Paper Abstracts

1D: Practices of Resistance (NSC D2) – DAY ONE 1:30-3:00

 

Azam Khatam (York University)
The Veil and Control over Women’s Body in Iran Where Patriarchal State Meets the Family

 

This paper aims to examine the conceptions and practices of veiling among different groups of women in Iran, a signifier of their control over their body in a context where they have to adopt a compulsory veil in the streets and public spaces of the cities and negotiate their choices of veil in the semi public spaces of family gatherings and parties. I will discuss the controversial impacts of the compulsory veiling on two generations of women and on gender power dynamics within the families. My research suggests the political veiling of the 1979 revolution first polarized what used to be diverse practices of veiling, but then triggered the acts of resistance that led to the Girls of Revolution protest in the 2017-18, ending in popularized free choice of veiling in urban Iran. This paper presents some of the results of my broader research on women’s conceptions of empowerment and economic activities in three cities in Iran  and my recent research focus on women’s involvement in urban riots triggered in 80 cities in Iran in December 2017, followed by acts of protest to compulsory veiling by Girls of Revolution in larger cities in the winter and spring of 2018.

 

 

Rajyashree Reddy (University of Toronto)
Holy Cow, Unholy Politics: Dalit Abolition Struggles and More-than-human Urban Ecological Futures

 

The casteist ecologies of urban India were cast into sharp relief in 2016 when violent vigilante Hindu Right cow protectors ruthlessly flogged four Gujarati Dalit youth who were undertaking the shunned, stigmatized outcaste labor of disposing dead cows. The focus of this paper is Dalit abolitionist struggles that have emerged in the wake of Gujarat flogging, that seek to annihilate casteist logics that undergird the production of urban nature, and nurture confrontational Dalit subjects, who have the potential to galvanize a broad movement to annihilate caste and enact urban abolition ecologies that refuses the treatment of Dalits as less-than-human, whilst cultivating ethical relations with the other, including the more-than-human other. Building upon the abolitionist imaginaries of Dalit struggles the overall argument advanced in the paper is the following. Everyday processes of subjectification must be at the analytical center of urban political ecology, and urban theory more broadly, as it is through everyday incremental and imaginative acts that the abolitionist Dalit subject – who is made and remade through the everyday praxis of refusal and responsibility of being-in-the-ethical-relation to the other – annihilates caste and enacts more-than-human abolitionist urban futures. I conclude the paper by suggesting, from the situated example of Dalit struggle, that the urban theory that we need for our time – a time of the “planetary turn” in urban studies – is an urban theory intended towards the other. Such a theory refuses mastery, foregrounds an ethics of responsibility, and is discontinuous in its epistemic orientation.

 

Sanchita Khurana (Jawaharlal Nehru University)
Street Art and the Transgender Citizen in Neoliberal Delhi

 

The Aravani Art Project, an art collective that claims to create space for people from the transgender community of India to express themselves through street art, recently painted their first mural in the Lodhi Art District in Delhi. Their art, based on the notion of reclaiming the city, is often funded by the state. While such visibilization in public space may symbolize inclusion, it also highlights the contradictions of participatory democracies. ‘Right to the city’ discourses often serve the neoliberalization of cities, which manifests as not just the use of urban art for the revitalization of neighborhoods, but also by a refashioning of the citizen-artist. An examination is thus warranted into how such “murals (which) certainly create a striking visibility in public” (AAP webpage), may signify an appropriation of the transgender identity at the hands of the surveillance state, that is seen to increasingly employ disciplinary technologies to govern. Consider, for example, a mural by Aravani Art Project where a life-sized portrait of a member from the transgender community is accompanied by the words “Meri ID, Meri Pehchaan,” a direct reference to the BJP government’s slogan encouraging citizen enrollment into the controversial Aadhar database. In an attempt to demystify the democratizing narrative of representation in which street art locates its art-historical virtue, this paper skeptically analyses the enrollment of Aravani Art Project within the state-funded street art movement(s) sweeping Indian cities since the last five years.

 

Mary Delphine Freedman (Queen’s University Belfast and University of Cambridge)

Film and the Female Flâneur in Rio de Janeiro: Making Visible the Reciprocal Construction of Women and Urban Space through Micronarratives of the Everyday

 

The supposed impossibility of the ‘flâneuse’ is deeply intertwined with the production of urban space and society as protagonized by (white) men, and the use of moral codes to dictate women’s place and movements in time and space. This paper opens by tracing the interrelation of film and the city in Rio de Janeiro, interrogating the role of audiovisual production in the mediation of socio-spatial relations in the city since its arrival when, at a time of intense urban reconfiguration and growth, film aided migrants in identifying their place in the city. Turning to focus on the location of women from the periphery within this dynamic, I draw attention to women in peripheral urban spaces as “one of the least explored social groupings in Brazilian cinema’ (McDonald, 2011:4.4), despite their key role in political mobilisation for the ‘right to the city’ and the emergence of Rio’s favelas in the global imaginary. Using illustrations from digital ethnography and collaborative fieldwork, I argue that digital technologies and platforms have been fundamental to the emergence of a feminine ‘image of the city’. I explore how moving image practices by women not only reveal their role in the construction of the city and negotiation of intersectional contours of gender-space, but are active in strategies of place-making and the construction of female identity. Finally, focusing on micro-narratives of daily movements across the city, I highlight the importance of this ‘informal’ audiovisual production for researching women’s role in the production of space in ‘the global south’.

 

2D: Spaces of Work I (NSC D2) – DAY TWO 8:30-10:00

Tukunda Chabata and Sharon Masawi (Women’s University in Africa)

Space-making and Increasing Visibility for Women in Urban Zimbabwe: The Story of Women in Harare

Urbanity and urbanisation in Zimbabwe have always been a preserve for men. As urban spaces grew, women started to flock into towns and cities, initially to join their male counterparts, and with time to look for jobs and settle in their own capacity. The colonial times saw women migrating into urban spaces as dependents to men. Women immigrants in urban spaces were therefore broadly understood in relation to their male relations like father, husband or sibling.  Men dominated the public spaces in towns and cities as they were gainfully employed making them breadwinners, a role they would always affirm and reaffirm within their families and in the broader society. The formal job market was also dominated by men. However, the 21st century and its economic crisis and a shrinking formal job market, springs up a different situation as women now actively participate in urban income generation, assuming breadwinner roles in their families. They are making spaces for themselves as well as increasing their visibility. The breadwinner role is no longer synonymous with men as the case used to be in the olden days. Through in-depth interviews and observations, this article explores women’s strides in creating spaces in urban areas through active participation in life-changing income generation projects which subsequently increases their visibility. The study notes that women are active participants who are able to manipulate structures to their own benefit. Women in urban Harare do not only have a different story, but have lessons for different people in different spaces.

Simbarashe Gukurume (Great Zimbabwe University)

Navigating Livelihoods in Male Dominated Spaces: Young Female Foreign Currency Dealers in the Streets of Harare.

 

Over the last few years there has been a rapid increase in the number of women in the foreign currency business in the streets of Harare. In spite of this increase of female foreign currency dealers in the streets of Harare, there is hardly any academic research that explores the lived experiences female foreign currency traders. As such, little is known about the experiences and everyday lives of female foreign currency dealers in Harare and Zimbabwe more broadly. It is this paucity of research on female foreign currency traders that this study is addressing. How do female foreign currency dealers navigate the precarities embedded in street foreign currency dealings? What challenges do female foreign currency traders confront in their everyday forex transactions? How do female foreign currency traders negotiate the operational challenges they encounter in foreign currency dealings? Based on an ethnographic qualitative fieldwork done with thirty female foreign currency traders in the streets of Harare, this article argues that street foreign currency trade has become a space through which women reconfigure gender roles and contest hegemonic framings of femininities in a predominantly patriarchal space. In this article, I show how women deploy their agency, tactics and strategies in navigating constraining operational situations and curve out successful livelihoods. This article asserts that in spite of complex vulnerabilities wrought in the street hustle economy, young female foreign currency traders devised creative strategies to circumvent these challenges.

