Tag Archives: critical geography

Documenting the Undocumented

Web Map 2.0 – Lets get going

We have internal maps of organizers and representatives (Thank You NYSYLC) but I want to give immigrant youth the opportunity to map themselves.

Students are certainly expected but if you are a (student) immigrant youth blogger and/or organizer, make sure to get on this map.


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Web 2.0 Mapping – LGBT Indians

Trikone is out with its latest Desi LGBT mapping project. What does that mean? If you identify as a ‘desi’ (generally denoting of Indian subcontinent descent but the term is loaded with political implications), and are LGBT, then you should put yourself down on the map.

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All maps are political for they embody the basis of power relations in society, the marking of territory, resources and identity. Web. 2.0 has made it possible to map alternative and hidden geographies, geographies across arbitrary borders.The Global Detention Project is an excellent example of a map that could be counter-hegemonic. The jury is still out on whether this mapping has helped to advance any critical agenda and what needs Web 2.0 mapping has fulfilled.

What needs does this Trikone map fulfill? Certainly nothing critical or counter-hegemonic but maybe it denotes a longing for community.

I wonder if undocumented youth would ever agree to mapping themselves. There are certainly internal maps of youth organizers but nothing we have released externally.

“Hi ICE, I live in Antioch, California, come and get me.”

It is definitely a documented privileging and one that men are seemingly exercising more than women. Is it because Trikone is marketed more towards Indian men or because generally, men browse the web in bigger numbers than women? Or does it have to do with women being more reluctant to put themselves on a tracking map due to privacy issues?

Questions to ponder.

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Filed under Desi, Immigration

American Association of Geographers – Call for Papers

After these god-awful, life-stopping exams, I have to get down to several pending journal articles. One of them is for an Australian-based journal called Still. There are several AAG Call for Papers that seem to go with the topic and other half-completed works, so I may attend AAG in Las Vegas again next year.

Q: What kind of potential and current law school students will you find at the American Association of Geographers?

A: The ones doing Marine and Navigation Law

Ok, I admit, that was a bad one.

Waiting

Call for Papers for the 2009 Association of American Geographers Annual
Meeting, March 22-27, Las Vegas

Organizers:

Craig Jeffrey, University of Washington
Geraldine Pratt, University of British Columbia

We all wait. As Henri Lefebvre argued, waiting is a prominent feature of modern everyday life. In the second half of the twentieth century, in particular, the increasing regimentation and bureaucratization of time in the West, combined with the growing reach of the state created multiple settings – such as bus stands, clinics and offices – in which people were compelled to wait (Moran 2008). Papers in this proposed session might examine these everyday spaces of waiting, including the politics that emerges in places such as the queue (Corbridge 2003). We are also interested in papers that consider the apparent proliferation of contexts in which
people wait for years or whole lifetimes. Of course, there is nothing new about prolonged waiting. But Bayart (2007) has persuasively argued that varied populations are increasingly being forced to live in limbo. Papers in this session might discuss elite, subaltern or middle class experiences of chronic waiting; the causes of prolonged waiting; pathways out of limbo; vernacular conceptualizations of waiting; and spatialized cultural, social and political projects that emerge within communities in wait.

These foci should not be seen as restrictive, and we welcome papers from scholars who approach waiting from other perspectives and contributions from people who had not previously thought of their research in terms of waiting but who are interested in shared discussion around this idea. For example, papers might also investigate how waiting might be theorized within geography and related disciplines (e.g. Bissell 2007), the limits of waiting
as a basis for reflecting on politics and subjectivity formation, historical geographies of waiting, waiting as a methodology, architectures of waiting, or waiting and academic professional practice (Bourdieu 2000).

Please send a title and if possible also a short abstract to Craig Jeffrey at cjj3@u.washington.edu by October 4th if you are interested in this topic,
and please forward this message to others who might be interested.

