University of Georgia Press

Geographies of Justice and Social Transformation

Nik Heynen, Deborah Cowen, and Melissa W. Wright, Series Editors

Published by: University of Georgia Press

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Geographies of Justice and Social Transformation

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Fitzgerald

Geography of a Revolution

William Bunge

This on-the-ground study of one square mile in Detroit was written in collaboration with neighborhood residents, many of whom were involved with the famous Detroit Geographical Expedition and Institute. Fitzgerald, at its core, is dedicated to understanding global phenomena through the intensive study of a small, local place.

Beginning with an 1816 encounter between the Ojibwa population and the neighborhood’s first surveyor, William Bunge examines the racialized imposition of local landscapes over the course of European American settlement. Historical events are firmly situated in space—a task Bunge accomplishes through liberal use of maps and frequent references to recognizable twentieth-century landmarks.

More than a work of historical geography, Fitzgerald is a political intervention. By 1967 the neighborhood was mostly African American; Black Power was ascendant; and Detroit would experience a major riot. Immersed in the daily life of the area, Bunge encouraged residents to tell their stories and to think about local politics in spatial terms. His desire to undertake a different sort of geography led him to create a work that was nothing like a typical work of social science. The jumble of text, maps, and images makes it a particularly urgent book—a major theoretical contribution to urban geography that is also a startling evocation of street-level Detroit during a turbulent era.

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Geographical Diversions

Tibetan Trade, Global Transactions

Tina Harris

Working at the intersections of cultural anthropology, human geography, and material culture, Tina Harris explores the social and economic transformations taking place along one trade route that winds its way across China, Nepal, Tibet, and India.

How might we make connections between seemingly mundane daily life and more abstract levels of global change? Geographical Diversions focuses on two generations of traders who exchange goods such as sheep wool, pang gdan aprons, and more recently, household appliances. Exploring how traders "make places," Harris examines the creation of geographies of trade that work against state ideas of what trade routes should look like. She argues that the tensions between the apparent fixity of national boundaries and the mobility of local individuals around such restrictions are precisely how routes and histories of trade are produced.

The economic rise of China and India has received attention from the international media, but the effects of major new infrastructure at the intersecting borderlands of these nationstates—in places like Tibet, northern India, and Nepal—have rarely been covered. Geographical Diversions challenges globalization theories based on bounded conceptions of nation-states and offers a smaller-scale perspective that differs from many theories of macroscale economic change.

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Making the San Fernando Valley

Rural Landscapes, Urban Development, and White Privilege

Laura R. Barraclough

 

In the first book-length scholarly study of the San Fernando Valley—home to one-third of the population of Los Angeles—Laura R. Barraclough combines ambitious historical sweep with an on-theground investigation of contemporary life in this iconic western suburb. She is particularly intrigued by the Valley’s many rural elements, such as dirt roads, tack-and-feed stores, horse-keeping districts, citrus groves, and movie ranches. Far from natural or undeveloped spaces, these rural characteristics are, she shows, the result of deliberate urbanplanning decisions that have shaped the Valley over the course of more than a hundred years.
 
The Valley’s entwined history of urban development and rural preservation has real ramifications today for patterns of racial and class inequality and especially for the evolving meaning of whiteness. Immersing herself in meetings of homeowners’ associations, equestrian organizations, and redistricting committees, Barraclough uncovers the racial biases embedded in rhetoric about “open space” and “western heritage.” The Valley’s urban cowboys enjoy exclusive, semirural landscapes alongside the opportunities afforded by one of the world’s largest cities. Despite this enviable position, they have at their disposal powerful articulations of both white victimization and, with little contradiction, color-blind politics.

 

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Pain, Pride, and Politics

Social Movement Activism and the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora in Canada

Amarnath Amarasingam

Pain, Pride, and Politics is an examination of diasporic politics based on a case study of Sri Lankan Tamils in Canada, with particular focus on activism between December 2008 and May 2009. Amarnath Amarasingam analyzes the reactions of diasporic Tamils in Canada at a time when the separatist Tamil movement was being crushed by the Sri Lankan armed forces and revises currently accepted analytical frameworks relating to diasporic communities. This book adds to our understanding of a particular diasporic group, while contributing to the theoretical literature in the area.

