Feminist Mappings of the City

What is a feminist “image of the city”?

The city is often experienced negatively by women. Easily measured causes for negativity include criminal violence, physical and sexual assault, and street harassment. Less easy to measure are the effects of these and other negative experiences, which are often registered rather subjectively.

This paper proposes a new mapping of gendered experiences of the city based on Kevin Lynch’s environmental images. My proposal is informed by feminist art projects that measure and represent women’s negative experiences in the city. My goal is to develop a new environmental image that reflects these experiences. Continue reading “Feminist Mappings of the City”

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Emotional Politics, or “Solidarity Not Charity: Radical Responses to Poverty”

presented on April 14, 2012, as part of a joint Occupy/Justice Action Ministries panel discussion on poverty entitled “The Poor Can No Longer Afford the Rich.” [for my previous pieces of public scholarship i/r/t Occupy, look to Nightmares and Ghost Stories]

In our modern world, poverty is not natural, but the result of institutions that are set up to benefit a few at the expense of the many. Relief efforts are currently failing because they do not address the root causes of poverty. These causes are not mystical or hard to identify, as the most important ones are global property law, international debt, unfair trade, top-down privatization programs, corporate tax shelters, the those problems are social and political. Furthermore, there is a history to these problems, and poverty will not be addressed until this history is reversed.

Continue reading “Emotional Politics, or “Solidarity Not Charity: Radical Responses to Poverty””

dangerous emotions

Emotions color the line drawings with which cognition represents reality. The philosophical distinction between the cognitive sense and private feelings can be traced back to Aristotle; it continues to our day in the concept of objective scientific knowledge. We take emotions to be distinctively human phenomena. Outside the crystal ball of the human psyche, there are only grass that does not wince when we tread on it, trees that are impassive as the chain-saw slashes them, water that does not shiver with pleasure when we stroke it, atoms drifting through the void without anxiety and colliding without pleasure or pain. If these things move us, it is because we are moved by the colors we project onto them. All colors, according to John Locke and seventeenth-century epistemology, including the “color” of emotion, are subjective effects within the pscyhe of the viewer.

Continue reading “dangerous emotions”