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Research Methods

Interviewed for “Mental Maps & the Neuroscience of Neighborhood Blight” in Pacific Standard

I was recently quoted in Rick Paulas’ “Mental Maps and the Neuroscience of Neighborhood Blight” for Pacific Standard. It’s incredibly exciting to see critical geographic work in the public eye.

I excerpt the selections where I was interviewed from the end of the article below:

For a contemporary example of this phenomenon, check out the media’s portrayal of the Black Lives Matter movement. Protests become riots, protestors become thugs, dramatic images of broken windows and burning cars are beamed to white, middle-class viewers who have never been inside the neighborhoods being covered. “[Viewers] presume the neighborhoods are violent,” says Jack Jen Gieseking, a postdoctoral fellow in New Media and Data Visualization at Bowdoin College. “And blame the people within them rather than thinking about how those neighborhoods got that way.” …

Racist practices like redlining, used from the 1930s through the ’60s to deny loans, insurance, supermarkets, and health coverage …

Visualizing ‘Queer Exchange’ Friendships

I am increasingly interested in the social networks of queers, broadly and self-defined. One of the largest queer groups on Facebook that I know of is the Facebook group Queer Exchange with 7,855 members as of December 1, 2013. Each node or dot represents a person and the lines or edges indicate the friendships between them. Rather than a top-down culture, Queer Exchange repeats the interwoven and overlapping descriptions of queer spaces and lives that have described lgbtq life across cities, states, and times. In other words, many cultures often demonstrate relationships and dynamics that show some dominant voices overtaking others, or friends being connected to only one other person so they wander on the periphery. Instead this graph shows an interwoven society.

If you click the here or on the graph below, you can interact with the social network analysis graph of Queer Exchange I created.

User friendships on the Facebook group Queer Exchange as of December 1, 2013.  The 7,855 group members indicates how connections between queers overlapping rather than built replicating top-down cultures of interchange and expression. Created by Jen Jack Gieseking CC BY-NC 2013Click on the…

Reflecting on “Identity Work and Identity Play Online” #2013ASA

Livetweets from"Identity Work and Identity Play Online" with @Greene_DM, @lportwoodstacer, @anitaconchita, @lnakamur, & @tmcphers at #ASA2013. Link to the panel info can be found here: http://convention2.allacademic.com/one/theasa/theasa13/index.php?click_key=1&cmd=Multi+Search+Search+Load+Session&s

Generationally Speaking Across Qualitative and Quantitative Data

Historian Marc Stein contends that a sequential narrative of lgbtq history can reflect “the critical study of change over time, with special emphasis on human agents of change” (2005, 623). The narrative of such change has the power to inspire and begin to enact that change. I designed my research to embrace multiple generations of participants and let them share their experiences across and within generational focus groups. Throughout my qualitative interviews with and research into lesbian-queer everyday lives, the issue of generations came up repeatedly independent of my interest in the issue as it clearly framed these women’s life experiences.

I’m keen to explain the generational breaks you are about to see in my future data visualizations. They are far from haphazard. They are based not only on trends and shifts in these archival data, but also from patterns I found among women who took part in my …

First Lgbtq Book Review in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers

I just published what is the first book review on lgbtq spaces in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers. If you do not sit at home nightly pouring over the flagship journal of the Association of American Geographers, you may not have noticed that in it’s 102 year history, it has never published a book review on lgbtq people, place, or space, or even one on any matter of geographies of sexualities. There have certainly been some key articles on these topics in the journal though, such as Michael Brown and Larry Knopp’s fantastic “Queering the map: the productive tensions of colliding epistemologies” in 2008. Regardless, dozens of books on geographies of sexualities and lgbtq geographies continue to be published at an ever increasing rate, and we now have the first book review in the top journal in the field. I am honored to be a …

When Categorizing Data Feels Like Borges’ “Certain Chinese Encyclopaedia”

The more I create categorical variables, the more the world reads like the preface to Foucault’s The Order of Things.

“This book first arose out of a passage in [Jorge Luis] Borges, out of the laughter that shattered, as I read the passage, all the familiar landmarks of my thought—our thought that bears the stamp of our age and our geography—breaking up all the ordered surfaces and all the planes with which we are accustomed to tame the wild profusion of existing things, and continuing long afterwards to disturb and threaten with collapse our age-old distinction between the Same and the Other. This passage quotes a ‘certain Chinese encyclopaedia’ in which it is written that ‘animals are divided into: (a) belonging to the Emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame, (d) suckling pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied, (j) innumerable, (k) …

Opaque is Being Polite: On Algorithms, Violence, & Awesomeness in Data Visualization

Data visualizations are fantastic stuff. Social network analysis, graphic analysis, video, spatial analysis, images, and all other types of #dataviz increasingly capture the imagination and inspire as a way to represent the oft mentioned big data. The failure of many of these new software and analyses in the hand of new, excited scholars and hackers and other excitable folks means that their meaning is often…opaque. Oh, let’s be honest, opaque is being polite. I am sharing these thoughts because while many of you are concerned with the data in big data, I want to turn your attention to the algorithms within and how they mask meanings in many ways.

To catch you up, I’m working on a sizeable dataset about lesbians and queer women’s lives, spaces, and experiences. I’ve stuck to actual categorical variables or regular counts of trends and produced some pretty exciting graphs so far all the …

Digital Geographies, Geographies of Digitalia (an AAG Call for Papers)

As a critical cultural and urban geographer, feminist and queer theorist, and digital studies scholar, I find it difficult to place my work and interests in both critical digital and computational studies within the way that #geoweb is presently formed and discussed. Even with my passion for the outcomes, algorithms, and politics of GIS; my work in mental mapping and adoration for environment behavior mapping, transect walks; and other spatial methods and analytics has shown repeatedly that non-GIS methods and analytics are overlooked in the field and beyond. At the same time, conceptualizations of computationnew media, data mining, and data visualization continue to expand the possibilities for spatiodigital research methods and analytics and the very meanings of these endeavors, but geography’s contribution to these areas remains fixed to certain, long-term ways of framing these terms all the while contributing to their development. As the digitalia around …

(Data)Visualizing Lesbian-Queer Space & Time

lha org records - all copyThis is what lesbian-queer history looks like: the detailed notes on 381 lesbian-queer organizations look like in a spreadsheet. The white means the organization was existent; the black means it did not yet exist or closed.
Jen Jack Gieseking CC BY-NC-SA

Over the span of a year, I surveyed the complete collection of 2,300+ organizational records at the Lesbian Herstory Archives (LHA). This research was originally part of 2008-9 dissertation research and is now a part of the series of books I am writing on lesbian-queer spaces of in/justice in New York City from 1983 to 2008—from AIDS to “The L Word.” In a series of five posts over the next two weeks, I will share the first in a series of interactive data visualizations from my in depth reading of the 381 NYC-based records of lesbian and/or queer organizations spanning 25 years (1983-2008) whose records are available at …