“Seek your own land”: Enacted Narratives, Spatialized narratives part 2

Type: Paper
Theme:
Sponsor Groups:
Organizers: Joern Langhorst, Renee Moreno
Chairs: Joern Langhorst

Call for Submissions

The organizers invite proposals that explore the role of narratives and stories about place and landscape as used by marginalized and traumatized communities and their people. We invite contributions that explore how marginalized groups construct and assert their identity and place, participate in the discourses about their own futures in order to become co-authors of the landscape they inhabit. We are looking for examples of counter-narrative and -stories that challenge and dismantle being cast or self-identified as merely victims of external and hegemonial agendas. Stories and narratives that engage agency and frame the practices of everyday life, as much as those that “make sense” of exceptional and formative events will be prioritized.


Description

It is impossible to separate landscape from the people that inhabit it. The identities of place and people are mutually constitutive, entangled and have developed over time. Cosgrove’s contention that “landscape constitutes a discourse through which identifiable social groups historically have framed themselves and their relations with both the land and with other human groups...”(Cosgrove 1998: XIV) suggests the reciprocal formation of human identity and landscape as a central element in establishing a sense of “self” (collective and individual) and fact of belonging (to a place).

The mechanisms of control and influence that hegemonial powers exert over territory, place and landscape on a spatial and material level, as well as the spatialized forms of resistance have been investigated in the context of colonialism, capitalism and other mechanisms of uneven development. This session examines the role of stories and narratives in constructing both place and identity against hegemonial, colonial and/or capitalist systems of power. For "narrative [has the] power to reframe the past so as to include certain events and people, exclude others and redefine the meaning of landscape accordingly" (Cronon, 1992: 1364).

Nowhere becomes this more apparent as in the context of different processes of displacement, and changing the narrative about a place is often the first step of hegemonial power to marginalize communities and individuals and deny their right to their place by writing or rewriting the stories about them and thus “author” their identities and places. In this context, the ability for a community to tell its own stories, using its own language which are often radically different from those of hegemonial and colonial powers, is critical to its survival. Homi Bhabha (2003) most potently conceptualized and proposed the “right to narrative” as a key element of an individual and collective right to identity – and by extension of the right to place and landscape, and to life itself. Bhabha’s suggestion that narrative “provides a place from which to speak both of, and as, the minority, the exilic, the marginal and emergent” (1990: 300) and bell hooks’ notion of the margin as a site of resistance posit narrative and storytelling as strategies/mechanisms to counter the authority and authorship of hegemonial elites.

The organizers invite proposals that explore the role of narratives and stories about place and landscape as used by marginalized and traumatized communities and their people. We invite contributions that explore how marginalized groups construct and assert their identity and place, participate in the discourses about their own futures in order to become co-authors of the landscape they inhabit. We are looking for examples of counter-narrative and -stories that challenge and dismantle being cast or self-identified as merely victims of external and hegemonial agendas. Stories and narratives that engage agency and frame the practices of everyday life, as much as those that “make sense” of exceptional and formative events will be prioritized.

References:
Bhabha, H.K. 2003. “On Writing Rights.” Globalizing Rights. M. Gibney (ed.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, 162–182.
Bhabha, H.K. 1990 “DissemiNation: Time, Narrative, and the Margins of the Modern.” Nation and Narration. London: Routledge, 291-322.
Cosgrove, D. 1998. Social Formation and Symbolic Landscape. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
Cronon, W. 1992. “A Place for Stories: Nature, History and Narrative.” The Journal of American History, 78 (4), 1347-1376.
De Certeau, M. 1984. The Practice of Everyday Life. Los Angeles: University of California Press.
hooks, b. 1989. “Choosing the Margin as a Space of Radical Openness.” Framework: The Journal of Cinema and Media, 36, 15-23.
Soja E. W. and B. Hooper 1993. "The Spaces That Difference Makes." M. Keith and S Pile (eds). Place and the Politics of Identity. London: Routledge, 183-205.


Agenda

Type Details Minutes
Discussant Renee Moreno California State University, Northridge 15
Introduction Joern Langhorst University of Colorado Denver, College of Architecture and Planning 15
Presenter Ghazal Jafari*, UVA School of Architecture, Butterfly’s Fish: Recipe for Resilience 15

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