This map comes courtesy of the Squatting Europe Kollective, an international interdisciplinary research collective that seeks to “produce reliable and fine-grained knowledge” on squatting throughout the European Union. Their work–including the recent volumes Squatting in Europe: Radical Spaces, Urban Struggles (Minor Compositions: 2013) and The Squatters’ Movement in Europe: Commons and Autonomy as Alternatives to Capitalism (Pluto: 2014)–offer useful resources for scholars and activists “seeking to understand the issues associated with squats and social centres across the European Union.” The link contains a map that can users can use to search major cities or zoom in on specific locations.
The cover for Toward an Urban Cultural Studies: Henri Lefebvre and the Humanities, the first of many new books in Palgrave’s new HISPANIC URBAN STUDIES book series, edited by B. Fraser and S. Larson.
Toward an Urban Cultural Studies is a call for a new interdisciplinary area of research and teaching. Blending Urban Studies and Cultural Studies, this book grounds readers in the extensive theory of the prolific French philosopher Henri Lefebvre. Appropriate for both beginners and specialists, the first half of this book builds from a general introduction to Lefebvre and his methodological contribution toward a focus on the concept of urban alienation and his underexplored theory of the work of art. The second half merges Lefebvrian urban thought with literary studies, film studies and popular music studies, successively, before turning to the videogame and the digital humanities.
Departing from an interdisciplinary basis of the history and sociology of Spanish space and memory, Lorraine Ryan examines the narrative representation of the relationship between the preservation of a prohibited Republican memory of the Spanish Civil War and Franco Dictatorship, the transformations of Spanish public space, and the violation of domestic space during the period, 1931-2005 in seven texts of the Spanish memory boom. The interrelationship between Republican subalternity and space is redefined by the writers under study as tense and constantly in flux, undermined by its inexorable relationality, which leads to subjects endeavouring to instill into space their own values. The influence of gender, class, and generational status on the subjects’ experience of space is also examined. A secondary theme of this monograph is the motivation underlying this coterie of authors’ commitment to the issue of historical memory. My typology of non-participatory generations defines the principal characteristics of the three generations who have narrativised memory in the noughties. Contesting postmemory as the dominant explanatory framework, my analysis reveals a diverse spectrum of motivation, ranging from identity differentiation and the reclamation of a gendered historical memory to the counteraction of the increasing politicisation of the memory boom.
Table of Contents
• Cultural Memory in Contemporary Spain.
• Authorial Motivation
• Memory and Spatiality: Theoretical Framework.
• Memory and Spatiality in Spain: A History.
Chapter One: Degenerative Rurality, Fertility, and Post-Transitional Justice in Dulce Chacón´s Cielos de barro.
Chapter Two: The City and the Body in Ángeles López’s Martina, la rosa número trece.
Chapter Three: The Nullification of Domestic Space in Alberto Méndez’s ‘Los girasoles ciegos.’
Chapter Four: Spatial Assimilation and the Corruption of the Child in Emili Teixidor´s Pan Negro.
Chapter Five: A Resistant Barcelona: Postmemorial Work and Hidden Transcripts in Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s La Sombra del Viento.
Chapter Six: Rurality and the Second Space in Bernardo Atxaga´s El hijo del acordeonista.
Chapter Seven: Rememory, Hybridity, and In-Between Space in José María Merino’s La Sima.
Memory and Spatiality.
