Spaces and Places
2nd Global Inclusive Interdisciplinary Conference
Saturday 27th March 2021 – Sunday 28th March 2021
Home in the Highrise: History, Life and Identity in Germany’s Plattenbauten
University of British Columbia Okanagan
East Germany, GDR, Heimat, high rise apartment, home, housing, identity, modernism, urban planning
Since the German unification many Plattenbauten (pre-fabricated concrete-slab highrise apartment buildings) from the 1970s and 1980s, found all over the former East Germany, have fallen on hard times. Variously decried as aesthetic eye-sores, examples of brutalist architecture, and concrete reminders of a problematic part of recent German history, most of these buildings and their quarters have seen a rapid decline and have frequently become social and economic flashpoints. Now undesirable, a considerable number of East German highrise buildings were left to decline and subsequently condemned and demolished (BAUA 2010). What had been the pride of an extremely progressive and ambitious policy by the GDR in the 1970s to create desperately needed modern, affordable living space for its population, had become the most visible ruins of a perished state.
To counter this one-sided narrative of failure, I focus on the beginnings of this unique campaign in German history, to create ‘apartments for all’. Using contemporary sources I examine the socio-cultural and aesthetic criteria that guided the planning decisions and implementation of this policy. Since the development of housing was part of the GDR’s social policy (profit was not a prerogative) unique practical and social factors could take precedence in the process. Affordability and -for the time – a relatively high technical standard were to ensure access to safe, comfortable, and modern living spaces for all citizens (Herholdt 1983). The unique role of modernist architecture and urban planning to provide these is frequently emphasized by contemporary publications on architecture (e.g. Krause 1973). The thoughtfulness of the planning was reflected in the high rate acceptance of the new highrise apartments by their original tenants. Despite their uniformity, the buildings and their quarters provided a genuine sense of belonging, or Heimat, to their occupants (Mau 2019). Examining its modernist origins, and its place in German mentality and identity can, hopefully, help restore the humble East German highrise apartment to its rightful place in history.
Chicago Pattern Project: A Personal Urban Experience
Columbia College Chicago, USA
The design of cities; the architecture, and the spaces between buildings tell stories of place, time, and people and hold considerable possibility to promote civic and social engagement. We believe that anything new added to these swelling environments should aim to mine these incredibly diverse existing layers of urban histories and improve these in-between experiences.
The Chicago Pattern Project turns personal, experiential and data driven information into objects. These artifacts reflect on the current socio-political context through multivalent readings, unearthing layers of the objective and subjective urban environment. The project searches to rebuild environmental attachment, and focuses on issues surrounding identity, boundaries, movement and empirical experiences in the urban fabric.
Our work aspires to add knowledge to the field of spatial design through the documentation and visual mapping and responding to the less scientific, often mundane, subjective aspects of urban spaces we inhabit. Our interventions seek ways to create patterns that are democratic, that need to be explored and interacted with and that engage the viewer. The resulting patterns can be viewed superficially for visual pleasure (stop), can be deciphered to gain access to actual information (see) and in its most involved form, can kindle a process of investigation of the viewers own spaces and experiences in order to connect them to their physical environments (reflect).
As part of the Spaces and Places conference we would like to present a series of mapping techniques we employed as well as the outcomes of a site specific spatial installation that we created as a partner event to the Chicago Architecture Biennial.
We would like start a dialogue about ways how to create objects that peek curiosity, invite to explore, peek curiosity, inform and encourage to participate in the multi-layered system that a city is.
Commodities vs. Experiences: Adaptive Reuse of Housing in Experience Economy
Adaptive Reuse, Housing, Experience Economy, Space, Place, Social Media
Housing is mutually related to the society, by being an artifact, a reproducer of social relations, and a symbol of socio-cultural identity. The production of housing is bound to economic capital through advancing technologies, new construction materials, shifting land values, and reproduction of society. Therefore, housing is also a commodity, a material for consumption, and a public entity influenced by the dominant economic discourse. Today, experience economy is a notion that aims to correspond people’s need for identity formation and engagement to rapidly changing social practices driven by virtual communities and networks. Experience as a new economic offering also makes us to reconsider “commodities” as “experiences” to engage the society.
