Infx 295: Information, Technology, and Space:Readings

This is a rough outline of the readings for the class, although it will evolve as discuss the material. However, it should keep us at least roughly on track.

Yes, the HTML on this page fell out of a time-warp form about 1998.

Week 1: Introduction

We're not going to spend time actually discussing these readings (well, unless you want to.) They are really just meant to set some context, and introduce you to the reasons I'm holding this class at all. They are both papers of mine, obviously enough, written ten years apart; the first was reasonably influential, and the second is a reflection and reconfiguration of the issues a decade later. It also reflects much of my current thinking and motivations, since it was just published a couple of months ago.

Week 2: Space, Power, and Environmental Knowing

There are two interrelated themes to the readings for this week. One is the cultural reading of spatiality -- so, for instance, by looking at moral encounters with the landscape in the case of Basso's Western Apache, or sectarian encounters in the case of Kelleher's study, we might gain some kind of picture of the ways in which everyday spatiality is read through cultural lenses. The second -- which certainly comes to the fore in the Australian Aboriginal work, for example -- is the set of power relations involved in spatial arrangements, both in terms of spatial position and movement (Massey) but also in terms of the kinds of knowledge claims underwriting spatial representations and claims to legitimacy (Verran, Turnbull).

Leading the discussion: Bruno, Shalini, and Amy

Week 3: Technology and the Production of Space

This week's readings are largely from geographers who have incorporated into their work the role of information technology. Stephen Graham and Nigel Thrift are amongst the most influential British geographers (and geography is where a lot of the most interesting social science is taking place in Britain these days.) De Certeau, though, offers up a very different view; and while spatiality isn't as central to his thinking (he's certainly not a geographer), I wanted to read this alongside as a contrast to some of the tendencies I find implicit in the other readings.

Leading the discussion: Amanda W., Mark, and Marisa

Week 4: Seeing like...

These readings focus more on questions of representation and their relationship to systems of governance and control. The Scott reading is a chapter from his book, which is thoroughly recommended; its basic topic is the structures of the "High Modernist" state and in particular the centrality of fixed systems of representation to the management of resources in modern state-hood. Ferguson's piece appeared in a special issue celebrating Scott's book, but draws on his own work to question some of Scott's assumptions, with particular spatial relevance; Valverde's piece clearly riffs off Scott's but sees some contrasts at an urban scale. (It's not published, so I don't want to put it online but will distribute it otherwise.) Meantime, Goss and Curry both have interesting things to say about another area of spatial representation -- geodemographics.

Leading the discussion: Julka, Beverly, and Judy

Week 5: Mobilities

Many of the readings about space have touched on questions of mobility, to the extent that the particular spatialities result form patterns of dwelling and moving. These readings focus on mobility more directly. The essential theme behind these readings is that mobility is about more than getting from A to B. Thinking in terms of rhythms and flows, thinking about the politics and rhetorics and pragmatics of mobility might give us some useful ways to refocus on questions of spatiality... and perhaps especially questions of exclusion that began to come up in our last discussion?

Leading the discussion: Angela, Silvia, and Harmony

Week 6: Infrastructures

Leading the discussion: Eric, Arianna, and Greg

Week 7: Transnational Spatialities and Governance

We have been concerned with spatiality at different scales. We have talked in terms of particular places, we've talked about cities, about regions, and about countries. This week's readings deal with spatiality at a different scale again, focusing on transnational spatialities. The emphasis on transnational does not simply mean global, here; rather, it emphasises particular sorts of relations between the global and the local, and, again, the encountering the local through the lens of the global imaginary.

Leading the discussion: Pearl, Tom, and Luv