I am leaving for Los Angeles on Friday, beginning a trip that will include include the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers as well as visits with family and friends.
At the conference, I will present my paper “Police State: 1968, #YoSoy132, and the Mexican state,” in which I draw on fieldwork and readings of activist texts to argue that a prevalent narrative of genetic continuity within a “movement family” reaching back to the student movement of 1968 reflects what Kristin Ross describes as a “police conception of history.” For Ross, following Jacques Rancière, the police naturalize inherited political classifications (e.g., “heroic” students, and “repressive” state) and thereby configure the perceptible world in such a way as to discourage politics. Upon my work in Mexico City, I suggest that, absent a disruption of police order (i.e., politics), contemporary activists assert identities given in what Rancière names a “partition” or “distribution (partage) of the sensible.” I take on these formulations to argue that, although activists call on 1968 to lend a foundation for their activism and underscore their relationship with a “movement family,” their narrative of student movement continuity may obscure and even foreclose political strategies through which hoped-for futures can be created. With an eye to politics, then, I take inspiration from some activists’ attempts for vinculación (linkage), which are premised on an assumption that space is not closed off from transformation. I suggest that vinculación would trouble a prevailing post-1968 system of categorization (i.e., repression-heroism) through which student activists can most readily perceive political possibilities. That is, spaces of politics would be opened through the creation of linkages that disrupt a “partition of the sensible”–a closed system of identifiable social groups who do not betray behaviors proper to their respective “profiles.”
I will present my paper on Saturday, April 13. Earlier in the week, on Tuesday, I will chair two sessions titled “Contemporary Research Strategies in Cultural Geography.”