In our introduction to the forum we want to more firmly situate Puerto Rico within geographical debates precisely because there is much to be learned about and with this U.S. colony. Our approach consists of reading and writing Puerto Rico “with and beyond Lefebvre,” an analytical maneuver familiar to many readers of Society and Space (Kinkaid, 2019: 2). To do so, we conceptualize the 2019 summer protests, as well as the multitude of alternative political spaces that emerged before, during and after the protests, as differential spaces (Lefebvre, 1991). As the interventions of this forum demonstrate, to conceptualize the differential spaces that decolonial struggles in Puerto Rico have produced we need new analytical tools, new positionalities, and new departures that take us beyond the whiteness, androcentric, and Eurocentric epistemologies of Henri Lefebvre (Fenster, 2005; Samara, He, and Chen, 2013; see also, Oswin, 2019). That is one of the many lessons that Puerto Rico and the protests of the summer teach us.
As Iraqi activists block critical roads and highways within and between cities, a spatial interpretation of Iraq’s ongoing revolution not only reads into everyday acts of protest, but interprets with Iraqi revolutionaries who are fighting and dying to birth new futures for themselves, their families, and their homeland.
The majority of spaces of “activism” we see on campuses today are those produced by and for administrations, usually through student affairs divisions, in order to commodify and control dissent on campus. The shiny social justice activism sold by universities is marketed in student friendly packages in spaces that offer no real autonomy or control over programming for students.
For decades, the west end of Calle Fortaleza has been a site for protest where social groups and movements, along with trade unions, have often converged to articulate their demands. The #Ricky Renuncia movement also re-signified the ways people protested and the spaces where those events took place. During the Summer 2019 uprising, the street was renamed by protesters as “Calle de la Resistencia” (Resistance Street) after thousands of people met there every night for more than two weeks demanding Rosselló’s resignation despite the violent efforts of police to disperse the protests. The street continued to display its new name long after he stepped down.
There are three identifiable understandings of corruption and anticorruption in the case of the Puerto Rican Summer: 1) colonial corruption and anticorruption policies implemented by the US government in PR; 2) corruption as a form of governmentality, and the Puerto Rican government’s anticorruption policies that focus on petty corruption, while ignoring the corruption of the powerful; 3) and decolonial approaches to corruption and/or the Puerto Rican Summer of 2019 as forms of decolonial justice.
Who constitutes the great racialized Puerto Rican family? What political role did Black women play in the protests of Summer 2019? How has Black feminism (re) emerged in Puerto Rico, from musical performances – bomba, plena, rumba and reggaeton – and platforms such as the NEGRAS radio program? What is the importance of the intersections of race and gender in the analysis of what happened in Summer 2019? These are some of the questions I try to answer in the next section of this brief intervention.
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.