Space, Place and Identity
GEO 6473, Fall 2008
Class Location: GL 523 Time: 2:00-4:45 p.m. Monday
Seminar Facilitator: Ben Smith Email: email@example.com
Office: DM 437B Office Phone: 348-2074
Office Hours: Monday & Wednesday 11:15 -11:45; Wednesday 2:00-5:00 or by appointment
Teaching Homepage: http://www.fiu.edu/~bsmith/teaching.htm
So you want to learn about Star Trek, coming in second in horse racing, and government issued photo cards?
To make this a good seminar experience for everyone, you will have to 1) read all the required reading, every week, even if it is lengthy/difficult and 2) come prepared and ready to our weekly meetings so that we all can learn from each other. To make sure you reap maximum reward out of this reading and sharing, you need to 3) write about it.
To provide the incentive to do all this, I have to assign grades. Grades in the seminar will be broken down in the following manner:
Seminar attendance participation 25%
Weekly questions for discussion 5%
Weekly thought pieces 20%
Seminar Attendance & Participation
First off, to get the most out of the seminar, you have to be there, every week, on time. The only valid excuses are if you have a medically validated illness or you are presenting at an academic conference. Or, if the campus is destroyed by a hurricane. Not feeling like it, having other things to do, traffic and work are not excuses.
But showing up is only a fraction of it. You also have be alert and ready to participate. I am not going to lecture much at all – my role is facilitator for all of us to have a discussion. That being said, I will be using something Neumann and Hollander call a “modified Socratic method.” This basically means I will call on people (especially if discussion is dying down) to answer questions about the text(s). And, as Hollander beautifully put it: “Continued failure to adequately respond to these questions, that is, to demonstrate that you have read and wrestled with the assigned texts, will lower your participation grade.”
Weekly Questions for Discussion
At the beginning of each class session, you will hand into to me two typed and printed questions from the reading. These questions can be points you were unclear on, or perhaps something you think would get a cracking good discussion going.
Weekly Thought Pieces
To make sure you have thoughts to share each week, and also have some notes available as you prepare for qualifying exams and thesis writing, each of you are to write a single 600-900 word commentary each week, focusing on all the assigned readings. A commentary should give a brief informal abstract of EACH AND EVERY ONE of the readings (with the exception of the Key Thinkers.. readings, which are already summaries) assigned for the week (a few sentences on what it is about, what the author argued, what it speaks to, etc.). It must also contain some original thoughts, analysis and/or criticisms on whatever you found striking in the readings: maybe how they connected together (or disagreed), or maybe a way a particular theory or method was used, or maybe a novel interpretation, etc. These thoughts don’t have to be incredibly refined – they do have to be there.
Again, to repeat, I only want one 600-900 word commentary from you each week. That one commentary should address all the readings, but also show some original thoughts.
You have to turn in your thought pieces to me in printed and typed form at the start of every class session. I am not expecting you to turn out The Sublime Object of Ideology, but I do expect you try your best to be grammatically correct, analytically bold and to not just babble on with no structure. Also, do not try to trick me with big margins or large font – I was trained at a journalism school and can spot funky layouts a mile away. Continually sub-par work will be rewarded as such.
Because the various weeks’ readings all focus on issues of space, place and identity, but do so in fairly diverse contexts, I will not make you go through the whiplash-inducing process of connecting them all together in a single paper. Instead, what I am asking for are three 1750-2000 word essays, the best of which will be presented to the group at the end of the seminar. Ideally they will be expansions of the “thoughts, analysis and/or criticisms on whatever you found striking in the reading” from some of your weekly summaries, and not merely abstracting once again what the articles were about. In other words, this is your chance for bold critical thinking. And by critical thinking, I don’t mean just looking at an article and declaring “It Stinks.” It means that you engage the readings, appreciating the context in which they were written and being humbly aware of the context from which you, as a situation reader, approach the readings. This is a chance to push your boundaries as a thinker and writer.
As for how to structure the essays, I hope you vary the approaches you take in the papers.