 

Sidra Kamran(The New School)

Infrastructures of Intimacy: Social Reproduction in Interactive Service Workplaces in Karachi, Pakistan

 

Scholars who study social reproduction work either focus on the home space or on the welfare state and paid reproductive labour. In contrast to existing studies, I explore the unique potential of the interactive service workplace to serve as a crucial site of unpaid social reproduction outside the home in Pakistan. Based on interviews with beauty and retail workers and an ethnography of an all-female bazaar of beauty salons and lingerie shops and a contemporary department store in Karachi, I analyse the workplace as a type of public space where such unpaid social reproduction occurs, and non-kin ties emerge among urban, working-class women in Karachi. These unstable “infrastructures of intimacy” enable a fraught relocation of the work of social reproduction from the “private” space of the home to the “public” workplace. Most women who work in the interactive service economy in low-wage jobs are deprived of emotional and financial support from the male head of household and the state and do not have access to any spaces in the city besides the home and the workplace. Consequently, they engage in social reproduction by taking care of children, purchasing food and clothing, and providing emotional and social support to each other, all within the space of their workplace. This paper maps the shifting terrain of social reproduction in the Global South and explores how such workplaces are simultaneously private and public spaces for women in city defined by kinship ties, gender segregation, and women’s lack of access to archetypal public spaces.

 

3A: GenUrb Roundtable on Social Reproduction after Planetary Urbanization (NSC A2) 
- DAY TWO – 10:15-11:45

 

Elsa Koleth (York University), Darren Patrick (York University);

Linda Peake (York University); Gökbörü Sarp Tanyildiz (York University)

 

The analytical framework of planetary urbanization has rapidly taken up hegemonic status in academia in explaining not only our urban world but our urban future(s). Feminist and queer scholars find points of alignment with planetary urbanization, but also points of divergence, not least over its failure to engage with social reproduction.

 

3B: Smokes and Mirrors: Including Gender in Urban Planning and Policy (NSC B2) – DAY TWO – 10:15-11:45

 

Amita Bhide(Tata Institute of Social Sciences)

 

 

3C: Circular Labour Mobilities, Infrastructure and Claims to the City: A View from Ahmedabad, India (NSC C2)  DAY TWO – 10:15-11:45

 

Renu Desai (Independent Researcher)

3D: Spaces of Work II (NSC D2) – DAY TWO – 10:15-11:45

Cecilia Tangian (Mindanao State University)
Women Gold Miners in the Riverine and Urban Landscape at Bayug – Mandulog, Northern Mindanao, Philippines: Urban Policy Frameworks and Local Context

 

This paper presents an Indigenous practice of gold mining activity through the artisanal work of women in the river valleys of Northern Mindanao. These indigenous women engage panning for several millennia have been quite successful in their quest for gold flakes “bolawan” on the daily basis. Several theories and empirical studies have been done to understand behind the laborious tasks these Filipino women had on their journey to survive and to sustain economically. The challenges at hand and the technology they had invented are the main scrutiny of this paper. Certain questions on how women survive, sustain and earn income through their oral testimonies are herein documented. Another challenge is attributed to small scale artisanal mining women miners versus giant mining companies in the urban landscape is a serious identified “competitive” actors in the locality. The researcher employed ethnographic and historical research methods. The said research methodology had impact on the production of a qualitative research of women’s narrative. Their voices are significant as it embodies authenticity, real, practical and primary sources of data base of information. It also suggest feminist ideology embodied with the principle of bravery.  The findings of the study revealed that women’s voices are significant in understanding the plight of Filipino women earners. This paper also suggest women as the primary movers of economy, leadership, technology and equality as compared to the male dominated society and the golden opportunity on the role of Filipino-Chinese women as buyers or capitalist of the gold produce.

 

 

Zoe Johnson (University of Oxford)
Shifting Topographies of Possibility and Constraint: Portraits of Young Women in Wukro’s Bunabéts

 

Over the last decade, there has been an explosion in the number of bunabéts (coffee houses) in Wukro (a city in Tigray, Ethiopia). This is due in part to urbanisation, economic growth, shifting gender relations, and the state’s decision to turn Wukro into a ‘conference centre.’ Cultural norms dictate that making coffee is a feminine practice, and because of the discursive sexualisation of coffee houses, bunabéts are exclusively owned and operated by young, unmarried women. Based on ethnographic fieldwork informed by feminist methodologies, conducted in Wukro in 2018, this paper critically explores women’s experiences of youth, the politics of work, and gendered dynamics of urban development. Using coffee houses as the setting in which dynamics of tangible ‘progress’ — visible at the city and national level — are played out at the individual level, this paper argues that while on the one hand urban development creates new possibilities for young women, taking advantage of these possibilities (by opening a bunabét for example), forces women to contend with different kinds of disciplining discourses. Therefore, the way that urban development is affecting young woman would be better understood as a ‘shifting topography of possibility and constraint.’ Looking specifically at discourses around young female business owners’ sexual promiscuity which serve to discipline young women in both symbolic and material ways, this paper argues that in order to be an entrepreneur in this context, women must perform a specific type of femininity.

 

Shruti Kalyanaraman (Ambedkar University)
Negotiating New Work Spaces: Self-Employed Indian Urban Women’s Experiences of Conducting Business Through Contemporary Social Media

Economic independence is considered as one of the major steps towards women empowerment. Feminists have pointed out the invisibility of women’s economic efforts, in both societal and household level. With this premise, this research attempts to place home-based, self-employed digital business women in the work space. Under the qualitative research design and critical theory paradigm, life story interviews were conducted with twelve, home-based digital business women in the Indian urban areas of Mumbai, Hyderabad and Pune. Understanding these women’s challenges was unique as they, within the confine of their households, navigate through a public platform like social media including Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype to name a few. Existing literature focuses largely on challenges and negotiations of either elite women entrepreneurs or self-employed women from poor household. The research tries to place middle class women’s challenges with the help of feminist theoretical underpinnings including, public and private patriarchy, sexual division of labour, and women’s interaction in public and private sphere of a society. The study revealed following key themes: Homebased businesses are largely gendered and restrictive with limited vendor networks and customers. The advent of social media platforms opens up a world of possibilities for women to move away from the limiting network to form newer business relationships and growth. Within this change, there is an attempt to understand, using Sylvia Walby’s concept of Public and Private Patriarchy, how women try to negotiate jointly with structures in private patriarchy (husband,children, parents and in-laws) and the members of public patriarchy (wholesalers, customers, the state policy, training centres and the social media space).Intersections like age, economic status within middle class, family business background, education, religious/ spiritual orientation, and access to resources were used to understand how women use their agency to negotiate these challenging situations manifesting in public and private patriarchy.

4A: GenUrb Photo Diary Workshop I: The Shanghai Experience (NSC A2) – DAY TWO – 12:45-2:15

Penn Tsz Ting Ip(Shanghai Jiao Tong University) and Dolce Wang(Vox Photo Project)

4B: GenUrb Roundtable on Gender within UN-Habitat and the Gender Hub Initiative (NSC B2) – DAY TWO – 12:45-2:15

Ana Falu (National University of Cordoba, UN-Habitat)Angela Mwai (UN-Habitat)

Join this roundtable discussion with the Director of the UN-Habitat Gender Hub, Ana Falu and the Gender Equality Unit Director at UN-Habitat, Angela Mwai, in conversation with the President of Habitat International Coalition, Lorena Zárate, on the work being undertaken by the United Nations, as well as by civil society and grassroots organizations to promote a global agenda on gender equality and women’s rights to the city.

4C: Urban Peripheries (NCS C2) – DAY TWO – 12:45-2:15

Aparna Parikh (Dartmouth College)

Hard Boundaries, Soft Edges: Gendered Negotiations of Shifting Urban Ecologies in Mumbai, India

The growth of the neoliberal service sector in Mumbai, India has transformed the historically urban periphery of Malad into a hub for call centers, making Malad an area symbolic of the city’s neoliberal development. This symbolic change in Malad’s edge condition has occurred through a physical reworking of land-water edges and shifting boundaries between the public and private domain. These changes have had grave impacts on subsistence and livelihood practices of fishing communities residing in close proximity to the development, disproportionately impacting fisherwomen. I examine fisherwomen’s activities of social reproduction and their changing spatiality to analyze transformations in urban environments. Across small- and large-scale spaces, I show how the reworking of the edge between the public and the private under neoliberal development has impacted gendered and communal activities occupying an ambiguous spatial and categorical valence. Additionally, I show how changes in land-water boundaries have produced toxic landscapes, reducing availability of fish. Fisherwomen have been primarily burdened with adapting livelihood and subsistence activities, with heightened time and labor expectations. Finally, I contend that the presence of fishing villages indicates the tensions between the urban and its constitutive and spatial outside. Considering the symbolic change in Malad’s edge condition, this area’s centering in Mumbai’s neoliberal development has placed fisherwomen, and fishing communities writ large, in an increasingly perilous situation, threatening their lands and livelihoods. Through this analysis, I extend feminist strands within urban political ecology, showing how a focus on social reproduction can help analyze capitalist tactics and resultant transformations in urban environments.

