Assignment 1: A Sense of Place: Geometries of Power

Format: 2 pages, double spaced, 12pt font.

Total Value = 100 points

Pick a site connected to your everyday life: a local park, a community garden, a weedy

patch, an alley, the intersection where you live. In this assignment you are asked to

observe a site and consider how it is shaped by intersecting geometries of power, or

intersectionality. "Intersectionality" names the ways that place is complexly nested,

layered, and entangled in the social and economic production of gender, race, class,

labour, sexuality, diaspora, citizenship, nation, mobilities, disability, colonialism,

capitalism, and so on. Reflect on your rationale for choosing your site and what it might

reveal to you about intersectionality. Building on Doreen Massey's discussion of

"geometries of power" and Rob Nixon's analysis of "slow violence" your goal is to write

description of the geometries of power shaping your site.

Assignment Objectives

Engage in descriptive writing

Develop critical observation skills

Engage in intersectional analysis

Assignment Instructions

Step 1: Critical Observation

Go to your site and take notes about your observations. Map the layout and take photos

for your own reference if that is helpful. Depending on your site, attend to the following/nWhat kinds of activities happen here?

What is the site designed to encourage and discourage? How?

Is it different in day or night?

How are you positioned by this environment?

What humans and non-humans pass through or encounter one another through this site?

How do nature and culture interact?

What is private/ commoditized and what common? How is capitalism present in your


What are the sounds and smells of this site? What does this tell you?

Is this site polluted? How do you know? What can't you know?

Reflect on what feelings the site provokes for you, and why?

Step 2. Write Your Description

Use your notes as the basis for writing a 2-page, double spaced, 12 pt font, descriptive

account of how this "environment" is shaped by intersectionality. When reviewing your

notes, decide which observations are most significant for describing the "geometries of

power" in this site. You cannot hope to include all that you noticed in just two pages, so

it is up to you to decide what is most crucial. Remember your description should capture

the layered, nested, and entangled aspect of geometries of power.

In terms of your descriptive account, you may choose to write either a formal account, or

a more creatively written piece. Either way, your paper will be assessed on its

engagement and expression of an intersectional sense of place.

Works used should be cited using Chicago Manual of Style

Don't forget to include your name the cource dacionator and your TA's namal

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