Throughout, Amarasingam argues that transnational diasporic mobilization is at times determined and driven as much by internal organizational and communal developments as by events in their countries of origin, a phenomenon that has received relatively little attention in the scholarly literature. His work provides an in-depth examination of the ways in which a separatist sociopolitical movement beginning in Sri Lanka is carried forward, altered, and adapted by the diaspora and the struggles that are involved in this process.

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The Politics of the Encounter

Urban Theory and Protest under Planetary Urbanization

Andy Merrifield

The Politics of the Encounter is a spirited interrogation of the city as a site of both theoretical inquiry and global social struggle. The city, writes Andy Merrifield, remains "important, virtually and materially, for progressive politics." And yet, he notes, more than forty years have passed since Henri Lefebvre advanced the powerful ideas that still undergird much of our thinking about urbanization and urban society. Merrifield rethinks the city in light of the vast changes to our planet since 1970, when Lefebvre's seminal Urban Revolution was first published. At the same time, he expands on Lefebvre's notion of "the right to the city," which was first conceived in the wake of the 1968 student uprising in Paris.

We need to think less of cities as "entities with borders and clear demarcations between what's inside and what's outside" and emphasize instead the effects of "planetary urbanization," a concept of Lefebvre's that Merrifield makes relevant for the ways we now experience the urban. The city—from Tahrir Square to Occupy Wall Street—seems to be the critical zone in which a new social protest is unfolding, yet dissenters' aspirations are transcending the scale of the city physically and philosophically. Consequently, we must shift our perspective from "the right to the city" to "the politics of the encounter," says Merrifield. We must ask how revolutionary crowds form, where they draw their energies from, what kind of spaces they occur in—and what kind of new spaces they produce.

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Precarious Worlds

Contested Geographies of Social Reproduction

Edited by Katie Meehan and Kendra Strauss

This edited collection contributes to the theoretical literature on social reproduction—defined by Marx as the necessary labor to arrive the next day at the factory gate—and extended by feminist geographers and others into complex understandings of the relationship between paid labor and the unpaid work of daily life. The volume explores new terrain in social reproduction with a focus on the challenges posed by evolving theories of embodiment and identity, nonhuman materialities, and diverse economies.Reflecting and expanding on ongoing debates within feminist geography, with additional cross-disciplinary contributions from sociologists and political scientists, Precarious Worlds explores the productive possibilities of social reproduction as an ontology, a theoretical lens, and an analytical framework for what Geraldine Pratt has called “a vigorous, materialist transnational feminism.”Contributors: Kate Bezanson, Susan Braedley, Jessie H. Clark, Kelly Dombroski, Rosalind Fredericks, Andrew Gorman-Murray, Cindi Katz, Meg Luxton, Brian Marks, Sallie A. Marston, Katie Meehan, Katharyne Mitchell, Oona Morrow, Brenda Parker, Barbara Ellen Smith, Kendra Strauss, Jamie Winders

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Properties of Violence

Law and Land-Grant Struggle in Northern New Mexico

David Correia

Through the compelling story of the Tierra Amarilla conflict, David Correia examines how law and property, in general, and a Mexican-period land grant in northern New Mexico, in particular, have been constituted through violence and social struggle.

Spain and Mexico populated what is today New Mexico through large common property land grants to sheepherders and agriculturalists. After the U.S.-Mexican War the area saw rampant land speculation and dubious property adjudication with nearly all the grants being rejected by U.S. courts or acquired by land speculators. Of all the land grant conflicts in New Mexico's history, Tierra Amarilla is one of the most sensational, with numerous nineteenth-century speculators ranking among the state's political and economic elite and a remarkable pattern of resistance to land loss by heirs in the twentieth century.

