These vintage photos of Pittsburgh, from before it passed a smoke-control ordinance in 1941, are so hazy that some of them look like they’ve been hit with some kind of artsy-grunge Instagram filter. But this is just what an industrial city looked like in those days — clogged with a low fog of coal-based factory belchings.
I’m particularly interested to gauge the extent to which geographers are engaging with the literary text without reducing it to content, something that seems to have been a temptation for David Harvey in particular. Just having reread the introduction to Engaging Film–a great book, but one whose introduction attempts to reinvent the wheel in that it simplifies the notion of film as a “representation of reality” and then seeks to provide an “antiessentialist” vision of film that of course can be traced back to the very complex nature of the theories it cites (e.g. Siegfried Kracauer’s theory of film)–it seems that a more thorough reconciliation of the humanities and social sciences is necessary.
A useful return to some older arguments about free time and leisure in this piece just posted on libcom. I particularly liked the suggestion that “when the revolutionary proletariat manifests itself as such, it will not be as a new audience for some new spectacle, but as people actively participating in every aspect of their lives.” Free time as active engagement with the world and with others. I wonder if the tension between free time and leisure could be fruitfully taken in new directions using Aristotle’s notion of schole. It is usually translated as “leisure,” but if we give it just a slight young-Marxist nudge it means something more like the serious effort we engage in to fulfill our species-being. I haven’t worked this out yet, but I am pretty sure there is something there, something that would speak quite effectively to Debord’s concerns about passivity, as well as Ranciere’s critique of Debord, not to mention Lefebvre’s engagement (or lack thereof) with the question of people becoming active…
Retrieving the significance of roads from within the ‘family’ of modes of transport and infrastructures of mobility is one of the concerns of our workshop. The other significant aim is to produce independent histories of roads that integrate with and explain the social and political processes of state-formation and empire building. Control over communication was and remains an integral part of governance in both colonial and post-colonial periods. In the Ottoman empire, railways were projected and constructed on a larger scale only in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Before, road building was an important project of modernisation. In the background of this understanding, we seek to ask: