Statement from the Critical and Autonomous Geographies of Latin America Encounter

3Cs participated in the Encounter of Critical and Autonomous Geographies of Latin America in Ecuador earlier this month where we had the immense pleasure of meeting and learning from other geography and counter-mapping collectives from across the continent. We’ll share more about the encuentro soon, but first we share the collectively written statement that came out of the meeting and that was read in the Encounter of Latin American Geographers in Quito on April 12 (español abajo).

We recognize Latin America as a geography that has been and that continues to be marked by material, epistemological, cultural, symbolic, and gendered coloniality, which continually dispossess peoples of their territories, knowledges, and feelings; and that has impacted our way of understanding our living spaces.

As critical and autonomous collectives that are building plural geographies from and in solidarity with Latin America, in the current context of the advance of racism, fascism, neoliberal capitalism, sexism, and the criminalization of protest,

We reject:

Theoretical and applied neoliberal geography that provides the conceptual and technological tools for the commercialization of education and the dispossession of common goods and knowledges.

Geography that justifies and reinforces the advance of fascism, xenophobia, and colonialism through geographical determinism, ethnocentrism, centralism, and methodological nationalism.

Geography that legitimizes academic extractivism, that takes on the function of validating certain knowledges over others and that assumes that the construction and enunciation of knowledge solely corresponds to the academic sphere.

Geography that does not make a commitment to social justice and that fosters intellectual hierarchies through the creation of categories as subjects and objects of investigation.

Geography that promotes intellectual cannibalism that prevents us from creating collectively and that rewards individuality and the precaritization of life at the expense of collective care and self-care.

Geography that embodies racism and heteronormative patriarchy that invisibilizes and exploits the labor generated by the bodies of women, sexual and gender dissidents/diversities, students, Indigenous, Black, and poor populations.

Geography focused on academic publications that is instrumental to an elitist system that does not seek to democratize the construction of or access to knowledge.

Geography that is produced within private university institutions that exclude popular populations which cannot afford their high costs to access learning.

We propose a geography that is collective, emancipatory, feminist, anti-capitalist, decolonial, ecologist, self-critical, and committed to justice and social transformation rooted in struggles. A geography that does not only question its privileges within the classroom, or in a text on Positionality and Reflexivity, but that is space from which we take on our historical and structural privileges in our everyday practices, not to perpetuate and affirm them, but to question and deconstruct them. A geography that does not take the side of the oppressed, but that takes responsibility for its shit, that does not only point out, but that struggles against the structural systems of oppression that sustain us.

We insist/we demand that EGAL:

1. Take responsibility its patriarchal and exclusionary name, Encuentro de GeografOs de América Latina, and that it changes it to “Encuentro de Geografías de América Latina” to recognize: (a) the historically invisibilized labor of women and sexual and gender dissidents, and (b) the pluralities from which territories, spaces of life, and forms of knowledge are constructed.

2. That it puts an end to its exclusionary practices of access to and exchange of knowledge, including the high cost of registration and academic hierarchization, which makes it into an elitist space distanced from the societies that it claims to understand and aspires to contribute to.

3. That it calls for making visible academic, labor, and gendered violence within university spaces, pointing to the contradictions between those types of practices and discourses of gender equality within institutions, programs, seminars, professorships, or magazines connected to our discipline.

We declare this positioning as an invitation and as a provocation, as a taking up of responsibility faced with the reality in which we live and construct in the spatial-temporal coordinates that we inhabit.

Collectives, groups, and individuals who participated in the Encounter of Critical Geographies and Autonomous Geographies of Latin America

Colectivo de Geografía Crítica Gladys Armijo, Chile

Cartografía Sur, Colombia

Kioscos Socioambientales, Costa Rica

Estepa, Colombia-México

Geobrujas-Comunidad de Geógrafas, México

Kolektiv Orangotango, Germany

Colectivo de Geografía Crítica del Ecuador, Ecuador

FES-ILDIS, Ecuador

Ellas tienen nombre, México

La muerte sale por el Oriente / Mapeo de Feminicidios, México

GEOGRAFAR, Brasil

Colectivo Louis Michel, México

Kritische Geographien globaler Ungleichheiten, Germany

Geoide en Revolución, Argentina

Comité Estudiantes de Geografía, Colombia

Alianza Territorial Mapuche, Chile

Feminicidios.mx, México

Miradas Críticas al Territorio desde el Feminismo, Ecuador, México, Perú, Uruguay, España

Counter Cartographies Collective, United States

Geógrafas haciendo lugar, Argentina

Feminar/Ausgecohlt, Germany

Mapeo Feminicidios, Uruguay

Artos, Ecuador

Geocomunes, México

Renascer, Brazil

PRONUNCIAMIENTO HACIA LA GEOGRAFÍA

En el marco del XVII EGAL, Quito, Ecuador.

