Sunday, April 30, 2006

Upstate New York and the beginning of spring

Upstate New York:
fragments of a region, as told through photos

It's a beautiful region, especially at this time of year. We spent a few days driving around Upstate New York around the Catskills, after screening the documentary at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie and Bard College in Annondale-on-Hudson.

Here are some photos:

At the historic mansion near Bard College (we don't know what it was exactly and there was no signage explaining who it belonged to).

sunset in New Paltz, NY

At an amazingly decorated mexican restaurant in Hudson, NY (supposedly the "next Hamptons").

3 doors in Hudson, New York.

a strange boarded up building with art covering it in Hudson, NY

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Boston, Big Ol' Boston

This was only the second time I have ever been to Boston. It was a good visit all around--great weather. One of my very good friends, Kevin, lives there now and so I got to visit with him. He lives in Brookline and coincidently another friend of mine, Gabe, was staying there too. I hadn't ever been in that part of Boston and it was much less of a suburb than I would have guessed from what our roomate Hillary describes as the town she grew up in. We stayed with our friend Nick in Somerville, which is a part of town on the other side of the Charles River, north of Cambridge. It is another neighborhood I wouldn't have thought to be so well layed out and accessible to interact in. Boston has really great squares that function fully as public space even though they are often centered on economic exchange. Davis Square in Somerville was one of those places. Maybe I'll try to find a picture and post it later.

But, yeah, getting around was much easier this time and it was really great to see familiar faces in a large city that I didn't know. It was getting a bit tiring not having that familiarity. Though another familiar feeling that I wished I hadn't had to feel in Boston was a feeling of "being erased" as liz would aptly put it. We screened the film at the opening night of the New England Anarchist Book Fair. It was a really well attended and organized event that must have taken a lot of coordination. Yet, it was really startling how much it felt like the presence of Liz and me wasn't of much concern to anyone organzing the screening. Though I had been in communication with a person for quite a while about being a part of the event, it wasn't until we got to Boston and saw a poster for the opening that we realized how much we (liz and i as people) weren't really supposed to take part in the event. Our names weren't on the poster as the filmmakers, nor was there mention that we would be present and ready to facilitate discussion and answer questions if that was what people wanted to happen.

It was weird to see, but then when we got to the community church in copley square it was even weirder to feel uncomfortable setting up a table with our dvds, cds, and t-shirts. People weren't rude at all--they just weren't very welcoming. No introductions from anyone but Scott, the person I was in touch with when trying to coordinate a screening, and even then it wasn't really an introduction as much as a, "Do you know where scott is? Oh, you're scott? Hi. I'm courtney, this is liz. Is there a place we can put this stuff? Oh, here? Thanks." And then I found him again to remind him that we usually did an intro to the film and facilitated a Q & A--that was okay, whatever we wanted to do. So, it was cool. We sat and listened to the speakers and saw people that we recognized from doing interviews, but were shy to just go up and talk to them (though I did have a nice conversation at the end of the night with a person, Roger, that we had interviewed). There was a reception before the film was to start and the night was already running late--so it seemed like we should probably just have a short Q & A, if at all--but it was hard to find someone to talk to about what they wanted to have happen. The film was set up and we were sitting on the stage to introduce the 25th screening of the film. We were really tired at this point and the woman that was MCing for the night needed to pass the hat for all the people coming in from out of town for the book fair. She mentioned a couple people but failed to mention that we had also come from out of town and were on a north american tour--we never expect to get money--but it is weird to be waiting to introduce the film we have been on tour with and not be mentioned at all as being a guest in town. Was it because we solicited the LPC to screen the film in Boston? I don't know, but we weren't note worthy enough, I guess.

