In Praise of the Margin
By Bouchra Tafrata
Write to me at: email@example.com
In Praise of the MarginMar 02, 2023
Learning to Transgress (with Leigh Patel)
Leigh Patel (Professor at the University of Pittsburgh and Author of No Study without Struggle: Confronting Settler Colonialism in Higher Education) discusses how learning and struggle intertwine. What is the role of institutions of higher education in settler colonialism? We talk about learning/studying together as a fugitive practice, building a community within the classroom, the politics of access, the poetry of resistance, and much more.
The Fragmentary Social Life of the Metroscene (with Rashmi Sadana)
Rashmi Sadana (Author and Associate Professor at George Mason University) talks about the metroscene in Delhi and how mega-infrastructure projects (re)shape cities and crowds, based on her extensive research and recent book The Moving City: Scenes from the Delhi Metro and the Social Life of Infrastructure, a vivid collection of stories on Delhi’s social and urban mobility landscape. Complemented by a reading of three vignettes from her book, we discuss the complexity of urban (im)mobility, the metroscene as an urban stage, gendered transit, ethnographic writing, and much more.
Blackness (Re)making Place and Poetic Rhymes (with Dr. Rashad Shabazz)
Dr. Rashad Shabazz (Associate Professor in African American studies and geography at Arizona State University) walks us through how urban planning and policing social relations are mobilised to create spaces and policies of confinement and carcerality to contain Black communities in the South Side of Chicago. We talk about the role of carceral urbanism in making Black masculinity, grassroots urban initiatives in the South Side, the emergence of MCs, Rap & Hip Hop music as the voice of the corner, and the construction of neighbourhood identity and representation.
“My City - Common”
“Diddy Bop - Noname (feat. Cam O’bi & Raury)”
“U.N.I.T.Y. - Queen Latifah”
Reading Southern Theory and Knowledge Hegemony Through Informality (with Dr. Nipesh Palat Narayanan)
Dr. Nipesh Palat Narayanan (Research fellow at the Laboratory for Social Geography at the University of Florence in Italy) talks about his transition from architecture/urban planning in India to academic research on southern theory, knowledge hegemony, and informal food-vending practices in Delhi and Colombo. We discuss the production of the formal/informal binary, the politics of categorization, situatedness, the complexity of defining what makes a researcher a Global South or Global North scholar, what it means to cite a Global South scholar in the North, and vice versa.
Uncovering Colonial Violence in the Public Space (with Françoise Vergès)
Françoise Vergès, writer, historian, activist and public educator, walks us through the mise en scène of ‘the colonial triangle’ in the 12th Arrondissement in Paris. Between le Palais de la Porte Dorée (former Musée des Colonies, inaugurated in 1931 for the Exposition Coloniale Internationale in Paris), the Statue of Athena and le Monument Marchand, we discuss her new book with Seumboy Vrainom :€ called ‘De la violence coloniale dans l’espace public: Visite du triangle de la Porte Dorée à Paris’ (2021, Shed Publishing) which unveils the memorialisation of colonial violence and expeditions, imperialism, and extractivism on murals, museum walls, streets names and statues in the public space.
Ruminations on the Built Environment and Modern Heritage (with Dr. Asma Mehan)
Dr. Asma Mehan (Postdoctoral fellow at Leiden Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology) talks about her work on the built environment, where she bridges between history and urban studies. We discuss the politics of space in Teheran and Kuala Lumpur, the manifestation of religion in the socio-spatial interactions, and colonial markers inside/outside of the built environment.
Squatters, Urban Commoning, and Organization (with Dr. Miguel A. Martínez)
Prof. Miguel A. Martínez (Uppsala University) discusses his work on the leftist squatters' movements in the capitalist city, commoning the urban space, and squatting as a form of organization and alternative living. We reflect on the importance of spaces of solidarity in the city, challenging the commodification of the urban realm, participatory action research, and the intersection between activism and academia.
Bridging Voices Beyond the West (with Mariko Sugita)
Mariko Sugita, an editor, journalist, and researcher on all things architecture and urbanism talks about her projects that aim to connect voices beyond the borders. We discuss urban studies in the west, Japanese practices, urban narratives, and Kyoto as a realm of experimentation.