This paper explores how housing as a conservatively mass-produced product accommodates itself to the experience economy. It explores intertwined spatial layers assigned to a place each consumed individually or collectively. The methodology comprises literature review, online data collection of various housing practices in Izmir, Turkey, and a review of place-based strategies of experience economy. Theoretical discussions by De Certeau, Lefebvre and Castells on spatiality of experiences and its reproduction guide us through the critical analysis of the case. The findings present four distinctive types of adaptive use based on 1) material property, 2) place identity, 3) functional replacement, and 4) reproduction through social media. The paper also argues how different adaptive uses of various housing practices shape urban environments and policies in the case of Turkey.
Keywords: Adaptive Reuse, Housing, Experience Economy, Space, Place, Social Media
Megalithic Simbology and the Definition of Space in Alentejo’s plain Neolithic
João Manuel Baltasar Firmino do Carmo
Faculdade de Arquitectura da Faculdade de Arquitectura
Megalithism, cosmos, pre-history, rites, memory
The whereabouts of Évora, in Alto Alentejo, is one of the richest Neolithic areas of the whole Iberian Peninsula. Hundreds of dolmens and dozens of menhires make this a quite unique landscape. Shaping the space with tall phallic rocks, this was one of mankind’s first step to give space a meaning. Of course one can only grasp what could be the belief system that fulfilled the Neolithic’s man mind, but reading carefully these pre-historic settlements, the way the rocks were shaped, the paintings and bas-reliefs, there might be some conclusions to make here.
Found in 1964, the Almendres cromelechs is nowadays composed roughly by one hundred menhires. This shape only came to be some three thousand years after the first stones were put in place. This settlement is central relative to places in which is believed some semi-nomad communities have lived. This leads us to believe that this stone circle was once used as a gathering place for the different communities that lived by, to celebrate life, birth, and the cosmos. The millstones found in the site, used as a foundation to some of the menhirs, implies that not only human fertility, but the fertility of mother earth, the bringer of food and all things good, is also a deity in this pre-historic “pantheon”. At last, but certainly not least, the alignments. There is still today some fragments that indicate Equinox and Solstice alignments, not only in between the cromelech, but also with menhirs outside of it, in the Winter Solstice, some of the menhirs in the cromelechs align exactly with Almendres Menhir, almost 3km away!
To this day, this place hosts neo-pagan communities that attempt to praise mother earth and father sky like their ancestors done more than 7000 years ago.
Landscape and identity significance: a contemporary photography and history survey at Cidade Velha
CHAM – Center for the Humanities. FCSH-Nova Lisboa
APCM – Associação par as Ciências do Mar; Colégio das Artes –
Universidade de Coimbra
Cape Verde; Cidade Velha; Maritime Landscapes; Archaeology; Atlantic Islands; Cultural Heritage; Art; Contemporary Photography
This paper aims to develop an interdisciplinary dialog between art, cultural heritage, and landscape in Cape Verde. An island is always confined, a condition given by the sea, enclosing it in a multiplicity of temporal layers that are imprinted on its people, history and landscape. We wish to present a semiotic dialogue between Cape Verde’s maritime landscape, its historical heritage and its relationship with the sea supported by historical and archaeological analyses, as well as contemporary photography. It discusses in that way this island welcomed and developed human settlement, despite adversities and inhospitable landscape. We will question how the testimonies of the past relate to the present-day maritime landscape, identity and marks of the past city. We will also discuss its symbols and iconography as an immaterial heritage of that past, translated into the current occupation of a city. Cidade Velha was an important port during de Early Modern age (now a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and considered as “large scale for the ships and ships of your magesty” in the South Atlantic ocean (Baleno, 2001, p.134). The archeology and history insight will intersect with that of contemporary photography. This will result in an innovative approach to understanding the historic maritime landscape where Cidade Velha, the ancient city of Ribeira Grande de Santiago, appeared. It will promote an interdisciplinary vision that reveals how the historical heritage continues to live on, in a discreet way, in the local community. This is one of the central subjects of Project CONCHA (H2020- MSCA-RISE-2017 CONCHA PROJECT) of which this paper proposal is part of.
The Architectural Space: In the Threshold of the Literal and the Aesthetic
METU Department of Architecture
METU Department of Architecture
Architectural Space, Threshold, Architectural Form and Function, Aesthetic Objects, Object-Oriented Ontology
Architecture is to create the boundaries, is about the passages for the sake of the movement. It mediates between form and function, between the object and the other, the aesthetic and the literal. Implicitly for that reason, it is presumably the threshold in itself as a discipline. Correlatively, both the material and the conceptual making of space considerably involve the subtle awareness of the differences to establish more and to arrange the fragments or the boundaries to enable them to communicate and to take on some dimension and spatial qualities. Accordingly, within this context, the architectural space as another object to speak of, also pretends like the threshold where the communal consistency is maintained and social interactions are conducted. Thereby, the space reappears as the threshold that constitutes the real embodiment of the intellectual conflicts that assure the virtual integrity of the discipline. It stimulates one’s interest to thoroughly examine the concepts of an object, its formal, functional, or aesthetic properties to reinvestigate its real spatial potentialities and aesthetic correspondences.
