A curation of articles, essays, book reviews and interviews on critical geographical concerns.
This article engages with the notion of ‘break-down’ as a way of going beyond claims to recover the discarded or practice repair. It experiments with ethnographic cross-pollination, setting vignettes from seemingly disparate field-sites alongside one another, to meditate on singular unfinished moments that together reflect wider dynamics of invisibility, negation, stigma and suspension at the urban interstices. From the peripheral neighbourhoods of Zaria, Nairobi, Paris, Berlin and London, these vignettes evoke shifting relationships to labour in precarious urban environments, where fleeting but situated codes, logics and deals have emerged out of seemingly broken urban worlds. Engaging with Stephen Jackson's notion of ‘broken world thinking’ and Donna Haraway's invitation to ‘stay with the trouble’, this article argues for staying with the breakdown.
The driving question of our exploration with this special issue — and of the workshops that preceded and the Lab that will follow it — is around the propositions of the liminal urban body, being that which is simultaneously uttered and atmospheric, shouted and whistled, disruptive and repeated.
‘Depotentiation’, as I employ the term, indicates the diminishment of imminent capacities, affects and potentialities. I propose this formulation to both complement and critique Harvey’s dominant notion of accumulation by dispossession as the commodification of the urban commons and to contribute to conceptual developments on the stratified and affective dimensions of eviction.
Recent debates in urban geography and anthropology have urged a rethinking of ‘marginal’ groups, viewing them not only as intimately connected to the state and its power, but also as offering a lens into alternate modes of dwelling, endurance and political change. We reflect upon the conceptual possibilities of such forms of endurance by examining how those residing in urban margins utilise, enable and inhabit connections to centres of power when faced with dispossession.
This paper takes an embodied approach to the lived experiences and everyday politics of liminal neighborhoods and infrastructures in Delhi’s unauthorized colonies, which lack official entitlements to networked infrastructures such as water and sewerage. Bringing a feminist political ecology lens to critical infrastructure studies, I show how gendered social relations, subjectivities, and the unequal experience of urban liminality are tied to accessing water and its fragmented infrastructures beyond the network.
This article tries to look beyond what I call the spatial forgeries of racial capitalism in early 20th century Durban, South Africa, a set of renditions of the ocean and the city, to make sense of quite a surprising and relatively unremarked set of events. I trace three moves through which Indian indentured labour was ‘shoaled’ on South Africa’s racial shores, the way mixed Black populations in the urban periphery and interstices ‘built’ marginal and interstitial infrastructure to support their communal survival, and the way they literally ‘rooted’ themselves in place in ways that make Durban distinctive as an 'Indian' city on African shores, in partial complicity with a deepening landscape of racial segregation.
Drawing upon art installations in Brooklyn, NY, White Shoes (2012–2016), and Oakland, CA, House/Full of BlackWomen (2015–present), we find that in both installations, Black women artists perform hauntings, threading geographies of race, sex, and speculation across past and present. We observe how these installations operate through spectacle, embodiment, and temporal disjuncture, illuminating how Black life and labor have been central to the construction of property and urban space in the United States.
This article gives ethnographic form to Fanon’s warning that in the colonial world, “zombies are more terrifying than settlers,” by analyzing how racial mythologies produce spatial classifications of Black urban communities as unruly places and how Black individuals challenge their wretched condition by embracing a “program of complete disorder.” To do so, the article analyzes the short(ened) life of Paco, a young Black man under house arrest whose retaliatory violence against, and territorial dispute with, the police is an entry point for exploring resistance to urban coloniality in Santiago de Cali/Colombia.
This paper explores how water materializes and mediates uneven landscapes of livability, as well as new modes of living in common among those excluded from the urban commons. I introduce the concepts of “bluelining” and “blues infrastructures” in order to think through the contested assemblages of water, race, and space at the margins of urban life.
Utilizing Fanon’s theories of psychic, social and embodied processes of racialization and racism, this article examines Toronto’s gay village as a site of queer settler multiculturalism and its impacts on Black and Indigenous lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, Two-Spirit and additional (LGBTQ2+) youth experiencing homelessness.
Though not an exhaustive list, these are many of the main areas we cover.
Writings that critically engage the ongoing conditions of coloniality and its effects. Entries in this section may also speculate on intellectual, political and organizational tactics that work to resist coloniality, colonization and colonialism’s effects in the present.
Examines the evolving social, ecological, cultural and geopolitical impacts of energy systems and resource extraction, with particular emphasis on the spatial relationships that structure the extraction, production, distribution and consumption of energy and other natural resources and raw materials
Chronicles past, present, and potential impacts of technoscientific development on the production of space. Provides critical looks into how scientific disciplines and industries influence how we analyze, categorize, experience, interpret, navigate, and represent that which we call space.
Investigates the spatial implications of the mass production, consumption, and disposal of digital media. Core areas of study include the environmental impacts, industrial landscapes, infrastructures, political transformations, social activities, and subjectivities particular to the digital age.
Charts the role that maps and various other forms of geo-visualisation play in the production of space. Offers a critical forum for investigating older modes of cartographic representation as well as newer approaches to big data and the politics of algorithmic and other data-driven processes.
Investigates relations between policing (narrowly and broadly understood), incarceration, and the production of space and spatial knowledge. Borders, criminalized neighborhoods, detention centers, heavily securitized areas, internment camps, jails, prisons, rendition sites, and the spatial relations that they rely on and produce are explored as sites of power and subversion.