AAG 2020 “Global Black Geographies” Paper Session Organizing

For the upcoming American Association of Geographers (AAG) meeting, I’m co-organizing a two-part paper session on the theme “Global Black Geographies: Racialized Spaces, Black Space-Making and Theorizing in Africa & Diaspora Contexts.”

For the upcoming American Association of Geographers (AAG) meeting, I’m co-organizing a two-part paper session on the theme “Global Black Geographies: Racialized Spaces, Black Space-Making and Theorizing in Africa & Diaspora Contexts.”

Session Description:

This paper session aims to bring together critical scholars (feminist/womanist, southern, subaltern, postcolonial, decolonial, Marxist, Pan-Africanist, etc.) to discuss Black (African and/or African Diaspora) spatial experiences and practices in the context of white supremacy and hegemonic race-based design and planning. In geography and related disciplines, a wide range of scholars push our critical understanding of the ways in which white supremacy, racism, and hegemonic race-based planning and design affect how we as Black peoples live, experience, navigate, and survive in urban spaces, as well as the diverse spatial practices that we employ to subvert, resist, thrive, and create communal and liberatory spaces. These investigations demonstrate the continuing impacts of white supremacy and racism in settler colonial contexts, as well as the ways in which racialized processes and institutions continue to manifest through urban and spatial imaginaries in postcolonial contexts: “black urbanism” in the UK context (Goodwin 2010), “black sense of place” in the US (McKittrick 2011), “hair braiding epistemologies” in Johannesburg (Matsipa 2017), “black placemaking” in Chicago (Hunter et al 2016), as well as the reproduction of colonial racism in postcolonial Ghana (Pierre 2013).

This panel session attempts to traverse the geographical boundaries that often separate our theorizing and scholarly conversations. In organizing this session, we aim not to essentialize Blackness, but rather to seek connections while embracing the spectrum of our subjectivities produced through our histories and experiences. We ask: How is dehumanizing and racist planning and design, emergent from slavery, colonialism, apartheid and segregation, reproduced in ‘modern’ urban and spatial imaginaries in settler colonial and postcolonial cities? How might we talk not just within but also across our African and African Diaspora geographies to critique the mechanisms of displacement and containment employed in settler and postcolonial cities, and to make visible how these techniques move across different regimes? What frameworks and concepts enable us to shift, stretch, and expand intellectually to theorize about spaces, space-making practices of Black peoples, as well as to reflect on our own experiences of conducting research as Black peoples navigating Blackness in different contexts? How does our theorizing (and theories) move? How might working across deeply embedded Africa-Africa Diaspora divides enable us to connect our critiques of white supremacy and racialization processes, and its linkages to coloniality, capitalism, and heteropatriarchy, to map global Black geographies?

Our two-part session will include a first focus on creating and defining communities, and a second session on displacements and movements.

Sheffield School of Architecture Manifesto/s PhD Conference

I worked with some phenomenal PhD classmates to organize the 2018 Manifesto/s PhD conference, which was the first internal research conference at the Sheffield School of Architecture (SSoA), bringing together PhD students and faculty in the Architecture and Landscape Architecture departments.

I worked with some phenomenal PhD classmates to organize the 2018 Manifesto/s PhD conference, which was the first internal research conference at the Sheffield School of Architecture (SSoA), bringing together PhD students and faculty in the Architecture and Landscape Architecture departments.

A manifesto is a “public declaration” of an idea, intention, or view of an individual or a group. This Manifesto/s PhD Conference sought to give a voice and bring together the different research branches that are present within SSoA and the Department of Landscape. See our conference website here:
http://manifestos.group.shef.ac.uk/2018-2/portfolio/

This two-day event took place in the Arts Tower, University of Sheffield, on 27th and 28th April 2018. The first day of research presentations provided participating PhD students the opportunity to share their ongoing research and discuss feedback with the wide research community of peers, SSoA and Department of Landscape faculty, as well as external responders. The second day of hands-on workshops provided a platform for skills learning and experimentation in the areas of research methodology and research writing.

As an organizing team, we gained financial support to organize the two-day conference, including inviting external presenters and departmental faculty to respond to PhD students’ research presentations, and working with external presenters to develop a methodological and writing skills session.

I also presented my PhD methodology, which employs feminist and decolonial frameworks and collaborative approaches in order to investigate young people’s experiences of public space in Accra, Ghana.

Our Organizing Team:
Esra Can, Olivia Espinosa Trujillo, Gioia Fusaro, Victoria Okoye, Danni Kerr,  Cathryn Ladd, Yanisa Niennattrukal

#SSoAManifestos