At this point, this paper embarks upon integrating some of the crucial statements borrowed from the precepts of the Object-Oriented Ontology (OOO) into the discussion of architectural space regarded as a threshold. Through an interdisciplinary approach, the notions of aesthetics and aesthetic object (sensual object) are elaborated for the deliberate distinction of the formal and functional. In this sense, aesthetics refers to the comprehension of reality by senses that surpasses the primary senses of humans, encircling all of the social, cultural, and political qualities of the objects. Accordingly, unlike the literals, aesthetic objects are sophisticated formations reflecting the real complexity of life.
Briefly, for the provision of a new perspective regarding the conceptual development of space, the threshold is introduced to describe its position in-between the form and function or aesthetic and literal. Consequently, space is the threshold between the real and surreal, cultural and natural, aesthetic and literal, past and future. It masterfully encompasses our reality of life.
The Hyper-Real Renaissance Place
Freie University, Berlin
early modern, pastoral, landscape, country house, temporalities, estate, Baudrillard
The literary places depicted in Early modern poetry and prose are ones in which contrasting temporalities, materialities, ideologies and conceptions of the world are densely layered on top of each other. This accumulation, I would argue, results in a dizzying hyper-real space in which the poetic observer moves endlessly between different layers of meaning, different emotions, and different types of perception. The reader is presented with an extra-ordinarily heightened and self-consciously disorientating experience of space that is simultaneously real and unreal.
I will focus upon the depiction of the aristocratic home and surrounding landscape in Andrew Marvell’s Upon Appleton House, Ben Jonson’s To Penshurst, and Emelia Lanier’s The Description of Cooke-Ham, and the ways in which different modes of life, culture and history interact with place, and with the poet as viewer, in these texts.
Whilst hyper-realism is usually associated with globalised, capitalist and consumerist places, I will demonstrate that the properties observed by Baudrillard and others in contemporary America are every bit as prevalent in poetic descriptions of the seventeenth century country house.
Where the ‘Street’ Connects Spatial, Cultural and Subjective Realities: (Con) Textualizing the Chronotopic Representation of ‘Streetscape’ in Neelum Saran Gour’s Invisible Ink
Indian Institute of Technology Patna (India)
‘Streetscape’, ‘Chronotope’, ‘Lived Space’, ‘Culture’, ‘Allahabad’, Postcolonial’
Streets are fundamental in conceptualizing urban infrastructure of a city for they physically connect places. They also hold and shape, both metaphorically and temporally, the spatial, cultural, and subjective realities while conjuring up the ‘lived space’ (Lefebvre, 1991) of its own. This article intends to explore the nuances of this ‘streetscape’ through contemporary Indian English author Neelum Saran Gour’s fiction Invisible Ink (2015). Gour’s fictional representation of ‘streetscape’ within the ‘locale’ (Agnew, 2014) of North Indian ethnic city Allahabad (recently renamed ‘Prayagraj’) in two different time scale of post-colonial period entails a theoretical rendition of Mikhail Bakhtin’s idea of ‘chronotope’ wherein the textual construction of spatiotemporality abets the novelist in inducing specifically ‘Allahabadi’ and more broadly, Indian identity. Indian ‘streets’ are profusions of public spectacle and subjective experiences (Ahuja, 1997; Anjaria, 2012; Edensor, 1998) since it is in these streets where “India eats, works, sleeps, moves, celebrates, and worships” (Appadurai, 1987, p. 14). With a corresponding revision to the established western conceptualization of Indian ‘street’ as a space of ‘otherness’ or ‘difference’ (Bose, 1965; Kidambi, 2007; Low, 1907) through the hegemonic binary between public and private, this paper further elaborates upon a postcolonial Indian perspective on ‘streets’ which construct a frame of spatial reference with social, cultural and subjective rhythms and practices. It also argues on how the chronotopic vision of textual ‘streetscape’ is accommodative of author’s representation and reconstruction of street not just as a passive space but a vibrant one, potentially rife with the subversive power to generate alternate awareness of the harsh realities by contextualizing the present crisis of maintaining secular ethics in the city.