Reconocemos América Latina como una geografía que ha sido y es marcada por la colonialidad material, epistémica, cultural, simbólica y de género, la cual continuamente despoja a pueblos y personas de sus territorios, saberes y sentires; y que nos ha marcado la forma de entender nuestros espacios de vida.

En el contexto actual de avance del racismo, fascismo, capitalismo neoliberal, machismo y criminalización de la protesta social, como colectivos críticos y autónomos que construimos geografías plurales desde y en solidaridad con América Latina,

Rechazamos:

La geografía teórica y aplicada de corte neoliberal que provee las herramientas conceptuales y tecnológicas para la mercantilización de la educación y el despojo de los saberes y los bienes comunes.

La geografía que justifica y refuerza el avance del fascismo, la xenofobia y el colonialismo a través del determinismo geográfico, el etnocentrismo, el centralismo y el nacionalismo metodológico.

La geografía que legitima el extractivismo académico, que se arroga la función de validar ciertos conocimientos sobre otros y que asume que la construcción y enunciación del conocimiento le pertenecen únicamente al ámbito académico.

La geografía que no asume su compromiso con la justicia social y que fomenta las jerarquías intelectuales mediante la creación de categorías como sujetos y objetos de investigación.

La geografía que impulsa el canibalismo intelectual que nos impide crear en colectivo, y que premia la individualidad y la precarización de la vida en desmedro del cuidado colectivo y el autocuidado.

La geografía que encarna el racismo y el patriarcado heteronormativo que invisibiliza y explota el trabajo generado por los cuerpos de mujeres, disidencias/diversidades sexuales y de género, indígenas, negres, pobres, colegas y estudiantes.

La geografía enfocada en la publicación académica e instrumental a un sistema elitista que no busca democratizar la construcción ni el acceso al conocimiento.

La geografía que se produce desde instituciones universitarias privadas excluyentes de poblaciones populares que no pueden costear sus altas tasas para acceder al estudio.

Proponemos una geografía en colectivo, emancipatoria, feminista, anti-capitalista, decolonial, ecologista, auto-crítica, comprometida con la justicia y la transformación social anclada en las luchas, y que no solo cuestione sus privilegios dentro de las aulas, o en un escrito de Posicionalidad y Reflexividad, sino que sea ese espacio desde el cual asumimos nuestros privilegios históricos y estructurales en nuestras prácticas cotidianas, no para perpetuarlos y afirmarlos, sino para cuestionarlos y deconstruirlos. Una geografía que no tome partido por les oprimides, sino que se haga cargo de su mierda, que no solo señale, sino que luche contra los sistemas estructurales de opresión que nos sostienen.

Instamos/Le exigimos al EGAL:

1. Que asuma la carga patriarcal y excluyente de su nombre, Encuentro de GeografOs de América Latina, y que lo cambie por “Encuentro de Geografías de América Latina”, para reconocer: (a) el trabajo históricamente invisibilizado de las mujeres y las disidencias/diversidades sexuales y de género (b) las pluralidades desde las que se construyen los territorios, espacios de vida y formas de conocimiento.

2. Que termine con las prácticas exclusivas de acceso e intercambio de conocimiento, como el costo elevado de la inscripción y la jerarquización académica, que vuelve al evento un espacio elitista alejado de las sociedades que pretende comprender y a las que aspira a contribuir.

3. Que haga un llamado a la visibilización de la violencia académica, laboral y de género dentro de los espacios universitarios, señalando las contradicciones que hay entre este tipo de prácticas y los discursos de igualdad de género dentro de instituciones, programas, seminarios, cátedras o revistas vinculadas a nuestra disciplina.

Manifestamos este posicionamiento como una invitación y como una provocación, como una toma de responsabilidad ante la realidad que vivimos y construimos en las coordenadas espacio-temporales que habitamos.