 

Atyeh Ashtari (University of Illinois) and Faranak Miraftab (University of Illinois)

Liberators of Space: Gendered Micro-politics of Creating Safe Space in Urban and Peri-urban Spaces

A significant contribution of feminist geography has been in making visible the gendered dynamics of urban space. This literature has made visible the gendered nature of spatial practices and how spatial opportunities are gendered in patriarchal social hierarchies. The feminist scholarship has also revealed that urban and development projects have systematically hurt women by their gendered assumptions about women’s role limited to a narrow view of social reproduction, as in family-care and child-rearing. This literature, now classic, has identified the triple role of women: in production and income-generating activities, in an expanded realm of social reproduction, and in community management (Moser 1993). In this paper, we seek to bring to light a fourth dimension of women’s roles, less discussed by scholars and urban practitioners: their role in liberating spaces previously identified as “no-go zones” and associated with varying layers of stigma. Our observations are grounded in spatial practices of women in urban and peri-urban communities of Iran. These exemplary spatial practices represent an array of possibilities for liberating spaces by women through changing the dominant narratives of a place, occupying spaces, crowdsourcing information and etc. In this paper, we aspire to add to a more recent body of work on gender as performativity (Peake 2015) through studying the dialectics and the micro politics of space making and space liberating. This work contributes to an agency turn in the literature which has been mostly dominated by passive stories of victimhood in everyday bodily experiences of women in urban spaces.

Flavia Mazzanti (Academy of Fine Arts Vienna)
Inequality in Urban Infrastructure and Violence against Women in the Baixada Fluminense, Metropolitan Region of Rio de Janeiro

This paper is an outcome of the research project and proposal “Rio de Janeiro: City of contrasts and complexities”, which I developed during my Master studies at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and which will become part of the exhibition “Kunst und Architektur IV. Everyday? Ungewohnte Blickwinkel auf Alltägliches” (Art and Architecture IV. Everyday? Unusual perspective on everyday life) about inequalities, gender and everyday life at the University Library of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna in June 2019. The aim of the paper is to reflect on the contemporary situation of public space in peripheral areas north of Rio de Janeiro and to understand how urbanization plays an active role in influencing society. The paper is accompanied by a sequence of architectural representations and further development of an urban plan for the suburban area north of the city. The mapping method is here used to analyze different aspects of the metropolis such as public transport, districts and demographics in relation to women’s safety in the city’s public spaces. The proposal wants to activate different parts of the metropolis which at the moment are still considered as marginal and to transform them into places for cultural innovation and social growth open to everyone. Being half-Brazilian and half-European feminist woman architect actively determines my position in the discussion, allowing me to have a critical and broader point of view on both sides of the Globe. The project questions on topics such as urbanization, mobility, gender, right to the city and everyday life in Brazilian metropolitan areas.

 

Shen Yang (American University in China)
Gendering Rural-Urban Disparity: Work, Family and Chinese Migrant Labor

 

This project explores gendered narratives, senses and imaginations related to rural migrant laborers circulating in cities, and how that interacts with capitalist- industrial rationale and continuously reproduces hierarchical power relationships between gendered laborers, rural areas and underdeveloped regions. I wish to trace how these hegemonic productions of the migratory subjecting in the city are translated into tactics in everyday encounters in the lifeworlds of female migrant laborers, called donggongmei (girls selling labor). The symbolic action of crossing the rural-urban line does not transform the donggongmei into urban citizens or allow for the emancipatory pleasures the common myths attribute to the promises of the urban especially for women. On the one hand, urban modern functions as an expulsion machine through processes of segregation and marginalization. (Ali & Rieker 2008) On the other hand, the urban desiring machine produces itself as an object of desire for migrants, the desire to dwell intermingled with the desire to consume. (Ngai 2003; Bach 2011). I seek to contribute to a nuanced analysis of female migrants situated in contingent and shifting power structures in a seemingly seamless reproduction of patriarchal culture that is productive for flexible accumulation in industrial zones and the urban region. My fieldwork is carried out in Liuyue, an urban village in Shenzhen China.

4D: Debt, Capital, and Financialization (NSC D2) – DAY TWO – 12:45-2:15

Alkim Karaagac (University of Waterloo)

Living in Debt: Financialization of Housing and the Crisis of Social Reproduction in State-led Mass Housing Projects in Turkey

Financialization of housing and the social, economic and spatial impacts of increasing mortgage indebtedness have been widely studied in the global North (Ronald and Elsinga, 2012; Rolnik, 2013; Garcia-Lamarka and Kaika, 2016; Aalbers, 2016; August and Walks, 2018). Besides, housing financialization in Turkey diverges from the Anglo-American and European examples, as the state, despite the growing housing market, actively controls the affordable housing sector via financial regulations, urban transformation projects and mass housing mobilizations (Kuyucu, 2014; Dogru, 2016). The housing programs of the state’s Mass Housing Administration (TOKI) for low-income groups dispose of, dislocate and indebt people by selling them houses in remote mass housing estates. Debt-based housing provision leads to increasing precarity and brings burdens of social reproduction on people in TOKI estates (Türkün, 2014; Erman, 2016); as, debts are not just financial obligations that are managed in terms of incomings and outgoings but are embodied processes that are cared for within and across households (Montgomerie & Tepe-Belfrage, 2017). Yet, the lived experiences of indebtedness, the embodied and emotional labour of caring for debts and the everyday resistive practices of coping with burdens of indebtedness are still understudied areas. This paper (1) discusses how the state-led housing provisions financialize affordable housing in Turkey, (2) showcases how increasing indebtedness causes crises of social reproduction, and (3) introduces a feminist ethnographic research project that examines the lived experiences of indebtedness in TOKI projects to analyze the political, spatial and gendered aspects of the everyday negotiations of debts.

Caroline Sage Ponder (Florida State University)
New Debt Ecologies or ‘Archipelagos of Autogestion’? Close Encounters with Marketized Social Reproduction in San Juan, Puerto Rico

In September 2016 a fire at Puerto Rico’s largest power-generating station caused an island-wide black out, leaving 3.4 million people in darkness for nearly four days, presaging the reconfiguration of everyday life caused by Hurricane Maria just a year later. Gubernatorial candidate David Bernier blamed the 2016 blackout on the inefficiencies of public corporations and called for the privatization of the sole electricity provider on the island, the state-owned Puerto Rico Electric and Power Authority (PREPA). Meanwhile, PREPA labor leaders claimed austerity measures eliminating preventative maintenance at the plant were what caused the fire and island-wide blackout. These competing narratives reflect the ongoing controversy over the insolvent American territory’s imposed financial recovery package, the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA). Part of the debt restructuring process under PROMESA includes the privatization of public infrastructures, including crucial elements of the water system and the entire electric grid. The financial debts of these public authorities have invoked steep increases in utility fees and major interruptions in service to users, which have in turn affected public health outcomes for residents. This paper considers how embodied practices and relations of intimate labor and everyday social reproduction on the island have been reconditioned by the disruption of its water system and power grid, and examines two different imaginaries of Puerto Rican futurity: one dominated by colonial debt relations and marketised methods of social reproduction, while a nascent other works to engender new spatialities of collective self-determination, or what Yarmiar Bonilla (2019) has recently described as ‘archipelagoes of autogestion’.G122:J122

 

Lana Salman (UC Berkeley)
Peripheral Capitalization: When Debt Builds the Post-Revolution City

How do zwewla (singular zaweli), impoverished laborers eking out a living in the informal economy, finance the construction of their houses in the expanding peripheries of Tunisian cities? With the implosion of microlending after the 2011 Tunisian revolution, I show that zwewla build their homes by taking on debt. Where autoconstruction meets microfinance, city building is a gendered project in which women shoulder the burden of debt. Aggregated at an urban scale, the result is a process of building the city from its peripheries; a process I am calling peripheral capitalization. To make this argument, I connect the gendered aspect of microfinance (Rankin 2002, Roy 2010) with capitalization (Nitzan & Bichler 2009) as it unfolds in the Middle East and North Africa region (Mitchell 2014, Abourahme & Jabary Salamanca 2016) to describe the material fabric debt produces when it congeals in ever expanding peripheral neighborhoods. This presentation builds on ethnographic fieldwork I conducted between 2016 and 2018 with microfinance officers operating in the peripheries of metropolitan Tunis, Tunisia’s capital, as well as Tozeur, an oasis city in the southern part of the country, tracing the housing.