1. One approach is to vary the scale of your analysis. For example, if one particular passage or sub-section really grabs you, you can write an in-depth analysis of it. Maybe it will be one paper, or a few of the papers from a given week. Or maybe you have made some surprising connections across papers from different weeks.
2. Another approach is to vary the focus of the essay – for example (and please don’t limit yourselves to these), one time discuss what type of intellectual inquiry a group of readings make possible and what they ignore, another time discuss how theory is translated into empirically enquiry, or maybe how those people working as professionals or activists might be able to apply lessons from the readings to transform society.
3. Yet another approach – and one I hope you all take in one of your essays – is to espouse on how some of the readings might enrich research you hope to undertake, or – if you don’t yet have a clue what you want to research – how these readings inform, or maybe transform theory in your discipline.
Basically, I don’t want to see the same paper from you three times, just focusing on different articles.
I want to see a much higher level of polish on these in terms of structure, grammar, and analysis than in the weekly thought pieces. Papers that score well will show rigorous, internally consistent thought that engages the readings in their context. Please note: these are not research papers, these are analysis papers. You do not need to collect a bunch of outside sources.
To prevent you from leaving all three thought papers until the last minute (and to get some feedback from me), I will make the first one due on or before Monday, November 10. It must be typed, printed and stapled, and handed to me during that day’s meeting. The other two must be handed in at the beginning of class on Monday, Dec. 9. Late papers will lose points rapidly and I won’t do incompletes this time.
Also, so everyone in the seminar knows what you are thinking, you are going to choose your best paper to present in class. This will be done during the last two sessions of the seminar. This paper will be weighted slightly higher than your other two.
Space, Place and
Week 1: August 25 – Introductions
Week 2: September 1 – Labor Day, No Class.
Week 3: September 8 – Imaginative Geographies
1. Edward Said. “Introduction” and “Imaginative Geography and Its Representations: Orientalizing the Oriental” Orientalism. Vintage, 1979. 1-28 and 49-73
Derek Gregory. “Architectures of Enmity”
and “‘Civilization’ and ‘Barbarism’” The Colonial Present:
3. Michael Heffernan. ``A Dream as Frail as Those of Ancient Time'': The In-credible Geographies of Timbuctoo” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 19.2 (2001): 203-225
Jeffrey Sasha Davis. “Representing Place:
‘Deserted Isles’ and the Reproduction of
6. “Edward Said” and “Derek Gregory” in Key Thinkers…
Week 4: September 15 – Making Others/Making Us: Constructions of Nationalism and Race
1. Benedict Anderson. “Introduction” “Cultural Roots” and “The Origins of National Consciousness” Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. Verso, 1991. 1-46.
2. Antonio Gramsci “Hegemony, Relations of Force, Historical Bloc” and “The Art and Science of Politics” from The Gramsci Reader. NYU Press, 2000. 189-245. (includes Glossary of Key Terms)
3. Anne McClintock. “No Longer in a Future Heaven: Nationalism, Gender and Race” in Imperial Leather: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest. Routledge,1995. 353-389.
4. Joshua Hagen. “The Most German of Towns: Creating an Ideal Nazi Community in Rothenburg ob der Tauber.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 94.1 (2004): 207–227
Anna Secor. “Between longing and despair: state, space,
and subjectivity in
6. Jamie Winders. “Bringing Back the (B)order: Post-9/11 Politics of Immigration, Borders, and Belonging in the Contemporary US South.” Antipode 39.5 (2007): 920-942
7. “Benedict Anderson” in Key Thinkers…
Week 5: September 22 – “Culture” and Postcoloniality
Gayarti Chakravorty Spviak. “Can the Subaltern Speak?” (Abridged Version)
The Postcolonial Studies Reader. Eds. Ashcroft,
2. Homi K. Bhabha. “Introductions: Locations of Culture” and “The commitment to theory” The Location of Culture. Routledge, 1994. 1-39
Uma Narayan. “Cross-Cultural Connections,
Border-Crossings, and ‘Death by Culture’: Thinking About Dowry Murders in
Donald Mitchell. “There's No Such Thing as Culture: Towards a Reconceptualization of the
Idea of Culture in Geography.” Transactions
Cook and Michelle Harrison. “Cross Over Food: Re-materializing Postcolonial Geographies.” Transactions of the
6. “Homi K. Bhabha” and “Gayarti Chakravorty Spviak” in Key Thinkers…
Week 6: Sept. 29 – Gender, Sexuality, and Space
1. Judith Butler. “Bodily Inscriptions, Performative Subversions” and “Conclusion: From Parody to Politics” Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. Routledge, 1999. 163-190.
