Amy Lavender Harris

Amy Lavender Harris teaches in the Department of Geography at York University, where her work focuses on urban identity and the cultural significance of place. She is the author of Imagining Toronto (Mansfield Press, 2010), which was shortlisted for the Gabrielle Roy Prize in Canadian literary criticism and won the Award of Merit, the highest honour given to a book at the 2011 Heritage Toronto Award.

GEOG 3300 Week 7: Walking Through Space

“Their story begins on ground level, with footsteps. They are myriad, but do not compose a series. They cannot be counted because each unit has a qualitative character: a style of tactile apprehension and kinesthetic appropriation. Their swarming mass is an innumerable collection of singularities. Their intertwined paths give their shape to spaces. They weave places together. ” [Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life.]

What does walking have to do with public space? Is it simply a descriptive activity, the act of moving from one place to another, or does it, as de Certeau suggests, have a qualitative character that helps weave together the very fabric of space?

Today in the Public Space course we’ll explore the deeper connotations of walking and its effects on public space. We’ll consider the possibility that walkers comprise a public (or counter-public) and, as such, are as integral to the public sphere as Harbermas’ or Benjamin’s coffee houses and salons. We’ll also explore connections between walking and exploration, protest and play, and discuss how walking might serve as a form of un/organized resistance to corporatization, surveillance and regulation of dissent. 

Links:

Weegee’s Naked City (1945); Weegee’s World

The Naked City (film; 1948)

Introduction to a Critique of Human Geography (Debord; circa 1955)

The Naked City (Guy Debord / Situationists / Lettrist International; 1956)

Theory of the Derive (Debord; 1958)

Society of the Spectacle (Debord; 1968)

Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places (book; 2009)

Ultrared: Sounding the Naked City

Infinite City (Rebecca Solnit; 2010)

 

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