About Stephen Vilaseca

Stephen Luis Vilaseca is an associate editor of the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies and an Associate Professor at Northern Illinois University (Illinois, USA). He is the author of Barcelonan Okupas: Squatter Power! (2013) as well as of articles in the Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2006), Letras Hispanas: Revista de Literatura y Cultura (2009), the Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies (2010), Transitions: Journal of Franco-Iberian Studies (2012), the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies (2014), and the Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies (2015).

AAG 2018 CFP: Urban Cultural Studies

The Journal of Urban Cultural Studies is organizing an interactive short paper session at the Association of American Geographers Conference to be held April 10-14, 2018 in New Orleans. Each of the 10-14 panelists in the Urban Cultural Studies session will present a 5-minute summary of research or studies in process. A 30- to 45-minute interactive roundtable discussion will follow the presentations.
The CFP is as follows:
In recent years, cities have been increasingly at the forefront of debate in both humanities and social science disciplines, but there has been relatively little real dialogue across these disciplinary boundaries. On the one hand, social science fields that use urban studies methods to look at life in cities rarely explore the cultural aspects of urban life in any depth or delve into close-readings of the representation of cities in individual novels, music albums/songs, graphic novels, films, videogames, online ‘virtual’ spaces, or other artistic and cultural products. On the other hand, while there is increasing discussion of urban topics and themes in the humanities, broadly considered, there are very few venues that are open to these new interdisciplinary directions of scholarship. Driven by a methodology that links urban geography and cultural studies work, this session features applied and theoretical papers focusing on urban spaces the world over.
Abstracts address both an individual city itself and also its cultural representation. The session foregrounds studies that achieve some balance between discussing an individual (or multiple) cultural/artistic product(s) in depth and also using one of many social-science (geographical, anthropological, sociological…) urban approaches to investigate a given city. Specific topics vary, but emphasis is placed on geo-humanities approaches and representational/spatial practices. This session is also linked to the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies (http://www.intellectbooks.co.uk/journals/view-Journal,id=225/) and its accompanying blog at urbanculturalstudies.wordpress.com.
In order to submit an abstract, you must first register for the conference here: http://www.aag.org/cs/annualmeeting/register. Once registered, you will need to proceed to the abstract and session submission console. Select the New Abstract button on the console page, and follow the on-screen instructions to submit the appropriate abstract type. You will receive an email message when you have successfully submitted your abstract to confirm that it has been accepted. If you need guidance on how to format your abstract for AAG, see here:

After submitting your abstract, please contact Stephen Vilaseca at svilaseca@niu.edu with your assigned PIN number and he will include you in the session.

The abstract submission deadline is October 25, 2017.

Phallocentric Space: Any Contest Over Power is a Contest Over Space

Barcelona_torre_agbar

Torre Agbar in Barcelona. Photo from http://www.nextstop-barcelona.com/torre-agbar-barcelona/

In order to continue the recent thread of posts on sex and the city, I am sharing the following excerpt from an article I wrote in 2009 that can be found here.

The space of power has traditionally imitated the masculine form and has been occupied according to the logic of masculine values. The association of power with the male member finds expression in the city, as Lefebvre observes, through “the use and overuse of straight lines, right angles, and strict (rectilinear) perspective” (410). Not only is the space of power phallic in terms of form but also in terms of practice. According to Elizabeth Grosz, men occupy space “as territorialized, as mappable or explorable,” conceive space in terms “according to the logic of penetration, colonization and domination,” and do not “respect spaces and places which are not theirs” (57). Phallocentric thought as performed in space is violent and destructive. The penis, as representative of power, is weapon and wrecking ball. If capital reproduces itself by conquering space, as both Lefebvre and Harvey assert, the selling of place and the subsequent gentrification of neighborhoods are “screwing” the weak.

Grosz, Elizabeth. “Women, Chora, Dwelling.” Postmodern Cities and Spaces. Eds. Sophie Watson and Katherine Gibson. Oxford, UK and Cambridge, USA: Blackwell, 1995. 47-58.

Lefebvre, Henri. The Production of Space. Trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith. Oxford: Blackwell, 1991.

