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ARTH 391 Art & its Changing Contexts: Space, Agency & Climate Change in Contested Urban Landscapes

  • Mondays, 6:00 - 8:15pm
  • EV 1.605
  • Instructor: Gregoire Labrosse

“Space is always striated, it can never be smooth, because it is organized around geometries of power.” (Doreen Massey)

This course will explore the role of conflict in structuring urban space and mediating the spatial agency of people inhabiting contested urban landscapes. Contested landscapes are defined here as physical spaces at the centre of conflicting interests as perceived by different social actors. Using the fields of conflict urbanism and political ecology as a starting point, the course will foreground the role of power relations in shaping urban territory, and examine the ways in which space is produced and negotiated by urban dwellers on an everyday basis. Focusing on both local and international case studies in the context of the climate crisis, the course aims to actively study the social, historical, and geographical dimensions of contested urban spaces through art-based research practices, placing special emphasis on sensory modes of investigation. Students will perform on-site analyses that will serve as concrete examples for class discussion (some field work is required). By considering new ways of understanding and representing contested urban spaces, the course will integrate elements of identity and representation in political ecology discourse. As such, the course will be useful to students interested in exploring tensions between the ‘right to the city’ and the ‘rights of nature’, and new methods for representing spatial landscapes in flux.


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