So we introduce the film--it plays. There is some concern about it's length because the night started late and the men that were speaking before the reception spoke over time--there was a band of two men that needed to get on stage after the film. While Liz was sitting at our table a random man came over to her TWICE and complained about the length of the film. He kept asking when it would be over--she apologized for being such a burden, but he didn't get the joke. As the movie was ending we realized that we shouldn't do the Q & A--it would take too much time. But, I couldn't see where Scott or the other people I recognized as organizers were through the crowd. I went up to the front and waited for a time that I could get someone's attention to let them know that we didn't think it would be wise to have a Q & A. But, as the credits came on screen the lights promptly went up and I was informed indirectly by a person on stage talking to the audience that we wouldn't really be having a Q & A--there would be a casual one while the band was setting up. No one even came over to where we were sitting and let us know. I don't know why. But it was obvious that the Q & A wasn't going to happen and that was fine. It was just really unthoughtful of the organziers not to at least let us know what they were thinking. Why was the time alotted for us most easily expendable--especially since it was known from the begining of the night that the event was running late?

It made me wonder if it was that important that we came at all and why it wasn't important enough to the organizers that they still hadn't introduced themselves or engaged in any sort of conversation with us about the event or what they were doing or anything, any polite conversation. The person MCing the event came over to the table as we were getting ready to pack up and the band was winding down. I thanked her for working that night and she responded that she was glad to do it--she had noticed only a week before the event that the night was full of white men speaking and she felt they needed to have some other people represented. A good observation, but one that falls pretty short with out her even knowing. We aren't men--Liz and I--but I guess the film isn't a person, even though we were planning to speak. Also, shouldn't it have been in the minds of the organizers even before they started putting the event together that the night shouldn't just be a representative sample of radical white men? She was well meaning--yet she unknowingly erased us. Just another time in the night where we weren't valued enough to be visible, to be thought of as real participants in the kick-off event or the weekend at all. Only while we were packing up our table were we told that we should have a table at the book fair the next day. I guess that is just an aside though. I wish this was more articulate, but I really just wanted to put something out there--a recounting of the nights events--one that maybe portrays how poorly people think out the way they treat people and how it is easy to erase people that are right in front of you. It's easy to not value what you don't have to consider. It's easy to not value people that aren't going to take the energy to be in your face or have the confidence to always assert themselves in every situation--especially if you are a (multi-)privileged person/community that has an oppositional identity that allows one to skirt around issues of privilege as simple as extending common courtesy and as easy to spot as gender privilege. Just because we're not aggressive about our accomplishments, our ideas, our works doesn't mean we don't get to be participants, doesn't mean we don't warrant the respect that a podeum and notes or a mic and a guitar warrants others. Watch out who you erase in your language and your actions, they might be your friends.

Maine, what a beautiful state

birds on the Maine coast

We screened the documentary in Portland, Maine, at the People's Free Space.

We didn't get to spend much time in Portland, unfortunately, but we took our time getting from Portland to Boston and took highway 1 all the way down. We stopped along the coast a couple of times in a fruitless effort to find the tourist haven of Kennebunkport. I've been intrigued by Kennebunkport since I had a job last summer selling gourmet pizzas at a farmer's market in Denver. The pizzas were "globally" themed and one of them was called the Kennebunkport (it had lobster, pieces of organic white corn, fresh mozzerella, and a white sauce). That pizza actually took first place in the food competition at the Cherry Creek Arts Festival. Anyway, there were millions of signs pointing us toward Kennebunkport but none of them actually led us there until our third try. Actually, I'm still not sure if we really found it, but we found something good enough.

A view off the coast

Man on beach

sand on beach

We stopped by the Maine Diner (as featured on the Today Show! yes, really!) for a semi-authentic experience of Maine. (or maybe just a touristified version) We got fries and iced tea and courtney got crab bisque (or something like that). She said it was some of the best soup she's ever had and that she was going to try to make me a vegetarian version using mushrooms and sherry. Yes, it's hard being a vegetarian on the road. It's especially frustrating not being able to try regional specialities and feeling like I'm missing out all the time. And only being able to eat potato products at cool old diners.

the archetypal lobster traps

the archetypal lobster boats

stay tuned for boston (the city that hates me)

We screened the documentary in Portland, Maine, at the People's Free Space. We didn't get to spend much time in Portland, unfortunately, but we took our time getting from Portland to Boston and took highway 1 all the way down. We stopped along the coast a couple of times in a fruitless effort to find the tourist haven of Kennebunkport. I've been intrigued by Kennebunkport since I had a job last summer selling gourmet pizzas at a farmer's market in Denver. The pizzas were "globally" themed and one of them was called the Kennebunkport (it had lobster, pieces of organic white corn, fresh mozzerella, and a white sauce). That pizza actually took first place in the food competition at the Cherry Creek Arts Festival. Anyway, there were millions of signs pointing us toward Kennebunkport but none of them actually led us there until our third try.

A view off the coast

Man on beach

sand on beach

We stopped by the Maine Diner (as featured on the Today Show! yes, really!) for a semi-authentic experience of Maine. (or maybe just a touristified version) We got fries and iced tea and courtney got crab bisque (or something like that). She said it was some of the best soup she's ever had and that she was going to try to make me a vegetarian version using mushrooms and sherry. Yes, it's hard being a vegetarian on the road. It's especially frustrating not being able to try regional specialities and feeling like I'm missing out all the time. And only being able to eat potato products at cool old diners.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Montpelier, Vermont April - 18 & 19

April 17 & 18 Montpelier, VT and Black Sheep Books/The Langdon St. Café

Montpelier is the smallest capitol of any state. It is really small-town seeming. Apparently a guy who lives in Florida owns half the rental property in town. Including the building that black sheep books and the langdon st. cafe rent. He drives up the prices by letting empty storefronts stay empty and doubling people's rent over night.

Here are some thoughts:
The Langdon St. Café and the tempeh reuben and maple-sweetened lemonade. They really capitalize off of the whole maple syrup thing. Very tourism-based economy. Went to Hubbard park, a wild butte with a huge castle-like tower at the top in the middle of a clearing. I could see everything for miles in every direction. There are no skyscrapers in Montpelier.

We stayed with Melissa and Collin, two members of the Black Sheep Book Collective. They lived in a really nice, big townhouse about 20 minutes (walking) from downtown. The view from their balcony was amazing. We had to walk through a graveyard to get to downtown. When we were walking home last night we realized that we could see a million more stars than usual. Montpelier doesn’t seem to light its roads very much.

inside the cafe
The screening was sponsored by Black Sheep Books but happened in the Langdon St. Café. The café is worker-owned and operated and vegetarian. They had really good (reasonably priced) food and drinks.

After our documentary there was another documentary called "Life in a Box" about three men who fall in love while living in an RV (and two of them are in this band called Y'all). It was pretty good.

New Hampshire summed up- birch trees and scrapbooking stores in every town.

Cornell University & Ithaca, NY

old postcard of the cornell campus

April 15 & 16 Ithaca, NY and Cornell University

We hadn’t planned on going to Ithaca, NY until we got an e-mail from a guy named David Driskell while we were on the west coast. He had received an e-mail on an urban planning listserv that he’s part of, after Ava (the urban planning student in L.A.) sent something out.

He’s part of the city and regional planning department at Cornell University. He is also the chair of the UNESCO program called Growing up in Cities. The Growing up in Cities Program is really cool. They work with urban youth around the world trying to figure out ways for youth to have a greater voice in the way that cities are run and in their own lives. Here is their overview statement: We live in an urbanizing world, in which more and more children and young people live in cities. In industrialized countries, a half to three-quarters of all children live in urban areas; in the developing world, the majority of children and youth will be urban in the next few decades. Yet across a wide range of indicators, cities are failing to meet the needs of young people and their families.
What does the process of urbanization mean in the lives of young people?
From young people’s own perspectives, what makes an urban neighborhood a good place in which to grow up?
Can cities be positive places for young people-places that support and nurture their development as constructive, contributing members of a civil society?
Growing Up in Cities is a global effort to understand and respond to these and other questions, and to help address the issues affecting urban children and youth. It is a collaborative undertaking of the MOST Programme of UNESCO and interdisciplinary teams of municipal officials, urban professionals, and child advocates around the world, working with young people themselves to create communities that are better places in which to grow up-and therefore, better places for us all.

We were so flattered to be invited to Cornell by David. He also invited us to stay at his house with us wife Neema (who also teaches in the planning department at Cornell) and their two children, Mira and Keiren. None of us had realized that it was going to be Easter on the 16th, but everything had been planned and set up, so we decided to do it that day even though it meant not as many people would probably be able to make it to the screening. Staying with them during Easter also meant that we got to watch kids do an easter egg hunt and have an easter dinner with their family and friends (instead of sitting and silently staring at each other in an interstate denny's somehwere, like we probably would have).

Allison from Syracuse had told us about the Ithaca Commons (downtown pedestrian area with shops) and told us to go to the used bookstores and the co-op grocery store. I got two books at the used bookstore: Architecture of Fear and Cradle to Cradle. The Architecture of Fear is about the way that the built environment is a reflection of how scared our society has become (by examining things like gated communities). Cradle to Cradle is an environmentalist book about ending the concept of waste and talking about everyday objects and eco-design type stuff.

We also got to walk through one of the gorges (Ithaca has a lot of amazing gorges with little walkways through them) and saw some waterfalls and it was really cool. Here is an example of what we saw (I got the picture off the internet because I forgot to bring my camera with me).

We were really surprised that about 10 people came to a film-screening on Easter, but they did. We showed it in Sibley Hall.

Sibley Hall

Cornell is an insanely wealthy campus. David told us that they fundraise $300 million dollars a year, (that is not even counting student tuition or fees which are insanely expensive). There are 500 people on the paid staff of Cornell that do nothing but fundraise. Some of them are dedicated to getting money from only a few specific insanely rich people. What do they do with all that money? Sure, the campus is really nice, but it seems like people in the administration must be getting paid really, really well.

And then we went to Montpelier, Vermont... To be continued...

(all pictures in this entry were taken off the internet).

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Graveyards as wandering places

Graveyards are at the same time comforting and so full of ritual and personal meaning that they are erie to me.

I started going to see the grave of my father's dad, Blackie, when I was very young. He had died in the 1970's and so our visits to his grave was one of the ways I could have a physical marker of his life and death. We would go to his grave in the early fall. My Yia Yia used to say that Blackie died "when everything else was dying," so she could never forget when the date of his death was approaching. Going to the graveyard usually meant walking straight to Blackie's grave, feeling some vauge sense of connection and loss and then wandering around the rest of the Greek section of the graveyard looking at names and dates and being surprised at the ages people had passed on.

As my sister and I got older we romanticised the graveyard in Cheyenne, WY (our home town) and I had elementary and middle school friends that would tell stories of going into the graveyard and having regular communications with specific people buried there. I was scared by their stories. I never really wanted the ghosts to talk back to me when we wandered around the head stones. But, I started to greet them and let them know about my day or how I felt being there. I still practice this and initially it has always been a bit awkward, but as I keep talking I don't doubt the feeling that I am being heard.

When Liz and I walked up and down the rows of markers and statues in the New Woodstock graveyard, I thought about how many times I have found a place to sit, talk, walk or explore inside the gates of graveyards in my home towns or towns that I only know from the roadway. I thought about how many times I have read the etchings on a stone and found out they were born on my birthday or died the random day I found myself in that graveyard. Reading those dates and feeling an instant connection with the person marked by them is an involuntary response for me. It allows me to feel full of purpose and respect as I wander above strangers buried in a ground that is regularly broken and remade in ritual.

So few "wandering places" in my life allow me to reflect on who has been there, what has been there, and what memories will stay a part of the place. I wander streets and find my grounding in symbols and cultural artifacts. I wander buildings and am always apprehensive. I wander around parks and squares, using the constructed focal points or meeting places for my grounding. I wander markets, filling my eyes and stomach with my grounding there. But as I walk through graves it is the markers of people, time, place, birth and death. So I had questions: should that information be explicit in more spaces, would people change the way they behave if that was more a part of daily life and the places we navigate? Should that information be more than just a plaque or statue when it exists as a memorial? Is it the enormity of so many plaques and statues in a graveyard that evokes such a sense of individual history? How do we do that, should we do that in other places? --by courtney

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Graveyard in Upstate New York - on highway 13

a Photo Essay of the New Woodstock graveyard in upstate
New York on Highway 13.
(by liz)

i'll leave you with
another self portrait

Clock Tower Apartments Fire in Cortland, NY

While we were in Syracuse, I was watching the news in my fancy hotel room and there was a story about a huge fire in an old (built in 1820) historic building in Cortland. The building was really old and a historic landmark and included a clock tower. It had at least 3 businesses in the bottom and about 30 students lived in apartments upstairs. Everything was destroyed but no one was killed.

