The Fair City part 5: Urban Aesthetics & Spatial Justice

Richard Sennett’s perspective on the role of “disorder” in urban life was further developed in his book The Conscience of the Eye. In this work, Sennett strengthens the relationship between urban diversity and broad political perspectives, and argues for a connection between a concern for urban spaces and concerns with social justice. Building from the … Continue reading The Fair City part 5: Urban Aesthetics & Spatial Justice

The Fair City part 4: Equitable Development & Urban Justice

The following explores how notions of urban aesthetics and urban justice are implicated in contemporary concerns with gentrification and “equitable development.” The term “gentrification” was introduced by sociologist Ruth Glass in her 1964 book London: Aspects of Change. Glass coined the term from the English title “landed gentry,” denoting the land owning social class, to … Continue reading The Fair City part 4: Equitable Development & Urban Justice

The Fair City part 3: Aesthetic Order & Criminal Justice

The following considers how varying aesthetic valuations of urban order and disorder have influenced U.S. urban policy. The history I trace here focuses on one salient case: the “broken windows” perspective of urban disorder and its implementation through policing practices by the New York City Police Department. Broken windows theory began as an academic discourse … Continue reading The Fair City part 3: Aesthetic Order & Criminal Justice

The Fair City part 2: Aesthetics of Urban Order and Disorder

Urban agglomerations have taken many forms and been understood in a variety of ways, but density and difference have long been understood as definitive aspects of cities. From the earliest urban settlements and historical cities, the urban condition has been contrasted with rural settlements as sites of man-made chaos opposed to natural harmony. In his … Continue reading The Fair City part 2: Aesthetics of Urban Order and Disorder

The Fair City part 1: Aesthetics of Urban Order and Justice

In his book The Uses of Disorder, Richard Sennett valorizes the uncontrolled events and heterogeneous populations of cities as creating environmental conditions necessary for healthy personal development and the maturation of open and engaged worldviews. Published in 1970, the then 25-year-old Sennett was writing in the immediate wake of urban riots following the assassination of … Continue reading The Fair City part 1: Aesthetics of Urban Order and Justice

City as Classroom: authentic McLuhan inscription?

Encountering Marshall McLuhan’s media theories during college was a significant influence in my decision to pursue graduate studies in communication (there were, of course, many other influencing factors...I wouldn’t want to posit a “hard determinism”). My first scholarly conference papers and academic journal publication were rooted in McLuhan and the Media Ecology tradition. When I … Continue reading City as Classroom: authentic McLuhan inscription?

TENET Redux: 22 Theses on Nolan

Some responses to my previous TENET post have complained that the essay is bloated, confusing, and pretentious. Ironically, these are also some of the most common criticisms of the film itself. In acknowledgment of this feedback (and as an exercise in padding my post count with repurposed content), I have prepared the following “Twitter thread” … Continue reading TENET Redux: 22 Theses on Nolan

Interpassivity, Reaction Videos, and Emotions as Content: Why Pablo Hidalgo is (maybe) Right

Amidst all the Cyberpunk 2077 discourse over the past month-and-a-half, I was struck by the opinion expressed by gamepressure’s Michael Chwistek that the game perhaps offers more potential as an interactive movie than as an open-world RPG. The article begins thusly: “I don't like games that complete themselves. Take Telltale games, for example. I only … Continue reading Interpassivity, Reaction Videos, and Emotions as Content: Why Pablo Hidalgo is (maybe) Right

Pittsburgh-Paris Climate Rhetoric Returns

As is now tradition in American politics, the first days of the Biden administration have brought the initial efforts at reversing Trump-era policy positions. Many of these opening salvos have to do with signaling a recommitment to acknowledging climate change. The president has issued several executive orders related to environmental concerns, and the White House … Continue reading Pittsburgh-Paris Climate Rhetoric Returns

TENET: Christopher Nolan vs. Entropy

TENET is a preposterous film. The central conceit of the plot, the rapid-fire delivery of exposition through muffled dialogue, and the mixed-chronology action set pieces are all jaw-droppingly confounding. The fact that it functions as a movie at all is a testament to something, though I’m unsure how much that something has to do with … Continue reading TENET: Christopher Nolan vs. Entropy