Grand Opening Party for the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space

Grand Opening Party for MoRUS (Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space) History Museum Saturday, November 17th, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.
MoRUS’s Storefront in C-Squat 155 Avenue C, NYC (on the west side of the street between 9th and 10th Streets)
Come help us celebrate the opening of our very own community history museum with a party on Saturday, November 17th. We will be opening to the public at 3:00pm on Saturday the 17th and having events throughout the day, including a chain-cutting ceremony, tours, slide-shows by Seth Tobocman, and presentations by community organizers. Later in the evening, we will have music, dancing, Marching bands, food, and drinks to kick-off the opening of this innovative museum. Please spread the word and come join us at our grand opening party!
About the Museum:
The Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space (MoRUS) is a living archive of urban activism. The Museum chronicles the East Village community’s history and grassroots activism. It celebrates local activists who transformed abandoned buildings and vacant lots into vibrant community spaces and community gardens. Many of these innovative, sustainable concepts and designs have since pulsed out to the rest of the city and beyond.
The Museum provides access to an often untold version of NYC’s history through photography, videography, and authentic artifacts and documents. Committed to a mission of open community-based action, the museum is an all volunteer-run organization. With the space, we invite visitors to learn about and engage in grassroots activism of the past, present, and future.
In addition to our space in C-Squat, the Museum will be offering sustainable community workshops throughout the City and daily neighborhood tours accenting our rich activist history.
Press link: http//www.morusnyc.org/about-us/press
Visit the website at: http://www.morusnyc.org/

CFP – Grassroots in the City

International conference on Grassroots in the City: Urban Movements and Activism in Central and Eastern Europe

Conference venue: Södertörn University, southern Stockholm, Sweden

Dates: 24-25 May 2013

The conference seeks to gather researchers working in the field of social movements and civic activism in the urban environment of Central and Eastern Europe. The aim is to discuss the prerequisites for, and forms of, collective action in cities in this social context.

Theme and rational

Why a focus on collective action in cities? Conflicts in the city are illustrative not only of Continue reading

Potentials of Performance

‘…So if we do not stay in the same place, it is not to be lamented. If we are on the move, then we are, in collective forms, tracking the sites of injustice and in-equality, and our trail becomes the new map of radical change’ (Judith Butler, “Tidal: Occupy Theory, Occupy Strategy,” 2012)

This is a personal invitation to contribute to a project that seeks to construct collective research on the potentialities of disparate civic spaces, occupancies, performances and direct actions. We write to you from Athens, Greece. During the last four years we have seen an escalation of civic mobilizations vying for a ‘right to the city’. These include the riots of 2008, the occupation of Syntagma Square, mass general strikes, occupations of universities and schools, emerging neighborhood assemblies and support networks, squats, alternative forms of exchange and values, everyday artistic and political practices of re-imagining, reclaiming and re-constituting public spaces. In November of last year a group of us occupied a closed down theatre belonging to the Greek state. We have managed to keep this occupation running despite Continue reading

Make_Shift: The Expanded Field of Critical Spatial Practice

For those of you in Berlin on October 6, 2012:
“Make_Shift: The expanded field of critical spatial practice
International conference
TU Berlin, Institute for Architecture, Straße des 17. Juni 152, A151
October 6, 2012, 11 am – 7 pm
“Makeshift” is a term usually associated with a politically expedient or resourceful solution – temporary or permanent – for something missing. Here the term is also split to emphasize the two components that are key to our central theme of self-generated, informal planning agendas: namely the DIY aspects of making, and the paradigm shifts that can result from this. “Makeshift” also presupposes a condition of scarcity; of shrinking resources. Situated within the expanded field in question are appropriations and transformations of urban space that encompass planning, civic engagement, artistic practice and activism. In short, a re-imagination of the city space and its potentialities….”

Contemporary Cartographies. Drawing Thought

“Contemporary Cartographies. Drawing Thought” – CaixaForum Barcelona (July 25-October 28, 2012)

I find this to be a compelling image that speaks to the relationships between body, mind, and space. It forms part of an exhibition currently at CaixaForum in Barcelona. I have loosely translated from Spanish the following text found on CaixaForum’s website (http://obrasocial.lacaixa.es/nuestroscentros/caixaforumbarcelona/cartografiascontemporaneas_es.html):

The exhibition presents maps generated by artists of the twentieth and twenty-first century who interrogate and question systems of representation. They are cartographies of physical and mental spaces that generate new meanings and new insights about different types of spaces (heterotopias, utopias, invisible or virtual). Thus, we become aware of the prevalence of the simulacrum of reality, of our difficulties to represent the contemporary world and notions of ideology and power implicit in the act of representing.

“Contemporary Cartographies. Drawing thought” shows how artists have subverted cartographic language, from the map of the world of the Surrealists to the cartographies of Art & Language of Artur Barrio. It also includes the transformation of cartography in life by the Situationists and the bodily cartographies of Carolee Schneemann, Yves Klein and Ana Mendieta. It addresses mind maps, from Lewis Carroll to Erik Beltran, the lived experience of On Kawara, the different concepts of space and also works that respond to the cartographies of power, like those of Marcel Broodthaers, Alighiero Boetti, Thomas Hirschhorn or Francis Alÿs.

The site also supplies very interesting links to different types of cartographies. http://helenatatay.net/docs/LINKS.pdf