Jennifer Tucker (University of New Mexico)

Outlaw Capital and Territories of Populism Outlaw Capital and Territories of Populism

A shifty, productive discourse of corruption fuels the rightwing populism sweeping the Americas. Trump’s calls to “lock her up” refracted southward where dubious claims of corruption led to the actual locking up of Brazilian ex-president Lula da Silva. The clang of his prison door perhaps best symbolizes the closure of two decades of redistributive experiments in social welfare under Latin America’s “pink tide” governments, accentuating the crisis of social reproduction. This paper considers the symbolic and material territories of populism by analyzing anti-corruption discourses across two cases: the gender-race-class politics of Jair Bolsonaro’s terrifying rise, and the homophobic discourse of transparency activists in Paraguay. Taken together, these cases point to the sedimentary layers making up today’s territories of populism. This includes the commonsense valoration of patriarchal claims to power, an epistemology of the state burdened by Eurocentric, rule of law frameworks, and an under-appreciation of the power of what I call outlaw capital, that is, profit from illicit transactions and so-called black markets. Across the cases, outlaw capital shapes urban space, subjectivities and political possibilities. Part of outlaw capital’s power is how it helps fraudsters transform shady profits into power and fortunes widely perceived as legitimate: through investments in urban space and raced/classed/gendered processes of what Paraguayans call “whitening” or blanquiemento. With comparative feminist critique, I also identify promising social movement strategies that contest the exclusionary, anti-democratic dynamics of outlaw capital through a feminist ethic of care that demands both economic redistribution and spatial justice.

5A: GenUrb Roundtable on Comparative Feminist Urban Research (NSC A2) 
- DAY TWO 2:30-4:00

Faranak Miraftab (University of Illinois), Linda Peake (York University), Cristina Temenos (University of Manchester)

In this roundtable, we discuss how feminist urban scholars might think through the comparative differently, as well as discussing specific comparative studies.

5B: GenUrb Policy Brief and Memo Writing Workshop (NSC B2) – DAY TWO 2:30-4:00

Elsa Koleth (York University) and Cristina Temenos (University of Manchester)

This workshop will address strategies for communicating research to policy audiences and the public through building skills in drafting policy briefs and memos.

5C: Housing and Changing Land Use in the City (NSC C2)
 – DAY TWO 2:30-4:00

Jordana Romalho (London School of Economics and Political Science)
Urban Resilience and Social Reproduction: Lessons from Informal Settlements in Metro Cebu, the Philippines

As the economic, social and environmental impacts of climate change become increasingly apparent in the Philippines, so too is the prominence of disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) in local and national development agendas. In Metro Cebu, calls for creating liveable and resilient cities are exacerbating the precarity of the urban poor, with those living in areas classed as ‘danger zones’ simultaneously threatened with displacement in the name of risk management. Amidst this context of multiple and overlapping forms of risk and insecurity, community organising among informal settlers has become a critical mechanism for building local capacities and resisting the different socio-political and environmental threats they face. This paper interrogates the extent to which these mobilisations are serving to address or exacerbate gendered inequalities that underpin vulnerabilities to risk. Drawing on extensive qualitative evidence collected over 7 months of fieldwork between 2014 and 2017, I argue that grassroots ‘resilience-building’ and DRRM are decidedly gendered in practice, highlighting how both the degree and nature of participation in these activities is shaped by gender stereotypes, perceptions and experiences, and thus may be reinforcing rather than redressing existing power differentials. However, these spaces of collective action are also facilitating meaningful (albeit unintended) personal transformations among women, which they themselves depict as a process of empowerment. These findings reinforce the importance of considering everyday labours of social reproduction attentive to socio-spatial inequalities and intersectional embodiments of risk, power and agency within efforts to engender sustainable urban development and resilience-building interventions.

Nasya Razavi (York University)
Habitat para la Mujer‘: Alternative Housing Collective in Bolivia

In 1999, the Association of Women Neighbourhood Leaders founded the Maria Auxiliadora community, an alternative housing collective in the peri-urban Southern Zone of Cochabamba, Bolivia. The women organized to provide decent housing (vivienda digna) for single mothers and survivors of sexual and domestic violence that typically face prejudice and precarity in the Bolivian housing system. Centered around principles of collective property, female leadership, and transformative participation, Maria Auxiliadora presents a unique model of community in the city. However, following a decade of flourish, internal conflict erupted over the collective property model. Spurred on by intense land speculation in the region, violence and legal action further fractioned the community. Based on semi-structured interviews with  residents, this paper explores the everyday struggles, structural barriers, and strategies around women-centered collective property ownership in urban spaces.

Michelle Buckley (University of Toronto Scarborough)
Between House and Home: Renovations Labour and the Production of Residential Value

In 2014, spending on home renovations across Canada outstripped spending on actual home purchases. In this article, I explore this rise in renovations spending through a case study of these dynamics in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), a metropolitan region that has experienced extraordinary growth in both house prices and levels of household mortgage debt over the last decade. While cheap mortgage debt has often been considered a key factor facilitating housing exchange and speculation in recent decades, I highlight the significant role that informalized renovations labor has played in these housing market dynamics across the GTA. Combining secondary data on GTA housing sales and renovations activity with in-depth interviews with precarious renovations workers, I contend that renovating has been a key strategy to overcome the crisis of affordability produced by low interest mortgage debt. Highlighting the central role of renovations labor in reproducing the home as a commodity with either new use or exchange  values, I recast strategies of asset wealth-building and house buying in the GTA as ones highly reliant on de-skilled and informalized non-citizen renovations labor. Informed by intersectional feminist scholarship on paid but precarious labor in the home, I offer a partial perspective on the fundamental importance of precarious renovations labor to the political economy of private homeownership.

Bahar Sakizlioglu (Erasmus University)
Rethinking the Nexus of Gentrification and Social Reproduction

Research on gentrification has overwhelmingly focused on how gentrification is produced and consumed. Scholars have looked at housing market dynamics, policy initiatives, and changing consumer demands to explain the reasons behind and the impacts of gentrification (for a comprehensive review, see Lees et al. 2008). Much less attention has been focused on the nexus of gentrification and social reproduction (among exceptions are Boterman and Bridge, 2015; Karsten 2003, 2007; Rose, 1984). This is a critical oversight since gentrification is affected by and affects the capacities of households and communities to reconstitute themselves. In this paper, we problematize the lack of the social reproduction perspective in gentrification and displacement research. Inspired by feminist theory, we draw a fresh framework to discuss the link between social reproduction and gentrification. We discuss gentrification as a part and parcel of the contemporary ‘crisis of social reproduction’ (Fraser, 2017) and ecological crisis. We conclude that embracing social reproduction as a lens to understand gentrification is not only an academic exercise but also a feminist political statement to make visible the gendered dispossessions and inequalities involved in gentrification. With such a feminist intervention, we not only call for more research attention to the role gentrification plays in ecological crisis and crisis of social reproduction but also discuss the possibilities of feminist praxis to produce alternatives to gentrification.

