Climate Change, Global Health and the Inequalities of Risk

ccGeographers Eloho Basikoro, Luke Bergmann, Brandon Derman, and Matt Sparke to speak at symposium designed to cross-borders and disciplines in order to re-map and rethink vulnerability and resilience.

The symposium begins Thursday, April 17th – HUB 145
6:00-7:30 Keynote Lecture
Patrick Bond, Development Studies, University of Kwazulu-Natal
Climate Change, Global Health and Social Advocacy: Connecting Dots and Jumping Scale

It continues all-day Friday, April 18th – Petersen Room, Allen Library (Fourth Floor):

8:30-9:00 Registration and Coffee
9:00-9:30 Opening Comments
Celia Lowe, Anthropology and International Studies, UW
Howard Frumkin, Dean of the School of Public Health, UW
9:30-11:00 Framing Problems:
Epistemologies of Climate Risk
Adam Warren, History, UW
Judd Walson, Global Health, Medicine, Pediatrics, UW
LuAnne Thompson, Director of Program on Climate Change, Oceanography, UW
Kristie Ebi, Global Health, UW
11:00-12:30 Producing Vulnerability Across Scales
Mark Carey, History, University of Oregon
Ed Allison, School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, UW
Nora Kenworthy, Nursing and Health Studies Program, UW
Eloho Basikoro, Geography, UW
Adam Akullian, Global Health, UW
12:30-1:30 Lunch
1:30-3:00 Times of Global Environmental Change
Suraya Afiff, Director of the Anthropological Research Center, University of Indonesia
Sara Curran, International Studies, UW
Richard Watts, Chair, French and Italian Studies, UW
Luke Bergmann, Geography, UW
3:00-4:50 Discussion: Putting it all Together: Engaging Risk
James Orbinski, Chair in Global Health, Balsillie School of International Affairs, Canada
Brandon Derman, Geography, UW
Ulil Amri, Anthropology, UW
Patrick Bond, Development Studies, University of Kwazulu-Natal
Suraya Afiff, Director of the Anthropological Research Center, University of Indonesia

4:50-5:00 Closing Comments
Matt Sparke, Geography and International Studies, UWClimate

Common Good Cafe session with Matt Sparke

tMarch 20 | Resistance, Resilience and Reaction Amidst Rising Inequality

In this talk, Dr. Matt Sparke reflects on the divergent ways in which communities and individuals around the world are responding to the challenges of growing in-country inequality. Author most recently of “Introducing Globalization,” Sparke argues that when local forms of suffering, dispossession and alienation are put in their global context it becomes easier to imagine more collective and caring kinds of response. Too often, though, reactionary responses based on various forms of chauvinism, xenophobia, and fear take precedence, blinding communities to the ways they share common vulnerabilities with others. Yet other responses focus just on individualistic strategies of securing personal resilience. The challenge then is to see how these varied responses – the new 3 Rs of resistance, reaction and resilience – relate to one another, and how understanding their overlapping emergence amidst global structural change may ultimately make it possible to turn the passions and preferences for reaction and resilience into the foundations for collectively resisting the processes that produce inequality.

Yanning Wei interviews Matt Sparke for CN Politics

Geography Ph.D. student Yanning Wei interviews Matt Sparke for CN Politics.

cn

 

Seattle’s Biopolitical Geographies

 

Professor Michael Brown and UW Tacoma colleague Larry Knopp have been getting a lot of media attention for their ongoing study,  “Biopolitical Geographies”. They are   investigating the relations in the Pre-AIDS era between Seattle’s Gay & Lesbian community and health-promotion agencies. The project engages with urban, political, and health geographies, as well as urban gay history

They are specifically exploring gays and lesbians’ relations and interactions with two parts of state/local governments: The Seattle-King County Public Health department and the Washington State Liquor Control Board, as well as  the community’s efforts in health promotion and self-regulation. Issues such as “VD” control, contact tracing, (spatial) regulation of gay bars and taverns, and behavior all are of interest. As Brown puts it,

We  are especially  interested in these two state agencies because while we know a lot about other arms of the state (for example, the City Council, Human Rights Commission, the Police, and the courts), less is known about these more everyday, behind-the-scenes agencies. Research on other cities, however, have suggested that these agencies had quite powerful effects on gays’ lives and community formation. Yet Seattle has a distinct political and cultural geography, so we’re interested in finding out specifics of this city. Indeed, preliminary findings are suggesting a more complicated set of relations than the academic literature would suggest! They resonate with recent theoretical work on the geographies of governmentality and biopower.

Brown goes on to explain that “We are interested in the Pre-AIDS era (approximately before 1983) in Seattle, because this was a time of great social change in sexuality and local governance. We are doing both archival research and interviews with people who remember “VD” control back then, were treated or contact-traced by SKCPH, dealt with the Seattle Gay Clinic; or folks who worked in, managed, owned, or just hung out in old Seattle gay bars, taverns, or lounges.

The 50 people interviewed so far have offered insights that include:

-          “Blue laws” that regulated liquor sales could have quite an effect on gay and lesbian spaces: they dictated the floor plans of taverns, their visibility to the street (important if people were “in the closet”), and even the conduct of patrons.

-          Lesbians were required to wear at least three articles of feminine clothing, or else they risked being kicked out of a bar for appearing too “butch.”

-          Health department investigators could be discreet, but were sometimes known to call the homes of closeted gay men who sought treatment for STDs – perhaps leaving a phone message with unassuming wives – to inquire about other sex partners.

“What’s emerging from our research is an understanding by bar owners and patrons of standards of behavior that had to be adhered to,” Knopp said. The liquor board had broad authority to control the conduct of patrons and even declare decorations in bars or restaurants to be too sexually suggestive, he added.

The board was allowed to enforce “the spirit of the law as well as the letter of the law,” Knopp said, giving plenty of wiggle room to reflect the pervasive homophobic attitudes at the time.

Like the TV character Sal Romano in “Mad Men,” many gay Seattleites in the pre-AIDS era were in the closet, married and outwardly living as straight people. They feared losing their jobs or housing, being physically assaulted, being subjected to derision from family and friends, and other consequences of living an openly gay life.

Even in liberal Seattle, many people at the time considered homosexuality a moral failure or mental illness.

“Just because it’s a liberal city doesn’t mean that there wasn’t moral regulation,” Brown said. “We want to know how gay men and lesbians interacted with local policies related to day-to-day life.”

This research is funded by the National Science Foundation (#1059732), endorsed by the Northwest Lesbian & Gay History Project, and Approved by the UW Human Subjects Division.

If you are interested in being interviewed, please contact michaelb@uw.edu . Interviews are anonymous and confidential, transcripts will be returned for your editing. They take less than an hour and can be done at a time and place of your convenience. Thanks!

Link to UW News Story on this research project

Link to Seattle Weekly article