Nov 28 Qs

Pre-meeting Qs from students for the Nov 28 class meeting

On Modlich, Women Plan Toronto (1985 – 2000) and Toronto Women’s City Alliance (2004 – and struggling on)

In the Modlich article we touch on the disconnect between urban planning practices and the needs of women. Does this apply to Vancouver?  Who is favoured during urban planning practices? What are some actions that can be made to avoid this issue?

In Modlich’s article, a woman who had recently immigrated to Canada gave this quote: “I do like to be asked about what we are looking for. Who would ever ask us any other time in our life? It is difficult to get into that frame of mind to be able to speak freely. And after this I have to go back into that other world again and I have to go back and forget about all I have dreamed today.” How does this reflect the current immigrant status in our country?

Based on any intersectionalities or conflicts (perhaps already discussed in class) that you, or anyone you know faces as a woman living in Greater Vancouver, what would your “wouldn’t it be nice” be, if you were asked to take part in a similar participatory research project like the immigrant women in Toronto participated in?

After reading Modlich, I correlated much of what we have learnt this past semester regarding women in geographies, accessibility and sense of place. For instance, while reading Modlich, I got a hint of the semester’s topic on “An Embodied Sense of Place”. The misfits between women in transportation, housing design etc are brought up in this course numerous times, but when does the equality of genders come forth?

On Houston, et al, Still methodologically becoming: collaboration, feminist politics and ‘Team Ismaili’
To what extent is epistemological and ontological unity among researchers engaged in collaborative research necessary? How might tensions affect the outcomes of the research? Should more research be transparent in regards to the power dynamics among the researchers involved in the process?

In the still methodologically becoming article we learn about a collaboration of feminist politics.  What are some examples of feminist politic collaborations in Vancouver? Are there examples in which challenge and reconfirm assumed hierarchies?

On Browne, Power and Privilege

Browne takes a risk by criticizing feminist geography’s heteronormativity; however, she states that she also does “not seek to… point to a right way of doing feminist geographies”, for fear of producing a hegemony of her own. In this postmodern context, how can we present anything as a “feminist” way of doing things, without running the risk of creating power structures that dictate inclusion? Is there a way of doing feminist geography, for example, that we could point to as the best choice, or will we always run into the issue that Browne wanted to avoid?

I enjoyed reading the analysis and “[…] critical examination of the relations of privilege and power […]” that Kath Browne provides in this chapter (p. 140).  I appreciated the fact that Browne presents us with a very optimistic/hopeful outlook on the conflicts and problems she raises, for on page 146 she states that: “[…] we could seek to understand diversity and difference sensitively and positively engage with this in our writings and our interactions with each other.” I really liked this statement because it appears that Browne genuinely supports, and is advocating for individuals to utilize an intersectional lens when dealing with (and dismantling) “[…] power relations between feminist geographers” (p. 140).  I think that this reading serves as a great source for the conclusion of this course/semester, because it addresses and reinforces some important issues that we have also been learning about over the last three months.

Looking at Browne’s critique of power and privilege in institutions and the academy, how does this apply to other careers, or even other aspects of life? What are some ways we can then account for this problem and attempt to correct it, or create more equality here?

Kath Browne’s chapter makes me stop and think about what happens when feminism gains acceptance: when we make progress and establish space, how do we practice our politics? Feminism focuses such a great deal on the process and the fight sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of what happens when you get there. Browne forces the reader to analyze feminist politics, power dynamics, privilege and behavior based on assumptions. [break] In the context of Feminist Geography, Browne notes that feminism as an academic and social movement has a long history of working for recognition within traditional disciplines, in this case geography. Browne notes that feminism can offer much need insight and dynamic perspective to this field but there are steps that need to be taken in order to do that. Feminists must critique their own political dynamics and structure of knowledge recognition and disrupt normative discourses and privileged assumptions in order to add authenticity, value and justice to academia. [break]  This made me question our own academic practices: do we sometimes get so caught up in the process of acquiring knowledge and privileged validity on an individual basis that we lose sight of our own power dynamics and hierarchies within feminism? How does this affect the way we see our environment and subsequently contribute to it? In regard to feminism and feminist geography do we experience sociopolitical trends within the movement that grant value and legitimacy to certain knowledge and individuals over others? Does the concept of post feminism encourage greater knowledge inclusivity versus wave feminism?

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