Conversational interview inspired by scholar Allison Schifani’s article “Alternative Sprawls, Junkcities: Buenos Aires Libre and Horizontal Urban Epistemologies,” published in the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies (1.3, 2014). Based on interviews and research conducted in Buenos Aires in 2012, topics include political activism, the links between technology, society and urban sprawl and design, Buenos Aires Libre (BAL), Once Libre, the urban theory of Certeau and the junk-labor of the recyclable materials collectors known as the cartoneros. [LINK TO ORIGINAL PUBLISHER]
Conversational interview inspired by scholar Matt Feinberg’s article “From cigarreras to indignados: Spectacles of scale in the CSA La Tabacalera of Lavapiés, Madrid,” published in the International Journal of Iberian Studies (26.1-2, 2013). Approached simultaneously at the urban, regional and national scales, topics include the interconnection between economy, labor, protest, culture, and selling urban space. Discussions also fold in notions of produced authenticity centering on the figure of the tobacco-rolling cigarrera, zarzuelas, and tourism during the Franco dictatorship. [LINK TO ORIGINAL PUBLISHER]
UCS 009 Klausen on Urban Geocaching in Copenhagen (8 June 2014)
Conversational interview inspired by scholar Maja Klausen’s article “Re-enchanting the city: Hybrid space, affect and playful performance in geocaching, a location-based mobile game,” published in the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies (1.2, 2014). Based on ethnographic research conducted with geocaching players in Copenhagen, Denmark, topics range from a basic introduction to the theoretical underpinnings of geocaching, from the notion of the “magic circle” of play and the reinterpretation of urban spaces as enacted by players in specific urban sites. [LINK TO ORIGINAL PUBLISHER]
My new book Antonio López García’s Everyday Urban Worlds: A Philosophy of Painting is entering production with Bucknell University Press – it should be available in August 2014 (appearing on amazon at present for pre-order).
It represents rather a new form of writing for me – inspired by the meandering and philosophical style of Spanish author / civil engineer Juan Benet’s El ángel del señor abandona a Tobías (1976) where he mixes a range of disciplinary questions together, using the famed painting of the same name by Rembrandt as a point of departure.
Here I’ve devoted a chapter each to specific paintings (Gran Vía, Madrid desde Torres Blancas, and Madrid desde la torre de bomberos de Vallecas…), which I use as points of departure to fold Spanish literature, film and urban planning together with larger interdisciplinary and philosophical, geographical questions.
If you CLICK HERE you can see a ‘prezi’ that I’ve used with a lecture focusing on an excerpt of the second chapter’s Madrid desde Torres Blancas (visuals only).
UCS 008 Masterson-Algar on Ecuadorians in Madrid’s Retiro Park (8 October 2013)
Conversational interview inspired by scholar Araceli Masterson-Algar’s article “Juggling Aesthetics and Surveillance in Paradise: Ecuadorians in Madrid’s Retiro Park,” published in the International Journal of Iberian Studies (26.1-2, 2013). Mixing ethnography on the ground with Ecuadorian immigrants to Madrid with cultural analysis and discussion of urban planning, topics range from urban parks (the Retiro Park [the section known as La Chopera now home to the 11-M memorial and Forest of Memory], the Casa de Campo…) to Manuel Delgado’s urban anthropology and the dynamics of migration as tied to urban processes of tourism and capital accumulation. [LINK TO ORIGINAL PUBLISHER]
Barcelonan Okupas: Squatter Power! is the first book to combine close-readings of the representations of Spanish squatters known as okupas with the study of everyday life, built environment, and city planning in Barcelona. Stephen Vilaseca broadens the scope of Spanish cultural studies by integrating into it notions of embodied cognition and affect that respond to the city before and against the fixed relations of capitalism. Social transformation, as demonstrated by the okupas, is possible when city and art interrelate, not through capital or the urbanization of consciousness, but through bodily thought. The okupas reconfigure the way thoughts, words, images and bodily responses are linked by evoking and communicating the idea of free exchange and openness through art (poetry, music, performance art, the plastic arts, graffiti, urban art and cinema); and by acting out and rehearsing these ideas in the practice of squatting. The okupas challenge society to differentiate the images and representations instituted by state domination or capitalist exploitation from the subversive potential of imagination. The okupas unify theory and practice, word and body, in pursuit of a positive, social vision that might serve humanity and lead the way out of the current problems caused by capitalism.
Atlas Obscura has a fascinating look at the Torre de David in Caracas. This is a 45-story skyscraper that was originally intended to be finance industry office space, but construction was abandoned in 1994. Squatters moved in and today it’s the world’s tallest slum. Here’s the documentary:
Rest assured, a copy of that book is now making its way from Switzerland to the Southland. Shipping is free, so it only cost 45 euros (whatever the hell that is). If the current going price for City of Darkness on Amazon is any indication, maybe you should pick up a couple extra copies as an investment.
I bring up City of Darkness because the KowloonWalledCity came to mind as an obvious comparison, as another “vertical slum”. If you read City of Darkness, you’ll notice a striking similarity in the way that residents describe their community and the way that…
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