© 2016 Joseph Heathcott

Lecture topics for 2019-2020

Searching for Cosmopolis: Living Together, Apart

This is a talk based on a long-term project using photographic and fieldwork methods to come to grips with how social diversity shapes urban experience, and whether cities may serve as repositories of tolerance in this period of rising bigotry and xenophobia.  The talk focuses in on two such neighborhoods: Jackson Heights in New York City, and Belleville in Paris, and what lessons they might teach us.

Slow-Motion Katrina: A Heritage of Racial Capitalism

 

Using photographs taken by the author, this lecture reveals the long-term impact of racism and capital flight in the structuring of housing markets, land values, and inequality in American cities.  The vast expanses of vacant land in places like St. Louis, Gary, and Detroit are the peculiar heritage of racial capitalism, which has had devastating effects on communities of color in terms of public health, criminal justice, lost opportunity, and state violence.  

Geometry of Corn and Blood

 

A meditation on the alternately mundane and violent histories of the American rural landscape.  The talk begins with an exploration of the U.S. ordinance grid of 1792 as a spatial generator of global historical significance, born out of Enlightenment principles, and grounded in the eradication of Native peoples and their episteme.  The talk focuses in particular on the American Midwestern landscapes where the author grew up.

Landscape Entanglements

 

This talk explores the decreasing efficacy of terms such as 'urban' and 'rural' to describe the reality of the complex landscapes with which we live today.  The talk showcases a series of 20 such landscapes, including ports, office parks, military zones, earthworks, industrial islands, refugee camps, and other forms, all of which defy ready categorization.  Also at issue are the entangled landscapes that produce the very images on which the talk itself is based.

Landscape Entanglements

 

This talk explores the decreasing efficacy of terms such as 'urban' and 'rural' to describe the reality of the complex landscapes with which we live today.  The talk showcases a series of 20 such landscapes, including ports, office parks, military zones, earthworks, industrial islands, refugee camps, and other forms, all of which defy ready categorization.  Also at issue are the entangled landscapes that produce the very images on which the talk itself is based.

Landscape Entanglements

 

This talk explores the decreasing efficacy of terms such as 'urban' and 'rural' to describe the reality of the complex landscapes with which we live today.  The talk showcases a series of 20 such landscapes, including ports, office parks, military zones, earthworks, industrial islands, refugee camps, and other forms, all of which defy ready categorization.  Also at issue are the entangled landscapes that produce the very images on which the talk itself is based.

Official Magic: Urban Imaginaries in Mexico City

 

This talk takes a close look at the 'Barrios Magicos' program, brainchild of the Mexico City tourism office and the department of city planning.  The program identified neighborhoods in each of the city's 16 delegations that could be designated 'magic' for purposes of drawing tourists out of the overcrowded Centro Historico, while boosting tourism overall.  The question the talk explores is: what do planners actually think magic is?

Architecture, Urban Form, and Assemblage Aesthetics in

Mexico City's Street Markets

 

The tianguis, or street markets, are one of the oldest forms of commerce in Mexico City.  This talk draws on a photography / collage project that uses rendered aerial views of tianguis to contemplate their crucial role in feeding the vast metropolis.  At stake are basic questions about labor, legality, and the right to the city in an increasingly globalizing world.

Acceleration and Deceleration in the Post-Industrial Imaginary

This paper examines the temporal condition of repurposed industrial infrastructure, with a focus on the Promenade Plantée in Paris. I argue that the apparent 'deceleration' that attends these leisure landscapes is made possible by the rapid expansion of global capitalist modes of accumulation.  In other words, adaptive strategies that promote 'slowness' through urban design obscure the hyper-acceleration of capital remaking the flow of wealth, people, and goods in the world.