“Spatializing Sovereignty” Program Available and Registration Open!

We are delighted to announce that the full program for our 2016 symposium, “Spatializing Sovereignty,” is now available, and registration is officially open. The symposium is free and open to the public, but we highly encourage anyone interested in attending to register in advance. This year the symposium features a diverse range of scholars and artists giving academic presentations, artist talks, and film screenings engaging questions of sovereignty at various scales. We will have two keynote lectures: Gelare Khoshgozaran, writer and multi-disciplinary artist will present at 2:00, and Dr. Mishuana Goeman, American Indian Studies and Gender Studies, UCLA, will present at 5:00. If you are unable to join us in Berkeley, please tune in for the livestream of our symposium, where you may ask our presenters questions via the chat function.

Spatializing Sovereignty flyer


 Thanks to Liz Kinnamon, our art editor, for our wonderful flyer!

The Decolonial Atlas


Check out this amazing project to decolonize maps and how we relate to them! “The Decolonial Atlas, started in 2014, is an attempt to bring together maps which, in some way, challenge our relationships with the land, people, and state. It is based on the premise that there is no such thing as ‘truth’ in cartography. Only interpretation. The orientation of a map, its projection, the presence of political borders, which features are included or excluded, and the language used to label a map are all subject to the map-maker’s agenda. Because most maps in use today serve to reinforce colonial understandings of the Earth, we are consciously creating maps which help us to re-imagine the world – to decolonize.”

Bird Migrations

For a slight change of pace, take a look at this beautiful map of bird migratory patterns! “For the first time, scientists at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology have documented migratory movements of bird populations spanning the entire year for 118 species throughout the Western Hemisphere. The study finds broad similarity in the routes used by specific groups of species—vividly demonstrated by animated maps showing patterns of movement across the annual cycle.” Thanks to Ryan H. for the link!


“The Slave Ship: An Operative Architecture Responsible for the Abysmal Atlantic Crossing”


“What the example of slave ship allows, because of the world in itself it constitutes, is a representation of the holistic dimension of the weaponization of its architecture. In other words, every component of the slave ship is designed to contribute to the organization of bodies in a spatial configuration optimizing its function, as the illustrations (above and below) of the French slave ship La Marie-Séraphine (1769-1776), show well. This includes the bodies themselves: the sailors’ bodies, in their choreographed accomplishment of navigating this “vast machine” (see Rediker, 2007), the daily ‘care’ of the hundreds of bodies living under the deck, as well as the individualized or collective deadly suppression of potential forms of revolt. In The Slave Ship: A Human History (Penguin, 2007), Marcus Rediker describes the frequent deaths of these bodies during the triangular crossings, which we can interpret through a logic that shares some similarities with slavery itself: not considering bodies individually but rather, through their muscular operativity as a whole by the ship’s captain and owners. Nevertheless, the sailors’ bodies are not the only one engaged in the holistic optimization of the slave ship through its design. The imprisoned African bodies themselves, through the deliberate overpopulation of their space (see past article), were involuntarily acting as as much walls for each other — the illustrations presented here was drawn by the ship’s officer, not an abolitionist and, as such, is very likely to have minimized the amount of bodies present — in particular when these bodies were handcuffed by two, as Rediker describes in his book.”

Mapping Police Violence Project Releases Annual Report


“Amid grief and outrage over the killings of two unarmed African Americans in Chicago, a year-end report from the Mapping Police Violence research project says police nationwide killed at least 1,152 people in 2015. In 14 cities, every single police victim was African-American. And across the country, police killings had little correlation with crime rates and population size.”

“In Mumbai, public slumber is one way the urban poor reclaim space”


“Public sleeping can be seen as one way that people who are denied access to spaces of their own resist and subvert state-sanctioned limitations of private housing. In Salaam Bombay!, the quest for sleep dramatizes the radical challenge to urban space that public communal slumber represents…In a climate torn by a genocidal wiping of impoverished presence from public spaces, sleeping on unclaimed ground becomes an act of resistance. Squatters insist on their rights to comfort, pleasure and restful sleep, even at serious risk. In her report The Case of Mumbai, India, the architect Neelima Risbud notes that since the late 1980s, ‘the most insecure group’ in terms of access to housing or tenure are recently migrated ‘pavement dwellers’ in ‘un-notified slums and squatter settlements.’ A result of the wave of communalization and gentrification of inner-city land, squatter presence in neighborhoods became either threats to or opportunities for erasure by the state.”