The Shadows of Revolution

With a view to tracing further representations of space in Mexico City my attention has been recently turning to the work of Paco Ignacio Taibo II (or PIT) in his transgressions of story-history, starting with the novel Sombra de la sombra (1986) published in English as The Shadow of the Shadow with Cinco Puntos Press (1991). The book is both an exploration of social criticism as well as a work of historical crime fiction. The story is set in 1922 in Mexico City blurring the realms of fiction and history and is based around the secret Plan de Mata Redonda, a conspiracy of army colonels, U.S. senators, and oil company magnates, with the aim to separate the oil-rich Gulf Coast of Mexico from the rest of the country and turn it into an American protectorate. Where better to explore the spatial practices of Mexico City deciphered through historical fiction and the symbols of this city’s lived representational spaces?

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4 Videos posted from CUNY-GC URBAN UPRISINGS conference (Nov 2012)

If I had eight hours, I’d watch all of these videos posted at the site of The Center for Place Culture and Politics:

Part 1: Opening Keynote (David Harvey) and Urban Uprisings of the 1960s: Living Legacies (Chair: Frances Fox Piven, Jordan T. Camp, Marian Kramer, Karen Miller)

Part 2: Global Urban Uprisings (Chair: Peter Marcuse, Hiba Bou Akar, Mavuso Dignani, Deen Sharp, Éva Tessza Udvarhelyi)

Part 3: Securitization and the City (Chair: John Whitlow, Mizue Aizeki, Christina Heatherton, Pete White, Helena Wong)

Part 4: Roundtable on How to Organize a Whole City (Chair: Kazembe Balagun, Ujju Aggarwal, Tammy Bang Luu, Rachel LaForest, Rob Robinson, Miguel Robles-Duràn)

Interviews with 25 Geographers (1970-93)

The AAG has posted interviews with 25 Geographers from the “Geographers on Film” Archive available here. The first interview is with Carl O. Sauer (1889-1975) from 1970 (Berkeley, cultural [geography], founded Department@Berkley 1923, AAG Pres. 1940, Honorary AAG Pres. 1956).

This is a bit of a tangent, but there was a recent episode of npr’s radiolab that looked at the story of a man who was bombed in and survived both Hiroshima and Nagasaki, came from an interview with the author of a recent book on the subject.

Progressive Geographies

The Journal of Historical Geography 2012 prize was awarded to a paper by David Fedman on how maps can show the bombing of Japan in World War II. Full details and some striking images here.

20130319-212248.jpg Thanks to Felix Driver for the alert.

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ashley dawson

imagesEarlier this week, David Harvey appeared on a panel about contemporary Land Grabs along with activists Somnath Mukherjee, Smita Narula, Kathy LeMons Walker. I unfortunately was not able to attend. In searching fruitlessly for a video of the event, I nonetheless came across some interesting materials online.

The first is a video of a talk David Harvey did with Medha Patkar, founder of the anti-dam organization Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save the Narmada Campaign), and founder of the National Coalition of People’s Movements. This was a fascinating dialogue between a key activist working to roll back land grabs and an theorist who provides an incredibly important overview of capitalism’s strategies of accumulation by dispossession, of which land grabs are a key strategy.  Here’s the video:

I also came across a really interesting blog post by Raj Patel that analyzes a 2010 World Bank report on Land Grabs.

Last of all, I…

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Rebecca Jarman

photo-10The title of Gisela Kozak’s latest collection of short stories, En rojo (In Red), is somewhat more ambiguous than those of her previous publications including Latidos de Caracas (Caracas Beats) and Pecados de la capital y otras historias (Sins From the Capital and Other Stories). Self defining as a ‘choral narration’, the collection records movements of Kozak’s native city in an atonal key, with long lapses of silence and sudden bursts of sharp shrieks. The overall sound is harsh on the ear (grating at best, unbearable at worst), though somehow works to captivate the reader, not least given the stark beauty of the prose or the human insight of its author.

Each story provides a two-page glimpse into the life of a caraqueño, the overtones of the title transforming with each shift in the narrative composed of seven movements. The first stark reference is to…

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Thinking culture


At the moment I’m working on a piece that responds to Adam Krims’ book Music and Urban Geography. It will hopefully appear in an early issue of the exciting new Journal of Urban Cultural Studies. I’ve been asked to write a short form piece and my plan at the moment is to pull together the key ideas and features from Krims’ book and to develop these a little through some other literature. One of the key features of Krims’ accounts are the deeply woven interconnections between music and the city. Krims talks about the representation of the city in music, but he extends the analysis to think about how the structure and form of the music is connected into place and how the music itself becomes a part of the structures of urban space. I’m arguing that the result is a really situated and embedded analysis of the multiple…

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John Ledger

These maps were made on Thursday in the Barnsley area (which I’ve mistakenly labeled as being on the 27th, when they were in fact on the 28th. I am making these maps as part of a psychogeographical project where I intend to explain back to myself the experience of inhabiting certain human landscapes I am most familiar with. It is certainly an artistic project with social and political motives. I  also hope they serve to others as a interesting guidances to an often unrepresented reality of place.
Even though I do find it hard to shut my mind off to negative occurrences, all of as (most of the time) are preoccupied with keeping our spirits up when we walk through an urban environment, trying to find something that makes us feel at ease. After these walks yesterday I wasn’t physically tired, but was mentally drain. I found the task…

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