 

5D: Affective Cultures in the Urban (NSC D2) – DAY TWO 2:30-4:00

Soha Mohsen (The American University in Cairo)
On the Becoming of Friends and the Making of Cities

In this paper, I wish to expand on my MA thesis by looking at the relationship of friendship in contemporary Egypt, and how through walking, commuting, re-membering, improvising, traveling across cities together and to each other the active and moving relationship of friendship carries a promise and a claim of a different imagination but also articulation of the city. I was interested in how and how much friendship possibly runs through the city pores, the infrastructural presences and absences, the no longer and the not yet, as an in-between space of encounter that in its practice re-imagines the city as a space of relationality, throw togetherness and re-pair. My fascination with the ‘city’ has to do with it having a soul; the charisma, the charm and singularity, the dynamism and edginess, the psyche, the complexity but also the potentialities, the fertile social fabric, the buzzing soundscape, the restlessness and the eventfulness that constantly generate themselves and compliment/ reproduce each other. I am tremendously keen on investigating the diverse and multiple layers of the city as a concept, a practice, a set of relations and very importantly a political and politically charged sphere. This conversation is of tremendous importance whether on the theoretical level, academic realm or for restoring the energy to “re-inhabit the ordinary” (Berlant 2016). Such conversation provides the perfect opportunity to take seriously the enmeshment/ entanglement of the social, the political, the temporal and the spatial. How modes of sociality, practices of care, forms of companionship are important to recognize and pay attention to in the ways they are constantly constructing, negotiating and navigating routes of flesh and blood, histories of the concrete, and infrastructures of experience (and of material). Our cities, whether homelands or wonderlands, our physical domestic spaces and the “otherwise” worlds of being; of humans, non humans, objects, buildings constitute a parliament, or a polyphony, a bricolage of knowledges and epistemologies through which we also get to confront our range of capacities as well as limitations. How we understand the city is both a question of our everyday lives as well as a metaphor for how we come to make and also unmake our ways in the physicality of the world, how we trace our routes and invent our destinations, how we come to reach our perceptions of space, the movement of our bodies, the possibilities of proximity and distance, our messy and generative social existence and the collective vulnerability in “managing the meanwhile” (Berlant 2016).

Shivani Gupta (National University of Singapore)

Gendered Mobilities in the Sacred City of Banaras

Mobilities for most people is conditional. One’s mobility works in complex ways where social identities play a critical role in determining an individual’s movements. The category of gender inevitably places women at a disadvantage where their mobilities are decided by multiple agents, other than women themselves, which makes it limited and restricted. The paper illuminates these gendered mobilities in one of the most sacred cities in India. The ethnographic study examines women’s understanding, practices and mobilities in the city of Banaras, Northern India. Banaras is dotted with religious elements. Religiosity, a domain authored and controlled by men, gives this city its unique character and furthers the patriarchal agenda of defining women’s role in private spaces and their access to public. This imposition of public and private divide and the sacrality of Banaras provides a different narrative of women in the city. Challenging/deconstructing this narrative enables in shifting the unidimensional lens of Banaras from a sacred city to that of a gendered city. Thus, the paper brings forth embodied and lived experiences of women in the city of Banaras across multiple social categories. It examines ways in which women blur the public and private divide to be mobile in their everyday life.

Nazgol Bagheri (University of Texas at San Antonio)
Gendered Place-making in Tehran: A Tale of Shopping Mall from its American Dream to its Iranian Reality

Today‘s shopping mall varies considerably from the 1950s archetype envisioned by architect and planner Victor Gruen. Gruen designed and built an enclosed public space that embodied the postwar American utopia. However, the shopping mall has been one of the most heavily criticized urban public spaces threatening the authenticity of ‘public’ space in postmodern geographies. Urban scholars have consistently condemned the shopping mall for its lack of locality, standard design, extensive surveillance, and exclusion of diverse social groups. While the majority of case studies have been in the North American contexts and done by male scholars, the homogenizing characteristics of the shopping mall have largely been presented as universal. In this paper, I use shopping malls to explore the gendered process of place-making and social production of identities in one the most growing and heavily-used public spaces in the Persian Gulf region. Based on ethnographic work during 2013-18, I question the prevailing critiques of the mall and argue that local social and political circumstances – and consequently the latent ethno-cultural meanings – that people, especially women in this case, attach to malls dramatically vary across geopolitical and temporal boundaries. Drawing upon Iranian women’s experience in two shopping malls in Tehran, this paper examines how the mall has become something more than an ‘artificial space promoting mass consumption and social stratification’. Rather, with relatively less presence of fashion and hijab police, Tehran’s malls facilitate the experience of freedom for Iranian women in terms of gender equity and self-expression. The findings of this paper add a nuanced dimension to the predominant critique of shopping malls set in North American contexts.

Nayrouz Hatoum (Concordia University)
‘The Wall was like a War’: Sensory Politics of Spatial Carcerality in Jerusalem

“The Wall was like a war” Areen said. “When it arrived to Jerusalem, we felt like we were living in a cemetery”. “When the army marked my house as the border” Sana said, “I became a confrontation front. For years later I carried Jerusalem’s story on my back”. Palestinians, like Sana and Areen, living in close proximity to the Wall, constructed in the West Bank and Jerusalem in 2003 by the Israeli state, describe the experience using the language of carcerality and spatial violence. This article asks how do settler-colonial spatial arrangements operate on the body and psyche and render them sites of sensory politics? I argue that we can no longer just speak of the Wall as a visual or physical structure, but must also understand it as the locus of  a range of sensory experiences. Understanding the Wall as such exposes what I refer to as sensory politics of carcerality. While Israel claims that the Wall sustains Israeli citizens’ security, Areen and Sanaa’s stories  demonstrate that the Wall’s architecture infiltrates Palestinians’ sensory engagement with their spaces/landscapes, resulting in a form of spatial violence. Palestinian phenomenology suggests that the Wall is always encountered, sensed, seen, smelled and touched. It is not only a physical structure occupying the land and landscape, but is experienced as an event that generates stories, nightmares, dystopian fantasies and daily corporal defiance.

6A: GenUrb Photo Diary Workshop II: Photo Diary Method (NCS A2) –  DAY THREE 8:30-10:00

Penn Tsz Ting Ip (Shanghai Jiao Tong University) and Dolce Wang (Vox Photo Project)

6B: Gendered Urban Policy and Planning (NCS B2) – DAY THREE 8:30-10:00

Kathryn Travers (Women in Cities International)
Safety and Public Spaces: Mapping Metropolitan Gender Policies and MTElles

Uttara Purrandare (IIT Bombay-Monash University Research Academy) 
Obscuring the Margins: India’s ‘Smart Cities’ Policy

In 2015 the Indian government launched the ‘Smart Cities Mission’, a policy aimed at transforming 100 Indian cities into modern, technologically savvy ones. The concept of the ‘smart’ city emerged among IT companies before being adopted by the US and EU. It then spread to the developing world without severing its ties with the private sector—indeed these ties have strengthened.  The ‘smart’ city doesn’t have a clear definition. However, there are certain characteristics that smart cities share – including ones in India – regardless of geography or context. Smart city solutions focus on using digital technologies. Further, the urban is depoliticized and there is a discernible rise of a (privatized) technocracy. ‘Smart’ policies also discuss inclusion, participation, and transparency. However, the aims of the latter need a more critical view since the former tend to deepen divisions and further marginalize those already at society’s fringes. This paper analyses India’s Smart Cities Mission. The focus is on inclusion in city planning, deepening divisions in urban India, and the marginalization of women’s voices. Given that women’s knowledge and presence as subjects have always been overlooked, this paper attempts to demonstrate the strengths of using feminist geography within urban policy, and its capacity to develop more inclusive and equitable cities. The paper delves into the private sector’s expanding role in urban governance, and the implications of this for citizenship and urban equity. Finally, it questions whether building ‘smart’ cities is appropriate for India and its citizens, especially those who have always been obscured.

Seyedmohsen Alavi (York University)
Women’s Contributions to the Urban Development in Post-Revolutionary Iran

In the post-revolutionary era, Iranian socio-political terrain underwent significant alterations. Iran’s state identity transformed into a revolutionary state that identifies itself with the Islamic values and theocratic culture. The policies of urban developments were not exempted from alterations. The chronicle of Iranian female professionals in urban development is a story of passionate empowerment, especially because of the malfunction of patriarchy aiming to limit their participation. The characteristic aspects of Iran’s popular culture and art have a peculiarly feminine side even in the classic urban structures designed by men. Since the Islamic Revolution in Iran, female professionals in the field of urban development wanting to gain their position face obstacles due to the domesticated nature of their functions. However, Iranian women endeavor to obtain their rightful position within the field of urban development, and in doing so, they make significant contributions and firmly confront the challenges and turn them into opportunities.
This article aims to examine the question of women contribution to the urban developments in post-revolutionary Iran. It examines the changes within urban policies since the revolution including the influence of the Islamic discourse into the urban policies. It also identifies the way Iranian female planners engage in metropolitan developments. In doing so, it traces the challenges and the success of the Iranian women in re-shaping the urban policy-making hierarchy. It concludes that women tangibly navigate a versatile approach of de-gendering urban development. In this regard, they underline career-delineated and gender-neutral characteristics and challenge the masculinity of the public domain.