I didn't really notice what city they were talking about on the news but then yesterday we rolled into Cortland and saw a burnt out, collapsed wreckage of a building and I realized that it must have been here.

We decided to stay in Cortland for the night. We walked around Main St. for a little bit and got delicious Lebanese food. We got a motel room at this place that really hasn't been changed at all since the 1960s probably. They had framed letters from their most famous guests (obscure congressmen from the late 1960s and early 1970s thanking the proprietor of the motel and saying how wonderful their sleep was). The old lady that showed us to our room started talking about the big fire: "It's a real tragedy. The clock tower building was just a real landmark in the community. And those students, they lost everything - All of their clothes, their computers, their term papers- everything." While Courtney went to get cash to pay for the motel I walked up to Main Street in search of the Salvation Army thrift store. I didn't find it so I decided to join the crowds and watch the demolition which was really about to begin at that point.

There were crowds of people on each of four corners, standing behind yellow caution tape as firefighters continued hosing down the wreckage and as some demolition machines circled around trying to decide how to begin the process of tearing down the entire structure.

It was like a real community event and everyone came out to watch the old building being torn down. Everyone seemed to know everyone else, even though Cortland isn't exactly a small town. Every time that someone came out of the tavern we were all standing in front of, they said hi to someone outside. "It's a shame that they couldn't save at least part of it." I stood there, watching the building being torn apart. I heard someone talking about how the owners decided to just have it levelled because restoring it at all would have been millions of dollars - and they had to do something quick, because the wreckage was blocking the state highway that goes through town and causing all kinds of delays and trouble.

There was a kid (about 4 years old) with his mom standing behind me, also watching the demolition. The kid kept saying, "We've just got to see them take down the part with all the glass. I know what they're doing, they're trying to figure out where to start... (as the machines paced back and forth). We have to say bye to the building ok?"

There were people on their cellphones frantically calling friends and telling them "They're tearing it down right now, get down here!"

The fact that the whole town seemed to be out to watch the demolition made me think about how important buildings can be to the identity of towns and communities. The building has been around for over 100 years and was one of the most prominent features of the downtown landscape. Now that's gone. No matter what they put up in its place, it won't be the same. It's weird to think about the way that physical features in urban areas can affect communities and the way that people interact with each other and the landscape.

before the fire.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Revolutionary Planning Class

We met this woman Ava, a radical urban planning student at UCLA, while we were in LA. She told us about the Revolutionary Planning class that was going to happen this semester - Then we found out that Living Room is on the syllabus. Here is the syllabus- it seems really interesting and I thought you all might be interested in finding out about some of the resources that these students are looking at.

This class is really cool too, because it was organized by students and is going to be completely facilitated by students.

Here is the syllabus:


Urban Planning 219 Section 2
Room 3343C
Wednesdays 6:00 – 9:00pm
Spring Quarter 2006 Professor: Jacqueline Leavitt
This is a student initiated, and led course. All students enrolled will participate as “student-teachers / teacher-students” to create dialogue, revolutionary space and share collective responsibility to achieve the course goals.
This course arose out of the realization that there is a lack of discussion about revolution and revolutionary visions in planning today. Many of the problems faced by under-privileged communities are dire in nature and have been left to only worsen because of the dominant planning ideologies in place. These ideologies and practices have left planners helpless in our pursuit for social justice and have served to only strengthen the status quo. The vision of this course is to understand and analyze the ways revolutionary thought and implementation can educate us about changing the systems that keep people physically, socially, and economically captive.

Historically, revolution has been a method to create social change in repressive environments. Though there have been successful revolutions and there are currently movements struggling for change, many go unnoticed as the society at large continues to believe that they are irrelevant to the problems we face in the United States.

This course will focus on the issues and ideas that move revolutions. Course readings, lectures and discussions will look at specific revolutionary movements as case studies in order to learn and apply strategies to our context.

The goal of the course is to build a foundation for understanding and creating a revolutionary planning model by learning about the history of revolutions and analyzing current struggles and experiences around the world. Readings and lectures will foster discussions about practical strategies.

