A Radical Geography Community
Thus far in December we’ve published three new papers, three reviews, and an Antipode lecture.
The Elusive Inclusive: Black Food Geographies and Racialized Food Spaces by Margaret Marietta Ramírez
Abstract: North American food scholars, activists and policymakers often consider how to make a community food project more inclusive to “vulnerable populations” to increase participation in local food efforts. Drawing from qualitative research conducted with two community food organizations in Seattle, Washington, I argue that inclusive efforts are not addressing the power asymmetries present in organizations and within communities. Engaging with black geographies literature, I reveal how a black food justice organization grapples with violent histories of slavery and dispossession rooted in a black farming imaginary, and works to re-envision this imaginary to one of power and transformation. The spatial imaginaries and spaces of each food organization acknowledge racial histories differentially, informing their activism. Black geographies possess knowledge and spatial politics that can revitalize community food movements, and I consider how white food activists might reframe their work so that their efforts are not fueling the displacement of residents of color.
Abstract: This paper utilizes the introduction of bus rapid transit (BRT) in South Africa to unravel the role of South–South connections in local policymaking. While the South African systems are unmistakably modeled after Bogotá’s Transmilenio, whose accomplishments have been touted as the low-cost, high-quality transport solution, the process through which other Southern cities influenced the circulation of BRT remains underexplored. In so doing, this paper asks how and why certain cities are brought into conversation with one another and what happens as a result? This analysis suggests that policy circulation is never a rational survey of best practices but a political process through which policymakers select their sites of learning in accordance with wider aspirations, ideologies and positioning. Illustrating the way in which policymakers deploy different meanings of the global South and their position within this construct to justify local policy decisions adds a critical dimension to understandings of policy mobilities.
Abstract: In the spring of 2012, students in Quebec went on strike against a proposed 75% increase in university tuition and the further privatization of education that it signaled. The strike lasted 6 months and repeatedly mobilized hundreds of thousands of students and supporters in collective action. Emphasizing the “broader dreams of a student movement now sparking the popular imagination”, some activists began calling for a “rêve général illimité” (unlimited general dream). This article brings together scholarship on creative tactics and the role of space in protest to analyze a range of imaginative and affective interventions as well as the debates that emerged concerning their role within the movement. I argue that creative tactics intervened in how space and time were constructed by altering the relationships amongst private and public space. As a result, responsibilities were redistributed and time typically consecrated to the pursuit of private ends was redeployed during the Quebec student strike, broadening participation and generating public spaces where care was collectivized.
Ayesha Basit on Tings Chak’s Undocumented: The Architecture of Migrant Detention
“Through the loosely defined medium of the graphic novel, this thesis presents an architectural tour of the genericized migrant detention centre. Using the conventional architectural tools of representation — plan, section, axonometric and perspective drawings — presented sequentially and accompanied by text, we confront the silenced voices of those who are detained and the anonymous individuals who design spaces of confinement.”
Ryan Holifield on Karen Bell’s Achieving Environmental Justice: A Cross-National Analysis
“This optimistic, accessible and wide-ranging book assesses the extent of, and reasons for, environmental justice/injustice in seven diverse countries. Factors discussed include: race and class discrimination; citizen power; industrialisation processes; political-economic context; and the influence of dominant environmental discourses. In particular, the role of capitalism is critically explored. Based on over a hundred interviews with politicians, experts, activists and citizens of these countries, this is a compelling analysis aimed at all academics, policy-makers and campaigners … ”
Kyle Loewen on Deborah Cowen’s The Deadly Life of Logistics: Mapping Violence in Global Trade
“A genealogy of logistics, tracing the link between markets and militaries, territory and government … Deborah Cowen traces the art and science of logistics over the past sixty years, from the battlefield to the boardroom and back again. Though the object of corporate and governmental logistical efforts is commodity supply, she demonstrates that they are deeply political—and, considered in the context of the long history of logistics, deeply indebted to the practice of war.”
The 2013 Antipode AAG Lecture
The Environment Making State: Territory, Nature, and Value by Christian Parenti
Abstract: My argument is that the state is fundamental to the value form because it delivers the use values of non-human nature to the process of capital accumulation. Capital cannot, and historically does not, capture non-human nature without the participation of the state. The state delivers the utilities of extra-human nature to the accumulation process by creating property regimes, physical infrastructure, and scientific knowledge. As such, the state is a crucial under-theorized political membrane in the ecological metabolism of capitalism and the value form. The capitalist states inherently environmental qualities are rooted in its fundamentally territorial qualities. Where are the utilities of non-human nature found? On the surface of the earth. What institutions ultimately control the surface of the earth? Territorially defined national states. The example of state formation in the early years of the United States is used to illustrate these ideas.
The 2013 Antipode AAG Lecture is freely available, without a subscription; you can watch a video of the original presentation online.