Chandra Talpade Mohanty. “Under Western
Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discoures” in Dangerous Liaisons: Gender, Nation & Postcolonial Perspectives.
3. Donna Haraway. Excerpts from “Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective.” Feminist Studies. 14.3 (1988): 575-599.
Gill Valentine. “(Hetero)Sexing Space:
Lesbian Perceptions and Experiences of Everyday Spaces.” Space,
Gender, Knowledge: Feminist
5. Linda McDowell. “Men, Management and Multiple Masculinities in Organisations” Geoforum. 32.2 (2001): 181-198.
6. “Judith Butler” and “Donna Haraway” in Key Thinkers in Space and Place
Week 7: October 6 – Thoughts on Space
1. Michel Foucault “Panopticism” in Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Vintage Press, 1995. 195-228
2. David Harvey “Crisis in the
Space Economy of Capitalism: The Dialectics of Imperialism” in The Limits to Capital.
Deleuze and Felix Guattari “Introduction: Rhizome” and “The Smooth and the
Striated” in A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia.
4. Sallie Marston, John Paul Jones, Keith Woodward “Human geography without scale” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 30 (2005): 416–432
5. John-David Dewsbury “Witnessing space: `knowledge without contemplation'” Environment and Planning A 35 (2003): 1907-1932
6. Richard Schein “The Place of Landscape: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting an American Scene” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 87.4 (1997): 660-680
7. “Michel Foucault” “David Harvey” and “Gilles Deleuze” in Key Thinkers…
Week 8: October 13 –Spaces of Economic Diversity
Stephen Resnick and Richard Wolff. “A
Marxian Theory of Class” from Knowledge and Class: A Marxian Critique of
2. Gordon MacLeod and Martin Jones. “Renewing the Geography of Regions.” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 19 (2001): 669-695
3. Andrew Leyshon, et al. “Towards an Ecology of Retail Financial Services: Understanding the Persistence of Door-to-door Credit and Insurance Providers.” Environment and Planning A. 36.4 (2004): 625-645.
4. Melissa Wright. “Asian spies, American Motors, and Speculations on the Space-time of Value.” Environment and Planning A. 33.12 (2001): 2175-2188.
5. Daniel Miller. “Making Love in Supermarkets.” The Cultural Economy Reader. Eds. Amin and Thrift. Blackwell. 2004. 251-265.
Pollard and Michael Samers. “Islamic Banking and Finance: Postcolonial
Political Economy and the Decentring of Economic Geography.” Transactions of the
Week 9: October 20 – State Space 1: Development and Neoliberalism
Arturo Escobar. “The Problematization of Poverty: The Tale of
Three Worlds and Development” in Encountering Development: The Making and
Unmaking of the
James Ferguson “Conceptual
Apparatus: The Constitution of the Object of “Development” –
3. Nanda Shrestha “Becoming a Development Category.” Power of Development. Ed. Jonathan Crush. Routledge, 1995. 266-278
4. Jamie Peck and Adam Tickell. “Neoliberalizing Space” Anitpode. 34.3 (2002): 380-404
5. Anna Tsing. “Inside the Economy of Appearances” in Globalization. Ed. Arjun Appadurai. Duke University Press, 2001. 155-188.
