This category contains 8 posts

Zuccotti Park: Passive Recreation Only

  This past weekend, while in New York City I walked through Zuccotti Park, the birthplace of Occupy Wall Street. I couldn’t help but notice the new notice that was clearly much more recently installed than the earlier weathered notice beside it. Rather than the simple, familiar text of “No Skateboarding, Rollerblading, or Bicycling Allowed … Continue reading

“Sing Red to Fight Darkness”: Chinese Urban Development as Apocalypse

“Yes, people are constructed by their material world, but often they are not themselves the agents behind that material world through which they must live” (Miller 2009: 84). “The apocalyptic describes not just the spilling forth of the unseen, but also of the undifferentiated matter of the possible, of what could have been and was … Continue reading

Ghosts in the City

This month I am finally whittling away at a few of the books in my pile. Among these is the second volume of The Practice of Everyday Life—Living and Cooking. I have been meaning to read it since visiting de Certeau’s grave back in 2012. And now that I am in the middle of it, I’m embarrassed … Continue reading

University Avenue: One Street, A Thousand Dreams

This morning, while doing some preparing for this spring semester’s visual anthropology class, I located an online posting of the locally produced documentary, University Avenue: One Street, A Thousand Dreams. The documentary, which premiered on our local Public Television Station in late 2012, provides a nice historical context for the area in which the Hamline-Midway neighborhood is … Continue reading

Beijing Sunset

Thanks to high levels of pollution in the air, today Beijing “enjoyed” a sunset that lasted much of the afternoon. Driving home sometime around 4pm, making our way through the clogged streets in the thick pollution, I couldn’t help imagine that I wasn’t in the present but in a not too distant post-apocalyptic future of … Continue reading

Sleeping Under a Bridge in Shanghai

Yesterday, while walking along the Suzhou River in Shanghai, I came across an area under a bridge where a bunch of migrant workers were living. They weren’t around–presumably they were working at their day jobs. Walking by, I was struck by the belongings of one person. They were carefully laid out under the bridge as … Continue reading

Post-Apocalyptic Déjà Vu in Gary, Indiana

During our drive through Gary, Indiana we pulled over in front of the dilapidated and boarded up remains of what had once been a supermarket. Standing in the fractured, concrete-and-weed parking lot, facing the building, with its faded paint and busted-out window frames, the strongest sense of déjà vu hit me. I had been there before. I … Continue reading

Demolishing Shanghai’s Old City, Spring 2006

Before it can be nostalgically remembered as “Shanghai’s Old City” and before newly constructed “traditional buildings” can be experienced by both foreign and domestic tourists as authentic “Chinese culture”, historical structures must be cleared. This afternoon I came across a set of photos I shot in Shanghai in April 2006, which show just such a … Continue reading


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