Umbrella entry: the body, sex, and gender
Field Exercise: places & traces in The Nameless City

Geographers at work: language, the body, and intersectionality

Here are examples of geographic theory and research on this week's topics of language and the body. As a way of summing up this section of the course, I have also included theory and research on intersectionality.

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On language:

On the body:

On the body and intersectional identities:


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Matt Herbert

The "Post-crisis, post-Ford and post-gender..." article talks about how the change in the economy has led young unemployed men in the U.K. to feel undervalued and inadequate. The author believes this has a direct impact on the way in how they identify themselves. They "make a virtue out of necessity', exaggerating a tough street-savvy version of masculine identity in the context of an economy and society that undervalues them." The author also emphasized that when men act with aggression, violence, etc.. it is considered normal, yet if women act this way it is considered novel. I thought this was a very interesting (and challenging) article to read, yet helpful in my understanding of how culture can impact identity.

Kamalei P.

In Chen Misgav & Lynda Johnston article, "Dirty dancing: the (non)fluid embodied geographies of a queer nightclub...", talks about ways in which night club spaces construct gendered and sexualized bodies. I understood two things from this article. One is that dance, drugs and sex are significant to passing on sweaty or body fluid material in the clubs and two is that, gay men and transgender women occupied different spaces within the night club. The main thing that there was to understand from this article was that these people knew where to stand or where their boundaries were within the nightclub based on their sexual identities, because whatever identity you associated with, were the people you were naturally drawn too because it just felt 'right'.

Jiayue Wang

The article "The Normality of Doing Things Differently: Bodies, Spaces, and Disability Geography," talked about the treatments of the body in both disability studies and disability geography, taking seriously the impaired body in its immediate materiality. The author research with a sample of disabled women living in Scotland and Canada, teasing out their experiences of coping with impaired bodies in non-disabled spaces. These women also shown resist ableist accommodations that allow entail both modifying external spaces and 'correcting' bodily differences.


In the article “Embodiment, linguistics, space: American Sign Language Meets Geography” one of the main points that stood out to me was location. In this article is talks about how location especially and of course facial expressions has a lot to do with the way you sign it plays a big part. When talking about location when using sign language it’s interesting because one gesture in 3 different locations can mean completely different things. When talking about facial expressions without it the conversations is boring kind of like having a monatone voice. Facial expression is another main part in signing.

John Stone

The article by Misgav and Johnston includes a lot of interesting observations on how the nightclub is (b)ordered, and the different cultures and communities that make up the overall population of club-goers. While to one group of people something could be seen as disgusting, but to another group its a sensual experience, which is backed up by a quote that reads "'Dirty' dancing is both desired and feared." It also goes into the backgrounds of how different groups of people get ready for the night, which is different based on what they're going to "show" to everyone else. It's heavily sexualized and gendered, so the club has become (b)ordered as such.

Ana Bautista

People with disabilities are often looked down upon. Society has made it so that we are afraid to talk to them because of the "tragedy" they have experienced. We have to change that we can't be afraid to communicate. There are many places that do not have accommodations for disabled people. We as a society have to stop shutting people put who are different.


I agree with Ana, society has the idea that people with disabilities has to be treated differently from a "normal" person we often think that they don't have the ability to be independent or that they need help for everything . Yes the might need help sometimes but it doesn't hurt to ask, we need to stop assuming things. There are places that don't have the right accommodations for disabled people and that is when we can ask if they need help or if they want to do it themselves. Communication is key!

Ming Ng

I found the article "Embodiment, linguistics, space: American Sign Language meets geography" interesting and relating to because it talked about ASL and geography combined. I took ASL for a while and learned a lot of gestures and words connected to locations. There are different ways to interpret a place and it really is about acting out or drawing out to describe the place you are talking about. It is also important to make the right facial expressions to really show how big or wide a landscape may be in the location you are describing.


I agree with Ming that sign language has a lot to do with facial expressions and making sure you are expressing the correct ideas throughout your body posture and movements. I found this particularly interesting after the author of the article brought up the limitations that can be found in a more standard language. Although there are limitations in ASL as well, they aren’t the same. Many of the things that are hard to express simply with words are easier to comprehend in ASL because of how much focus there is on expressiveness. Using such as special language in the context of geography can help smooth over some of the ideas that are less than concrete.

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