Matching Items (14)

Critical Cartography and Territorial Conflict

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This paper examines the role of persuasive cartography in territorial conflict through the case study of Azerbaijan and Armenia's dispute of Nagorno Karabakh. In particular, the paper connects theories of

This paper examines the role of persuasive cartography in territorial conflict through the case study of Azerbaijan and Armenia's dispute of Nagorno Karabakh. In particular, the paper connects theories of critical cartography and territorial conflict to the way that maps can influence opinion and lead to negotiation breakdown. I analyze cultures of geography from both sides before analyzing how Armenian maps have changed between the period of 1994 and 2016. Focusing on Goddard's (2006) theory of how the way actors make claims to territory can result in indivisibility, I argue that the powerful rhetoric of maps can strongly influence perception of territory. I connect the shift in rhetoric about the territory to shifts in how the territory is depicted in maps. Using public survey information from other researchers working in Armenia, I find that Armenian geographic culture and use of maps almost exclusively uses the most maximalist depiction of the territory, which may explain why it is difficult for leaders to compromise on the territory. After conducting analysis, I concluded that cartography can be used by actors to argue their territorial claims, with the unexpected effect of polarizing public opinion. It is unclear if persuasive cartography is a symptom or a cause of territory negotiation breakdown. In order to study whether cartography itself plays a role in negotiation breakdown, a larger sample size of disputes is necessary.

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  • 2018-05

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The Affective Power of Revolutionary Art in Cairo, Egypt

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This thesis is an account and reading of the taking-place of revolutionary art in Cairo accentuating the affective power of revolutionary spaces, specifically Tahrir and Etehadeya Square(s). In analyzing Cairo's

This thesis is an account and reading of the taking-place of revolutionary art in Cairo accentuating the affective power of revolutionary spaces, specifically Tahrir and Etehadeya Square(s). In analyzing Cairo's street art in terms of its affective force, this paper illustrates the interconnectivity of place, art and event within a revolutionary context. The understandings of Cairo reflected in this paper are temporal, brought to light by happenings of the revolution witnessed during two extended visits and discussed through ethnographic research, art and geographic analysis.

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Date Created
  • 2015-05

Phonography and the Construction of Place: On the Ever-Presence of Sound in Creating Dynamic Senses of Place

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Sound is immediate and ever-present, pushing in, around, and through physical boundaries to blend together in whichever way it best sees fit, no matter the controls we seek to impose

Sound is immediate and ever-present, pushing in, around, and through physical boundaries to blend together in whichever way it best sees fit, no matter the controls we seek to impose on it. It builds associations for us: physical spaces become distinctive based on the quality and familiarity of sounds which inhabit them. With this spirit, I see sound as the central arbiter of sense of place, particularly in alternative community spaces, wherein individual and collaborative expression is not only encouraged, but essential to its experience, separating it from commonly-held mainstream and/or programmed social space. By recording the sounds of three distinctive such alternative cultural spaces in central Phoenix—The Trunk Space, Lawn Gnome Publishing, and Welcome Diner, rooted in art and music, literature, and food and drink, respectively—I captured the soundscapes in which the community around theses spaces democratically builds its sense of place. Compiling them into a soundscape composition, I installed the piece in the non-place of an art gallery, immersing listeners in fleeting glances at theses soundscapes, then inviting them to use the fluctuating sonic environment to cite their own associations with art, literature, and food-based senses of place right on the gallery walls. Through this exercise, and research on the experience of sound and meanings of sense of place, I express the intersection and essentiality sound, ambient and performative, in building sense of place.

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  • 2015-05

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The Eki-Beki dispute and the unification of the Gauda Saraswat Brahman caste

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During the early twentieth century, a caste dispute known as the Eki-Beki dispute erupted among a group of historically related Konkani-speaking Brahman castes on the western coast of India. A