Access and Allies: Characteristic Features of ‘Safe Spaces’
Concordia College – Moorhead
Minnesota State University-Moorhead
safe space, freedom of expression, accessibility, territoriality, privacy, public space, environmental features, control, boundary management, support
A “safe space” is usually described conceptually rather than by its physical appearance. Safe spaces are often defined as judgment-free zones where a person can feel secure that they will not be threatened or harmed because of their identity or particular point-of-view on a sensitive topic. Such spaces are usually in sheltered or private locations. However, safe spaces may also be defined as places where a person is given the freedom to express their opinions, without fear of legal punishment, such as a public protest. In each of these cases, the regulation of openness—of access and expression—is key to delineating the boundaries of the safe space, which can take many forms.
In this presentation, the physical features that help define safe spaces will be explored. Past research has described multiple ways in which people may seek to regulate their privacy using environmental features. Research on territoriality also contributes to an understanding of the reasons and ways that people may use, control, and defend safe spaces. To the extent people feel a right to claim a space as their own, their reactions to misinterpretations, challenges, intrusions, or violations of the space may differ.
A two-factor model is proposed as a framework for understanding how differing types and levels of openness are physically manifested in safe spaces. ¬¬ Examples drawn from public plazas, government buildings, houses of worship, institutions of higher learning, and other places we inhabit will be presented as illustrations of places we designate as safe spaces.
Models of suburban public spaces – Polish contribution to the research on environment and behavior
University of Warsaw
publicness of space, utility value of space, Warsaw suburbs, public space
The majority of studies on public space refer to urban space and urban residents. The question arises whether the conclusions from the research on the cities can be implemented in suburban areas. There is a need to investigate what kind of public spaces are expected by suburban residents and simultaneously what kind of public spaces are conducive to building local ties in the suburbs.
The paper focuses on two key concepts: the degree of publicness of space and the utility value of space. Publicness of space is a multidimensional feature that determines the conditions for establishing various interpersonal contacts, while the utility of space, identified with its pro-social character, is the degree to which the space fulfills its social function. Utility value is measured by the frequency and the type of behaviour that can be observed in the space.
The aim of the paper is to present the results of the survey and field observations carried out in the suburban area of Warsaw, which has experienced rapid and chaotic suburbanization since the 1990s. The research has proved that suburban residents prefer spaces with a limited degree of publicness, and the highest utility value measured by social behaviour is appropriate for spaces that are not fully public. The paper presents conditions for the most vital, heterogeneous and inclusive recreational spaces dedicated to Warsaw suburbs and emphasizes the potential of spaces owned by private entities in building social ties in the suburbs.
“Nothing Can Happen Nowhere”: Place and Trauma in Elizabeth Bowen’s Writing
Australian National University
The House in Paris; dislocation; traumatic dissociation; placelessness
In The House in Paris, Elizabeth Bowen presents the traumatic spatial experience of dislocation of a number of characters centred around an upper-middle-class woman, Karen Michaelis, who defies the spatial confinement imposed by the dominant ideology regarding women in the interwar period, but ultimately becomes traumatized due to her failed quest for a place of fixity, of belonging. The existing scholarship on The House in Paris tends to read the motifs of trauma and place separately. Those critics exploring place mainly concentrate on the Parisian house and tend to regard it as a symbol of the past and of entrapment (Kershner 1986, 407; Lytovka 2016, 40), while those studying trauma mainly center on the psychological aspects of trauma, investigating either the structure and effects of psychic trauma, or the effects of trauma on the narration of the novel (Bennett, Royle and Watson 1994, 43; Gildersleeve 2014, 50). This essay argues that a fuller understanding of Bowen’s writing of trauma in The House in Paris must examine how trauma is related to spatial experience. Linking the temporal experience of trauma—especially forgetting and repetition—with spatial experience of Karen and the characters around her unfolds the historical and social contexts behind trauma. For Bowen the voyage of subjectivity in the interwar period merely renders her protagonists traumatized rather than enabling them to find an attachment to place. So detrimental is the effect that it is impossible for them to “work through” their trauma.
