Director, Intermedia Research Studio
Department of Sociology, University of Alberta
Research Coordinator, RePublicU, a critical university studies research collaboration
CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECTS
The Commons and the Convergence of Crisis: Decolonizing Critical Theory undertakes to decolonize contemporary theories of the commons. This research project explores sites of engagement between the cultural and class politics of the convergence of social and ecological crises. Argued from the perspectives of the histories of modern world systemic subalternity, the resulting book contributes to the formation of a radically post-Western Marxism and to contemporary southern critical theory.
Intermedia Commons is a research project developing an intermedia praxis of the commons. The project explores the politics of rights to the global urban commons through case studies of development dispossession in South Asia and Northern Canada. The research creation components of this project includes a series of time bias poems, subaltern counter-environment installations and digital storytelling tools that intermediate research case studies for their constituencies and publics.
Toxic Media Ecologies is a collaborative research project that that investigates ways power intoxicates the intermedia environments we find ourselves in at this conjuncture of converging planetary crises. How do intersecting systems of oppression fabricate spectacular crises while rendering invisible enduring and intensifying ones? How do they silence dissent, disarm critique, data-mine dreams, alienate solidarities, and disarticulate self-organizing common autonomies?
Subaltern Counter-environments of the Internet of Things is a research project that engages with the current debates regarding creative economies by interrogating the ideological fields of both creativity and economy as they are now being articulated through the stakes of climate change politics. This research explores the creativity of the social reproductive, right to the city, survival politics of the development dispossessed in South Asia.
Kolkata Wonderland: Information Technology Outsourcing and Global Infrastructures of Inequality is a digital storytelling and online educational resource on outsourcing and uneven development in India. Co-directed with Dr. Gail Faurschou. Drawing on extensive field work in Kolkata between 2006-2010, this digital tool examines the effects of the development of a new Special Economic Zone for multinational IT & ITES corporations on the older urban fabric and lived environments of Kolkata and explores the division of labour and the linkages of urban places that connect the old city with the new suburb.
RePublicU is a collaborative critical university studies research project that explores the structural transformations that universities are currently undergoing. This research also aims at normative, imaginative construction. As my contribution to this collaboration, I am currently studying how universities in Western Canada are being pulled in opposite directions through linkages with green capital and the challenges of inventing a circular economy on the one hand and the vested interests of oil and other natural resource extraction industries on the other.
RESEARCH NETWORK COLLABORATIONS
UPCOMING GRADUATE SEMINAR
COLONIALISM, POSTCOLONIALISM, GLOBALIZATION:
DECOLONIZING THE ANTHROPOCENE
This course examines the world scale process of social change called globalization from its two convergent manifestations. On the one hand, drawing on a world system perspective, the course examines how the globalization of the capitalist mode of social reproduction has given rise to a series of world systemic social crises: social inequality, hunger, conflict, oppression, debt peonage, unemployment, a myriad threats to human health all amidst unprecedented concentrations of wealth and power among transnationally linked social elites. On the other hand, drawing on a world ecology perspective, the course examines the global-local ecological degradations and dangers characteristic of our era. We examine the reasons for thinking that there is a systemic relationship between global social crises and global ecological crises of various kinds and set out to develop a theoretical framework able to comprehend this systemic convergence and generate guiding ideas for social movement engagement with these global crises.
Some of the key concepts and ideas we explore in depth include crisis, the commons, enclosures, ecology, environment, contradiction, accumulation, labour, reproduction, labour, capital, praxes, decolonizing sociology, subalternization, reification and dialectical skepticism. Some of the major crises we examine include those of war, refugees, hunger, poverty, debt, food, agriculture, deforestation, desertification, water scarcity, unemployment, urban degradation, toxic bodies, ocean death and especially carbon based energy dependence and climate change.
For details contact me at: email@example.com
Introduces various aspects of globalization and its impact on our lives at local, national, and international levels. Prerequisite: SOC 100 or consent of instructor.Fall Term 2020
Individual study opportunity on topics for which no specific course is currently offered by the Department. Course may be taken once only. Prerequisites: consent of instructor and Honors Advisor. Note: Restricted to Sociology Honors students. Closed to web registration.Fall Term 2020
Prerequisite: SOC 100 or consent of the instructor. Note: Consult the Department for any additional prerequisites. Course may be taken more than once if topic(s) vary.Fall Term 2020
Drawing on video documentary fieldwork in Kolkata on the division of labour linking the suburban software technology park Sector V to the urban fabric of the old city, this theoretical video essay argues that the spatial production of ITES outsourcing requires us to reconstruct the concepts of exploitation (Marx 1975) and biopower (Foucault 1984, Hardt and Negri 2009) in terms of each other. As exemplified by the case of the IT boom in India generally and Kolkata specifically, I argue that outsourcing must be grasped as a key mediation articulating the formal and informal sectors to each other. While the expansion of the informal sector over the last several decades has received considerable attention (Portes and Castell 1989, Kudva and Benéria 2005) and the structural relationship between the formal and informal sectors has been the focal point of many studies (Broad 1997, Sanyal 2007) the evident and intuitive distinction between the formal and the informal has eluded water-tight analytic conceptualization. (ILO 2003, Bairaga 2010) On the other hand, research on outsourcing has generally tended to downplay if not obscure the formal/informal problematic by normalizing informalization as flexibility. (Nadeem 2009, Gupta 2010) I argue that this crisis of representation is ultimately connected to the political content of the formal/informal distinction. At stake is the question of representing the social-spatial contradictions through which class politics unfolds.
Biopolitical Exploitation and the Spatial Production of Global Outsourcing in Sector V Kolkata
Toxic Media Ecologies signals an interest in critical inquiry that investigates ways power intoxicates the intermedia environments we find ourselves in at this conjuncture of con- verging planetary crises. We have now long seemed to live in an age where crises are normal and normalizing. Economic, political, cultural, social, personal crises today increasingly collapse together into situations of toxic shock that intensifies repression and processes lives into toxic waste. We are thus led to ask: How do intersecting systems of oppression fabricate spectacular crises while rendering invisible enduring and intensifying ones? How do they silence dissent, disarm critique, data-mine dreams, alienate solidarities, and disarticulate self-organizing common autonomies? What monstrous diseases and new pandemics, what decolonized organs of perception and intellection, what mutations of repression and resistance, what new phantom limbs of paraplegic convulsion and revolutionary praxis grow throughout our body politic as they are enclosed by the toxic shock of our contemporary intermedia environments?More Information