Originally posted on Grist:

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.

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Three Spatial/Geo Humanities books…

I finally found time to grab a few books from the library that have looked interesting:

The Spatial Humanities: GIS and the Future of Humanities Scholarship (Indiana 2010)

Envisioning Landscapes, Making Worlds: Geography and the Humanities (Routledge 2011)

GeoHumanities: Art, History, Text at the Edge of Place (Routledge 2011) (this link is a review)

(let’s see if I can find time to read them)…

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.

Originally posted on Path to the Possible:

Leisure

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…

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Materialism and World Politics conference

Originally posted on The Disorder Of Things:

Materialism and World Politics

20-22 October, 2012
LSE, London, UK

Registration is now open here for anyone who wants to attend.


Scheduled Speakers:

Keynote: The ontology of global politics
William Connolly (Johns Hopkins University)

Opening Panel: What does materialism mean for world politics today?
John Protevi (Louisiana State University)
More TBC

Closing Panel: Agency and structure in a complex world
Colin Wight (University of Sydney)
Erika Cudworth (University of East London)
Stephen Hobden (University of East London)
Diana Coole (Birkbeck, University of London)

ANT/STS Workshop keynote:
Andrew Barry (University of Oxford)

ANT/STS Workshop roundtable:
Iver Neumann (LSE)
Mats Fridlund (University of Gothenburg)
Alberto Toscano (Goldsmiths, University of London)
More TBC

*******

The annual conference for volume 41 of Millennium: Journal of International Studies will take place on 20-22 October, 2012 at the London School of Economics and Political Science. This includes 2 days of panels and keynotes on the weekend, and…

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Workshop: “Roads as Routes to Modernity”

Originally posted on mediterranean mobilities:

Berlin, ZMO, 5 October 2012

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:
1. When and how did roads become important part of processes of control and consolidation of power, either by state or regional powerful elites?
2. What discourses (‘opening up the interiors’, ‘moral and material advancement’, ‘civilizing…

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