Cultural Fascism and Google Street View; BE Colloquium, 2014.02.20

"September 04, 1998: Entanglement and experimentation: or, Cultural fascism and Google Street View." by Cheryl Gilge. Colloquium in the Built Environment; February 20th, 2014

“September 04, 1998: Entanglement and experimentation: or, Cultural fascism and Google Street View.” by Cheryl Gilge. Colloquium in the Built Environment; February 20th, 2014


1. How can a company develop so much resources to develop this free tool? “How is it.”
2. Why do so many people use it for so many different purposes? “Why is it?”

Some things Cheryl looked at:

A) Knowledge production
– street audits
– Place Pulse (MIT)
– CMU identifies cities’ distinctive details (via image data mining and analysis)
– OpenPlan: Planning Press, Beautiful Streets

Used as a visual objective index. Photo assumed to by authoritative.

B) Creative production
– artists mine visual archives
– painters use it. Bill Guffey, monthly Virtual Paint Out (blog)
– performance artists insert themselves into the view as the camera car drives by
– Music: Arcade Fire, A Wilderness Downtown
– Video: The Theory, Address is Approximate

– phenomenology: thick description
– hermeneutics: horizon of meaning, historical conditions change over time
– critical theory
– DG
– assemblage (bloc of space-time)
– de/reterritorialization
– molar/molecular, line of flight. ((loose space))
(useful for seeing how people use it at different scales and how the company developed the tool)

– photo as empirical evidence
– neoliberal failure of govts abdicating their mapping duties; company rises up to fill the void
– tension: top down neoliberal nonsense // bottom up nature of open source movement
– “citizen cartographer” nonsense

– acquiescence of personal agency to another
– giving in, even craving discipline, for sake of convenience
– somewhat like bargaining with the devil because it’s easier

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Transcending disciplinary power; BE Colloquium, 2014.02.13

2014.02.13 — Transcending disciplinary power: seeking cross-cutting terms of agreement on Duwamish Valley wellbeing

Jonathan Childers MURP
Bill Daniels MD, MPH

Health Impact Assessment

RAO – Remedial Action Objectives

Cancer risks for Duwamish fish consumers, esp Tribal, still reaches 1/10000
Tribal children have 8 times non-cancer risk from fish consumption. (“Hazard Quotient”)

4 main groups identified:
Tribes (3 tribes have historic claims to river)
Subsistence fishers
Local resident (Gtown, South Park)
Workers in local industry

Local residents concerned that improvements could accelerate gentrification, despite revitalizing communities.

Workers generally uninformed about hazards, but industry has concerns.

Subst fishers and Tribal groups face disproportionally largest potential harms.

“When I look at this report, I feel like we’re on this rational path to failing these communities.” 
–City Councilmember O’Brien

“Green-Blue” connections. Green industry as well as concerns toward improving workers conditions.


Mental health impact? If not, are there any avenues for such studies? Or is there desire to do so?

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“Trans rights: Poland’s last iron curtain”; Wiktor Dynarski

Wiktor Dynarski writes, as part of a series about Poland’s Left, on the context of trans rights in Poland. This is a timely piece, considering Poland has an out and public trans woman, Anna Grodzka, seated in its parliament. Even before MP Grodzka’s election, I had been interested in the situation(s) in Poland for the lewica (Left) not only on an institutional level but also, and far more importantly, the situation for queer, trans, and other marginalized subcultures on social and cultural levels.

Poland has a history for the last 200+ years of being subjugated, so the last several generations of Poles have always resisted something in some form no matter what their ideology. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, though, the country was taken by a new hegemony, this time with the oppressed coming to power. The resultant conservative state became dominated by neoliberal economics and Catholic theocratic morality–with formerly oppressed individuals now the institutional oppressors.