The governance and organization of the course will reflect the ideas we are exploring. Because the course will function as a seminar, the class environment will emphasize a collegial/study group atmosphere of participation. Consequently, punctuality, regular attendance, and volunteerism will be essential in order to ensure a mutually beneficial exchange.

All students will be responsible for introducing and facilitating the discussion for at least one class in small groups. Facilitators are required to review all reading responses for that week prior to class (see below)
Each week students will be required to submit short reading responses (one to two paragraphs) and two discussion questions for the group. Write ups must be posted to the online class message board by midnight the Monday before class. As part of the final project, each facilitation group will write a collaborative piece that summarizes their week’s topic. (Specific requirements will be discussed during the first class)

40% Weekly Responses (8)
20% Discussion Facilitation (1)
40% Final Report & Presentation (1)
Method of evaluation will be discussed during week one.

In addition to the required reader for the course, students are encouraged to share extra readings that they feel are important to a topic. If the reading is not available through the class website, copies of these texts should be brought to class one week prior so that the class can make copies as needed.
REQUIRED READER available at Westwood Copy Center for purchase

April 5th WEEK ONE: Course Introduction
Course Overview
Intro Activity - Caminitos
Review Syllabus
Assign groups / topic facilitation
Set the scope and goals of course – Question Matrix
April 12th WEEK TWO: Radical Spaces
Castells, Manuel “The Urban Structure: The debate on the theory of space” The Urban Question: A Marxist Approach p. 113-128
Hardt, Michael and Antonio Negri. Multitude Penguin. 2005. pp. 63-115
Kohn, Margaret Radical Space: Building the House of the People (2003).
Chapter 2 “Space and Politics” and Chapter 6 “The house of the People” p. 87-109; p.13-26; p. 160-165
Cordingly, Luke. “Can Masdeu: Rise of the Rurbano Revolution” in Belltown Paradise / Making Their Own Plans. Brett Bloom and Ava Bromberg, editors. WhiteWalls, Chicago. 2005. pp. 52-68
Friedman, John. “The City of everyday life: knowledge/power and the problem of representation”. The Prospect of Cities.
The City Repair Project
Harvey, David. Justice, Nature & the Geography of Difference (1996). Chapter 11 “From space to Place and Back Again” p. 207-209 and 291-326
In Class Screening:
Living Room: Space and Place in Infoshop Culture. Liz Simmons and Courtney Kallas
The Take. Director Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis
April 19th- WEEK THREE: Popular Education Organizing Strategies / Education for Liberation. Speaker: Mario Cuellar
Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. (Translated by Myra Berman Ramos) Continuum. New York. 1990 (Chapter 1, pp. 27-56) Unpublished selection from annotated bibliography for research paper entitled “Popular Education: Organizing for Revolutionary Social Change in Meso-America.” (Regarding Pedagogy of the Oppressed) by Maureen Purtill. UCLA. Fall 2005 Mc Laren, Peter and Peter Leonard, editors. Paulo Freire: A Critical Encounter. Routledge. London. 1993. (Chapter 9, pp.169-176) Hammond, John L. “Popular Education As Community Organizing in El Salvador”. Latin American Perspectives, Vol. 26, No. 4, Liberation and Pedagogic Empowerment: Identities and Localities: Social Analyses on Gendered Terrain. Jul., 1999 (pp. 69-94)
Recommended Readings in Spanish (available at YRL):
Freire, Paulo. Educación Popular. Realidad Económica, 96 (1990), 39-50
López Palacio, Juan Virgilio. Paulo Freire: sus teorías, sus métodos; la inspiración más cercana del movimiento de educación popular en América Latina. Islas, 41:121 (July-Sept 1999), 140-148. Bibl.
April 26th - WEEK FOUR: Music/Art as an Organizational Tool for Revolution
Finkelstein, Sidney. Art as Humanization. From “The Artistic Expression of Alienation” in Marxism and Alienation: A Symposium, ed. Herbert Aptheker (New York, 1965) pp. 26-30
Fanon, Frantz. “On National Culture”. From Colonial Discourse and Post-Colonial Theory. Williams, Patrick, Chrisman, Laura. Columbia University Press New York (1994) pp 36-52.
Wang, Dan S. “New Solidarities: After Ideology and Culture, There is History.” Journal of Aesthetics and Protest. Los Angeles. Volume 1, Issue 4. Fall 2005.
Sanchez-Tranquillino, Marcos. Space, Power, and Youth Culture: Mexican-American Graffiti and Chicano Murals in East Los Angeles. 1972-1978. pp 53-87
