Space and Place

Theresa N. Kenney

The Hunger Games Trilogy and the Cultural Studies of Space

Conversations around the gender and sexual politics of space have slowly risen in cultural studies. Through an analysis of the gender and sexual politics of Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games trilogy, this paper joins in the ongoing conversation and exploration of how representations of particular bodies in particular spaces within cultural texts, as Jon Binnie discusses in “Erotic Possibilities of the City”, articulate how geographies are dictated by gender and sexual politics (2001). Through mapping the geographies where (sexual) identities claim citizenship, identifiable normative practices reveal the values of the citizens who (re-)occupy the landscape. Informed by the works of Binnie and others, this paper encourages cultural studies scholars to embrace the intersections of queer theory, citizenship studies, and the discipline of geography. It exemplifies this embrace through analysing the Hunger Games trilogy, wherein citizenship relies on the privilege of those included and the marginalisation of those excluded from particular landscapes based on the queer values (Lister 2003, Cossman 2007). The divisions of space, the dictation of claims to citizenship, and the reoccupation of privileged space by heteronormative identities exemplifies the importance of utilising a spatial lens on representations of identity.

Theresa Kenney is a graduate student in the Department of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University working towards a Master of Arts in Cultural Studies and Critical Theory. She completed a Bachelor of Arts in English Honours and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at the University of Calgary, where she wrote a thesis project on the sexual geographies of the popular Hunger Games trilogy. Theresa’s research focuses on sexual citizenship, (a)sexuality, young adult fiction, and critical pedagogy.

Sydney Hart

Place of No Place: Art and Mobility at Canadian Airports

As non-places, airports generally do not lend themselves to considering art in ways that aren’t directly followed by movement. However, critically examining the aesthetics of mobility at airports in Canada can reveal underlying contradictions. While airports continue to act as central nodes for the free circulation of transnational capital, they also form sophisticated infrastructures for the enforcement of particular people’s immobility, notably through detention and intimidation. Visuality also plays a central role in such infrastructures. In the airports of Vancouver and Montréal, which represent or brand their respective cities through visual art, this visuality is characterized by tensions between the negation of place (a function of airports as non-places) and the promise of a unified space, i.e. a sense of place. How does visual art contribute to shaping this promise, against the placelessness of transnational capital flows? How is the visual culture of airports emblematic or reflective of broader cultural problems in mobility? For this presentation, I wish to examine these questions specifically in relation to Vancouver International Airport and Montréal-Trudeau Airport, while evaluating how art negotiates dominant settler and capitalist forms of mobility.

Sydney Hart is an artist, cultural critic and PhD student in the Cultural Studies programme at Queen’s University, Canada. He obtained an MA in Aesthetics and Art Theory from the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, London, UK. He has written art criticism for publications such as Esse arts + opinions, C Magazine, Art & Education Papers and Fuse Magazine. Through lived space, a research and publishing organisation, he has edited journal issues and organised screening events.

Delila Bikic

Every City Tells its Story: The Politics of Memory in Post-War Bosnia

The year 2014 held a particular significance for the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina, ushering in an emphasis on remembering the past while simultaneously reflecting on the future. Despite the war-torn remnants of what once depicted an Olympic village, Sarajevans commemorated the thirty-year anniversary since Sarajevo’s hosted the 1984 Winter Olympic Games. For those that shared in the city’s celebration of Games and lived through its siege between 1992-1995, the physical presence of damaged and abandoned structures reflect the deterioration of collective spaces of peace and unity that bind Bosnia’s diverse communities of Bosniaks, Croats, and Serbs. During the same year ceremonies marking the centenary of the First World War invoked memories of how icons of shared cultural heritage serve as markers of a united existence. Known to its citizens as Vijećnica, the re-opening of Sarajevo National Library has signaled further steps towards reconciliation against deep ethnic divisions that endure in Sarajevo’s political and social life. The proposed research will explore the meaning of cases of violence directed towards the destruction of urban environments (application of term urbicide) and its implications for post-war community building. In what ways did the destruction of two particular cultural landmarks, National and University Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo and Stari Most (Old Bridge) in Mostar, symbolize the destruction of “shared spaces” of all the country’s peoples? What is the European Union’s commitment in restoring and preserving sites of cultural diversity as a way to bridge ethnic differences into a common civic identity?

Delila Bikic is a M.A. Candidate at the Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs, and a Junior Fellow at Massey College. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, History, and European Union Studies from the University of Toronto. Her academic interests include European Union enlargement, the history of humanitarian intervention, nationalism, post-conflict reconciliation, and ethnicity and identity politics in the Balkans. She has dedicated herself to projects promoting female empowerment and leadership through Equal Voice, lead the Civil Society Department for the G7/G8 Research Group, and co-chaired a youth conference on R2P engagement at the Centre for the Responsibility to Protect.