Invisible City: (Re) Creating Urban Memoryscapes
University of Northern Iowa, USA
documentary, memory, place, city, identity
Most canonical accounts of documentary history in the global west include references to the city symphony, a genre whose name is derived from Walter Ruttman’s film Berlin: Symphony of a City. Theorists such as Scott MacDonald and Bill Nichols have discussed the links and interplay between the traditions of avant-garde and documentary film in connection with the city film. A recent work on the city film (and the city in film) is Iván Villarmea Álvarez’s book Documenting Cityscapes, which explores the formal strategies used in non-fiction depictions of cities, linking these to socio-economic and cultural forces. Recent versions of the city film exist in interactive, virtual, and immersive media forms (for example, High Rise). Many of these depictions, however, are located in large urban centers—Los Angeles, Toronto, New York, Paris, Berlin.
This presentation applies theories of space/place (Lefebvre, de Certeau, Soja, Hayden) to examine Waterloo: A History of Place, my evolving documentary film project on place, memory, and identity in a small city in the U.S. The project explores five vernacular spaces, to use sociologist Herbert Gans’ term—a department store, a neighborhood, a factory, a synagogue, and a movie theater—to tell the story of a post-industrial city in the Midwest, outside the main centers of economic, cultural, and political power. A key aspect is the loss of places of memory. Dolores Hayden, in her book The Power of Place, points to the disappearance of vernacular spaces in many cities and argues for a revaluation of these spaces in urban landscapes.
The project proposes to expand beyond the initial five documentaries to include an interactive online component, immersive video, and a neighborhood revitalization project. Through these multiple interventions, the documentary project explores places as intersections of gender, race, and class identities, of history and memory, of power and resistance to power.
Changing Meaning of Public Infrastructure to ‘Urban Convivial Space’ Through Adaptation
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences & Ardhi University
Adaptation, Informal Settlement, Public infrastructure, Urban convivial spaces
Public infrastructure such as roads, railways, have for a long time been a work of engineers to enable vehicle and pedestrian locomotion. The named infrastructure have been significantly important due to their core function they serve. However in some context, functionality of the infrastructure is observed to go beyond intended uses especially in situation where there are no spaces for particular kind of activity, hence people find the infrastructure appropriate spaces. Such a phenomenon is manifested in infrastructure situated in informal settlements. According to their spatial characteristics (compactness, congestion and densification of building located in irregular pattern) infrastructure located in informal settlements becomes prominent spaces for transgressed for convivial activities. This paper aims at providing an intricacy of how quotidian ordinary practises can change primary meaning of public infrastructure to other layers of meanings at the trajectory of recreation and leisure namely ‘urban convivial space, through adaptation.
The study was conducted at the pedestrian cross bridge located in Manzese one of the saturated informal settlements in the city Dar es salaam. Observations and interviews were deployed as main methods for data gathering.
It was found that the primary function of the bridge which is to enable crossing the road, is practised less. Instead the bridge is highly used as a recreational designation and place of conviviality. This is according the phenomenon of activities observed at different period of time and seasons. The adaptation and appropriation of the bridge by people with undesignated functions and the way they interpret the bridge, signify that the bridge has multiple intertwined meanings.
This paper suggests on the interface between providers of public infrastructures and those of public spaces, to learn from real life examples towards shift thinking during planning and design of public infrastructure from mono-functionality to multi-functionality.
Spatial Reckonings: Das Raumproblem in Modern Mathematics and German Modernism
Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
Modernism; Mathematics; German Literature; German Film; Space; Topology; Nietzsche; Philosophy
Despite the often-celebrated ascent of academic ‘interdisciplinarity’, mathematics and the arts continue to be viewed as unrelated disciplines, forming ‘two cultures’ that have inalterably divergent origins, influences and aims. It is precisely this enduring perception that this paper seeks to undermine. By examining the transformative era of the late 19th Century to the early 20th Century, it aims to show how the term “modernism” unites the two disciplines. Focusing on das Raumproblem, the problem of space in this dynamic epoch, this paper will explore commonalities on two distinct levels, namely influence and expression.
Firstly, I will argue that the philosophical influences in each field are by no means as divergent as current scholarship suggests by establishing links between modern mathematics and the philosophers that shaped aesthetic modernism, highlighting alongside Kant a voice often absent in mathematical discourse: Nietzsche. The German mathematician Felix Hausdorff functions as a theoretical bridge here: Before he formalised topology, he was an active Nietzschean playwright and essayist. By placing Hausdorff’s philosophy into a larger context with his mathematics, I will bring the impactful ideas of Nietzsche into discussion with modern mathematics. Having established these common philosophical roots, the second section of this paper will use Hausdorff and his interdisciplinary thinking as an entry point into the broader issue at hand: ‘re-reading’ German modernism in the light of its mathematical doppelgänger. By surveying a few of examples across the modernist landscape, this paper will show how modern spatial expression and the understanding of space in modern mathematics are, in a sense, speaking in a common tongue.
