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Dis-placements: Spatial Stories of Migration I

My Session Status

Regular session
9:00 AM, Thursday 26 May 2022 (1 hour 30 minutes)
Break (copy)   10:30 AM to 11:00 AM (30 minutes)

The cultural landscapes of migration are an inextricable part of Canada’s urban, social and national identity. However, recent debates about immigration, diversity, multiculturalism and the visibility of cultural symbolisms raise controversial, often polarized public opinions. Policies of migration have accentuated divisive interpretations and legitimized isolation among multiple cultural communities, instead of promoting dialogue. This session seeks proposals that investigate spatial stories of dis-placements in order to broaden our understanding of migrant spaces and to inscribe cultural movements into the collective narratives of Canadian culture. We are interested in hearing narratives about places, peoples and practices that critically analyze discourses around migrations in relation to the Canadian built environment. Migrations are expressed in places: spaces of inhabitation, institutions of integration and education, architectures of surveillance, spaces of resistance, commercial enterprises, community centres and spaces of national/cultural representations. Migrant spaces can be read from the perspectives of peoples: communities, families, individuals, professionals, organizations, architects, planners, policy makers, residents, citizens, refugees, immigrants, or people with no legal status; and their practices: spatial appropriations, manifestations, solidarities, manipulations, exclusions, integrations, transfers, pedagogies or isolations.

How can we revise narratives of the Canadian built environment to include critical perspectives of migration? How are migrant places, peoples and practices integral to visibility (or lack thereof), accessibility (or lack thereof), separation, discrimination, or integration? How is hostility or hospitality embedded in spatial compositions? How is spatial agency inherent to migration landscapes? We welcome papers that address intersectionality through historical, theoretical and contemporary issues, lessons or challenges around race, class, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age, legal status, and disability. Submissions from scholars and independent researchers using interdisciplinary, ethnographic, feminist, participatory research methods, methods of vernacular architecture and cultural landscapes are encouraged.

Sub Sessions

9:00 AM - 9:20 AM | 20 minutes

“Migrations are made, they don’t just happen. There are conditions which cause them” (Saskia Sassen)Although urban populations are becoming increasingly diverse, the built environment is not designed to accommodate these differences. Rather, throughout the 20th century in the Western world, the standard subject that has guided design has been the experiences of white, able-bodied, heterosexual, male populations. In contrast, Statistics Canada estimates that nearly one-third of Canad...

9:30 AM - 9:50 AM | 20 minutes

The industrial history of asbestos in Canada begins in 1876, when the first asbestos mine opened in the town of Thetford Mines, and ends on December 30, 2018, when the nationwide regulations on the prohibition of asbestos came into effect. Because the history of asbestos’s legacy has predominantly been discussed from a national perspective, some questions at the local level remain overlooked. What about asbestos’s spatial agency on working-class mining communities? To what degree has the a...

10:00 AM - 10:20 AM | 20 minutes

My recent book, For the Temporary Accommodation of Settlers: Architecture and Immigrant Reception in Canada, 1870-1930 (McGill-Queen’s, 2021), investigates spatial stories at moments of arrival in Dominion government immigration buildings. Driven as much as possible by narratives derived from immigrant memoirs, and from archival documents read against the grain for spatial practices, the book’s research seems a pertinent fit with this session’s theme. For this presentation, I propos...

My Session Status

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