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Introducing the geohumanities Douglas Richardson, Sarah Luria, Jim Ketchum, and Michael Dear ‘The term “geohumanities” refers to che rapidly growing zone of creative interaction beeween geography and the humanities. The traditions of chese various disciplines are being actively breached by a profusion of intellectually and artistically challenging scholarship and practice, itself propelled by social, rechnological, and political change Just as geography, with ies focus on space and place, is now actively engaging with the humanities, so are the discourses of the humanities increasingly incorporating place and the spatial dimension, The fortuitous convergence ofthis intellectual trafic outlines a distinctive scholarly terrain and emerging zone of practice that is the focus of this book, AAs geography and the humanities converge, new copics are being suggested that require a transdisciplinary perspective and a combination of methodologies. From such fusions, a kaleidoscope of intelleceual and artistic outputs is currently emanat- ing. You can see ie in ehe hybrid maps of radical cartographers and the artistic ere- ations of experimental geography; or when philosophers and literary theorists concerned to examine life's fandamencal spatialiey engage with conseructs of place and landscape; or when urbanists turn to art for visions ofthe fueure city. In this book, \we capcure some of che excitement breaking out across the intellectual landscape of the geohumanities. We try ro nudge the diversity of contributions toward a mote col- laborative and creative group-awareness that explores the meaning of place, and attempts to reconstruct those meanings in ways that produce new knowledge and bercer-informed scholarly o political practices. forts co introduce new ideas often dwell on thei differences from past and present tradicions. By emphacically denying the legacies of predecessors, advocates call arcen- tion co the radical break implied by their novel approaches. Such is noc our strategy. Out firse sketch of a “geohumanites” is resonane with he histories of our ewin origins. AS edivors, we represent four “spatial minds” wich significantly differene training in, espec- tively, urbanism, licerarure, the visual arts, and science. Our goals are co give voice to ‘hese separate craditions while bringing them into che same discursive space, and to illuminace the new opporcunicies thereby revealed. We also understand our responsibil- ity to demonscrace something of the form and utility ofthese uncharted territories, even as we readily concede that our fist mappings are necessaly tentative and incomplete, DOUGLAS RICHARDSON ET AL. Hence, this volume may be properly regarded as an exercise in becoming. We do ‘not aim ro define a comprehensive new “feld” oF “discipline.” The works collected in this book provide an opening to a project chat is just beginning. In it, academics, architects, artists, scientists, activists, and writers reveal an astonishing degree of common ground when explaining the production and meanings of place. Buc they also uncover new and insightful terrains thar advance our understanding of knowl- edge and action, “The structure and concent of this volume are themselves an active part of our inves= tigation. While the essays themselves for che most part are rooted in conventional disciplinary heritages, ech deliberately seeks co eransgeess disciplinary boundaries in ‘order to encompass a wider explanation of the production end meaning of place. Our contributors’ objects of inquiry are text-based (e.g, novels, histories), visual (photog raphy, film), and cartographic (maps, spatial ecologies). In what follows, we maintain this traditional categorization ~ cext, image, map ~ but are keenly aware chat ic is precisely chis divide that we hope to span via our conversations. Such ontological self= awareness is an importane strategy, even an imperative in any eransdisciplinary work. Another aspect ofthe volume’s transdisciplinatity collaboration are che “vignerces” thae ate peppered throughout che cext. These are meant to convey emerging forms of the geohumanities; ehey are examples of unfertered practice in che geohumanities. “These shore incerventions appear irregularly and without ceremony, as emotional voices, colors, non-sequicurs, contradictions, and un-categories. They call arcencion to diverse practices of place-maling: to che object that is being created, a change of perspective being sought, or co what is going on around he practice itself. The rough edges of these place-practices spill wittily, uncomfortably, even dazzlingly into che adjacent spaces of academic discourse. They raise questions about convention, dissent, difference, altered identity, and social action. They exis ina flux of exceptions, at che burgeoning edges of a geohumanicies’ discourse. As such, chey are beacons signaling sew directions. Any cartography of the emerging geohumanities conveyed in the essays and vignettes that follow necessarily remains time- and place-contingent. We do not incend our initial mapping to spell