Ecologies of Affect
Placing Nostalgia, Desire, and Hope
Publication Year: 2013
Ecologies of Affect offers a synthetic introduction to the felt dynamics of cities and the character of places. The contributors capture the significance of affects including desire, nostalgia, memory, and hope in forming the identity and tone of places. The critical intervention this collection of essays makes is an active, consistent engagement with the virtualities that produce and refract our idealized attachments to place. Contributors show how place images, and attempts to build communities, are, rather than abstractions, fundamentally tied to and revolve around such intangibles. We understand nostalgia, desire, and hope as virtual; that is, even though they are not material, they are nevertheless real and must be accounted for. In this book, the authors take up affect, emotion, and emplacement and consider them in relation to one another and how they work to produce and are produced by certain temporal and spatial dimensions.
The aim of the book is to inspire readers to consider space and place beyond their material properties and attend to the imaginary places and ideals that underpin and produce material places and social spaces. This collection will be useful to practitioners and students seeking to understand the power of affect and the importance of virtualities within contemporary societies, where intangible goods have taken on an increasing value.
Published by: Wilfrid Laurier University Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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List of Figures
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This book was born in a place with nameless streets. Since 1913, the streetsin Edmonton, Alberta, have been numbered, denied the quaint street namesof shared city imaginaries like Sesame Street, Broadway, Main Street. Themeaningful names of other places evoke a sense of place—place myths—thatseems to be absent in a city full of nondescript home addresses like 10731...
Section I: Nostalgia
1 “Not everything was good, but many things were better”: Nostalgia for East Germany and Its Politics
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During a recent trip to Berlin, I wandered through the shops of Alexander-platz in search of objects invoking the East German past. This square, oncethe symbolic centre of the German Democratic Republic, is tied inextrica-bly to one of the most vivid memories of my East German childhood. It wasearly 1990, and I was about to begin a new life with my family in Canada....
2 Nostalgia and Postmemories of a Lost Place: Actualizing “My Virtual Homeland"
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My mother has not been to Kapetanovo, the small Croatian village ofher parents. She was born in London, Ontario, in 1951, two yearsparents were farmhands, learning English, sending their seven-year-old daughter, Inge, to school. Imagining this period, I see my infantmom, with her round face, in a porcelain doll dress, plopped on the...
3 Placing Nostalgia: The Process of Returning and Remaking Home
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When you embark on a journey, you have already arrived. The worldyou are going to is already in your head. You have already walked init, eaten in it; you have already made friends; a lover is already wait-Nostalgia is often understood as an inability to go back, a sickness frombeing unable to return. Though temporally this may be the case, as the past...
4 From Disease to Desire: The Afflicted Amalgamation of Music and Nostalgia
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Despite its original diagnosis as an “afflicted imagination” enkindling despairand death in its victims, nostalgia was adopted as a musical device in Clas-sical, Romantic, and early popular music. In this chapter, I trace nostalgia’smigration from its diagnosis as a crippling disease to its paradoxical incor-Contemporary conjectures about nostalgia describe the emotion as an...
Section II: Desire
5 The Tourist Affect: Escape and Syncresis on the Las Vegas Strip
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How does one understand an isolated desert city devoted to gambling andleisure escapes such as Las Vegas? How does one understand the place, anurban environment like the four miles of The Strip, or the casino resortsand hotels along it such as the Belaggio? Is The Strip just a design icon (cf.Barbour 2000; Dannatt 2002; Gendall 2006; Irazabal 2007) or is it a trench-...
6 (In)Human Desiring and Extended Agency
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In order to relate everything to oneself, one must first of all be thisSelf to whom everything is related.… I am indeed myself, but I amnot brought to myself in this me that I am. I am given to myself, butIn this chapter I will explore how desire, hope, and place can be rethoughtby rethinking the role of relationship. My observation is that relationships...
7 Cityscapes of Desire: Urban Change in Post-Soviet Russia
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I was standing in one of Moscow’s streets in the summer of 2007, gaz-ing at old and new buildings. A man came up to me and asked: “Doyou like how this city is changing?” “Why do you ask?” I replied. “Ipersonally don’t like this new city. I was born here … quite a whileago. Now I can’t even say ‘it is my city’ anymore. It ceased being...
8 Illustrating Desires: The Idea and the Promise of the Suburb in Two Children’s Books
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In this chapter, I consider the idea and the promise of the suburbs.1 I do thisby looking at how they are imagined in two children’s picture books aboutyoung kids newly encountering the suburban landscape. The City Kid andthe Suburb Kid (2008, written by Deb Pilutti and illustrated by Linda Bleck)and On Meadowview Street (2007, written and illustrated by Henry Cole)...
Section III: Hope
9 The Virtual Places of Childhood: Hope and the Micro-Politics of Race at an Inner-City Youth Centre
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In cities across Canada and the United States, recreational youth centreshave become politically popular antidotes to the crime, poverty, and hope-lessness that are thought to pervade “inner-city,” ghettoized spaces (Kelley1997). In Edmonton, Alberta, the Eaglewood Community Youth Centre1 wascreated to combat this “deleterious” influence of the street. This chapter...
10 Virtual Resurrections: Che Guevara’s Image as Place of Hope
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Thus a window is a window because a region of light opens out beyondit; hence, the window giving this light is not itself “like” the light, noris it subjectively linked in our imagination with our ideas of light—butthe window is that very light itself, in its ontological self-identity, thatvery light which, undivided-in-itself and thus inseparable from the...
11 Performing Spaces of Hope: Street Puppetry and the Aesthetics of Scale
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Imagine a four-storey elephant moving slowly toward you in the city street.Imagine a giant “little” girl inhabiting the streets where you live for a few daysand performing ordinary daily rituals—showering, dressing, eating, sleep-ing, and going for a walk—on an extraordinary scale. If Royal de Luxerecently visited your city or town, such sights would not be mere figments...
12 The Spatial Distribution of Hope In and Beyond Fort McMurray
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...[O]nce one has hope within one’s field of vision, one discovers theastounding degree to which the constellations of feelings, discourses andpractices articulated to hope permeate social life. (Hage 2003, 9)Fort McMurray, Alberta, has been hailed as a “land of hope” for workersand their families, for the Canadian national economy, and even for a car-...
13 Spectacular Enclosures of Hope: Artificial Islands in the Gulf and the Present
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Timeless in appeal. A destination that captures the imagination anddoesn’t let go. Like nothing else. Found nowhere else. The World. Epic.1In José Saramago’s allegorical short story “The Tale of the Unknown Island”(1999), the unnamed protagonist of the fable demands of his king a boat. Onceroyally gifted, the man proposes to set sail on a voyage of discovery in search...
Conclusion: A Roundtable on the Affective Turn
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Ecologies of Affect started with the ambition of demonstrating the impor-tance of affect in everyday urban experience. As themes emerged, we real-ized that they themselves overlapped. We therefore wanted to make a placefor these intersections between and across the chapters and to address theways in which the sum of the book was more than its individual parts. This...
List of Contributors
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Series Page, Further Reading
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Environmental thought pursues with renewed urgency the grand concerns of thehumanities: who we think we are, how we relate to others, and how we live in the world.Scholarship in the environmental humanities explores these questions by crossingthe lines that separate human from animal, social from material, and objects andbodies from techno-ecological networks. Humanistic accounts of political represen-...
Page Count: 360
Illustrations: 37 b/w illustrations
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Environmental Humanities