In summary, by bringing mathematics into the wider modernist arena, this paper will demand a revision of the notion that are ‘two cultures’ at all and suggest that the study of space is key to bridging this scholarly divide.
Spatial networks and changing patterns: uncovering the importance of infrastructure in the dispersed city
KU Leuven Department of Architecture
dispersed territories, urban transformations, networks, research by design, intermediate scale
Currently, dispersed territories such as Flanders (B) are not equipped to respond to infrastructural challenges (such as lacking sewerage and buffering rainwater) in a coherent and resilient way. Generally, answers tend to get stuck in a sectoral approach and symptomatic problem-solving. They build upon the imaginary urban-rural dichotomy and thereby ignore existing qualities of dispersion. This presentation aims to illustrate the potential impact of multi-scalar and multi-layered infrastructural space at an intermediate scale to imagine a more sustainable and qualitative urban dispersion.
The importance of infrastructure is illustrated by coining a number of existing prototypes for living, labour and landscape (LLL). The way these processes have been organised, helps to understand changing socio-economic patterns and close interrelations with their supporting spatial networks. Infrastructural networks such as rivers and canals, creeks and streams, sewage and freshwater supply can therefore be considered lifelines or carriers of dispersed urbanisation. Imagining future prototypes of these processes reveals a pressing need for infrastructure flexibility and adaptability. Here, nexuses can play a key role in linking collective challenges (collective because they cannot be solved on an individual level) with local conditions and establish vertical (multi-scalar) and horizontal (multi-layered) relations. This concept is illustrated with the example of the water tower.
Findings emphasise the importance of existing infrastructure in dispersed cities to formulate alternative futures. Additionally, hand drawn sketches prove to be an effective medium of communication to start reimagining the dispersed city. They illustrate the potential impact of urban design interventions at an intermediate scale, going beyond property structures and taking into account large-scale urban questions.
Post-war Places: Destructive Past, Uncanny Present, and the Challenges of the Future in Cyprus
Eastern Mediterranean University
Famagusta, North Cyprus.
Post-war places, time and space, spatial engagements, Louroujina Village, Cyprus
The island of Cyprus has been home to various conflicts for decades, and keeps its divided status since the war of 1974. Although there is no longer a physical war, its post-war environment strongly impacts the everyday practices of its people. Harm given by the war can be seen through social and physical context emerging its own contested re-configuration of spaces.
Ruins, forbidden zones and military areas have strong existence in the present living environments, yet belongs to destructive past leading to an uncanny present with a sense of present-ness. This directly affects people’s engagement with the spaces, and their mode of action toward future.
In this paper, problematic relationship with past, present and future and spatial engagement in the post-war places are examined, through questioning how people create futures in those contexts, and how do they use or do not use the past.
Louroujina, as Turkish-Cypriot Village is used to reflect this critical link between different time periods due to its unique condition. The village was used to be one of the largest rural settlements prior to the war between two communities (Greek and Turkish) of Cyprus. However, division of the island, transformed village into an isolated zone surrounded by the fences and military, cut out its fertile lands and destructed social links with their close neighbours. Contested living conditions caused majority of the villagers to move to another places, whereas remaining population prolong their lives with the remnants of destructive past and the absence of other’s passing in a neglected environment.
Hence, this paper proposes critical understanding on contested relations of time and emergence of space in the post-war environments. Observation, and interviews with the current residents who have experienced both pre-war and after-war period of the village are carried out for discussion of the study.
Humour and Representational Politics in Gerard Durrell’s The Garden of the Gods (1978): The Case of Margo’s Turk
How do laughter and humorous representations re/deconstruct reality? This question guides the interrogation of narrative discourse and the accompanying politics of representation in Gerard Durrell’s The Garden of the Gods (1978) through the specific episode of ‘Margo’s Turk’. The Garden of the Gods, the third in Durrell’s three-volume memoir, describes his family’s escapades in Corfu between 1935-1939. Filled with eccentric characters and riotous adventures, the books are light-hearted episodic accounts of Durrell’s childhood on the Greek island. The anecdote of the Turk is a comedy-of-errors, arising when Durrell’s sister Margo, on a tour of Europe, invites friends to stay with her at Corfu. Consequently, the family is visited by a Turk and his three veiled wives who arrive with a ram, and mistake Durrell’s mother for the maid. The sequence of misadventures culminates with the revelation that the Turk had come in the hope of marrying Margo.
