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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

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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Mashing-up Maps: Google Geo Services and the Geography of Ubiquity

A dissertation by Craig Dalton under the direction of Scott Kirsch.

(also available at:  http://gradworks.umi.com/3526116.pdf)

How are Google geo services such as Google Maps and Google Earth shaping ways of seeing the world?  These geographic ways of seeing are part of an influential and problematic geographic discourse.  This discourse reaches hundreds of millions of people, though not all have equal standing.  It empowers many people to make maps on the geoweb, but within the limits of Google’s business strategy.  These qualities, set against the state-centeredness of mapmaking over the last six hundred years, mark the Google geo discourse as something noteworthy, a consumer-centered mapping in a popular geographic discourse.  This dissertation examines the Google geo discourse through its social and technological history, Google’s role in producing and limiting the discourse, and the subjects who make and use these maps.

Convergence 2012: The Geo/Body Politics of Emancipation

3Cs will be participating in the Hemispheric Institute Convergence in November. Deadline to apply to a working group is July 1!

Call For Participation

The year 2011 marked an explosion of radical mobilization, from student protests and occupations to uprisings and insurrections. These events were characterized by the embodied reclaiming of public space, demands for economic, social, and political change, and instrumentalization of technology to communicate, organize, and revolt. As these political struggles spread globally, artists, activists, and scholars have engaged and responded to these actions by generating militant research practices, radical art gestures, and networked communities.

The Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics Graduate Student Initiative invites graduate students from the humanities, arts, and social sciences to come together for our Convergence 2012 to discuss contemporary notions of emancipation, liberation, revolution, occupation, geopolitics, “artivism,” and militant research, and to consider the lived tensions of these concepts in bodies, knowledge, and locations.
In the spirit of the Hemispheric Institute Encuentros, Convergence 2012 intends to bring together about 100 participants to generate a space of intensive connections between scholarship, artistic expression, and politics, promoting embodied practices — performance — as a vehicle for the creation of new meaning and the transmission of cultural values, memory and identity. During the three days of Convergence 2012, we aim to explore new political potentials for emancipation, liberation, and revolution.

Invited Speakers and Artists include: Andy Bichlbaum (The Yes Men), Colectivo Situaciones (Argentina), Counter-Cartographies Collective (Durham NC), Ricardo Dominguez (UCSD), Esther Gabara (Duke University), Macarena Gómez-Barris (USC), Jack Halberstam (USC), Michael Hardt (Duke University), Brian Holmes (activist), Josh Kun (USC), Pedro Lasch (Duke University), Diane Nelson (Duke University), Walter Mignolo (Duke University), Spirithouse (Durham NC), Diana Taylor (NYU), and Wu Tsang (performer/filmmaker)

A very rough draft of an animated Occupy movement map for the US

The participants in a self-organized Counter-mapping workshop I’m helping to facilitate at UNC-CH have chosen to work on mapping the occupy movement as our class project for the semester. So far, we’ve used the project to learn about data gathering, GIS data design, and basic mapmaking using ArcGIS. Here’s what we produced together after our first class session together on ArcGIS! Data for the Southeast is missing because the member of our class who was responsible for that data-gathering hasn’t finished it yet.

This is just a draft for now — let us know what you’d like to see in the finished version!!!

Other ideas are to incorporate a word/quote cloud of slogans from the different protests, or quotes from mayors in different cities responding to the Occupy movement.

3Cs fights ‘studentification’ in Chapel Hill

Local folks will remember the fights, several years ago, over the construction of Greenbridge — a “LEED-certified” monstrosity built right on top of one of Chapel Hill’s few remaining black business districts. When the shovels first broke ground on that building, I had pretty much lost hope that anything could be done to stop the tidal wave of greenwashed capital that was transforming Chapel Hill into a playground of condos and boutiques.

How things have changed!

For the past year or so, we @ 3Cs have been working with folks from UNC-NOW (a student-neighborhood alliance) and the Marian Cheek Jackson Center for  Saving and Making History to figure out how counter-mapping could be useful to the continuing struggles of residents of Northside and Pine Knolls. Northside and Pine Knolls are two of the remaining historic African-American neighborhoods in CH; more appropriately they’re the only names left for a cluster of historic neighborhoods on the W edge of Chapel Hill.

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3Cs in London

\\\\///\\ Counter/Mapping QMary ////
////////////////\\\////////the university and border technologies

To begin by asking <what is the university> requires an investigation of the function of the university not only as a knowledge factory but also as a border. Our investigation of what the university produces as knowledge, hierarchies and power exposes the border/s that operate in, on and around the university. That <the university is a border> is made possible by the operation of a filter mechanism. The counting of bodies, money in and money out, who can and can not enter, what are we when we leave, the limits of what is and is not knowledge and the complicity with national and global border regimes – who and what is stopped at the border?

A group of students, staff and researchers at Queen Mary University have set out to map the ways in which migration, border technologies, surveillance and monetary flows intersect with the university as our place of work and study. Joining us in the project are the <
Counter-Cartographies Collective from the University of North Carolina>, who will help to explore the dynamics and possibilities of mapping as method and action.

