16 November 2021

Antinomies of space and nature or an open totality? Neil Smith and Henri Lefebvre on nature and society

Prior to recent, systematic engagement with the whole of his corpus, geographical appropriation of the thought of Henri Lefebvre has tended to be been fragmentary and eclectic. This is aptly illustrated in Neil Smith's paradoxical claim that his production of nature thesis was inspired by Lefebvre's work on the production of space even as Smith rejected or misunderstood most of what Lefebvre actually said while reworking the production of space into an epiphenomenon of the production of nature. This paper is one of several that ramified out of our call to re-evaluate Lefebvre's conception of the nature-society dialectic in geography, and compare it and contrast it to other understandings and theorizations of the problematic. In this paper, we focus primarily on interrogating Smith's influential portrayal of Lefebvre's thought on the dialectics of nature and society, reconsider Lefebvre's discussion of the domination of nature---a category on which much of Smith's thesis pivots---, and how Lefebvre's grasp of what is now referred to as Marx's theory of metabolic rift offers an alternative route to a spatial-ecological critique of capital than various attempts to "ecologize" David Harvey's theory of spatial fix.

10 December 2020

Sustainability and Metabolic Revolution in the Works of Henri Lefebvre

A paper that we wrote, based on a study of the translated portion of Henri Lefebvre's corpus, on the potential insights that his conception of the oppositional unity of nature-society offers into questions of sustainability, was just published in World. The paper looks primarily at Lefebvre's relation to contemporary issues of sustainability in terms of three central themes: the urban revolution, autogestion, and the critique of everyday life and the notion of total revolution. The hope is to stimulate further thought and discussion, as well as consideration of how other aspects of Lefebvre's work could be brought to bear on a radical project of sustainability in the context of a comprehensive social transformation.

05 November 2020

Five Centuries of Pillage and Resistance: Latin America and Africa

In advance of the 50th anniversary of the publication of two defining books of the 20th century,  Review of African Political Economy is publishing an account of both Eduardo Galeano's Open Veins of Latin America and Walter Rodney's How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Today, the first of these two, which I wrote together with Héctor Ignacio Martínez Alvarez and Pedro S. Urquijo, was published on the ROAPE blog.

10 June 2020

Spatial analysis and GIS in the study of COVID-19. A review

Iván Franch-Pardo spearheaded a comprehensive review of articles dealing with the spatial analysis of the COVID-19 pandemic published between January and May of 2020, and the results of the literature review, which I co-authored, have been published in Science of the Total Environment. The paper groups the 63 articles reviewed into categories of spatiotemporal analysis, health and social geography, environmental variables, data mining, and web-based mapping, and discusses the contributions of each. The article is published as Open-Access, and is freely available at the following link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.140033.

20 January 2020

The cultural production of Mexico

I recently reviewed Jennifer Jolly's (2018) Creating Pátzcuaro, Creating Mexico: Art, Tourism, and Nation Building under Lázaro Cárdenas for Monthly Review. Overall, I found the book very interesting, and learned much about the study and interpretation of art, as well as how Pátzcuaro was turned into a historical monument to a particular notion of Mexican culture, and the important role of internal tourism in reproducing this national identity. Some of the minor details were a inconsistent with my own study of Mexican history, and the neglect of politico-economic factors sometimes resulted in incomplete explanations, but overall it is a compelling and worthwhile book.

The full review is available at Monthly Review: https://monthlyreview.org/2020/01/01/interrogating-the-cultural-production-of-mexico/