Living Together / Living Apart: Denaturalizing 21st century urban segregation through stories, sound, and images

Authors: Jakira Silas*, , Elizabeth Chung, Christopher Newport University, John Finn, Christopher Newport University
Topics: Urban Geography, Cultural Geography, Qualitative Methods
Keywords: Photographic methods, Race, Representational Agency, Segregation, Visual methodologies
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The origins of racial segregation in the American city are deep, and go far beyond the oft-cited quip that “birds of a feather flock together.” Rather, a combination of overtly racist federal housing policy and the racism endemic to American society throughout the 20th century lie at its heart. In this project, we use a critical landscape approach to try to understand the production of racially segregated urban landscapes in the United States, and the ongoing work that these landscapes do. In the portion of the project that we present in this poster, we report on our use of “photovoice,” a participatory-action research (PAR) method in which the researcher provides cameras to participants who photograph their everyday reality according to a mutually agreed upon set of guidelines. This transfers the power of representation from the researcher to the participant-photographer, allowing them to photograph, on their own terms, what is important to them. This process helps to illustrate and bring to life the everyday life of participants, from their perspective, through the lens of their camera. The project will culminate in an immersive multi-media exhibition that will be displayed in several museums and cultural centers throughout the author’s urban region.

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