6C: Gendered Mobilities III: Materialities, Encounters, and Methods (NSC C2) – DAY THREE 8:30-10:00

Raksha Vasudean (University of Texas-Austin)
Mobilities and Materialities: (Re)visiting Urban Spaces through Embodied 
Experiences

This article reflects on a feminist ethnographic dissertation project that examines the socio-spatial mobilities of young adults living in the informal settlement of La Zurza, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Building on the postcolonial critique of the state’s role in perpetuating economic and spatial informality, I center the lived experiences of young adults, aged 18-27, asking how their visions for their own future and their ‘spatial imaginations’ (after Upton, 2008) for the city are shaped by their everyday mobilities as well as their relationships to different material spaces in the city. Using data collected from anonymous GPS activity trackers, interviews and body maps, the article specifically reflects on the ways in which gender and sexuality are negotiated and performed by the young adults within a particular set of socio-cultural norms and power relations.  I focus on young adult’s different interactions three material sites- La Casa, La Calle, and La Cancha, to re-center the embodied experience as a site of inequality, suggesting ways in which urban studies might learn from the scale of the body in planning the future of our cities.F104:J104

Hilal Kara (Queen’s University)
Gendered Mobile Encounters: Navigating Neoliberal City on the Way

This study investigates female urban practices and daily gendered mobility patterns focusing on waged domestic work. Based upon the ethnographic data collected from thirty-two female domestic workers’ everyday mobile encounters during work-home trip on the bus in Ankara,Turkey, this research, mainly revolved around everyday commuting experiences, investigates daily spatial practices of women in domestic work by tracking significant moments of their mobility stories; the first arrival in the city and gaining (im)mobility across the city and so on. Besides, through unpacking the shifts in the spatiality of domestic work over the last thirty years, this research explores how domestic workers navigate urban and labor restructuring processes in the neoliberal era.

Mica Jamison (Georgia State University)
How Do We Get From Here to There? Exploring Queer Methodologies forTransit Research

This paper contributes to debates on feminist urban research by exploring the gendered experiences of marginalized groups on Atlanta’s public transit system, MARTA. While much of the extant literature examines (cis) women as subjects and the interrelated concepts of safety, fear, and violence as themes, my research looks to center the voices of queer and trans people and to focus on how they remake their city while traversing it. The theoretical foundations include subaltern urbanism, intersectional feminism, and the right to the city. Novel research methodologies are needed to disrupt cisheteropatriarchal narratives of mobility and placemaking. Taking these ideas seriously requires adaptive modes of research praxis that can draw upon a variety of mixed methods, including ride-alongs, experimental visual methods, mental mapping, critical GIS, and content analysis of key planning documents. In order to empower queer and trans communities, I advocate for the utilization of participatory, bottom-up methodologies through which participants can decide the types of methods that they think would best document and reflect their lived experiences on MARTA. This paper examines the challenges of designing queer urban methodologies. I highlight the importance of avoiding extractive, transactional relationships with participants and of integrating results from a diverse set of methods. This paper aims to open a conversation that can contribute to mobilities studies, queer studies, and urban studies by proposing methodologies that may be adapted in future participatory work and by giving voice to groups who have historically been excluded but are critical to building feminist urban futures.

 

Jill Wigle (Carleton University), Lucy Luccisano (Wilfred Laurier University), 
Laura Macdonald (Carleton University), Paula Maurutto (University of Toronto Mississauga)

Gender (In)security in Public Spaces: Evaluating Mexico City Transit Policie

Mexico City has reached new peaks in violence against women; it is ranked as the most dangerous city for women in the world taking public transit in terms of the risk of sexual harassment, abuse or sexual violence. While fifty out of one-hundred women in Mexico City reported having been exposed to violence in public space, thirty-two out of every one-hundred women in the country as a whole have suffered from a violent act in public spaces. Mexico City is, however, also the site of considerable social innovation and community organizing, and in recent years the city has developed new programs to respond to high levels of crime and violence against women. In this paper, we provide a gendered analysis of how urban insecurity in public spaces has been addressed through Viajemos Seguras (Let’s Travel Safely). This new city program was launched in 2007, and more recently the Mexico City Government has worked with UNWomen to advance new strategies. Our paper draws on this program to examine the collaboration and tensions between women’s groups (both local and international) and city government bureaucrats and politicians as they attempt to deal with women’s (in)security in the public sphere.

6D: Violence and Securitization (NSC D2) – DAY THREE 8:30-10:00

Amanda De Lisio (York University)
Negotiating Military Urbanism in the Olympic City: Sex Work and Securitisation in Rio de Janeiro

Historically, the sport mega-event has been closely sutured with various geopolitical-economic trajectories: for example, the use of the event as a platform for political posturing and the reshaping of the population (e.g. Berlin 1936; Beijing 2008), the soft-core ideologies of the Cold War (e.g. Melbourne 1956, Moscow 1980, Lake Placid 1980, Los Angeles 1984), the re-imaging of place (e.g. Tokyo 1964, Barcelona,1992) or the post-9/11 reconstitution of US domestic and foreign policy (e.g. Salt Lake City 2002). Rio de Janeiro—host of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympic event—served little exception. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) were undeniably embroiled in an effort to remodel the nation, and attendant host communities. The conversion of local land into foreign property in the context of the Global South demanded highly-visible processes of urban pacification/securitisation designed to rebrand specific communities as safe/secure. Well-known and broadcasted inequalities required a more concerted—and mediated—focus to deal with chronic insecurities and in turn, extended the limit of so-called “exceptional” state intervention. Pre-packaged within this aggressive-militaristic intervention was a notion of exoticness that reinforced racial hierarchies/mythologies first articulated amid colonial conquest. This paper will address the manner in which these processes impacted the everyday life of those most heavily scrutinized and policed in the urban landscape: (trans- and cis-gender) women involved in transnational economies of desire.

Mantha Katsikana (York University)
‘Never Seen/Never Heard’: Spatialities of Gendered Violence in Times of Austerity and Responses of Survival– The case of Athens, Greece

This paper attempts to map and chronicle the intensifying gendered violence in times of austerity, post 2007, the impact on women and queers navigating urban spaces as well as their strategies of survival and protection, in the context of Athens, Greece. While the public and political discourses concerning austerity are built around poverty and unemployment, the affective gendered aspects of the crisis are rarely addressed. Post 2007, state and non-state violence against women and queers, police brutality, sexual harassment and rape culture have been surfacing in an alarming rate, publicised either by journalists or through activist networks. State violence against female migrants, sex workers and drug users, legislation that perpetuates rape culture, intimate-partner violence, sexual harassment, rape and femicides, while publicly dismissed as isolated incidents, are situated in the core of austerity’s affective economies. Entangled with race, class, (dis)ability, sexuality and citizenship, gendered violence in both public and domestic spaces impacts the way women and queers navigate and experience the urban, the spatio-temporalities of their mobility, as well as informs strategies of survival and protection that span from the individual to support networks and contribute to new configurations of community, place -making and resilience. This paper explores the above through a series of life stories, interviews with survivors, grassroots activists and NGOs, policy makers as well as through the use of statistical data, legislation and media discourse analysis around gendered violence in Athens during the ‘crisis’.

Wangui Kimari (University of Cape Town)
Security Beyond the Men: Women and their Everyday Security Apparatus in Mathare, Nairobi

Security issues imbricate a wide range of fears and agendas in cities of the global North and South. Everyday life experiences in informal settlements reflect, however, not only residents’ urgent need for enhanced security but that the state is unable (and often unwilling) to provide it. Because approaches are dominated overwhelmingly by a focus on young men, our article foregrounds the unseen yet important aspect of security provision: the everyday security apparatus that is constituted by women. The principle argument is that women in Mathare, one of Nairobi’s oldest informal settlements, provide security through a variety of practices that highlight the taken for granted and invisibilised emotional, reproductive and socio-economic gendered labours of women. Informed by an ethnographic study, this article contextualises this women-led security provision, which is overwhelmingly invisible since it does not include the most taken for granted security functions, for example patrolling formations, equipment and the threat of violence. We begin by detailing the major security challenges as expressed by women in Mathare, before discussing the range of actions they engage in to enhance safety for all and the major constraints to doing so. Leading from immediate security challenges, our research identifies the everyday security efforts women engage in for community protection, and demonstrates the inter-related social-spatial issues constraining woman’s efforts for safety, which policy security interventions should take into consideration. We suggest that perhaps it is prevailing notions of ‘security’ that are too narrow, which, as a result, fail to see women’s contributions.