It is this broad milieu, ranging from the street-level personal to the state-level, that Dynarski addresses in his article. Perhaps the most compelling section is entitled “Not a minority“, which I quote in its entirety because it’s that incisive (emphasis my own):

Vulnerable groups (a phrasing which, unlike the word minority, concentrates on issues faced by a number of people sharing a similar feature rather than their numbers) are very often misunderstood by a society prone to judge them using simplified ideas and attitudes. When one defines themselves outside of a vulnerable group and lacks a need to engage in a dialogue with the group’s representatives, a line is drawn between the group and what can be identified as “society in general”. A line separating the two, often blocking any type of information exchange, including communication surrounding the needs of those seen as vulnerable (or even the recognition of such needs). This is where the idea of the Iron Curtain serves its metaphorical, rather than historical, purpose. Much as there was (officially) little talk about and need for democracy behind the actual Iron Curtain, today, even less is being said about trans* rights and the needs of trans* people.

What’s striking in this passage is Dynarski’s unequivocal and emphatic indictment of privilege. Privilege is often rightfully defined as something akin to invisible rights and advantages afforded a member of some dominant in-group simply due to their hereditary fortune of being born into the given in-group. While correct, this paints the privileged individuals too passively: as merely ignorant users, participants, and upholders of an oppressive system.

On the other hand, in my emphasized portion, Dynarski indicts the privileged as active participants in the oppression of minority, vulnerable people. In this case, the dominant individual is no longer just an unwitting participant in systemic domination and oppression. Rather, they actively define themselves as not-minority, actively reject the need for engagement and dialog with Others, and actively repel the needs of the vulnerable. Dynarski brings these aspects of privilege into the arena of conscious actions, where they are all exposed as deliberate moral failings of the privileged. Here we also see how personal decisions collectively build and reproduce the larger, oppressive system.

This is the sharp theoretical-practical lens that Dynarski brings with his piece. But, truthfully, it is not just Dynarski saying this. The social justice spheres on Twitter routinely employ this sharp lens via hash tags like #solidarityisforwhitewomen and #cognitivecissonance. This is a good lens to keep in one’s bag of intellectual tools. Its value lies in illuminating individual power and privilege not only in order to expose the concrete operation of oppression but also as a way of providing opportunities for the privileged to actively remedy and ameliorate their exploitive advantages. In these respects, this lens is both an ethical ontology as well as a practical methodology with perhaps an eye toward reparative justice. Mia McKenzie at Black Girl Dangerous writes more practically about how to apply this by “4 Ways to Push Back Against Your Privilege.”

Circumscribing it in the historically-powerful and geographically-appropriate Iron Curtain metaphor is just delicious poetic-justice icing on the very Polish dark humor cake. Yet, widening this metaphor out to “cracks in the wall” is equally powerful and hopeful. As Dynarski illustrates, it can be incredibly disheartening to read of the situation of queer and trans rights in Poland, for there is a wall undoubtedly. However, this wall has serious cracks. Evidence can be seen in the electoral gains of Ruch Palikota (Palikot’s Movement), the voices of leftist media, the organizational operations of Trans-Fuzja, the election of gay MP Robert Biedroń, and of course the election of trans woman MP Anna Grodzka.

A wall with cracks is weak. We find the cracks, we lodge ourselves in them, and we widen them. We also make more cracks. Eventually, people can walk through the cracks. Eventually, we can knock the wall down.

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Book cart:: Gramsci: Space, Nature, Politics; Ekers, Hart et al.


I’m interested in Gramsci, certainly with respect to cultural hegemony. But this sounds promising as it applies Gramsi to space. But, really, what I need to do is read Gramsci himself before delving into these secondary sources, which is always a dicey proposition if one is not familiar enough with the primary sources.

From the Wiley-Blackwell site:

Author(s): Ekers Michael, Hart Gillian, Kipfer Stefan, Loftus Alex

Published Online: 16 OCT 2012

Print ISBN: 9781444339710

Online ISBN: 9781118295588

DOI: 10.1002/9781118295588

This unique collection is the first to bring attention to Antonio Gramsci’s work within geographical debates. Presenting a substantially different reading to Gramsci scholarship, the collection forges a new approach within human geography, environmental studies and development theory.

