SOSC 2350 Note 23
Making Space for Mosques
- This deals with mapping, history of Canada and the processes of racialization
- This is a straightforward article that doesn’t deal with obvious theory,
instead it talks about the contestation over space.
- How the constitution of spaces:
o Are organized to sustain unequal social relations
The homeless and padlocking of parks
o Reproduce racial hierarchies
- The constitution of space is not the space itself but its location and its
- Produces a particular kind of social imaginary
o Space has always been used in a way to product hierarchies
Dangerous spaces and good neighbourhoods
- Space has a temporal and historical relation – there is a premium to be paid
to live close to the water.
o It was not a coincidence that in 2005 the individuals who were most
affected by Hurricane Katrina were those who lived near the water.
Money flows away from water in New Orleans – in Toronto it
In terms who was most impacted – they tended to be primarily
represented by the urban poor (black mothers)
- You understand how spaces are allocated due to the historical aspects of
o Black people in Louisiana (history of slavery)
- Understanding space as something that is used to sustain unequal social
o For example, look at the Canadian history with the reservation system
– using space to promote unequal social relations or to sustain them.
- We can also say that spaces produces a social imaginary – this is (Doxa)
o For example, a productive neighbourhood is one that has up and
coming people moving in (Starbucks)
- Gentrification is the dynamic that emerges when poor neighbourhoods
experience a shift and the composition of the neighbourhood changes
o For example, When a yuppie moves in causing average income to
- When we talk about space and sketchy neighbourhoods, we do not talk about
the space itself, but about the people that occupy that space
o Sketchy space is really about sketchy people
- Is an organization and symbolic reproduction of space and spatial relations
o It structures and produces relations
o It fundamentally is about boundaries and borders
o It was a tool of the colonial enterprise
- A type of spatial and domination/mastery - It is a way of knowing.
- (Is this the same as Redlining)?
- Mapping promotes hegemony and a way of knowing.
- Not only to denaturalize geography by asking how spaces come to be
o It is also to undermine the idea of white settler innocence and to
uncover the ideologies and practices of conquest and domination
- It is to reveal the relationship between identity and space – in unmapping
there is a crucial relationship between the two
o It’s about contestation – certain claims that have been put forward
and accepted as true statements.
You would content certain discourses.
- Here you try to make people visible.
o We try to include other groups into the story of the nation – into the
story of Canada.
By doing so you are revealing certain things – revealing the
racialized structure that is present (characterizes
- To unmap is to problematize geography, and undermine assumptions writ
onto that space by asking certain questions – how is it that spaces come to
o How is it that that space comes to be imagined in a particular way that
excludes particular groups?
Unmapping is particularly about revealing the idea of lack of
- Once you start disturbing the myths and discourse you make progress in
uncovering all of the ideologies and practices of conquest and domination.
National Myths: Who and what is Canada?
- National myths as ideologies of citizenship
- Myth of Canada as a white settler society:
o 1. Conquest of an uninhabited land whereby the term uninhabited
would consist of the production of aboriginal people as “not Christina,
not civilized, not commercial, not evolved” (Razack – Race, Space, and
the Law, 3)
This is the first phase of conquest between Europeans and
Natives we see a relationship between law, race and space in a
Here is the idea that gets codified in law: there is an
obvious relationship between law, race, and space:
The legal doctrine terra nullius (empty lands)
In the case of British colonialism, they claimed that the
land wasn’t inhabited – if they weren’t certain things
(not Christian) [it all depends on who’s defining the things] then they did not count as occupiers of those
Being visible and counted required certain things –
you’re simply in the way
These ideas and understanding of space becomes codified in
o 2. The empty land developed by hardy and enterprising European
People of colour are scripted as late arrivals after development
A national amnesia or disavowal of slavery, identureship and
Example: Chinese who built the national railway and
the Sikhs who worked in the 19 century lumber
When we talk about unmapping it also includes certain
narratives – in the national story, all of these bodies of colour
has significant role in nation building who have been ignored.
o 3. Modern Canada now besieged and crowded by “third world”
refuges and immigrants
The authors of this article are trying to show what is
being imagined or projected onto the specific bodies or
spaces, with mosques as a specific example.
o This invites certain questions, particularly as
we’re reading about the