Week 14: Transnationalism, Internationalism, Borders, and Movement

by jessicavooris

1. I am thinking words and language, and ask a similar first question to Jessica’s first query.  It feels like a very basic, but also relevant: what is the difference between international and transnational and global?

(Part of this is personal reflection–growing up I always considered myself part of an international family, not a transnational one.  I have dual-citizenship and have moved between countries, as have many members of my family.  But I wonder, does transnational fit my experience better? How does the terminology of transnational change conceptions of identity around migration/movement? How do we value/conceptualize these terms differently?)

2.  Both of these readings bring to the fore the idea of movement and mobility within concepts of space, home, belonging, migration.  Is the transnational always about movement, border crossings and migration? How can we conceive of the transnational from a local, situated/stable perspective/location? Or are we always implicated within transnational networks by virtue of our digital connectivity and involvement with capital flows and global economies?


Space and mobility are linked.  “Space is a product of interrelations and of’interactions, from the immensity of the global to the intimately tiny,’Massey (2005, p. 9) argues, emphasizing the coexisting heterogeneity and multiplicity in the possibilities and trajectories within space.” (Georgiou 209). Space has multiple meanings for multiple identities.

White People Mourning Romney

by jessicawalker

I am really captivated by the idea of death in Baudrillard’s piece. The real does not produce itself because never had an origin. Instead the real is an idea that circles around certain models that operationalalize difference or indicate difference through the substitution of meanings. Therefore, the real will always die and an have an anticipated resurrection. Baudrillard notes however that, “Power can stage its own murder to rediscover a glimmer of existence and legitimacy.” I wonder if this has any bearing on the recent Presidential election and the language of mourning around Romney supporters. (http://whitepeoplemourningromney.tumblr.com/page/6)

I think that De Certeau’s intervention into understanding the city away from its obvious, architectural, and visible components bears onto Sassen’s piece about why cities matter. In noting both the digital exchange of financial information, as well as the seemingly nonsensical commodities exchanges, Sassen notes that although there is a visual vocabulary of power in the cities this assumedly homogenizing power is still imbued with specific differentiation . Just in the way that walking the city makes and renders a certain non-representational knowledge and relationship with spaces can we also say that the logic of “meaning of information” that Sassen points to can be implicated in a similar process of spatialization in the city?

Does the Sassen challenge the Foucauldian formations of power used by De Certeau? Does she believe in the centralized, dispersed, and everyday manifestations of power as domination? Going between her discussion of logics and De Certeau’s discussion of power in the everyday was interesting and sometimes confusing because I was unsure how each author was approaching both how power manifest in spaces as well as what power does to spaces?

Space: A infinite processes whereby interconnecting systems of global, social, cultural and embodied knowledges inform the value of place. Space is a right.

Place: Fixed in the material and moving freely. Facilitated by place marking objects like maps.

Identity: The processes of having the ability to sense your presence in space—to know you are alive. How you make sense of places’ relationships to the idea of individualism.

Making the Body (oops, forgot to tag!)

by cassygriff

As I read Sobchack and Stone’s work, I began thinking about the slippages between the notion of prosthetics as metaphor and materiality. That is, while Sobchack takes to task the tendency of scholars to use the idea of the prosthetic as a metaphor for just about everything, especially in terms of the digital, I wonder if there are ways in which the digital and the material collide to break down the distinction Sobchack sees. For example, while a cell phone camera is, at least materially, very unlike a prosthetic leg, the ubiquity of certain types of cell phones renders them very nearly necessary. In a sense, they do function as prosthetic eyes, ears, and voice boxes not because they replace that which is missing or non-functional, but because we need them to exist in the material (and digital) space. Which leads me to my next question…