In the episode, representational politics is visible in the use of humour in depicting the Turk and his wives. While the narrative evokes laughter, the cultural stereotype that underlies the humour reinforces hierarchies of the superior Durrells and the inferior Turks. The episode substantiates Edward Said’s argument that representations and silenced perspectives within literary narratives construct (knowledge of) cultural identities along hierarchical binaries of the Orient/Occident, and are therefore political (Said 1978, 1993).
Using the episode as a starting point, this paper investigates elements of comic representation that politicise representational spaces through re/constructions of reality, evident in the dialogue between memory, objectivity, perspective and the depiction of reality in the memoir. It extends these reflections to interrogate the form and place of representational politics in self-narratives and their critical implications for spaces of non-fiction, of which Durrell’s memoir is an instructive instance.
Politicizing the ‘Neither’ Space: Beckett and Murakami’s Gendered Vagueness
Alicia Byrne Keane
Trinity College Dublin
Irish literature, Japanese literature, translation studies, World literatures, English studies, Literature in English, Translated literature, Spatial theory, Gender theory
On the first page of the first Happy Days typescript, Beckett wrote the self instruction: ‘vaguen it.’ This ‘vaguening’ – broadly speaking, the removal or obfuscation of contextual markers – ostensibly characterised much of Beckett’s œuvre following his turn from the relative verbosity of his early works. The writing of contemporary Japanese author Haruki Murakami is, to put it simply, vague in the same way.
Crucially, both authors have backgrounds in translation. Beckett both self-translated and provided translations for a range of publications such as transition. Murakami is a ‘celebrity translator’ in Japan, his visibility allowing him to creatively rework existing texts.
In Bachelard’s view, the first house one inhabits ‘engrave[s] within us the hierarchy of the various functions of inhabiting.’ This view privileges the idea of a single location as carrying out an originary or formative role. However, as author-translators both Beckett and Murakami compromise the idea of a text’s ‘native’ or ‘source’ language, challenging the idea that a text has a definable ‘home’ country. It is thus perhaps telling, in light of both authors’ ambivalence towards cultural rootedness, that their indoor spaces are characterised by absence, blankness, or disconnect.
Frequently employing interior settings in their novels allows Beckett and Murakami to write in a manner that – superficially at least – avoids obvious markers of place. However, the manner in which both authors conceptualize interior space is rigidly gendered. This paper will examine the logistics and ethics of ‘vaguening’, a tacit assumption of a ‘universality’ vital to interrogate in a globalized literary era. Vague writing expresses either privilege or resistance, depending on the context, and who ‘gets’ to vaguen is often telling.
The Creek is our Home: Peacebuilding, Space and the Everyday Reintegration of Former Combatants in the Niger Delta
NCPACS, University of Otago
Reintegration, space, place, displace, everyday peace
The return of former combatants to home communities as a given, is a dominant discourse that normalises the reintegration process of many disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) programs. Yet, there is paucity of research that looks into the spaces where reintegration takes place to interrogate the spatial meaning and consequences of ex-combatants return in post-hostility settings. Thus, by focusing on the Niger Delta, this paper outlines a spatial conception of reintegration.
Firstly, it unveils reintegration as a spatial governmentality strategy, which frames former fighters as ‘militants’ and threats to peace, and through the coercive dangling of reintegration welfare and amnesty, legitimises their displacement from the ‘creeks’ where their insurgency is contesting the hegemony of the state into what is a politicised, securitised and stigmatised home community where they can be gazed upon and reformed.
Secondly, it unpacks the discourses and techniques through which this form of power is exercised, the micro-forms of subjectification, violence and relations of power that it enacts, re-enacts and disrupts in the Niger Delta communities.
Then by reading the Niger Delta creeks and home community as spaces with symbolic, cultural, social and economic significance, it maps out the everyday reintegration tactics, narratives and spatial practices that local agentive actors deploy to re-appropriate the meaning of reintegration, cope with, resist, manoeuvre, and navigate the reintegration dilemmas, discourses and spaces claimed and imposed by dominant actors as well as the forms of peace engendered thereby.