MacPhee, Joshua I. “The Portable Printing Press” in Stencil Pirates. Soft Skull Press, Brooklyn. 2004 pp.11-19
Holmes, Brian. “Revenge of the Concept: Artistic Exchanges, Networked Resistance” p.1-16
Shaeffer, Christoph. “The City is Unwritten: Urban Experiences and Thoughts seen through Park Fiction.” Belltown Paradise / Making Their Own Plans. Brett Bloom and Ava Bromberg, eds. WhiteWalls, Chicago. 2005 pp.39-51
Sholette, Gregory. “Snip…Snip, Bang, Bang: Political Art, Reloaded”. p.1-6
Steurer, Erich.“Intervention to Provide Health Care to Homeless People” in WochenKlausur: Sociopolitical Activism in Art. Wolfgang Zinggl, editor. SpringerWeinNewYork. 2003. pp. 19-26
May 3rd - WEEK FIVE: Religion: A Tool for Organizing and Empowering
“Liberation Theology: An Introductory Guide” by Robert McAfee Brown. Westminster/John Knox Press. 1993. Pg. 35-88.
“A Theology of Liberation” by Gustavo Gutierrez. (Orbis, 1988) pg. 54-71.
“Cry of the People: United States Involvement in the Rise of Fascism, Torture and Murder and the Persecution of the Catholic Church in Latin America.” By Penny Lernoux. Doubleday & Company, Inc. (1980) pg. 1-14.
“Patriotism Is Not Enough.” Jesus is Not A Republican: The Religious Rights’ War on America. Peter J. Gomes, edited by Clint Willis and Nate Hardcastle. Thunder’s Mouth Press. (2005). Pg. 157-164.
May 10th -WEEK SIX: Planning, Revolutionary Practice, and the State
Friedmann, John. Planning in the Public Domain: From Knowledge to Action.
Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1987. pp. 31 – 35.
Morley, Morris and James Petras. “Beyond Developmentalism.” In US Hegemony
Under Siege. London: Verso, 1990. pp. 44 – 59.
Sankara, Thomas, 1999, Women’s Liberation and the African Freedom Struggle, New York, New York: Pathfinder Press pp.1-36
Skocpol, Theda. “Explaining Social Revolutions: Alternatives to Existing Theories.” In
States and Social Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia, and
China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979. pp. 3 – 33.
May 17th -WEEK SEVEN: Law and Revolution
Lopez, Gerald. Rebellious Lawyering: One Chicano's Vision of Progressive Law Practice. (New Perspectives on Law, Culture, and Society) Chap 1.
Oscar Zeta Acosta, The Revolt of the Cockroach People. Pp 234-254 and “Afterword” (259-262).
Steven W. Bender., “Direct Democracy and Distrust.” The Relationship Between Language Law Rhetoric and the Language Vigilantism Experience.” Harvard Latino Law Review. Fall 1997. Pp. 145-174
"Race, Reform and Retrenchment: Transformation and Legitimation in Anti Discrimination Law" by Kimberle Williams Crenshaw [Kimberle Crenshaw, Neil Gotanda, Gary Peller, and Kendall Thomas’ Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings That Formed the Movement (New Press, 1996):]
May 24th -WEEK EIGHT: Political Organization and the Revolutionary Left: Case Studies from Cuba; Iran; Porto Alegre, Brazil; and Palestine
Afary, Janet and Anderson, Kevin B. Foucault and the Iranian Revolution. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005. pp 250-260.
Al-i Ahmad, Jalal. Occidentosis: A Plague from the West. Berkeley: Mizan Press, 1947. pp. 27-44, 78-91, 112-121.
Hanieh,Adam: Jamjoum, Hazeem; Ziadah, Rafeef, 2006, “Challenging the New Apartheid: Reflections on Palestine Solidarity” forthcoming in Left Turn, Spring Edition
Mackey, Sandra. The Iranians. NY: Plume, 1996.
Abers, Rebecca. “Ideas to Practice: The Partido dos Trabalhadores and Particpatory Governance in Brazil.” In Latin American Perspectives, Vol. 23, No. 4, The “Urban Question” in Latin America. Autumn, 1996. pp. 35-53.
Davis, Thomas M. and Brian Loveman eds. “Guerrilla Warfare, Revolutionary Theory, and Revolutionary Movements in Latin America.” In Guerrilla Warfare, by Che
Guevara. 3rd ed. Wilmington, Delaware: Scholarly Resources Inc., 1997. pp. 3 - 20.
Guevara, Che. “General Principles of Guerrilla Warfare.” In Guerrilla Warfare ed. by
Thomas Davis and Brian Loveman. Wilmington, Delaware: Scholarly Resources
Inc., 1997. pp. 50 – 63.
Creation of the State of Israel. Map
Bishara, Marwan. Palestine/ Israel: Peace or Apartheid. Occupation, Terrorism and the Future. Chpt 7 pp 117-131.
Achcar, Gilbert. “First Reflections on the electoral victory of Hamas.” Jan. 27, 2006
Recommended Readings:
Abers, Rebecca. “Introduction.” In Inventing Local Democracy: Grassroots Politics in
Brazil. London: Lynne Rienner, 2000. pp. 1 – 21.
May 31st - WEEK NINE: Power
Speaker: Gilda Hass - Presentation
June 7th and June 14th - Final Project