How do processes of globalization, capitalism, and neoliberalism (sorry for the buzzwords) create the need for certain devices to become prosthetics? While, again, I am not arguing that a laptop is the same as a leg, but hasn’t our growing use and reliance on certain types of technology created a body that is always incomplete (I’m looking at you, Donna Haraway)? I’ll share an anecdote: on my very first day of graduate school, I sat down at the table in the room we always meet in, took out my notebook and waited for class to start. After everyone arrived, Dr. Farman sat down at the table, said a few words about the course, and (this is the part I remember really, really well) looked at the table in front of me and said, “you have a laptop, right?” He then proceeded to look horrified at himself and said something along the lines of “Oh God, I can’t believe I just said that.” I did have a laptop and proceeded to bring it with me to every class since. It, of course, has proven not only useful, but necessary to my ability to function in an academic space. Without it, I am neither fully present nor able to engage completely with the class. So, the question: what processes turn certain objects into prosthetics?

I am troubled this week about the fact that a series of articles in which embodiment is a key aspect does not deal directly with aspects of race and class. Although Sobchack does explain that her insurance pays for her incredibly expensive prosthetic and that she would not be able to afford it otherwise, I still found myself yearning for some sort of discussion about the ways that race and class impact the availability of prosthetics or the way that prosthetics are theorized or utilized.


Body: The physical/corporeal form which, in a complex process of internal and external discipline, is shaped to interact with that which is outside of it in a temporally, culturally, and socially specific manner. Not necessarily organic.

Place: A space whose specificity is connected not only to the bodies that occupy it, but also the ideas that are mapped onto it. Also impacts the ways in which the body can/must be configured and utilized.

Week 8: Tierney, Rajchman, de Souza e Silva and Sutko

by jessicavooris

This week I should have started with the de Souza e Silva and Sutko reading, but instead read backwards, which is probably part of the reason that I found myself lost in the discussions of the virtual and the actual seemingly without anything concrete to ground me.  However, re-reading I think I have a better grasp on the concepts, though I am still struggling a bit to keep a hold on them.

1) In the “Theorizing Locative Media” article, de Souza e Silva and Stuko discuss the ways in which “information as space” and “space as information” are always in a process of becoming, through the process of actualization (37).  Thinking about space as information and vice-versus reminded me of the Manovich (?) article we read and the discussion of architecture as information and “augmented space.” de Souza e Silva and Stuko further the conversation around the link between technology interfaces and how we understand the world around us.  How is our concepts around space influenced by our ideas around knowledge/information? We are said to be living in an “information age” after all.

2) I am interested in the concepts of becoming and the potential and hope that comes up in discussion this evening.  “Thus actualization is not a making-real. The real already exists. Actualization is rather one instantiated, particular, immanent, and imminent configuration of the multiplicity of the potential.” (de Souza e Silva and Sutko, 35).  ”

3) Throughout class we have been talking about the relationship between space and time.  I was interested in Rajchman’s exploration of our concept of time, and our experience of it as a duration, ‘an endlessly flowing process” (138) and the connection between time, the virtual and memory.  Rajchman writes, “Henri Bergman proposed memory to be a virtual image that coexists with the perception of the object.” (35).  How can we extend the conversation around the virtual and memory to some of the other discussions we have had around space and bodies moving through space?


space: “people do not simply operate in space; space also operates on people. The container/thing contained cannot be separated.” (de Souza e Silva and Sutko) There is a relation between actual and virtual space.

Weekly Post 7: boyd, Anderson, Sengupta

by jessicavooris

1) Like Alex, while I was reading the article about Myspace and Facebook I was wondering what a discussion around the international use of social networking sites might look like.  For a while I was a part of many different social networking sites like Myspace, Facebook, Friendster? (don’t remember the name of it, but my friends in Mexico used it), and used both AOL and MSN in order to stay in touch with friends in the US, Mexico, the UK  and Canada who all used different platforms to connect.  Now I think everyone is on Facebook. I wonder too, as facebook has been opened to a wider demographic, how we can think about age in regards to online space.  While boyd makes it clear the class and racial aspects of conversations around the move from myspace and facebook, and the elitism of facebooks beginnings, I wonder if the conversation around teenage use of facebook could be pushed further.  I remember when it switched to allowing high-school and middle-school kids that conversations in my college centered around the age and immaturity of new users.  Also, thinking about age, what does it mean to now exist in an age where your parents and grandparents are also on facebook? How does our sense of online spaces change as more and more of our friends/connections/acquaintances are on there, across age groups?