Hence, the paper advances the agenda on the spatial, local and everyday turn in critical peace research, by asking the question of ‘reintegration where’?, It presents a nuanced understanding of the consequences of top-down peacebuilding techniques in local spaces and how the agency of ordinary people in contesting their subjugation by reintegration actors is spatially expressed.
Introvert Charging Stations and Other Safe Spaces – A 30-Minute Workshop
Introversion, safe places, alone time, solitude, extravert privilege, inclusivity
“Calling all introverts. A Japan-based restaurant, Ichiran, known for its solo dining booths, has just opened its second location in New York City. The popular Midtown ramen restaurant allows customers to enjoy their meal without distraction.” (NBCNEWORK.COM)
From busy offices to noisy social events, from standing shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers on crowded trains to never being home alone, just moving through your day can be a never-ending assault on the senses. Even if you are wired to get a charge from external stimuli, you may still be overwhelmed after a long day. But if you are not wired to get a boost from the highly-sensory world around you, even the simplest daily tasks can make you feel like you’re living in a war zone. Fortunately, as the article above suggests, there may be a glimmer of hope for those of us who need a little more … well, space.
Introverts have a unique need for space – mental space, personal space, empty spaces – and a strong connection to place – quiet places, sacred places, safe places. This interactive workshop will explain the science of introversion and extraversion, explore ideas of inclusivity and safe spaces, while encouraging participants to consider moments when they were excluded or when they may have inadvertently excluded others as we move through various places in a world of extravert privilege. We will offer some ideas around renewing/recharging rituals, so you can take your introvert charging station into the world with you. Above all, we will celebrate alone time, quiet time, and time radically squandered all for the sake of recharging and renewing our connection to the most important of all places – our own hearts.
Driving Youth Engagement through Leading with a Sense of Place. A Study at the United Arab Emirates Youth Hubs
Maryam Al Ali
Georgia State University
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Sense of Place, Authentic Leadership, Youth Engagement, Youth Hubs, United Arab Emirates
This paper is looking to study the relationship between Authentic Leaders and Youth Engagement, taking into consideration, a mediator that was not included before in literature within this context, Sense of Place. This study aims at bringing an in-depth understanding of two theories, Authentic Leadership by Bill George (2004), and Sense of Place by David Canter (1973). These theories will be related to the two variables in this study. The conceptual model will show the linkage between three variables, qualities of Authentic Leaders and attributes of Sense of Place, and how this relationship relates to Youth Level of Engagement. To date, there are no in-depth studies done to understand the linkage between the qualities of Authentic leaders, Sense of Place attributes and the level of Youth Engagement. Not many studies had looked at Authentic Leadership specifically from a Sense of Place lens and how that impacts Youth Engagement. The research question will be on How Authentic Leaders drive Youth Engagement through cultivating a Sense of Place. This will take place at the Youth Hubs in the United Arab Emirates. This paper is a research in progress; it will not have findings, results or conclusion sections.
“Idyll of space” of closed places of religious communities in Siberia: presentation and video
escapism, eschatology, Siberia, Old Believers, sacralization of space, isolation of the place, esoteric space, Spaces of Faith
Siberia is a sign-place in which the multilevel meaning of the vast expanses of the taiga and the potential of human capabilities are laid. The sacredness of such a place-sign forms a special confessional environment with elements of isolationism. We have studied two models of confessional society in expeditions of Siberia for five years: the traditional Old Believer on the Yenisei and the new religious movement Church of the last testament (1990). The collected photo and video material allows us to see a special world closed to society, which is in opposition to the state, and to get people’s opinions on escapism in the Siberian taiga. A study of the anthropology of space in a confessional environment indicates the construction of a model taking into account the experience of the functioning of widespread practices of closed cities in the totalitarian society of Soviet Russia.
Today, the sacred place of the Old Believers is the lost world of monasteries on the Yenisei. Taiga and swamps, harsh conditions contributed to the closeness of these places for accessible visits. The repressive state policy, eschatological closeness led to isolation from the outside world. The monasteries are home to more than 1,500 people from communities from the Yenisei, the Far East, America and Brazil.
Another option for modeling the “idyllic space” is the City of the Sun, in the foothills of the Sayan Mountains. The combination of neopaganism, religions of the East, representations of N. Roerich and E. Blavatsky, creates an eclectic visual environment aimed at esoteric perception.
As a result of expeditionary research, the features of the functioning of places that were closed to public access and the mechanism of sacralization in the confessional environment, under the conditions of internal state control were recorded.