During the early twentieth century, a caste dispute known as the Eki-Beki dispute erupted among a group of historically related Konkani-speaking Brahman castes on the western coast of India. A faction among the castes argued that the variously related Konkani-speaking Brahman castes were originally one caste called the Gauda Saraswat Brahman (GSB) caste, which got split into several sub-castes. They further argued that the time had come to unite all these castes into one unified GSB caste. This faction came to be known as the Eki-faction, which meant the unity-faction. The Eki-faction was opposed by the majority of the members of the above-mentioned castes who disagreed with the idea of unification. This opposing faction came to be known as the Beki-faction, i.e. the disunity-faction. Despite the opposition from the majority, the Eki-faction managed to unite these different castes to form the contemporary unified GSB caste. The Gaud Saraswat Brahman caste in its current form is the product of this dispute. The formation of the GSB caste was initiated by members of these castes who had migrated from different rural regions of the western coast of India to the urban center Bombay. The rise of the GSB caste, however, became a contested process. Dominant non-GSB Brahman groups in Bombay discredited the migrants as being outsiders of lower ritual status. The unification movement was also opposed by the majority of these Konkani-speaking castes residing in the rural regions of the west coast of India. The struggle of the urban migrants for unification involved publication of Hindu texts and changes of normative practices, such as dining regulations and marriage arrangements, that affected the long-standing norms of maintaining ritual purity. Despite the opposition, the urban migrants partially succeeded in unifying the variously related Konkani-speaking Brahman castes. My dissertation is a history of this process.

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  • 2018

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Curating the Desert Southwest: Distortion as a Way of Knowing

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The Desert Southwest has no shortage of representations in literature, art, and film. Its aesthetics—open horizons, strange landscapes, and vast wilderness—inform and saturate the early Western films of John Ford,

The Desert Southwest has no shortage of representations in literature, art, and film. Its aesthetics—open horizons, strange landscapes, and vast wilderness—inform and saturate the early Western films of John Ford, the paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe, Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire, and continue in today’s popular imaginations. My work acknowledges such contributions and then it challenges them: why are those names more widely associated with the Southwest than Luis Alberto Urrea, Alicia Gaspar de Alba, or Pat Mora?

The project intersects the environmental humanities, critical theory, and cultural studies with the Desert Southwest. It explores the fullness of desert places with regard to cultures, borders, and languages, as well as nonhuman forces and intensities like heat, light, and distance. Dispelling the dominant notion of desert as void or wasteland, it sets a stage to suit the polyvocality of desert place. My work is interdisciplinary because the desert demands it. It begins with Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian in order to reorient readers towards the rupture of the US War With Mexico which helped set the national and cultural borders in effect today. I then explore Denis Villeneuve’s film Sicario to emphasize the correlation between political hierarchy and verticality; those who can experience the desert from above are exempt from the conditions below, where Urrea’s The Devil’s Highway and Gaspar de Alba’s Desert Blood take place. The novels expose the immanence and violence of being on the ground in the desert and at the lower end of said hierarchies. Analyzing Yuri Herrera’s Signs Preceding the End of the World and Mora’s Encantado enables what I term a desert hauntology to produce a desert full of memory, myth, ancestors, and enchantment. Finally, the project puts visual artists James Turrell and Rafa Esparza in conversation to discover a desert phenomenology. The result is an instigation of how far is too far when decentering the human, and what role does place-based art play in creating and empowering community.

John Ford was from Maine. Georgia O’Keeffe, from Wisconsin. Edward Abbey, Pennsylvania. As someone born and raised in the Desert Southwest, I’ve written the project I have yet to encounter.

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  • 2020

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Social networks of older immigrants in Phoenix, Arizona

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This dissertation explored how immigrants cope with and thrive in old age by utilizing social networks, and the hindrances which may prevent this. Through ethnographic fieldwork and in-depth interviews at

This dissertation explored how immigrants cope with and thrive in old age by utilizing social networks, and the hindrances which may prevent this. Through ethnographic fieldwork and in-depth interviews at two senior centers in Phoenix, Arizona with a high concentration of an ethnic minority group - Asian and Latino, I describe what makes the Asian dominant center more resource abundant than its Latino counterpart given prevalent tight public funding. Both centers have a large number of seniors disenfranchised from mainstream institutions who bond together via similar experiences resulting from shared countries/regions of origin, language, and migration experience. The Asian center, however, is more successful in generating and circulating resources through "bonding" and "bridging" older immigrants who, therefore benefit more from their center affiliation than the Latinos at their center.