Correia narrates a long and largely unknown history of property conflict in Tierra Amarilla characterized by nearly constant violence—night riding and fence cutting, pitched gun battles, and tanks rumbling along the rutted dirt roads of northern New Mexico. The legal geography he constructs is one that includes a remarkable cast of characters: millionaire sheep barons, Spanish anarchists, hooded Klansmen, Puerto Rican freedom fighters—or as J. Edgar Hoover, another of the characters in Correia's story would have called them, "terrorists." By placing property and law at the center of his study, Properties of Violence first reveals and then examines a central irony: violence is not the opposite of law but rather is essential to its operation.

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Rethinking the South African Crisis

Nationalism, Populism, Hegemony

Gillian Hart

Since the end of apartheid, South Africa has become an extreme yet unexceptional embodiment of forces at play in many other regions of the world: intensifying inequality alongside “wageless life,” proliferating forms of protest and populist politics that move in different directions, and official efforts at containment ranging from liberal interventions targeting specific populations to increasingly common police brutality.

Rethinking the South African Crisis revisits long-standing debates to shed new light on the transition from apartheid. Drawing on nearly twenty years of ethnographic research, Hart argues that local government has become the key site of contradictions. Local practices, conflicts, and struggles in the arenas of everyday life feed into and are shaped by simultaneous processes of de-nationalization and re-nationalization. Together they are key to understanding the erosion of African National Congress hegemony and the proliferation of populist politics.

This book provides an innovative analysis of the ongoing, unstable, and unresolved crisis in South Africa today. It also suggests how Antonio Gramsci’s concept of passive revolution, adapted and translated for present circumstances with the help of philosopher and liberation activist Frantz Fanon, can do useful analytical and political work in South Africa and beyond.

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Roppongi Crossing

The Demise of a Tokyo Nightclub District and the Reshaping of a Global City

Roman Adrian Cybriwsky

For most of the latter half of the twentieth century, Roppongi was an enormously popular nightclub district that stood out from the other pleasure quarters of Tokyo for its mix of international entertainment and people. It was where Japanese and foreigners went to meet and play. With the crash of Japan’s bubble economy in the 1990s, however, the neighborhood declined, and it now has a reputation as perhaps Tokyo’s most dangerous district—a hotbed of illegal narcotics, prostitution, and other crimes. Its concentration of “bad foreigners,” many from China, Russia and Eastern Europe, West Africa, and Southeast Asia is thought to be the source of the trouble.

Roman Adrian Cybriwsky examines how Roppongi’s nighttime economy is now under siege by both heavy-handed police action and the conservative Japanese “construction state,” an alliance of large private builders and political interests with broad discretion to redevelop Tokyo. The construction state sees an opportunity to turn prime real estate into high-end residential and retail projects that will “clean up” the area and make Tokyo more competitive with Shanghai and other rising business centers in Asia.

Roppongi Crossing is a revealing ethnography of what is arguably the most dynamic district in one of the world’s most dynamic cities. Based on extensive fieldwork, it looks at the interplay between the neighborhood’s nighttime rhythms; its emerging daytime economy of office towers and shopping malls; Japan’s ongoing internationalization and changing ethnic mix; and Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown, the massive new construction projects now looming over the old playground.

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Selling the Serengeti

The Cultural Politics of Safari Tourism

Benjamin Gardner

Situating safari tourism within the discourses and practices of development, Selling the Serengeti examines the relationship between the Maasai people of northern Tanzania and the extraordinary influence of foreign-owned ecotourism and biggame- hunting companies. It looks at two major discourses and policies surrounding biodiversity conservation, the championing of community-based conservation and the neoliberal focus on private investment in tourism, and their profound effect on Maasai culture and livelihoods. This ethnographic study explores how these changing social and economic relationships and forces remake the terms through which state institutions and local people engage with foreign investors, communities, and their own territories. The book highlights how these new tourism arrangements change the shape and meaning of the nation-state and the village and in the process remake cultural belonging and citizenship.Benjamin Gardner’s experiences in Tanzania began during a study abroad trip in 1991. His stay led to a relationship with the nation and the Maasai people in Loliondo lasting almost twenty years; it also marked the beginning of his analysis and ethnographic research into social movements, market-led conservation, and neoliberal development around the Serengeti.

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