Whilst i’ve been reading about your blogs’ selections and enjoying your findings, I thought of bringing together in this post, e-tivity 02 and topic 2> working with place and space.
The blog I recommend is
Critical Spatial Practice is one of the Reading Groups at the IPRH (The Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities ), based at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, formed by Nicholas Brown and Sharon Irish, with Kevin Hamilton and Sarah Kanouse, a group of practitioners who combine interdisciplinary approaches to their research, artistic and academic work.
You can read about their aims here: http://www.walkinginplace.org/iprh/
Project Description: We propose to investigate critical theories of space and place and what the architectural historian Jane Rendell has termed “critical spatial practice,” the relationship between spatial theory and critical practice. The group’s focus will shift accordingly between consideration of key theoretical texts and in-depth research and discussion about contemporary practices and their historical antecedents that mobilize(d) spatial theory and employ(ed) a range of experimental interpretative strategies.
Given the scope of our inquiry we expect to draw from a range of disciplines, both in terms of participants and readings. Of particular relevance are the fields of anthropology, architecture, art & art history, cultural geography, landscape architecture, urban and regional planning, and performance studies
In recent years a number of organizations and projects have emerged that aim to cultivate a “progressive sense of place” (Doreen Massey). The reformulation of place as an open set of relations is accomplished by interrogating inherited notions of place and community; confronting both conflicting and normative dimensions of landscape; situating the particulars of place within structural systems of organization and occupied space; and exposing means of production and articulations of power.
This critical approach is consistent with W.J.T. Mitchell’s straightforward assertion that “[a]n account of landscape has to trace the process by which landscape effaces its own readability and naturalizes itself.”
Many of the organizations and projects mentioned draw extensively from the intellectual thread that analyzes modes of production – beginning with the production of capital (Marx, David Harvey), and extending to the production of space (Henri Lefebvre, Edward Soja), the production of scale (Neil Smith, Don Mitchell, Andrew Herod), the production of mobility (Tim Cresswell, Jane Rendell), and also theories of practice and the everyday (Michel de Certeau, Pierre Bourdieu).
Two projects that exemplify and model strategic and accessible applications in real space are
Political theorist Margaret Kohn has noted that “[t]he political power of place comes from its ability to link the social, symbolic, and experiential dimensions of space.” This reading group proposes to separate, juxtapose, and recombine some of these spatial dimensions.
Building on previous conceptual work, we propose both to research practice and practice research. This would entail developing a theoretical framework for “critical spatial practice,” and then using these various methodologies rather than simply analyzing them from afar. What happens when these theories and practices are applied to the specific histories, landscapes, and politics of our neck of the woods in east-central Illinois?