Colectivos, grupos y personas asistentes al Encuentro de Geografías Críticas y Geografías Autónomas de América Latina

Colectivo de Geografía Crítica Gladys Armijo, Chile

Cartografía Sur, Colombia

Kioscos Socioambientales, Costa Rica

Estepa, Colombia-México

Geobrujas-Comunidad de Geógrafas, México

Kolektiv Orangotango, Alemania

Colectivo de Geografía Crítica del Ecuador, Ecuador

FES-ILDIS, Ecuador

Ellas tienen nombre, México

La muerte sale por el Oriente / Mapeo de Feminicidios, México

GEOGRAFAR, Brasil

Colectivo Louis Michel, México

Kritische Geographien globaler Ungleichheiten, Alemania

Geoide en Revolución, Argentina

Comité Estudiantes de Geografía, Colombia

Alianza Territorial Mapuche, Chile

Feminicidios.mx, México

Miradas Críticas al Territorio desde el Feminismo, Ecuador, México, Perú, Uruguay, España

Counter Cartographies Collective, Estados Unidos

Geógrafas haciendo lugar, Argentina

Feminar/Ausgecohlt, Alemania

Mapeo Feminicidios, Uruguay

Artos, Ecuador

Geocomunes, México

Renascer, Brasil

3Cs at the Feminist Geography Conference

Last May, 3Cs facilitated a workshop on mapping spaces of precarity and spaces of care at the Feminist Geography Conference in Chapel Hill.

The abstract:

In the Counter Cartographies Collective, we have long been concerned with increasing precaritization in the university, not only in terms of working conditions but also the precaritization of other facets of life and knowledge production. Yet more than a description of current trends, we have understood the concept of precarity as a tool that might allow for remapping new ties of solidarity and the emergence of an ethics of care. In this workshop, we will be collectively mapping out how the university both produces precarity and also serves as a site of resistance to it. We will look at spaces where we feel threatened, isolated, marginalized, or precarious, as well as the spaces of possible or already existing alternatives, spaces where we feel cared for, where community is being built. While we will particularly look at the campus space, we also hope to focus on the connections between the university and other places, such as the home and the city.

Each group took the prompt in a different direction, deepening our original questions about precarity and care in unexpected ways. One group started by tracing their hands and mapping out their experiences of precarity starting from their hands – arthritis, women typing for men, so many emails – but also of care – painting nails, swimming, yoga, caring for others. [This reminds Liz of her experience of shattering two fingers in a bus accident and being unable to write, cook, open doors or wine bottles, and needing so much care!]

A second group made a concept map linking spaces and experiences of precarity, also showing how different people can experience different places differently — the gym, the forest, the coffee shop, are spaces where some people feel cared for an others don’t. Another group mapped spaces where people feel support and cared for versus spaces of precarity, also highlighting the role of the internet and virtual spaces.

We can draw some initial conclusions from this mapping… First, the importance of bodies/embodiment – both in how we feel and experience precarity and lack of care and bodies carrying out the material labor involved in “immaterial” academic labor, as well as the specificity of different bodies in experiencing different spaces differently.

Second, that the university is routinely experienced as a space of precarity, albeit in different ways, and there seems to be very little opportunity for constructing any lasting spaces or infrastructures of care within the university. What there might be, however, are moments or tactics of care and links to spaces of care outside of the university.

And finally, that care is a lot of work!

Photo credit Francisco Laso

Photo credit Francisco Laso

Map in Ruptures, Vol. 1

Since our early days on UNC’s campus, 3Cs has been committed to challenging the memorialization of white supremacy on campus so we were thrilled to be asked to make a map for the zine of the FLOCK (Feminists Liberating Our Collective Knowledge). This is the map we contributed in an attempt to envision past, present, and future struggles on UNC’s campus and imagine the university we want. And check out the whole zine: Ruptures, Vol 1!

Ruptures Map

 

#KickOutTheKKK

As students at UNC are rallying today to demand the renaming of Saunders Hall (which glorifies William L. Saunders, the Grand Dragon and Founder of the North Carolina KKK) & the contextualization of the “Silent Sam” memorial to Confederate soldiers, we made this map to support their efforts:

 

hurston hall

For more information about the event today, check out the facebook event

More background:

Video by geography grad students 

“The University of North Carolina’s Silent Sam Statue Represents a Legacy of White Supremacy”

Maribel on Struggles around Precarity

3Cs’ Maribel Casas-Cortés on Against the Grain talking about precarity

From the show’s description:

To many people and activist networks in Europe, “precarity” denotes the insecurity and vulnerability experienced by workers, immigrants, tenants, unemployed people, and others as attacks on labor protections and welfare supports continue. Maribel Casas-Cortés views precarity as a toolbox concept capable of uniting diverse struggles.

