A People’s Temporality of Seattle?

Authors: Christian Anderson*, University of Washington Bothell
Topics: Urban Geography, Cultural Geography, Social Theory
Keywords: temporality, urban space, participatory methods, study
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual 30
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper reflects on the relationships among temporality and chrono-politics; space and place; lived experience and spatial praxis; and popular narratives and common sensibilities in contexts of ongoing gentrification, displacement, and counter-struggle in Seattle, Washington. Specifically, it examines these relations—and tensions among them—through the lens of an evolving university-community collaboration called The People’s Geography of Seattle (PGS). Since 2017, the PGS has been a loose container for collaboration among community-based artists, storytellers, activists, and university-based faculty from geography and aligned fields. Drawing on frameworks of participatory action research, asset-based organizing, counter-mapping, participatory archiving, and more, the PGS aims to channel capacities from the university toward anti-racist, decolonial, and other counter-struggles across the city and region—not least by supporting already existing community-led efforts to counter dominant, naturalizing commonsense narratives which buoy processes of development, gentrification, and displacement that are currently rampant. Intriguingly, many of the efforts aligned within the PGS have hinged on questions about and struggles over matters of temporality and chronology—whether in lived experiences of time-space compression and expansion, deeply uneven across neighborhoods and identities; in efforts to curate critical place-based counter-histories in the face of ongoing erasures; or as activists and front-line community members struggle to carve out time to study, imagine, and enact the just futures they otherwise have capacity to build. This paper will frame these and other temporal matters as open questions, inseparable from the spatial contexts and struggles in which they are embedded.

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