CFP: The (Digital) Lives of Cities

CFP: The (Digital) Lives of Cities

Midwest Modern Language Association 2014: The Lives of Cities
November 13-16, 2014 | Detroit, MI

In Programmed Visions, Wendy Chun suggests that “the call to map may be the most obscuring of all: by constantly drawing connections between data points, we sometimes forget that the map should be the beginning, rather than the end, of the analysis” (177). With this year’s MMLA conference theme of “The Lives of Cities,” the second annual permanent section of digital humanities will explore criticisms of, experiments with, and provocations on mapping, geographic visualization, or other conceptions of urban space that work with or against the digital. Possible topics/projects include:

  • historical approaches to mapping and visualization

  • absence, silence, and (in)visibility in maps

  • mapping difference—class, race, gender, and accessibility

  • critical visual literacies

  • remediations and reconceptualizations of space

  • mobile technologies and city life (e.g. augmented reality, geotagging, location-based social media platforms)

  • political and disciplinary dimensions of mapping technologies

  • pedagogical purposes of community/city mapping projects

  • endangered and indigenous languages

Please send 250-word abstracts by May 31st to both Josh Honn (joshhonn at gmail) and Rachael Sullivan (sullivanrachael at gmail).

Co-chairs: Josh Honn (Northwestern University) and Rachael Sullivan (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)

"the mass practice of violence against women as a form of control of their work"

"The violence exercised against women outside the home, on the street, in public places, in all those places that could represent for them a social life, is also directly functional to controlling the rhythms of housework and to the space within which women are constrained to their workday.  Because it contributes towards keeping them confined to the workplace and to maintaining their expanded work hours in such a way that these continue through the day, including the evening and night, violence keeps them far away from every form of social life ….

For a woman to need to remain at home because the city is dangerous, off limits, is directly work because the home is precisely her workplace.  The time she spends at home is not, as it is for the man, “free time,” but rather entirely work time.  Even to be in front of the television for a woman is not like being at the movies, since if the doorbell rings she must answer it, if the children are sick she’s the one who keeps an eye on the TV and another on how the sick child is doing.  And this is fundamentally because it is she, and her physical presence in the home, that contributes towards emotionally and psychologically reproducing the other components of the family.  Her own presence is work. “

— Giovanna Franca Dalla Costa, from “The State and Male Physical Violence Against Women,” The Work of Love, 1979



"In the 19th century, feminists made plans for kitchenless houses.  This was so women would not have to work for free. By ripping the kitchen out of the home these feminists made, through blue prints, a dream of an oikos with a hole in it.  It was a dream of a reproductive labor strike built into the dream of a home. Consider these contemporary equivalents to the kitchenless house: What is the architecture for “sex strike”? What cities could be built in such a manner that we will never be told to “smile” again?  If there is now this global mega-oikos, what would be the equivalent of the mega-oikos with the kitchen ripped out? As Eric Hobsbawm wrote, “Suppose, then, we construct the ideal city for riot and insurrection…” I wonder “Suppose, then, we construct the ideal oikos for the same.”

If we might imagine a household built for riot, we could, like those 19th century feminists, construct this ideal household through the stubborn ripping out of the heart of the mega-oikos. Like a city with a sinkhole in it, we could make this insurrectionary oikos. Here the household would be looted of what we need (care, love, sustenance) and what is not needed (sexual and familial violence, enslavement, racialized and gendered divisions of labor) is left for the flames. An oikos-built-for-riot and the riot-of-the-oikos in any shape would force what appears to be the polis—the often violently enforced boundary of the oikos—into a significantly different shape, too.  The polis itself, so transformed by the transformation of the oikos, would take on its own unique shape: perhaps half daycare center, half insurrectionary terrain.” — the full response 


Anne Boyer: “God made of women an indoor body, Ischomachus tells his wife, and made of men an outdoor one.  And this scheme—what becomes, in future iterations, public and private, of production and reproduction, of waged work and unpaid servitude—is the order agreed upon in this dialogue to attend to the risk posed by those who make the oikos.  Like the queen-bee, Ischomachus tells his wife, she too, will have to stay inside.” 

about architecture against women, contracts, care as paracontractual infrastructure, the foundational work of economics as a lecture on lecturing to women, and more at the CUNY digital labor working group discussion of Angela Mitropoulos’ Contract & Contagion 

"not only the enclosure of the land but also the enclosure of the body"

"Starting from that rethinking of primitive accumulation, you can think of multiple enclosures: not only the enclosure of the land but also the enclosure of the body. Your body is truly enclosed the moment that you are so terrorized that you cannot control your own reproduction, your sexual life. We can think of an enclosure of knowledge because, for example, there was an attack against the means that women had used to control procreation." — Silvia Federici interview in NorthStar

" If the camp was to be a haven for anyone…it had obviously to be one first of all for women or queers."

"Located within the reproduction of the proletariat, the Oakland Commun had to face the gender category. By ‘category’, we do not mean an abstraction or a vague sociological classification. Each mode of production has its own categories and they exist as relations. If the camp was to be a haven for anyone (and it was a haven inasmuch as it was securing meals, shelter and a protection against the police), it had obviously to be one first of all for women or queers. And this is where the question of activity comes up. Women and queers had to self-organise for a matter of survival,43 but they had to self-organise within the totality that was the camp. And this totality, as we said, couldn’t exist as such. Women and queers self-organising were therefore one of the main dynamics that would prevent the camp from falling into a fantasised identity, that of the ‘we are the 99%’, because the 99% is a compact whole of the individual poverty and violence of capitalist relations. The 99% is harassment, rape and murder. The organisation of an Occupy Patriarchy front was a constant reminder that nothing that united this camp but in the negative. It was the creation of a struggle within the struggle and was one of the dynamics that went against the fact that the struggle, not facing its own limits, would fall into an identity. That became concretely clear when, in the second camp, women and queers were not as strongly organised (much preparation work needed to be done outside of the camp and this work forced old-school participants to be absent whilst new people were constantly flowing in) and sexual harassment became more and more frequent.

If the gender question was central in the internal dynamics of the camp, partly by the implication of certain tendencies within it, gender as a whole was not questioned. The connection between the gender question and the limit constituted by the sphere of labour is obvious: it is because the Oakland Commune couldn’t attack the sphere of labour that it couldn’t completely question gender. labour is what allows the separation of the totality into spheres: production and reproduction, public and private. labour creates gender and without grasping labour, gender always runs the risk of being essentialised. Despite all that, due to the anchoring of the camp within the reproduction of the proletariat and the activity of certain part of the camp, the gender question was addressed during the struggle.”

Under the Riot Gear, Rust Bunny Collective