out an immutable, comprehensive definition of the project, and ic certainly should nor be read as such. Bur while this book is an experiment, i is also an invitation, opening up new spaces for a geohumaniies and inviting readers to advance its agenda. PART EN creative praces Geocreativity Michael Dear Conventional social theory makes an imporcane distinction between structare and agency, that is, between the enduring, deep-seated practices that undergird society and the everyday voluntaristic behavior of individuals. This dichotomy is important for what it can cell us about the relative importance of social constraint and free will, and hhow these opposing forces become articulated in. che practices of everyday life Approaches to the study of che production of place tend to fall into these ewo catego- fies. Most of the struccuralist visions of place production derive out of a Marxist- inspited political economy, including Lefebvre’ concept of the production of space, and Harvey's treatmene of the capitalise urban process. An agency-oriented view of place production has a diverse cheoretical heritage that includes material concesns but also cognitive, cultural, and social dimensions (such as arciudes and belief, feelings and emotions). Social theory is also concerned co articulate the relation beeween social process and spacial sceuccure,thae i, how social forces become manifest in geographies, and how _gcography is constitutive of social relacions ~ a problematic sometimes eeferred c0 as the “socio-spatial dialectic.” Needless to say, che relationships articulating socieey and space relace to more than pure theory; they also have consequences for the work of practicing professionals such as atchicects and urban planners who are charged with forging new geogeaphies of the buile environment. ‘The spaces of cities are of special concern in chis book. While consensus has ie that wwe have entered a global urban age, chee is litele understanding of, much less agree- ‘mene about, whac this trend entails. The proliferation of urban sprawl has caused investigators to Look more closely atthe forms of emerging urbanism, bue the rash of ncologisms describing chese forms is more indicative of intellectual confusion rather than understanding, These cerms include such descriptors as polycentric, pormodern, ‘patchwork, splintered, and pest-sub)urban. The places produced by these aleered pro- cesses are variously labeled as cty-rigion, micropolitan region, exopulis, edge city, ot ‘metraburbia. Despite the profusion of terminology, there is a growing sense that the geography of cites is changing; no longer are cies being buil from the inside out (rom core co periphery) but from the outside in (from hincerlands ro what remains of the core). This decencered urbanism has the effece of shifting the traditional bases of MICHAEL DEAR power in the city. Power lies less in the center than at the edges, and is correspond ingly more dispersed, even hidden; bur such arrangements also offer greater opporeu~ nities for widespread local autonomies. At the sime time, ocher dynamics of the Informacion Age, such as globalization, domestic and international migration, and 0 on, underscore how local ouccomes in city-regions are being buffeced by forces ‘operating ae different scales, including the national and international Each of the essays in this section addresses the question of place production in ities, with special emphasis on the ceeative process in urban places, Cities have always been regarded as the locus of innovation and social change in all dimensions of human activiey In this section's first essay, geographer Michael Dear considers some funda- rentals in the relationship beeween place and creativity. He distinguishes beeween creativity i place and creativity of plac: che former refers to the role that a particular location has in facilitating the creative process; the latter ro the ways in which place becomes an artifact in the creative ourput, be it a dance movement or photographic frame, Dear describes a two-year collaborative project among an ineernational group of academics, artists, critics, and curators charged to imagine reconstructed places along che controversial and rapidly changing US-Mexico borderlands. "The urban outcomes ehae characterize the Information Age are dramatically described in archicect René Peralta’s account of the border city of Tijuana, in Baja California. One of North America’s fastest-growing and mose dynamic cities, Tijuana is globally engaged through the presence of the maguiladora (assembly-plant) indus- try, a hemispheric crade in drug and human trafficking, and its locus as the busiest international boundary crossing in the world. Peralta’ reading of Tijuana’s urban ecologies rewrites many conventions of urban theory, and reveals some of the sarcling ‘material conditions of Information Age urbanism. Cities also have a "soft" dimension, chat is, they comprise an infinite number of mental maps lodged in the minds of theie inhabitants. To see how these cognitive maps are formed, artist kanarinka invited residents of the city of