The abundance of resources at the Asian center flowing to the social networks of seniors are attributed to three factors: work and volunteer engagement and history, the organization of the center, and individual activities. At both centers seniors bond with each other due to shared ethnicity, language, and migration experience and share information and companionship in the language in which they feel most comfortable. What differentiated the two centers were the presence of several people well connected to individuals, groups, and institutions beyond the affiliated center. The presence of these "bridges" were critical when the centers were faced with budgetary constraints and Arizona was experiencing the effect of ongoing immigration policies. These "bridges" tend to come from shared ethnicity, and better social positions due to cumulative factors which include but are not limited to higher education, professional occupation, and work and volunteer history. I have also presented cases of individuals who, although have developed expertise from past work experiences and individual activities, have limited contribution to the resource flow because of the differences in ethnicity. The study also explored a gendered life course and its impact on the social network for older Asian and Latino immigrants.

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Date Created
  • 2014

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Gardens of justice: food-based social movements in underserved, minority communities

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Residents of the United States increasingly support organic and local food systems. New Social Movement theorists have described alternative agriculture as a social movement that transcends social class. Other scholars

Residents of the United States increasingly support organic and local food systems. New Social Movement theorists have described alternative agriculture as a social movement that transcends social class. Other scholars have critiqued alternative agriculture for catering to a middle-class, white public. Simultaneously, geographers have identified communities across the United States that struggle with reduced access to healthy fruits and vegetables. In some of these neighborhoods, known as “food deserts,” local groups are redefining an inequitable distribution of healthy food as a social injustice, and they have begun initiatives to practice “food justice.” The overarching research questions of this study are: 1) How do communities become food deserts? 2) How do food justice movements crystallize and communities practice food justice? 3) What are the social outcomes of food justice movements? Using an Ecology of Actors framework, this study analyzes the actors and operational scales of three food justice movements in Phoenix, Arizona. A narrative analysis of historical scholarly materials and other artifacts reveals that, for more than a century, some communities have tried to create minority-operated local food systems. However, they were thwarted by racist policies and market penetration of the conventional US food system. Interviews with residents, garden organizers and food justice advocates living and working in the city create a narrative of the present day struggle for food justice. Results of this work show that contemporary residents describe their foodscape as one of struggle, and carless residents rely upon social networks to access healthy food. Garden organizers and gardeners are creating networks of community gardens, market gardens, and informal farmers’ markets. They are actively transforming their communities’ landscapes with sophisticated garden ecology in an intense urban heat island. However, the movement’s continued success may be threatened. Many new Phoenix-based local food coalitions and national alternative agriculture social movements are now working to alter Phoenix’s foodscape. Composed of well-educated professionals, who have adopted a justice-based language around food, these organizations may unintentionally co-opt the local food justice movements.

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  • 2015

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Performing the Electrical or My Heart is an Electromagnetic Chamber Scenographies of Power, Ecology and Speculative Practice

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Performing the Electrical traces the histories and futures of electrical discovery and knowledge through cultural performances, socio-political assemblages, and the more-than-human worldmaking functions of energy in general and electricity in

Performing the Electrical traces the histories and futures of electrical discovery and knowledge through cultural performances, socio-political assemblages, and the more-than-human worldmaking functions of energy in general and electricity in particular, or what I refer to as energy-as-electricity. This project seeks to transform how energy-as-electricity is perceived, and thereby to re-vision the impact that energy-rich relationships might have ecologically—in both the social and environmental senses of the word. As a practice-led inquiry I use my scenographic sensibilities in combination with performance studies and energy humanities lenses to identify how energy-scapes form through social performances, material relations, and aesthetic/ritualistic interventions. This approach allows me to synthesize vastly different scales of energy-as-electricity performatives and spatialities and propose alternative framings which work towards decolonizing and re-feminizing energy-rich relationships. This research considers the way power flows, accumulates, and transforms through performance as embodied expression, practice and eventful doings of human and more-than-human agents. It asks: if place is practiced space (Henri Lefebvre), how can decolonizing and re-feminizing energy-rich relationships transform normative power relationships (or power geometries, as cultural geographer Doreen Massey refers to such globalized interconnections)—which are formed through electricity, technologies and colonial-capitalism? I ground this inquiry as an ecological intervention in order to investigate how performing with electricity differently (both in collective imaginations and quotidian interactions), can change the ways that electricity is produced and consumed in the time of the Anthropocene, Capitalocene, and Plasticene. The following study produces written and tacit knowledge that expands the framing of energy-rich relationships shared between human and more-than-human performatives. My provocation is that experiential encounters are critical for expanding the ontological plurality of energy-as-electricity with ecological a/effect. Drawing on the insights of performance scenographer Rachel Hann, I demonstrate that scenographic methodologies in an expanded field, along with embodied sensing, provide productive insights into this endeavor of expansion. This project both serves as a space making/space keeping provocation and offers a methodology for devising more desirable futures.