Dr. Craig Jeffrey
Associate Professor in Geography and International Studies
University of Washington
Department of Geography Box 353550
Seattle, WA 98195
USA

11.8 million and waiting, confined in a certain space and territory.
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Filed under Academic Conferences

Foucault on Geography and Population

“One might wonder, as a conceit or a hypothesis, whether geographical knowledge doesn’t carry within itself the circle of the frontier, whether this be a national, departmental or cantonal frontier; and hence, whether one shouldn’t add to the figures of internment you have indicated–that of the madmen, the criminal, the patient, the proletariat–the national internment of the citizen-soldier. Wouldn’t we have here a space of confinement which is both infinitely vaster and less hermetic”

Foucault: That’s a very appealing notion. And the inmate, in your view, would be a national man? Because the geographical discourse which justifies frontiers is that of nationalism?”

(Questions on Geography, Power/Knowledge)

I think the question can be seen assuming and also leading us towards a carceral archipelago–how a punitive system is physically dispersed and yet covers the entirety of society. One of the topics I really want to cover on this blog in the near future is Foucault’s concept of the ‘apparatuses of security’ and how they are applicable to our society. In liberal societies and the liberal international order, we are led to believe that our ‘freedoms’ require ‘apparatuses of security.’ As Foucault states, “Freedom is nothing else but the correlative of apparatuses of security.”

Stemming from this is my concern about the ‘archipelago of detention,’ especially concerning the increasing confinement of mobility regarding migrant bodies–bodies that are constructed and labeled as ‘criminal.’

Foucault also lays out a population/people distinction in Security, Territory and Population that is worthy of further exploration. Population has two meanings — one denotes a group of subjects with rights or subjects to a sovereign etc. but the one we are interested in is population as a process that needs regulation and management, a process that correlates with the awareness of the ‘public’ and maybe even the sharp binaries of citizen/non-citizen. Now, while Foucault poses the question of the ‘inmate’ as the “national man” and that is true since borders, citizenship and nationality are all confinements, I do want to focus on the (bi)(trans)(multi)-national Others as inmates, both literally and figuratively. And I don’t think we can leave economics out of the picture.

This post here – Documenting the ‘birth’ of illegal immigration, while not perfect, serves as a start and historical background in terms of the United States context.

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Filed under Immigration, Political Theory, Racism

The Politics of Waiting – Asylum

There’s a really good discussion on asylum circulating one of my academic listserves. Not many know that I study critical geography and subaltern studies, and there is some space in those fields to speak about immigration. The perspectives and philosophy is unlike what one would hear in the mainstream media or even blogosphere. I have decided to invest some time to researching a critical geography take on ‘illegal immigration’ and add it on for my Boston AAG paper.

The case of Sarjina Emy’s family awaiting asylum decision for 13 years has me completely flabbergasted. What is the point of asylum relief when it takes more than a decade?! Obviously, by that time things would probably have changed, and it would be harder to win the asylum case. Is it really just ineffective government policy and red tape that has created this backlog of cases, or is something else going on?

The critical geographers liken the “politics of waiting” with a “politics of control” over migrant bodies. Since we think and speak in terms of spatiality (while the historians are better with temporality), we have only recently come to address timelessness and temporal status when it comes to migrants.

Think about DREAM Act beneficiaries. We are constricted to both SPACE and TIME; in effect, a temporal status. This is the institution of massive control over our bodies, both in space and through time. Do these “waiting rooms of history” (Dipesh Chakraborty), contribute to the creation of a “community?” Guess what, I can point over to the DREAMers and say we have come together, from completely diverse backgrounds, and only created community because of our PLACEMENT in these waiting rooms. Now is this community counter-hegemonic? Does it purport an alternative nationalism? Yes and No. We are counter-hegemonic in the sense that we do challenge status quo immigration laws and hegemonic discourses on migrants. Our existence challenges the definition of “American” – After all, we are in effect, UNDOCUMENTED AMERICAN STUDENTS. At the same time, while we are in these waiting rooms, all we want to do is be “out” and be able to assimilate with the sheep-like masses (for the most part). And yet, we are an alternative voice in the history of nationalism, a subaltern voice.