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Syracuse, New York

April 12. 2006. The Marx Hotel in Syracuse, NY

I've been looking forward to going to Syracuse University since the beginning of this trip. One of the most people who really influenced my thinking in regard to public place teaches here (and we actually quote him in the documentary). His name is Don Mitchell. He teaches geography at Syracuse and is also the current director of the social justice initiative, which brings films/speakers to campus. He has done a lot of work involving the issues of public space and homelessness and activism. I just found out that he was a recipient of the McArthur Genius Grant! He does this really cool thing called The People's Geography Project. Here is how they describe the project on the website:
What is the People's Geography Project?
The major goal of the People's Geography Project is to popularize and make even more relevant and useful to ordinary people the important, critical ways of understanding the complex geographies of everyday life that geographers have and continue to develop. Our contention is that such knowledge is an important tool not just in learning to cope with constantly developing and transforming relations of power that are deeply geographical, but in learning how to actively transform those relations in the name of social and economic justice.

On an off-chance, I contacted him months ago and asked if he'd be interested in bringing us to campus. He said yes. And now we're here.

We are staying in one of the nicest hotels I've ever stayed in, called the Marx Hotel. (the school is paying for us to stay here for two nights in our own private rooms) On the 16th floor.

The Marx Hotel in Syracuse

We each have our own room. It's 2:30 in the morning and I'm watching the Food Network. I love Rachel Ray! My shower is one of those fancy one's where the water falls from the ceiling, like a waterfall.

The view from my room at night

My amazing fancy room

Me looking out the window

It's really funny that we are staying in a place this fancy. When we first walked into the lobby there was a rich woman at the counter talking to the person who was working and telling him how "wonderful" the hotel beds were and how she was having a Marx Hotel bed delivered to her home next week because it was the best sleep of her life. Thne she was asking if they also sold the linens that they use for their beds to customers. Courtney had to walk away from the counter before she burst out laughing.

I told the man at the counter that we had reservations and he looked us up and seemed really surprised "Well, it looks like your rooms have been taken care of for the next two nights." He was probably wondering how that happened.

The screening went pretty well. It was shown in the Hall of Languages (the building which inspired the Adams Family house) at Syracuse University. People had different questions and comments than we have heard before and seemed really interested in talking about a lot of different things that came up in the documentary. After the screening, Don drove us back to our hotel and dropped us off. It would have been nice to get to spend more time with him but he had to get up early and head to a conference in Berkeley tomorrow. He's arranged for one of his graduate students to show us around Syracuse tomorrow, which will be really nice.