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Environmental and Urban Studies Program and Dean of the College present

Candidate for the Tenure Track Position in Environmental and Urban Studies Program

“Urban Cultural Geography in New York City: Three Constellations of Privilege and Resistance”

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Visiting Assistant Research Professor

The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Cultural geography illuminates how people relate to and define their spaces and places, and, in turn, how spaces and places relate to and define people. Cities are a rare environment in that they afford researchers ways to amplify our understandings of the processes, practices, and possibilities in these spaces as well as their effect on the world. Drawing from critical theoretical work in urban cultural geography, as well as spatial methods of ethnography and focus groups with mental mapping exercises, I examine three instances of what I call constellations, the interdependent flows of privilege and resistance to the oppression caused by uneven access to resources and power. These three examples include attempts at democracy and patterns of racism in housing co-ops; scaled constructions of access and power for students of an elite, rural college as they relate to the cities around them; and the boundaries of lesbians of color to find acceptance for their race, gender, and sexuality. Each site is bound to the next and those within them evidence tactics of resistance to produce justice and thwart oppression. These constellations help us to rethink territorial models of space- and place-making and elaborate the interconnectedness and complex political, economic, psychological and social systems of our everyday lives.

Jen Jack Gieseking is Visiting Assistant Research Professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and hold a PhD in environmental psychology. Her first book, People, Place, and Space: Key Readings across the Disciplines, brings together cutting edge readings on class and human-environment relations that speak to the ‘spatial turn’ across the social sciences. Forthcoming from Routledge in 2013, the volume's other editors include William Mangold, Cindi Katz, Setha Low, and Susan Saegert. She is presently writing her first authored book, Queer New York: Lesbians’ and Queer Women’s Experiences of Social and Spatial Justice in New York City, 1983-2008. Her research focuses on the co-production of urban space and identity; theories of critical and cultural geography; qualitative spatial methods; and expressions and experiences of justice and oppression. Jack has taught classes on social and spatial in/justice, immigration, urban sustainability, urban planning, spatial methods and analysis, and digital media. She can be found at jgieseking.org and @jgieseking.

Time: 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Location: Olin, Room 102