Dalia Wahdan (Nile University)
Urban Risk and the Right to the City: Women’s Livelihoods in “Unsafe” Neighbourhoods in Cairo, Egypt and their Chances for NUA’s Inclusive Urbanity

7A: GenUrb Roundtable on Translation Issues (NSC A2) – DAY THREE 10:15-11:45

Grace Adeniyi Ogunyankin (Queen’s University), Omar Elsharkaway (York 
University), Rawan Mostafa (York University) Monica Orisadare (Obafemi Awolowo 
University) Penn Tsz Ting Ip (Shanghai Jiao Tong University), Nasya Razavi (York 
University), and Siya Zhang (York University)

 

In this session scholars from the GenUrb project will discuss challenges related to translation in a comparative feminist project at various stages of the research process, including issues of translation across knowledge frameworks, across cultural contexts, across bodies, and across languages.

 

7B: Workshop on Decolonizing Research (NSC B2) – DAY THREE 10:15-11:45

Lata Narayanaswamy (University of Leeds)

Participants will explore the ethics of decolonial research though the university. This workshop is structured around two key aspects of decolonizing research: (inward) the institution of the university, namely the procedures, hierarchies, gate-keepers, visibility, recognition; and (outward) to the the field, involving positionalities, accountabilities, responsibilities and decisions.

7C: Mobilizations and Feminist Urban Activism (NSC C2) – DAY THREE 10:15-11:45

Supriya Jan-Sonar (CORO India)
Grassroot Mobilisation and Advocacy: the Right to PEE Campaign in Mumbai

There is an inadequacy of public and communities toilets in the city of Mumbai. Advocacy and activism by a non-profit organisation, CORO and it’s Leaders’ Quest’s Grassroots Leadership Development Program led to the Right to Pee (RTP) campaign to address this gap. The RTP got built from a group of Mumbai fellows and their organisations’ collective resolution to advocate at all levels from (grassroots to policy) for gender-inclusive (design, access) clean, safe, free public urinals. This  paper deals with the Right to pee campaign for free, clean safe urinals for women in Mumbai, in which I was centrally involved. The paper focuses on how grassroot organisations came together to seek gender rights through Right to pee campaign.
The paper will deliberate on processes in the ‘Right to pee’ campaign focusing on insensitive and gender-biased planning, women’s unfulfilled right to equality, dignity, mobility, and safety in relation to sanitation, as well as the links to health, livelihoods, education, gender-based violence, and access to public spaces. It also talks about questions of class and caste and the devaluation of women’s contributions to economy and society.
This paper will reflect on various mobilisation strategies. This will include strategies of collaboration and confrontation adopted with the administrative and executive state machinery to enrich collaboration between civil society organisations and the state machinery. Action research strategy was used to build empirical data needed for further intervention. The campaign strengthened community voices around issues of gender and sanitation and facilitated representation of these voices in the policy related discussions.
The civic administration’s sanction to women’s urinals under its gender budget, preparation of gender sensitive design of women’s toilets by the authorities in the planning department in consultation with representatives of RTP campaign, Municipal corporation’s circular for separate toilets for transgender, inclusion of a chapter on women’s toilets and urinals in the State women’s policy are some of the outcomes of the RTP which the paper will discuss.
The paper will argue that the RTP transcends infrastructural issues, into a campaign for ‘right to city’ where voices of marginalised communities, especially women are being strengthened to claim their entitlements in the city.

 

Hazel Dizon, (York University) and Arnisson Andre C. Ortega (York University)

Women Hold Up Half the Sky’: Urban Poor Women in the Struggle for Urban Social Justice in Manila

 

Manila’s neoliberalizing terrain has squeezed out the lives and communities of urban poor women. As such, they have risen up against privatization of land and demolition of their communities while advocating for their communities’ right to the city, access to better services and sustainable livelihoods. Contrary to gendered perceptions of urban poor activists as primary male, women have been critical in the struggle for urban social justice. Drawing from interviews with women activists in Manila, we foreground and examine their role in urban struggles by explicating the dynamics of gendered spaces of urban struggle, from gendered division of labor in organizing work and the actual events of resistance to (re)shaping of community demands and agendas. These accounts illustrate how the neoliberalizing conditions of Manila have served as a paradox for urban poor women, whereby social reproduction has caused immense exploitation and suffering which in turn situates them in the front and centre of urban resistance and re-imagination of urban futures.

 

Luna Lyra (Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais)
The Burden of Social Reproduction Work for Women in Grassroot 
Movements: The Case of Vicentão Occupation in Belo Horizonte, Brasil

This paper discuss everyday life difficulties and tactics used by women living in an urban occupation in the center of Belo Horizonte, the third largest urban metropolitan region in Brazil. The Vicentão Occupation emerged at the beginning of 2018, when about 80 families organized by grassroot movements for housing occupied an abandoned building in the city center. After a year, it was evicted by the government. The act of occupy abandoned buildings aims to claim the right to the city, which is not restricted to housing, but also addresses services such as education, transportation, infrastructure. During the occupation, social reproduction work was carried out collectively, such as food, child and elderly care, cleaning, building maintenance and security. To a certain extent, this makes possible to explore other ways of living in community, however, gender inequality and the precariousness of living space place women in situations of greater vulnerability. To understand women’s experiences more profoundly, we conducted a series of interviews, informal conversations, and participant observation in the occupation. It was clear from their speech that social reproduction work and collective organization were understood as female responsibilities. As a result, the difficulty of reconciling paid work, child care and other collective demands penalizes women engaged in political grassroot mobilization. Nevertheless, the collective organization also allows the creation of a network of solidarity and support important for keep alive the struggle for affordable housing.

Sahar Qawasmy (Sakiya – Art | Science | Agriculture) 
Sakiya/Palestine

7D: Social Reproduction: Spaces of Crises and Intervention (NSC D2) – DAY THREE 10:15-11:45

Blanca Valdivia (Col·lectiu Punt 6)
Towards a Paradigm Shift: The Caring City

Urban environments are the stage on which our everyday life takes place, in an urban structure that is defined by the values of a capitalist and patriarchal society, two systems that feed off each other. For that reason, an urban configuration has materialized that gives priority to certain activities and uses them ahead of others, dedicating more space, better locations and connectivity to them. A complete paradigm shift is necessary if we are to put an end to social and economic inequality. Feminism calls for the sustainability of life to be placed at front and centre so as to achieve a life worth living. Feminist urban planning places a social priority on the care of other people, but that does not mean pigeonholing women as the carers; instead, it requires that everyone be dependent on other people and that care be a collective responsibility. Rethinking the city from a feminist perspective means no longer creating spaces on the basis of production rationales that are socially and politically restrictive; rather, it means starting to think about environments that place greater emphasis on the people who use them. For that reason, a radical change in priorities is required when it comes to planning the spaces and conditions of a city. This new urban paradigm is realised in the model of the caring city, whereby cities are seen as places that look after us, that take care of our surroundings, that let us look after ourselves and other people. This paper delves into what are the criteria for this caring city

Fabrice Mopi Touoyem (Université de Yaoundé 1)
Cameroon – Female Dynamism and Territorial Development in Southern Cities: 
Lessons from Cameroonian Cities

Women play an undeniable role in the support and development of cities in developing countries such as Cameroon.These women through the activities of production, trade of food products and even their investments manage to ensure food security. and to promote the socio-economic development of cities In Cameroonian cities, it is worth noting that the sellers commonly known as “Bayam-sellam” regularly brave the weather and the various risks by furrowing the countryside to buy food produced by rural women They are then sold in urban markets, helping women to support food security in the cities and to support their families, some of whom are heads of households. the status of businesswoman invest dan s multiple sectors of economic and social activities, thus contributing to the development of urban territories and the well-being of populations. The aim of this presentation is to show how women, through their dynamism, carry out activities that help feed thousands of families and support the development of Cameroon’s urban territory. Through documentary research, direct observations, interviews and surveys conducted with women and women’s associations, it has been found that the place of women in the social construction and territorial development of Cameroonian cities is an indisputable reality.