2) Anderson’s book helps us think about the role of print material, language, and changing world-views (in terms of religion and concepts of time) and their role in creating nationalisms, and continues conversations begun with the Sassen reading about global flows, and thinking about space across borders.  I wonder how we can connect this to thinking about print-material in the digital age and the flow of information and how it shapes national thinking.  The role of the media/internets/twitter in the current presidential debate comes to mind.

3) On one hand I appreciate the ways in which Sengupta offers an analysis and metaphors of violence to think about intersectionality, and I found particular passages provocative, for example in terms of thinking about the assumptions around various types of power, and the way that oppression gets articulated through patriarchy.  However I am not sure if I quite buy his argument about power and difference being an algebraic equation that is the same no matter the identities of the different parties.  Perhaps I just didn’t understand the grand scope of the article? But I was left wanting something more.

Virtual/Real Communities and Identities

by melissarogers


Space: that which we create in and around us by virtue of our embodiment, by virtue of our relationships with other bodies (including objects), and by virtue of practices of representation (digital or otherwise).

Place: those specific spaces or locations to which we are affectively attached, bound, or oriented toward by virtue of meaningful relationships with other bodies (including objects), through embodied practices of power (biopolitics), and through practices of representation, visualization, and mapping; those spaces or locations that come into being through technologies of surveillance.

Identity: the enduring bodily and psychic perception and conception of self across spacetime(s), including the extension of self through cultural tools, technologies, and virtualities, and the disciplining of self through technologies of surveillance, as well as the imagination of self in relation to virtual and actual communities.


  1. While perhaps not directly related to the themes of space and place we’ve been exploring throughout this class, I was particularly interested in Benedict Anderson’s discussion of print capitalism, which he argues set the stage for the a national consciousness or an imagined community of the nation. In his discussion of the newspaper as “a book sold on a colossal scale, but of ephemeral popularity” that becomes obsolescent the next day (34), I was thinking about zines in the context of capitalist market ecologies. What scale could zines, as independent publications with usually limited print runs, be said to operate on, and how do space and place affect this? How does the relationship between identity and community get imagined? These are some of the enduring questions of my research.
  2. Furthermore, if, as Anderson argues, the newspaper reader “is well aware that the ceremony he performs is being replicated simultaneously by thousands (or millions) of others of whose existence he is confident, yet of whose identity he has not the slightest notion” (35), then what happens in a neoliberal context, when narrowcasting encourages us each to be our own private market, consuming media individually and asynchronously according to our own finely tuned tastes? I get the sense from boyd that we are consuming, disciplining, and policing each other’s identities all the time in virtual and actual social networks, thereby imagining the boundaries of our communities; is there anything different about this in a neoliberal framing or is it the perfection of liberal individualism?
  3. I find the frameworks that de Souza e Silva and Sutko lay out for thinking the virtual and the real to be immensely useful, especially when it comes to potential. I am also preoccupied with the language of “possible and incompossible worlds” (32), which I think has implications for community organizing of various kinds. They write, “For Borges, as for Deleuze, there is no longer a person who chooses among several worlds, as in Leibniz, but a person who is pressured by several selves, which are not masks or appearances (like in Plato), but indeed constitute the same person. This perspective frames the virtual into something that is ready to emerge, to be created, or to transform” (32-33). This is particularly useful for conceptualizing identity and intersectionality; it gives us a way to think about identification as a process, with multiple forms or modes of consciousness operating or salient at different times, a la Chela Sandoval. My question therefore is about how the difficulty of writing about this process in an analysis, as language seems inadequate to the task of apprehending being/becoming.