And, check out Maribel’s article “A Genealogy of Precarity” here

Mapping police militarization in NC

Recently in response to #Ferguson the New York Times posted a FOIA’ed list of the total amount of military equipment received by US counties from 2006-2014. We put together a quick map of the total amount per capita spent by police agencies in NC counties, and in the full post you can see a full list of what each county bought, from most to least expensive. It might also be interesting to think this map alongside some maps Tim made of NC’s school-to-prison pipeline back in 2013.

Note that this map only represents equipment *given* to counties by DoD, not purchased with their own $ or federal funding. Also, militarization is definitely not the only justice issue with police in NC — for example Durham, a county which doesn’t show up as particularly problematic on this map, has huge disparities in drug searches & arrests between white and Black citizens.


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What does a Critical Data Studies look like, and why do we care? Seven points for a critical approach to ‘Big Data’

From co-authors Craig Dalton and Jim Thatcher

How do we approach ‘big data’ critically?  What is to be done with ‘big data’?

There is a need for a critical data studies

As the public discourse around data turns from hubristic claims to existing, empirical results, it’s become nearly as easy to bash ‘big data’ as to hype it (Carr 2014; Marcus and Davis 2014; Harford 2014; Podesta 2014). Geographers are intimately involved with this recent rise of data. Most digital information now contains some spatial component (Hahmann and Burghardt 2013) and geographers are contributing tools (Haklay and Weber 2008), maps (Zook and Poorthius 2014), and methods (Tsou et al. 2014) to the rising tide of quantification. Critiques of ‘big data’ thus far offer keen insight and acerbic wit, but remain piecemeal and disconnected. ‘Big data’s’ successes or failures as a tool are judged (K.N.C. 2014), or it is examined from a specific perspective, such as its role in surveillance (Crampton et al. 2014). Recently, voices in critical geography have raised the call for a systemic approach to data criticisms, a critical data studies (Dalton and Thatcher 2014; Graham 2014; Kitchin 2014). This post presents seven key provocations we see as drivers of a comprehensive critique of the new regimes of data, ‘big’ or not. We focus on why a critical approach is needed, what it may offer, and some idea of what it could look like.

The rest is over at the Society and Space open site (from Environment and Planning D)

critical_data_studies

A Call to Action in Support of the Zapatistas

Join 3Cs in signing the call here and find out about events near you.

SUMMARY OF RECENT EVENTS:

On May 2, 2014, in the Zapatista territory of La Realidad, Chiapas, Mexico, the group CIOAC-Histórica [with the participation of the Green Ecological Party and the National Action Party (PAN)], planned and executed a paramilitary attack on unarmed Zapatista civilians. An autonomous Zapatista school and clinic was destroyed, 15 people were ambushed and injured and Jose Luis Solis Lopez (Galeano), teacher at the Zapatista Little School, was murdered. The mainstream media is falsely reporting this attack on the Zapatistas as an intra-community confrontation, but in fact this attack is the result of a long-term counterinsurgency strategy promoted by the Mexican government.

Given the experience of the 1997 massacre at Acteal, we are concerned about the mounting paramilitary activity against Zapatista bases of support. It is clear that if we do not take action now, the current situation in Chiapas may also lead to an even more tragic end.
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Mapping Duke – Class Activity

3Cs was invited to guest lecture/prepare a mapping activity for the Comparative Approaches to Global Issues course at Duke in April. After lecturing about countermapping in general and going over how to use some simple web mapping tools, students were divided into groups to research specific questions about Duke and make their own maps. Read more about the activity we prepared and see pictures below!

Where is Duke? While Duke’s campus may seem to have clearly delimited spatial boundaries, Duke’s influence extends well beyond these limits: Duke’s students and employees live throughout Durham with consequent effects on the urban landscape, students travel, volunteer and study abroad around the world, Duke partners with a wide range of businesses taking part in different commodity chains.

This activity is designed to explore and map out the different practices and institutions that make up Duke and Duke’s connections and effects on its local as well as global surroundings. There are seven themes each addressing a specific aspect of these overarching questions. Each group will be assigned one of these themes and will be responsible for gathering data on their topic by using all or some of the research methodologies described in detail under each theme.
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Collective Mapping Workshop at UNC

As part of Radical Rush Week, join 3Cs to collectively map the university. Monday, Sept. 2. 5-7pm in the Pit.

We’ll be constructing a collective counter-map of the university, exploring issues of labor and precarity on campus, the role the university plays in processes of gentrification and wealth extraction, and the university’s relation to flows of information, capital, and people, as well as trying to collectively imagine what other universities are possible.

weekscheduletabloidexperiment

And check out the Radical Rush Disorientation Guide!