Katharyne Mitchell. “Educating the National Citizen in Neoliberal Times: From the
Multicultural Self to the Strategic Cosmopolitan” Transactions of the
7. “Arturo Escobar” in Key Thinkers…
Week 10: October 27 – State Space 2: Multiple Scales of the State and Politics
Gearoid O Tuathail. “Geopolitics” and “Critical Geopolitics” Critical Geopolitics.
Giorgio Agamben. “The State of
3. Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. “Hegemony and Radical Democracy” from Hegemony and Socialist Strategy. Verso. 1985. 149-194.
4. Slavoj Zizek. “Fantasy as a Political Category: A Lacanian Approach.” in The Zizek Reader. Eds. Wright and Wright. Blackwell, 1999. 87-102.
5. Alison Mountz “Human Smuggling, the Transnational Imaginary, and Everyday Geographies of the Nation-State” Antipode 35.3 (2003): 622-644.
6. Jason Dittmer. “Captain
7. “Gearoid O Tuathail” in Key Thinkers…
Week 11: November 3 – Social Natures
1. Bruce Williams Braun. “Buried
Epistemologies: The Politics of Nature in (Post)Colonial
2. James C. Scott “Nature and
Space” in Seeing Like a State: How Certain schemes to Improve the Human
Condition Have Failed.
3. Michael Watts. “Violent
Environments: Petroleum Conflict and the Political Ecology of Rule in the
4. Kay Anderson. “Culture and Nature at the
5. Paul Robbins and Julie Sharp. “Producing and Consuming Chemicals: The Moral Economy of the American Lawn.” Economic Geography. 79.4 (2003): 435-451
6. “Michael Watts” in Key Thinkers…
Week 12: November 10 – The Field First Critical Essay Due
1. Latour, Bruno “Circulating Reference: Sampling Soil in the Amazon Rainforest” Pandora’s Hope: Essays on the Reality of Science Studies. Harvard. 1999. 24-79.
2. Latour, Bruno. “Mixing Humans and Non-Humans Together: The Sociology of a Door Closer.” Social Problems. Vol. 35.3 (1988): 298-310.
3. Akhil Gupta and James Ferguson.
“Discipline and Practice: “The Field” as Site, Method, and Location in
Anthropology.” Anthropological Locations: Boundaries and Grounds of
a Field Science.
4. Cindi Katz. “Playing the Field: Questions of Fieldwork in Geography” Professional Geographer. 46.1 (1994): 67-72.
5. Dydia Delyser. ““Do you really live here? Thoughts on Insider Research.”” The Geographical Review. 91. 1-2(2001): 441-453.
6. Karen E. Till “Returning to Home and the Field” The Geographical Review. 91.1-2(2001): 46-56.
7. “Bruno Latour” in Key Thinkers…
Week 13: November 19 – Theorizing Geographies of Globalization
1. Gibson-Graham, J.K. “Querying Globalization” The End of Capitalism (as we knew it): A Feminist Critique of Political economy. Blackwell, 1996. 120-147.
Hardt and Antonio Negri “Preface” and “World Order” in Empire.
3. Leslie Sklair “Introduction” and “Globalizing Class Theory” in The Transnational Capitalist Class. Blackwell, 2001. 1-33
4. John Law “And if the global were small and noncoherent? Method, complexity, and the baroque” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 22.1 (2004): 13-26
5. Susan Roberts, Anna Secor, Matthew Sparke “Neoliberal Geopolitics” Antipode 35.5 (2003): 886-897
Timothy Mitchell “McJihad: Islam in
7. “Manuel Castells” and in Key Thinkers
Week 14: November 26 – For Space
1. Doreen Massey. For Space. Sage Publications, Ltd. 2005.
2. “Doreen Massey” in Key Thinkers…
Week 15: December 3 – Presentations
Week 16: Presentations – Date TBA
December 11 – Other Two Critical Essays Due
 This idea of the expanded thought papers, and suggestions on how to write them, come from a Concepts in Geography syllabus by John Paul Jones III created in Spring 2001.