  • Offers the first sustained attempt to foreground Antonio Gramsci’s work within geographical debates
  • Demonstrates how Gramsci articulates a rich spatial sensibility whilst developing a distinctive approach to geographical questions
  • Presents a substantially different reading of Gramsci from dominant post-Marxist perspectives, as well as more recent anarchist and post-anarchist critiques
  • Builds on the emergence of Gramsci scholarship in recent years, taking this forward through studies across multiple continents, and asking how his writings might engage with and animate political movements today
  • Forges a new approach within human geography, environmental studies and development theory, building on Gramsci’s innovative philosophy of praxis

Authors’ bios (source):

Michael Ekers is Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough. In addition to his interests in Gramsci, his research focuses on urban unemployment and rural relief projects in Depression-Era British Columbia, and questions of masculinity, race, and the social contribution of the unemployed. Gillian Hart is Professor at the University of California Berkeley and Honorary Professor at University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban. She is currently working on a companion volume to Disabling Globalization: Places of Power in Post-Apartheid South Africa (2002). Stefan Kipfer is Associate Professor at York University, Toronto. His research deals with comparative urban politics and the role of the urban in social and political theory, particularly in Marxist and counter-colonial traditions. He is the co-editor (with Kanishka Goonewardena, Richard Milgrom, Christian Schmid) of Space, Difference, Everyday Life: Reading Henri Lefebvre (2008). Alex Loftus is a Lecturer at Royal Holloway, University of London. His research focuses on the political ecology of water and the political possibilities within urban ecologies. He is the author of Everyday Environmentalism: Creating an Urban Political Ecology (2012).

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this is what male feminist transmisogyny looks like


Transmisogyny is the subset of transphobia that marginalizes, debases, and invalidates trans women.

Transmisogyny is the most common, most caustic, and disproportionally largest form of transphobia.

Transmisogyny specifically focuses transphobia against trans women with deadly accuracy.

This is deadly serious: Casually transmisogynistic utterances such as Whedon’s normalize transmisogynistic behavior which runs from ridicule–which is linguistic, social, and psychological violence–through harassment to actual physical violence against all trans women. Moreover, intersected with racism, transmisogyny kills trans women of color disproportionally.

This is why it is important to fight transmisogyny at all levels, even at those like Whedon’s lowly tweet, toward the goal of ending transmisogynistic violence. If I’m being harsh on Joss Whedon, it is because he has been feted time and time again for being an amazing feminist, writing strong female characters, etc. So much so, in fact, that I gaslighted myself and puzzled over whether this tweet was from the real Joss Whedon. Women are not defined by their genitals. Trans women are women, regardless of their genitals.

Some other examples of what transmisogyny looks like.

Update 2014-01-27 18:53: Irae Nicole at io9 asks the same thing I did: Really Joss Whedon? Really

Update 2014-01-27 20:08: Aoife writes a more thoughtful piece on her blog.

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Muckleshoot Food Sovereignty Project; BE Colloquium, 2014.01.16

Valerie Segrest

Nutritionist for mickle shoot tribe
Getting ppl out connected to land environment and each other

Muckleshoot Food Sovereignty Project
12 week class on iding and harvesting foods
Community food assessment, i.e. food maps from community members
Class for cooks
Orchard plantings

Tribal food sovereignty is a bit different bc sov in the tribal context is tied to other ideas of sov wrt to treaties and similar politics.
Also forest to table rather than farm to table
Diet is connected to identity

(treaty of Pt. Elliott 1855)
Access to food, game, etc
Identity is what we eat and what we eat is the link to the land.

Challenge bc current tribal elders came out of the boarding school era.
The knowledge that you carry is Wealth

Cooks are legitimate health practitioners in communities.

–traditional pit ovens
–boiling water in a cedar bent wood box

Muckleshoot Weyerhaeuser purchase of 90k acres for possible

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Google suggestions: “transgender self” 2014.01.13


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