Contested Spaces – Witness, Memory, Affect

Joint PhD Seminar
PhD Programme in Culturalstudies, Literature and the Arts
CréArt Doctoral Program, Université de Paris X
Research Architectures, Goldsmiths College

Globalization is often described in terms of space-compression, where the networked mobility of people, money, technologies, images and ideas tends to abolish the experience of distance and to link up otherwise remote localities in new functional assemblages. This space-compression, in turn, is accompanied by a profound challenge to the traditional geopolitical maps where the spaces of authority, of belonging and of rights remained more or less compatible with the territorial distribution of nation states.

Strategies of domination, practices of identity formation and struggles for rights now also take place in transversal dimensions and through a wide array of material and immaterial relations. These relational patterns contribute to the formation of new spatial structures and experiences, which in turn calls for interdisciplinary collaboration and reflection on the mapping and understanding of these spaces.

This seminar offers an inquiry into the nature and function of some of these new spatial structures, where transversal relational patterns tend to replace or profoundly transform the homogenous bundled spaces based on relations of propinquity. More specifically, we will focus on three key terms that pertain to important aspects of contemporary spatial agency and experience, as they indeed point toward seminal issues of conflict and contestation: archives, memories, affects.

How do archives and archival constructs appear as spaces in their own right, and how do they connect to different spatial experiences? Which is the role of the archive in representations of space, as inventories of specific spatial experiences, but also as principles for the understanding of space, in the sense proposed by Michel Foucault, as “general systems of formation and transformation of statements”?

What is the role of individual and collective memory in the social and existential formation of spaces? What is the relation of lived spaces and spaces of cultural memory, and how does the relation develop in modern history? And how is memory mobilized by modern identity politics as well as by oppositional political strategies?

Affects, finally, play a seminal role, not only in struggles over spatial hegemony, but also in the very construction af spaces. Afffects are invested in memorial politics as well as in negotiations of the archive, and they accompany (and often even define) practices of spatial belonging and becoming. In addition, affects are probably among the most prominent features defining the atmospheres that have become a central property of social and existential spaces today.

Participants are invited to present a 20-minutes paper on their research with relevance for the thematic headings of the seminar.

Registration by February 27, 2011

Register for the course here

Following registration please forward:

Short project description
300 words abstract of a 20 min presentation

To be forwarded to Kirsten Zeuthen,

For further information, please contact Frederik Tygstrup, University of Copenhagen,

This entry was posted on Thursday, February 17th, 2011 at 6:19 pm
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