From Thursday 13 May – Monday 24 May we will gather to discuss, research and take action to produce a counter map of Queen Mary University. As part of our practice we will be facilitating <
three public workshops> to expand the participation and possibilities of the project. These workshops as well as the counter mapping production process are open to all who are interested and are free to attend – please see below for the programme and contact details. The venue for all events will be room 4.08 in the Francis Bancroft Building of Queen Mary Campus and is accessible.

 

//////Thursday 13May, 2pm
\\\\\\\\\\Imaginaries of the university

The Counter-Cartographies Collective will present their work on the neo-liberal university and discuss their maps, methodologies and actions. This session will address our imaginaries of the university – current and potential – and will conclude with a drift around QM campus.

 

\\\\\\\\Thursday 20May, 2pm
//////////How to make a counter-map

The Counter-Cartographies Collective will facilitate a workshop on radical collaborative mapping skills using available open source mapping software and web-based data-mining techniques. Free and open to all, email us to register.

 

///////Monday 24 May, 4pm
\\\\\\\\\\\The politics and potential of counter-mapping

In this event, Counter/Mapping QMary project will present their map of Queen Mary. This presentation will be followed by an open discussion of the methods and politics of mapping the university as a site of migration, education and labour struggles. Invited interlocutors: The Students not Suspects Campaign (Goldsmiths), No Cuts at Queen Mary Campaign, Jane Wills, David Pinder, Ishani Chandrasekara, Miguel Mellino, John Hutnyk, Alberto Toscano


//Contact
Counter/Mapping QMary
countermapping.qmary(@)googlemail.com
Facebook: countermapping qmary

\The Counter/Mapping QMary project is generously supported by the School of Business and Management and the Geography Department at Queen Mary University.

map: http://www.qmul.ac.uk/about/campus/mileend/index.html#map

NC Rising! a conference on self-determination, chapel hill

www.ncrising.ingo

we wanted to share with y’all a couple of our impressions from the workshops at NC RISING! we were able to attend thanks to the very well organized daycare service at the conference:

2 hours workshops:

RADICAL MAPPING: nice turn out, around 50 people in a packed classroom in Saunders.
after a well crafted power point on 3cs work and other cartographic projects, people were interested in the nitty gritty steps of mapping and also in its theoretical underpinnings, bringing Foucault’s famous pair of knowledge/power several times in relationship to cartography. one of the interventions spoke about squatters in Brasil using GIS…3cs gave some hints about how to use local government websites to identify vacant buildings

OCCUPY EVERYTHING: the panelists represented the recent university occupations in New School of NYC and  San Francisco State College as well as  the monthly Really Really Free Market in Carrboro.
just listening to the histories of each of this struggle was worthwhile. also, among all of them, and together with interventions from the packed room in Bingham Hall, we got a kind of working definition of occupation that might be useful.
occupation, whether of a campus building, a forest, a house, a multi-story building, a construction site…. whether using chains, barricades, dance parties, exchange of goods, etc… might be understood as:
-experience of possibility
-experience of affinity and solidarity
-experience of transcending well established identities and defined roles
-the creation of a public space outside of capitalist logic
-a reference point that speaks stronger than other kinds of propaganda
-the feeling that something else, different from the norm, works

it was interesting to see that curious crowd and all the buzzing activity taking place at saunders and bingham hall, the quotidian spaces we go through on an everyday basis were temporarily transformed into a anarchist bookfare, anti-capitalist workshops and childcare service….in a way, the conference was an occupation of sorts in itself : )

NC Rising! Conference

we wanted to share with y’all a couple of our impressions from the workshops at NC RISING! we were able to attend thanks to the very well organized daycare service at the conference:

2 hours workshops:

RADICAL MAPPING: panelists from 3cs. nice turn out, around 50 people in a packed classroom in Saunders.
after a well crafted power point on 3cs work and other cartographic projects, people were interested in the nitty gritty steps of mapping and also in its theoretical underpinnings, bringing Foucault’s famous pair of knowledge/power several times in relationship to cartography. one of the interventions spoke about squatters in Brasil using GIS…3cs gave some hints about how to use local government websites to identify vacant buildings

OCCUPY EVERYTHING: the panelists represented the recent university occupations in New School of NYC and San Francisco State College as well as the monthly Really Really Free Market in Carrboro.
just listening to the histories of each of this struggle was worthwhile. also, among all of them, and together with interventions from the packed room in Bingham Hall, we got a kind of working definition of occupation that might be useful.
occupation, whether of a campus building, a forest, a house, a multi-story building, a construction site…. whether using chains, barricades, dance parties, exchange of goods, etc… might be understood as:
-experience of possibility
-experience of affinity and solidarity
-experience of transcending well established identities and defined roles
-the creation of a public space outside of capitalist logic
-a reference point that speaks stronger than other kinds of propaganda
-the feeling that something else, different from the norm, works

it was interesting to see that curious crowd and all the buzzing activity taking place at saunders and bingham hall, the quotidian spaces we go through on an everyday basis were temporarily transformed into a anarchist bookfare, anti-capitalist workshops and childcare service….in a way, the conference was an occupation of sorts in itself : )