Ceren Lordoglu (Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University)
The Meaning of Making Home for Women Escaping from Their Houses due to Domestic Violence in Istanbul

According to the Gender Gap Index (2018) of World Economic Forum, Turkey is the130th country out of 149 countries.Violence against women is widespread and male violence is increasing every year in Turkey. According to an Independent Communication Network’s (BIANET)data, 255 women in 2018, 290 women in 2017 and 261 women in 2016 were killed by their husbands or partners. In feminist writings, home is mostly described as a site of oppression and patriarchal domination where women are reduced to reproductive and domestic labour. In this literature, very few studies attribute to home a positive meaning. Although the patriarchal construction of home brought different forms of violence for women, making a home as a new start of an independent life, however, might have liberating, empowering and healing dimensions on women’s lives, especially for the ones subjected to violence. With this paper, I aim to scrutinize the preliminary results of the research that I conducted with 12 women in İstanbul who left their houses escaping from their husbands’ violence and settled into new houses, mostly with their children. Based on my biographical interviews, in this presentation I aim to identify the changing meaning that they attributed to their new houses; to show how they transformed these houses into their homes; to reveal what kind of instruments they used building a home feeling and to discuss the results of this endeavour for their empowerment.

Ranu Basu (Gauteng City-Region Observatory)
Urbanizing ‘Radical Openness’ from Streets to Classrooms: Feminist revelations 
from Kolkata to Havana

This paper explores the prospect of ‘radical openness’ in reimagining feminist spaces of intervention within the city, drawing examples from Kolkata and Havana. As a radical standpoint, bell hooks describes the “politics of location” as the “counter-hegemonic cultural practice” in identifying where we can “begin the process of re-vision” (1990:145). This paper, as part of a broader tri-city project on Subalterity, Education and Welfare Cities explores the intersectional dynamics of the urban/educational sphere as a zone of simultaneous contestation and freedom and how different genres of displacement contend with the geopolitical realities of everyday life. The role of feminist interventions in rupturing systemic norms of violence – whether through collective networks of care, intergenerational modes of knowledge production, state-reform initiatives – features the urban as a site of constant contestations and re-imaginations. In Kolkata empirical cases explore attempts by KMC’s (Kolkata Municipal Corporation) primary schools working alongside subaltern communities and engaging mothers in advocating for increasing enrolments and combating illiteracy within their communities. In Havana, the municipalisation of education is explored through local institutional bases that include the integration of FMC (The Cuban Women’s Federation) in a country experiencing sanctions of an Imperial U.S blockade for 60 years. Both cases illustrate the creative and structural interventions of feminist strategies alongside state-based practices through the radical openness of educational sites.

8A: GenUrb Roundtable on Trauma in the Field (NSC A2) – DAY THREE 12:00-1:30

Grace Adeniyi Ogunyankin (Queen’s University), Penn Tsz Ting Ip (Shanghai Jiao 
Tong University), and Nasya Razavi(York University)

In this session members of the GenUrb Early Career Scholars Network will discuss the role of trauma in poverty-related research, and consider how trauma is invoked and negotiated in embodied encounters between researchers and research participants in the field.

8B: Roundtable on Activism and the Academy (NSC B2) – DAY THREE 12:00-1:30

Speakers: Karen de Souza (Red Thread), Mantha Katsikana (York University) Linda Peake (York University)

In this session, we explore the nature of long-term engagements between activists and academics in particular urban places, highlighting the pleasures and pitfalls of working together politically.

8C: Migration and Displacement: Enacting Agency (NSC C2) – DAY THREE 12:00-1:30

Kajal Kiran Singh (South Asian University)
Experiencing Queerness and Negotiating Spaces: An Inquiry into the Narratives of Genderqueers in New Delhi

Victor Bénédictus Douanla Banka (Université de Yaounde)
Role of Women in the Socio-economic Integration of Victims of the Anglophone Crisis in Cameroon: Cases of Displaced People in the City of Melong

Kundan Mishra (University of Massachusetts Boston)
Distress, Decision and Dilemma: A Study on Aspirations and Migration Decisions of Women in Rural Households

8D: Contesting Infrastructures (NSC D2) – DAY THREE 12:00-1:30

Josie Wittmer (University of Guelph)
Rethinking Inclusion: Women Waste Pickers’ Perceptions and Experiences 
of Organizing, Collectivizing, and Non-Participation in the Move Toward Formalized ‘Inclusive’ Waste Management in Ahmedabad, India

In this presentation, I explore women waste pickers’ ideas and embodied experiences around organizing and collectivizing in Ahmedabad, India through a moment of change in the governance of solid waste in urban India. Women waste pickers occupy a marginalized position in Indian society due to multiple systemic disadvantages that they encounter as predominantly Dalit women engaged in a stigmatizing informal occupation. I aim to grapple with concepts around women’s organizing and collective action in Ahmedabad and the tensions that appear in the feminist development literature around the scale at which resistance and change is thought to be most effective—through collective organizing via affiliation with formal groups or through more subtle forms of subversion and everyday social transformation. I will draw on survey data (n=401) and semi-structured interviews with women waste pickers (n=45) from my fieldwork in Ahmedabad in 2017 and 2018 to highlight the women’s perceptions and experiences of the benefits and drawbacks to participation in formal occupational organizational efforts. I will also detail the women’s experiences of alternative forms of collectivizing and the choices, barriers, and ‘forms of living’ that influenced a majority of respondents’ non-participation in labour organizations. In light of a recent push toward the ‘inclusion’ of waste pickers in national solid waste management rhetoric, I wish to problematize the anticipated solution of ‘formalizing’ waste pickers into municipal systems via partnerships with occupational organizations. I will thus draw attention to the benefits of waste-picking work ‘outside of the wage’ and to forms of collectivizing both inside and outside of formalized opportunities. Further, my work advocates for the integration of the women’s priorities, perceptions, and ideas into the rapidly changing waste governance landscape in India.

Alaa Attiah (American University in Cairo)
Wayfarer Paths: Movement and Knowledge Beyond the Modern Roads/ Infrastructures?

The state of emergency that has dominated Sinai’s peninsula in Egypt has become permanent. Movement is nearly impossible amidst infrastructures of surveillance and security. As I conducted my ethnographic research on the pilgrimage roads in Egypt, I realized that these roads have been hijacked by the military war on terror and its industrial megaprojects. However, friends and companions who belonged to the Bedouin Tribes of South Sinai helped me learn other ways of moving and walking. They showed me pilgrimage paths that lay beyond the paved pilgrimage roads. These different ways of walking lay outside the state’s formal infrastructure. In that sense, I was pushed to think of the ecologies of the modern infrastructure, of the margins of the modern and what lay beyond the paved roads and paths. There are other possibilities of movement that are scattered around and away from the state’s maps. Exploring the ecologies that lay on the margins of the modern/paved roads, I walked unpaved paths, or as the tribes of the South call them doroub. Our view of the world would be different if we decolonize the way we see. This has taught me that all the land can be a path towards pilgrimage, and how my movement and my imagination have been entirely captured by the modern infrastructure of movement. In this paper I want to argue that the future of the urban in times of emergency lied on the neglected sides of the modern urban infrastructure which I name infrastructure ecologies.  In Sinai, I wouldn’t say that engaging with ecologies beyond the state’s modern infrastructure was a choice but a necessity. The state often takes on the role of the mediator of movement between the subjects and the land. Walking beyond the state’s maps unravels different sources of knowledge, be it mountains, animals, winds, wells, or spirits. In this paper, I will engage with the ecologies of movement to explore the possibilities and forms of knowledge that lie beyond the state of emergency. Coming from phenomenological feminism background, I am proposing a knowledge that is primarily ontological, not epistemological. In other words, forms of knowledge that unfolds in practices of walking, embodying, and existing beyond state maps. In this project, roads are not a mere abstract notion on the map, but they are worlds that are lived and embodied. My engagement with these ecologies will then be primarily ethnographic, not theoretical.  In this paper, I will tackle ecological indigenous knowledges that disrupt the Cartesian binaries and propose a way out of them. I want to expand the way we understand the ecologies of movement beyond the human and non-human binary, to explore what Barad (2013) refers to as “the infinite in each finite”. In other words, I propose a metaphysics beyond the Western Cartesian framework, one which does not reiterate the ecologies of the noble savage or those of green capitalism, and one that does not leave space for capital accumulation. I will explore these metaphysical ecologies in Saint Catherine, in the south of Sinai, from the perspective of the neglected and unrecognized power of the wayfarer. Through examining these neglected sciences and what lies beyond the state’s infrastructure, I am arguing for new modes of seeing and producing knowledge, life, and movement.