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  • 2020

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Regional famine patterns of the last millennium as influenced by aggregated climate teleconnections

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ABSTRACT

Famine is the result of a complex set of environmental and social factors. Climate conditions are established as environmental factors contributing to famine occurrence, often through teleconnective patterns. This dissertation

ABSTRACT

Famine is the result of a complex set of environmental and social factors. Climate conditions are established as environmental factors contributing to famine occurrence, often through teleconnective patterns. This dissertation is designed to investigate the combined influence on world famine patterns of teleconnections, specifically the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), Southern Oscillation (SO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), or regional climate variations such as the South Asian Summer Monsoon (SASM). The investigation is three regional case studies of famine patterns specifically, Egypt, the British Isles, and India.

The first study (published in Holocene) employs the results of a Principal Component Analysis (PCA) yielding a SO-NAO eigenvector to predict major Egyptian famines between AD 1049-1921. The SO-NAO eigenvector (1) successfully discriminates between the 5-10 years preceding a famine and the other years, (2) predicts eight of ten major famines, and (3) correctly identifies fifty out of eighty events (63%) of food availability decline leading up to major famines.

The second study investigates the impact of the NAO, PDO, SO, and AMO on 63 British Isle famines between AD 1049 and 1914 attributed to climate causes in historical texts. Stepwise Regression Analysis demonstrates that the 5-year lagged NAO is the primary teleconnective influence on famine patterns; it successfully discriminates 73.8% of weather-related famines in the British Isles from 1049 to 1914.

The final study identifies the aggregated influence of the NAO, SO, PDO, and SASM on 70 Indian famines from AD 1049 to 1955. PCA results in a NAO-SOI vector and SASM vector that predicts famine conditions with a positive NAO and negative SO, distinct from the secondary SASM influence. The NAO-famine relationship is consistently the strongest; 181 of 220 (82%) of all famines occurred during positive NAO years.

Ultimately, the causes of famine are complex and involve many factors including societal and climatic. This dissertation demonstrates that climate teleconnections impact famine patterns and often the aggregates of multiple climate variables hold the most significant climatic impact. These results will increase the understanding of famine patterns and will help to better allocate resources to alleviate future famines.

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Date Created
  • 2017

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"Tumbling through Space in a Gold Box" Reconceptualizing New Communication Technologies as Atmospheric

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New communication technologies have undoubtedly altered the ways in which persons interact and have had a profound impact on public life. Engaging this impact, much of the scholarly literature has

New communication technologies have undoubtedly altered the ways in which persons interact and have had a profound impact on public life. Engaging this impact, much of the scholarly literature has focused on how these interfaces mediate interaction however, less is known about technology's modulating effects. The current project moves beyond mediation, underscoring how social relations are not only activated by technology, but are actuated by these interfaces. Through an extended case study of Portals, gold shipping containers equipped with audio-visual technology that put persons in digital face-to-face interaction with others around the globe, the current project engages such actuation, highlighting how the co-mingling of affect and technology generate new ways of noticing, living and thinking through the complex relationships of public life. The human/technology relations mediated/modulated by the Portal produce unique atmospheres that activate/actuate public space and blur the boundaries between public and private. Additionally, the atmospheres of the Portal generate a digital co-presence that allows for user/participants to feel with their interlocutors. This “feeling with” suspends user/participants in atmospheres of human connection through the emergence of an imaginative dialogue, and the curating of such atmospheres leads to dialogic transformation. As such, the Portal operates as an atmospheric interface. Engaging the concept of atmosphere attunes those interested in new communication technologies to the complex gatherings these technologies create, and the potentialities and pitfalls of these emerging interfaces on public life.

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Date Created
  • 2019