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University of Toronto Scarborough
Shaun Tanaka

Geographies of Racialization Questions To Consider: 1. What are some of Sherene Razack’s main arguments in this article? 2. What is she asserting about the spaces where the victim and perpetrators came from? 3. How does Razack denaturalize the violence done to Pamela George? 4. How does Razack theorize the meeting between George and her killers a “colonial encounter”? Race, Space, and Violence - In every story of violence we hear or participate in, either as victims or as perpetrators, we need to be aware of spatiality of that violence, and its relationship to identity and law - Razack employs the notion of unmapping to talk about these stories of violence, These stories of violence can be seen as geographies o Seen as geographies: born as a baby in Sri Lanka, come to Canada, now know as a woman of colour - Unmapping stories or geographies of violence means denaturalizing the spaces and bodies in these stories Respectability versus Degeneracy in the Making of Self - “degenerates” as the enemy of the nation and of the society at large - The bourgeois life of the home and its dwellers constituted “respectability” - “degenerates”: subordinated (includes people of colour, prostitutes, alcoholics, mentally ill, disabled, poor, homosexuals, transgendered, and non Christians) - “respectable”: dominant - Women constituted the making of respectable vs. degenerate Unmapping the Violence - To unmap, one must historicize, a process that begins by asking about the relationship between identity and space. What is being imagined or projected on to specific spaces, and bodies? Furthermore, what is being enacted in those spaces and on those bodies? o Everyone knew, they just hid the fact that the two boys killed her, the mother scrubbed out the blood off the jeans o Pamela was though as subhuman, or an animal o Nature of violence: colonial violence Ternowetsky and Kumnerfield’s Geography of Adventure - Richard Phillips (1997) examining a British Victorian juvenile adventure literature argues that “the nature of spaces-real and imaginative, material, or metaphorical- make a difference tot the nature of hegemonic identities”. It is by travelling from Britain to the North that white boys achieved their righted passage from white boyhood to white manhood. So, white masculinity of the British was constituted in the “geographies of adventure”. The adventure stories of the 19 and early 20 century presented the colonies as landscape where the white boy achieves manhood through his actions, through surviving the harsh realities of the monstrous landscape. They became men in the ‘right’ sense by defeating nature and ‘enslaving’ it. Violence of Adventure - Drink in places that are “outside” civilized society (under bridges, or beside airport) - In elite places, like school, or cottage, they learn who they are, and most importantly who they are not - They learn they are indeed white men in control, and can survive a dangerous encounter with the racial other - They have unquestioned right to go anywhere and do anything (not same for coloured) - Stroll = seen as a place of adventure, go for curiosity, and see what aboriginals are like Denaturalizing as a Methodology for Uncovering the Violence - Denaturalizing a story of violence is the first step towards fighting colonial violence - Denaturalizing a story of violence means beginning from the film belief that there is nothing natural or regular about the violence or the space in question. It is about historicizing and contextualizing space - Denaturalizing begins by recognizing two spaces of violence - Denaturalizing a story of violence means troubling the space where the violence in question took place - Denaturalizing a story of violence begins with tracing where the bodies involved came from and where the perpetrator and the victim went afterwards - Chinatown became Chinatown because Chinese people were only allows to live there due to violence and government Razack’s Method for Unmapping - Tracing the linked and not shares histories or geographies of Kumnerfield Who Belongs To Which Spaces? - When young white men enter racialized urban spaces their skin-privilege clearly marks them as out of place. They are immediately read as johns, and as rich white men who have come ‘slumming’. In this respect, they experience an unfamiliar racial marking. Their visibility no doubt contributes to white (particularly more affluent city-dwellers’ tendency to perceive themselves as likely targets of robbery or violence in racialized urban space. (p. 114) - Do you think others see you as belonging to these spaces SECOND READING Liu and Blomley - Three frames or lenses through which the space of downtown east side is represented: o Medicalization (page 124): in this framing, the DES is portrayed as a place troubled by medical problems  In this framing, the DES is portrayed as a place troubled by medical problems and their manifestations—ill people, and medical policies and services. This frame as- sociates the DES with drug addicts, drug related crimes, drug treatment and services, and harm reduction drug policy; mental illness issues; and diseases and other health related issues. Thus, this frame assists in the construction of the iden- tity of the DES residents and societal obligations towards them. o Criminalization (page 125): here the DES to “gaunt let of drug dealers”  Here, the DES is framed as a legal and policing problem. The DES is scripted as a place of rampant crime and its residents as criminals, with the criminal- legal-justice apparatus playing a prominent role in solving the DES’s problems. In this framing, the DES is characterized, for example, as a “drug emporium” o Socialization (page 126): framing of the DES as a social problem. DES is portrayed as a place plagued by resource redistribution problems, and their manifestations. DES associated with poverty, welfare, unemployment, racial tension, and social services  In this characterization, the DES is associated with poverty, homelessness, welfare, unemployment, racial tension, and so- cial services. The neighbourhood is characterized as “Vancouver’s poverty- stricken Downtown East- side” and “Canada’s poor- est postal-code area”, where “volunteers have cooked more than 13,000 meals for the homeless and needy” - How does this area become sketchy or even poor? - They were put away from cities to reserves, and then pushed to the poor area due to the lack of resources - Producing the aboriginal body as degenerate o Negative images of these women - Images of women seen are the so called “soft side images” of murdered women - By softening, artist such as Todd Matthews, necessarily meant WHITENING these women so that they becomes worthy for our sympathy - The physical features of these women have been altered in order to hide their - aboriginality and thus their Race Criminality Geographies of Fear - film noir and the noir city o film nor is a cinematic term used primarily to describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas, particularly those that emphasize moral ambiguity and sexual motivation o Hollywood’s classical film noir period is generally regarded as stretching from the early 1940s to the late 1950s o Describes a mood, move, theme o Grand theft auto uses crime and styles from film noir - the noir city o use of modern city as subject and setting o in contrast to the enlightenment view of the western city as the summit of social progress, film nor emphasized the social and psychological consequences of urban modernity o urbanization was originally thought of as a place of opportunities  a job, a wage, and chances o now the city is a grid lock, and polluted  city is filled with prostitution, business district, alcohol, and drugs  you can see criminality and dingy spaces - landmarks of the noir city o uninhabited train stations and abandoned warehouses, vacant street cars, and late night diners, empty sewers, seedy nightclubs, and deserted alleys o people don’t have a sense of space or place - cities as the root of modern malaise o in modern cities you have to defend yourself constantly and you go counter to everything that weve learned from the past o you tend to isolate yourself from other people and you tend to be less aware o you tend to be more withdrawn (you really die a little) o idea of being trapped in the city, rips, getting out of griddiness  backlash of urban life - people moving to rural cities to get fresh air, grow physically and emotionally - the noir city and privacy/class o in the modern city of the 19 century and early 20 centuries, private life belonged to those privileged enough to enjoy the comforts of a townhouse, a carriage, or a private club, whereas the city’s working class crowde
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