Space and place are co-produced through many dimensions: race and class, urban and suburban, gender and sexuality, public and private, bodies and buildings. Feminist geographer, architect, and philosopher Susan Ruddick begins with an examination of the multi-layered relationship of power and place around the highly publicized 1990 shooting at Just Deserts in a Toronto mall. Ruddick unpacks the media attention to this tragic story through dimensions of public space and dynamics of power. She argues how the shooting of a middle-class, white woman by a black, male immigrant is used to create fear about public space, especially for women, and hatred and fear of non-white people and those marked outsiders like immigrants. The author spatializes Kimberlé Crenshaw’s (1996) concept of intersectionality to show how different identities interconnect with spaces to form different situations. Ruddick shows that the media frenzy around the event was related to what Neil Smith (1992) calls jumping scale. The concept of jumping scale explains how an issue at the level of a place can be magnified to commodify and objectify difference, at the same time that society rejects that difference. In this way, places are produced as raced, sexualized, classed, nationalized, ethnicized, and gendered through mechanisms of oppression, and, at the same time, these qualities are projected on to other spaces and places at different scales and these attitudes affect how we see ourselves.
- If you want to show the geographic evidence of racism over a century and how that built the segregated St. Louis we see today, see Mapping Decline: St. Louis and the Fate of the American City.
- If you want to think through the geographies of violence that place property over life, see Inwood, Tyner and Alderman’s “Remembering the Real Violence in Ferguson” care of Society & Space.
- If you want all of the facts and need comprehensive answers to even the toughest questions, see The Ferguson Masterpost: How To Argue Eloquently & Back Yourself Up With Facts.
- If you do not yet know the powerful, multi-layered, and very important history of the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag, see Feminist Wire‘s “A Herstory of the #BlackLivesMatter campaign.“
- If you are looking for information on gathering background information, finding and acquiring books, finding and acquiring periodical literature, accessing newspaper records, utilizing primary sources, and finally adding interesting data and other materials in an appendix or elsewhere within the text of a paper, see Free Library‘s “Library resources for term papers exploring the roots of rage in Ferguson.“
- If you would like to see the way public policies have racially and socioeconomically segregated St. Louis and Ferguson especially, see Economic Policy Institute’s Making Ferguson: Public Policies at the Root of its Troubles.
- If you need to the raw data to tap into the raw, painful truth of this moment in our country’s history, see St. Louis Public Radio: Evidence released by McCulloch.
If you need a million more well developed and thought out sources for teaching, see Atlantic Monthly Crowdsourced Syllabus: How to Teach Kids About What’s Happening in Ferguson.