Panopticon, Rodney, and MySpace

by jessicawalker

Can Racism also pervade black perception of the Rodney King event? Black class paranoia or suburban Black spatialized paranoia over urban infiltration that is also coded as violence and crime? Where “normal” Black individuals identity themselves against the “abnormal” criminality of Rodney King? Butler notes that the video is s “ritual production of Blackness” but which kind of Blackness does this refer to? Foucault does note that power assigns truth to bodies but not along binary distinction but toward multiple separations. Therefore, “racism” is not only implicating black/white relations but intraracial and ethnic tensions as well.

The disciplining project of power seems to rely on a processes that “individualize the excluded but uses procedures of individualization mark exclusion (Foucault, 199).” I’m wondering how digital devices that connect us to others, allow us to cocoon, and help us navigate our environments contribute to a different concept of individualization? Or how do digital technologies add to the abnormal/normal distinction that produce individuals and therefore allow individuals to be excluded?

Does the asynchronous and eternal accessible nature of social interaction via social networking sites expand the reaches that the logics of power must encompass and therefore as I think Sassen would argue  makes more spaces for resistance to power and visibility for the disempowered.

Space: A infinite processes whereby interconnecting systems of global, social, cultural and embodied knowledges inform the value of place through the logics of power. Space is a right.

Place: Fixed in the material and moving freely. Facilitated by place marking objects like maps.

Identity:  How you make sense of places’ relationships to the idea of individualism.

Emptiness and Blank Spots

by cassygriff

1. Like Avery, this week’s readings got me thinking about the ways in which we map things that are not strictly geographical. I’m thinking specifically about the ways we do (or don’t) map digital spaces, even though we call them spaces and think about them in terms of space and place. What would a map of Facebook look like? Reddit (Alyssa…)? Would these maps necessarily rely on the spatial locations of users (like the maps in Harpold’s piece) or would they look different? I’d be really interested to see or try to conceptualize a map of digital space, especially in terms of Paglen’s “blank spots.” What would be there? Where would the gaps be?

2.I’m really intrigued by Paglen’s discussion of the politics of emptiness and the particularly American desire to fill up space or to utilize emptiness as a rationale for land grabs and various colonial projects. However, I’d like to put this chapter in conversation with Andrea Smith’s Conquest (I know I’ve already done this once, but she provides a really great analytic for space/place) and argue that the idea of emptiness and empty space is not only “not just dead background or a neutral physical stage” but also “not just […] a gender neutral physical stage” (Soja 19). In other words, while Paglen beautifully comments on the creation (both in thought and practice) of wastelands, I think he misses a key point in the colonial process that writers like Smith and Anzaldua place at the fore: spaces occupied by women and/or feminized bodies are often deemed empty. This is compounded by a particular kind of gendered racism in which fullness can only mean fullness when a space (or a body) is occupied by white men.

3.My final question/comment revolves around the importance of the visual in map-making as well as the construction of “dark continents” and “blank spots” on maps. While Paglen gestures towards the “silence” of emptiness, the generall discussion throughout these readings is about that which has not yet been or cannot be seen. Hence, things are “dark” and “blank” and either able to be visualized or somehow hidden or invisible. While vision is obviously (in my experience, for example, as a sighted person) tantamount in creating maps, I do wonder how this reliance on the visual impacts the very work that maps do or can do. What would an auditory map sound like? What would the blank space be—silence? What about Braille maps and other maps that rely on touch? Would emptiness and secrecy function the same way in the visual wasn’t so primary?

Bodies: The physical means by which we interact with the world. While physical, these bodies must also be understood as constructs that both shape and are shaped by the spaces with which they interact.

Place: A space imbued with meanings that come both from the person inhabiting or considering that place, but also from outside, often larger institutional forces. Can be hidden or made secret. Would this be one of the ways that a place reverts back to a space?