Am I the only one here who finds this whole discussion quite interesting? I plan to finish a good academic paper by April 1 and try to get it published in several academic journals. Takes the DREAMers to a whole new level of discussion that no one has yet “placed” us on.

Anyway some resources going back and forth on the listserve that I plan to look up soon –
References

Ahiska, Meltem. 2003. Occidentalism: The Historical Fantasy of the Modern, The South Atlantic Quarterly 102/2-3, Spring/Summer. Duke University Press. 351-379.

Bayart, Jean-Francois, 2007. Global Subjects: A political critique of globalization. [especially final chapter on “Global Godot”]

Becket, Samuel 2002 [1953]. Waiting for Godot. London: Faber and Faber

Bissell, K. Animating Suspension: Waiting for Mobilities. Mobilities 2, 2, 277-298.

Blanchot, Maurice 1996 [1959]. Waiting Trans. Michael Holland  in The Blanchot Reader. Oxford: Blackwell.

Bourdieu, P. Pascalian Meditations. Cambridge: Polity [especially chapter 6]

Chakrabarty, D. 2004. Provincializing Europe [Chapter 8] Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Corbridge, S. 2004 Waiting in line, or the moral and material geographies of queue-jumping in Lee R and Smith DM eds Geographies and Moralities. Oxford: Blackwell/RGS-IBG. [Chapter 12]

Deleuze and Guattari, 1986. Nomadology: The War Machine. London: Routledge.

DeVerteuil, Lee and Wolch (2002) New spaces for the local welfare state? The case of General Relief in Los Angeles County. Journal of Social and Cultural Geography 3(3): 229-246

D’Emilio, John 1983. John Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Falah G-W 2007, The politics of doing geography: 23 days in the hell of Israeli detention” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 25, 4, 587–593.

Hill, Andrew 2008, Seeing, Waiting, Travelling: Reimagining the War on Terror Oxford: Palgrave.

Jamoul, Lina 2004. Palestine—In Search of Dignity. Antipode 36, 4, 581–595.

Kafka, Franz 2007. The Trial. New York: Schocken Books.

Kracauer (1955) The Mass Ornament. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Kwan, Mei-Po, 1999.  Gender, the Home-Work Link, and Space-Time Patterns of Nonemployment Activities Economic Geography 75, 4, 370-394

Lacan, J. 1988 [1945]. Logical time and the assertion of anticipated certainty: A new sophism. Newsletter of the Freudian Field 2: 4–22, trans. Fink, B

Long, Joanna C 2006. Border Anxiety in Palestine-Israel Antipode 38, 1, 107–127.

Marris, P. 1984. The Politics of Uncertainty: Attachment in Private and Public Life. London: Routledge.

Purcell, Mark 2007. Skilled, cheap and desperate: non-tenure track faculty and the delusion of meritocracy. Antipode 39, 1, 121-143

Sartre, Jean Paul. 2004. Critique of Dialectical Reason. Oxford: Verso.

Verdery, Kate. 1996. Socialism and What Comes Next [especially chapter 2]

Web sources:

Armaly, Fareed and Rashid Masharawi on waiting:
http://www.haussite.net/set.php?page=http://www.haussite.net/haus.0/PROGRAM/02/r
edirect/E/Rashid_E.html

Veronique Besnard’s work with asylum seekers and refugees in Brighton:
http://www.foto8.com/home/content/view/275/161/

Montopoli, Brian: The Queue Crew: Waiting in line for a living.
http://www.legalaffairs.org/issues/January-February-2004/scene_montopoli_janfeb04.msp

Morrow, Lance: “Waiting as a Way of Life”
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,952454-2,00.html

Paddy O’Gorman’s radio show Queuing For Living:
http://www.mikehanrahan.com/

George Tooker painting “Government Bureau”:
http://www.metmuseum.org/explore/artists_view/tooker_popup.html

Songs:

Dave Dobbyn Waiting

Lou Reed, Waiting for the Man

Fugazi, Waiting Room

Matt Johnson, I’ve been waitin’ for tomorrow (all of my life)Credit for the sources goes to the academics on the Critical Geography listserve.

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Filed under Immigration, Political Theory, Politics