary borders and regimes of bordering are dislocated, dispersed, and increasingly attach themselves to individual bodies. I move from a description of the socio-technological apparatus of management and control centered upon biometrics, dataveillance, and automation through which these processes are facilitated to questions of the practices through which the varying potentials for individualized in- and exclusion are actualized. I term this transition a movement of attention from iBorder to the contingent practices of iBordering. Would you say that this resonates with your recent demand, made in the article “Exploring the Critical Potential of the Borderscapes Concept” in Geopolitics, for a re-introduction of a phenomenological perspective into border research?

Chiara Brambilla: Yes, it definitely does. The shift from technology to cultural technique, proposed in your article, is required, indeed, to comprehend that a phenomenological perspective first and foremost demands a humanization of borders, even in the era of iBorders. As you put it, humans are not transformed into border cyborgs in the era of iBorders, but cultural techniques of bordering influence the formation of subjectivities and co-constitute contingent, rather than simply process given, subjectivities and frames for practices.

Continue reading here.

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