In Spring 2011, Nancy Ettlinger offered a research design seminar in the Department of Geography at Ohio State. Nancy encouraged some of us — then graduate students — to develop our seminar papers into submissions as part of a thematic section for ACME on “poststructuralist epistemologies.” (Nancy writes about this in her introduction to the special section, here.) This section was just published in ACME 13(4).
My contribution to the thematic section — “It could be and could have been otherwise” (available here) — represents an earlier version of my thinking about research design for my dissertation. The abstract is cut-and-pasted below.
This article proposes a research design and understanding of context appropriate to a non-Euclidean engagement with a famous massacre in the Mexico City neighborhood Tlatelolco on 2 October 1968. Mexico City’s experience of 1968 is lesser-known than those of many other cities (e.g., Paris). But the predominant narrative of Mexico City’s experience tends to be similar in structure to those of better-known ’68s insofar as Mexico City’s ’68 has been invested with an essential content from which deviations are repelled. Accordingly, Mexico City’s ’68 is regularly treated as if synonymous with ‘Tlatelolco’ – a shorthand both for where and when ’68 took place, and also for an ongoing conflict (alternately a ‘sacrifice,’ or repression by the state), which it is taken to exemplify. This spatial-temporal circumscription and projection of certitude onto the past forecloses ’68’s contemporary political relevance and poses Tlatelolco as its container. But how and to what effect might one restore contingency to Tlatelolco? This article primarily draws from Foucault and Rancière to suggest that non- Euclidean engagement can denaturalize inherited exclusions from ‘the field,’ establish overlooked connections to its ostensible outsides, and thereby make politics possible.