Cambridge, ‘Massachusetts, co rename cheit favorite streets and places. The soft city she discovered is full of humanity, invention, and fun, totally unlike che “hard” city with is ponder- ‘ous monuments, commemorative namings, patrolled spaces, and formal geometries. Produced with friends from the Instieute for Infinively Small Things ~ itself worchy of arcention — kanarinka's hypothetical map of a city formerly known as Cambridge shows juse how deep is the fissure beeween the formalities of the hard city and the spontaneities of the soft city. Similar lessons about cognitive mapping come out of architecv/arise Gustavo Leclere’s visual and cexeual reflection on his migrant experience, Born in Veracruz, Mexico, but now a long-term resident of Los Angeles, California, Leclerc presents selection from notebooks of his experience of transition to the USA. His drawings were accompanied by textual annotations, also reproduced here, including a grand- mother’s recipe and quotes from Mesoamerican manuscripts. In addicion, Leclerc has added a present-day commentary to the elements of drawing and annotation. This triple-layered narrative streeches backwards and forwards ehrough time and space in continuous unfolding reminiscent of the ancient codices (scrolls) of Mayan and other indigenous populacions. The syncopated cexts bleed into one another, echoing and fusing, making tangible che elusive workings of memory in our lives. GEOCREATIVITY Keeping in mind hese ineroductions to the hard city, soft city, and memory, che following essays turn to the ways ereative people work with and in creative places First, geographer Trevor Paglen outlines what he calls “experimental geography. Careful co avoid precise definitions and always welcoming nuance, Paglen is neverthe- less clear about what he does: he deliberately works in many felds simultaneously is passionately cransdisciplinary and collaborative; communicates through popular ‘media and academic publications; is self-consciously aware of the political in his work; and possesses a keen sense of public responsibility regarding his work, His testimony may amount to a kind of manifesto of experimental geography, but Paglen resolutely refuses this label as concrary to the open-ended, participatory spicic of what bbe advocates and practices. Emily Scott’ offers a kind of “undisciplined geography.” She is an are historian and artist, and self-described "long-time interloper” attracted by geography’s breadth and interdisciplinariy. From a base in contemporary at, she asserts that geographers and artists should break boundaries with thei undisciplined geographies, drawing on tree examples co make her case. cote isa founder of another activise collective (called the Los Angeles Urban Rangers), which seems to be a common feature of many geo- Inumanicies projects. ‘The centrality of the map as an analytical focus and inspiration is strongly evident in an essay by architect Marcin Hogue. He reports on a painstaking documentation of che state of properties and sites in the borough of Queens, New York. Hogue is most inter- esced in what he terms the “agency of che map,” that is, whae the map gives to us, He shows the possibilities offered by a map for contemplation and taking seock, as well as the satisfaction he derived from ies comprehensive accounting of place. Hogue'sabsorp~ tion in the map is driven by many desires: taxonomic urge that seems almose akin to rational and scientific reasoning; but also by flights of imagination. As in Lecler’s ‘essay, the multiple layers of accumulated meaning dissolve the boundaries between categories and offer opporcunicies for original insighe into both object and observe. In 1999, Emily Score recalled culeural geographer Denis Cosgrove's comment on ‘the “staring explosion” of interest in carcography, the cartographic trope and the ‘map within the humanities and culeural studies. This observation remains current, but a decade later we are witnessing a more general “spatial turn” that is emblematic of the geohumanicies project as a whole. In this opening section on geocreativity and the production of place, our contributors have already illuminated some of the geo humanities’ strategies: a proclivity co transgress disciplinary boundaries; to accumu late layer upon layer of eransdisciplinary dara, and then make connections; ro imagine the world as well as describe ic; and co produce scholarship, at, poetry, community, and politics (often simultaneously) ftom thei works. The inventive, edgy settings inhab- ited by these practitioners occur in many places: five ofthe essays in cis fist selection focus in some way on California and che US-Mexico border, the later a place of great turmoil and porential; buc creativity also occurs in older more established urban places, sometimes driven by small collaboratives dedicated to their communities. ‘Another preliminary observation relaces to the social-theoretic question of structure and agency: even a this early stage in our exegesis, a geohumanities approach appears {0 promise greater insight into the question of human agency in ies myriad forms and dynamics i