This webpage is an extended part of our 2020 Newsletter.
Brandi T. Summers
The University of North Carolina Press
While Washington, D.C., is still often referred to as “Chocolate City,” it has undergone significant demographic, political, and economic change in the last decade. In D.C., no place represents this shift better than the H Street corridor. In this book, Brandi Thompson Summers documents D.C.’s shift to a “post-chocolate” cosmopolitan metropolis by charting H Street’s economic and racial developments. In doing so, she offers a theoretical framework for understanding how blackness is aestheticized and deployed to organize landscapes and raise capital. Summers focuses on the continuing significance of blackness in a place like the nation’s capital, how blackness contributes to our understanding of contemporary urbanization, and how it laid an important foundation for how Black people have been thought to exist in cities. Summers also analyzes how blackness—as a representation of diversity—is marketed to sell a progressive, “cool,” and authentic experience of being in and moving through an urban center.
Using a mix of participant observation, visual and media analysis, interviews, and archival research, Summers shows how blackness has become a prized and lucrative aesthetic that often excludes D.C.’s Black residents.
Amsterdam University Press
This book argues for a theory of mobile mapping, a situated and spatial approach towards researching how everyday digital mobile media practices are bound up in global systems of knowledge and power. Drawing from literature in media studies and geography -- and the work of Michel Foucault and Doreen Massey -- it examines how geographical and historical material, social, and cultural conditions are embedded in the way in which contemporary (digital) cartographies are read, deployed, and engaged. This is explored through seventeen walking interviews in Hong Kong and Sydney, as potent discourses like cartographic reason continue to transform and weave through the world in ways that haunt mobile mapping and bring old conflicts into new media. In doing so, Mobile Mapping offers an interdisciplinary rethinking about how multiple translations of spatial knowledges between rational digital epistemologies and tacit ways of understanding space and experience might be conceptualized and researched.
Diana Negrín da Silva
The University of Arizona Press
While the population of Indigenous peoples living in Mexico’s cities has steadily increased over the past four decades, both the state and broader society have failed to recognize this geographic heterogeneity by continuing to expect Indigenous peoples to live in rural landscapes that are anathema to a modern Mexico.
This book examines the legacy of the racial imaginary in Mexico with a focus on the Wixarika (Huichol) Indigenous peoples of the western Sierra Madre from the colonial period to the present. Through an examination of the politics of identity, space, and activism among Wixarika university students living and working in the western Mexican cities of Tepic and Guadalajara, geographer Diana Negrín analyzes the production of racialized urban geographies and reveals how Wixarika youth are making claims to a more heterogeneous citizenship that challenges these deep-seated discourses and practices. Through the weaving together of historical material, critical interdisciplinary scholarship, and rich ethnography, this book sheds light on the racialized history, urban transformation, and contemporary Indigenous activism of a region of Mexico that has remained at the margins of scholarship.