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Collective Mapping Workshop at UNC

As part of Radical Rush Week, join 3Cs to collectively map the university. Monday, Sept. 2. 5-7pm in the Pit.

We’ll be constructing a collective counter-map of the university, exploring issues of labor and precarity on campus, the role the university plays in processes of gentrification and wealth extraction, and the university’s relation to flows of information, capital, and people, as well as trying to collectively imagine what other universities are possible.


And check out the Radical Rush Disorientation Guide!


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Convergence 2012: The Geo/Body Politics of Emancipation

3Cs will be participating in the Hemispheric Institute Convergence in November. Deadline to apply to a working group is July 1!

Call For Participation

The year 2011 marked an explosion of radical mobilization, from student protests and occupations to uprisings and insurrections. These events were characterized by the embodied reclaiming of public space, demands for economic, social, and political change, and instrumentalization of technology to communicate, organize, and revolt. As these political struggles spread globally, artists, activists, and scholars have engaged and responded to these actions by generating militant research practices, radical art gestures, and networked communities.

The Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics Graduate Student Initiative invites graduate students from the humanities, arts, and social sciences to come together for our Convergence 2012 to discuss contemporary notions of emancipation, liberation, revolution, occupation, geopolitics, “artivism,” and militant research, and to consider the lived tensions of these concepts in bodies, knowledge, and locations.
In the spirit of the Hemispheric Institute Encuentros, Convergence 2012 intends to bring together about 100 participants to generate a space of intensive connections between scholarship, artistic expression, and politics, promoting embodied practices — performance — as a vehicle for the creation of new meaning and the transmission of cultural values, memory and identity. During the three days of Convergence 2012, we aim to explore new political potentials for emancipation, liberation, and revolution.

Invited Speakers and Artists include: Andy Bichlbaum (The Yes Men), Colectivo Situaciones (Argentina), Counter-Cartographies Collective (Durham NC), Ricardo Dominguez (UCSD), Esther Gabara (Duke University), Macarena Gómez-Barris (USC), Jack Halberstam (USC), Michael Hardt (Duke University), Brian Holmes (activist), Josh Kun (USC), Pedro Lasch (Duke University), Diane Nelson (Duke University), Walter Mignolo (Duke University), Spirithouse (Durham NC), Diana Taylor (NYU), and Wu Tsang (performer/filmmaker)

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A very rough draft of an animated Occupy movement map for the US

The participants in a self-organized Counter-mapping workshop I’m helping to facilitate at UNC-CH have chosen to work on mapping the occupy movement as our class project for the semester. So far, we’ve used the project to learn about data gathering, GIS data design, and basic mapmaking using ArcGIS. Here’s what we produced together after our first class session together on ArcGIS! Data for the Southeast is missing because the member of our class who was responsible for that data-gathering hasn’t finished it yet.

This is just a draft for now — let us know what you’d like to see in the finished version!!!

Other ideas are to incorporate a word/quote cloud of slogans from the different protests, or quotes from mayors in different cities responding to the Occupy movement.

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November 18, 2011 · 9:45 am

3Cs fights ‘studentification’ in Chapel Hill

Local folks will remember the fights, several years ago, over the construction of Greenbridge — a “LEED-certified” monstrosity built right on top of one of Chapel Hill’s few remaining black business districts. When the shovels first broke ground on that building, I had pretty much lost hope that anything could be done to stop the tidal wave of greenwashed capital that was transforming Chapel Hill into a playground of condos and boutiques.

How things have changed!

For the past year or so, we @ 3Cs have been working with folks from UNC-NOW (a student-neighborhood alliance) and the Marian Cheek Jackson Center for  Saving and Making History to figure out how counter-mapping could be useful to the continuing struggles of residents of Northside and Pine Knolls. Northside and Pine Knolls are two of the remaining historic African-American neighborhoods in CH; more appropriately they’re the only names left for a cluster of historic neighborhoods on the W edge of Chapel Hill.

We started with a series of open workshops on basic GIS, counter-mapping and the situation in Northside so that we could all be on the same page in terms of basic technical skills and knowledge of the situation. A small group of us kept meeting more-or-less weekly to dig through data, strategize, and make maps. We poured over lists of property owners to determine which ones were investors and which were homeowners. We found out that investors from as far away as Hawaii owned property in Northside, and that the neighborhood’s demographics had shifted from 60% black to 34% in just 30 years. That shift is being driven by ‘studentification’ — as student housing becomes more and more scarce in Chapel Hill, landlords are able to charge outrageously high rents to students (often $500/month for a single room in a packed 6 or 8 bedroom house) . Because the rate of profit is so high, outside investors and developers want into the market, and because Northside and Pine Knolls lack the historic protections of other neighborhoods near campus the best way for them to get in is to convince Northside residents to sell their homes, then either tear them down or renovate them on the cheap to create student apartments.

As we started mapping this process, we were blown away by just how quickly the changeover from family neighborhood to student apartments had taken place in Northside. We remembered visiting friends who had lived in student rentals in the neighborhood in the early 2000s, when it was still predominately black families. Looking at the maps, we could see that most of the change had happened in the past 5 years.

And things were still changing rapidly… if there was a chance to stop the developers, something would have to happen fast.

A few weeks ago, we joined residents and activists in  pushing Chapel Hill’s town council to enact a development moratorium. If it passes, the moratorium would make it stop developers from building any new apartments or renovating any houses for several years, giving all of us some time to organize and figure out how to preserve Northside and Pine Knolls as affordable, family neighborhoods for the long-term. Hudson Vaughan, of the Jackson Center, presented some of the maps we’ve been working on as he made the case that “something needs to happen and happen fast”. To our amazement, Council agreed — unanimously voting to move forward in considering the moratorium, against the recommendations of their own town planning department.

Now we’re getting together more and updated maps to support the testimony of neighborhood residents and activists at an upcoming public hearing, after which the Council will make a final determination. Stay tuned for more…


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3Cs visits Middlesex Occupation

Liz and Tim had the strange luck of being the last folks allowed inside occupied Trent Hall on the Middlesex University campus yesterday before the police served a final trespassing injunction. The occupation ended peacefully today around 5 PM, but the campaign to save Middlesex’s philosophy department continues.

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3Cs calls for contributions: Guidebook to the Unbounded University

3Cs is writing a book and we want your contributions!

Call for submissions:  A Guidebook to the Unbounded University: Cartographies of Knowledge Production in Struggle

The university has exploded like a meteorite into a thousand fragmentary spaces of knowledge, affect, production and struggle. Classroom seminars and campus buildings bleed onto adjacent urban fabrics as the city and campus merge. University research leaps up from the laboratory and re-articulates with and alters production networks, military and police contracts and new pharmaceuticals. Autonomous knowledges and movements spring up within and against the university.

Corporate offices are side by side with academic and administration offices, and university inhabitants enraged by the crisis seek to occupy everything. In the midst of these transformations, the university is becoming a primary node of broader social shifts, such as the knowledge economy and its reconfigurations of everyday spaces, increasing precarity of labor, global migration and border-policing, new technology and communication-forms, and a broader interconnectivity of social movements. Perhaps the University has ceased to be a mode of education and has become a mode of organizing society…

Rising through the cracks, beneath the ruins of the ivory tower, unfurl the green shoots of an emergent social form, the rhizomatic university. Old and new forms of knowledge production and exploitation, multiple forms of enclosure and re-invention of the commons,  possibilities of alternative politics, the erasure of borders of what is and where is not the university, the queering of identities such as student, staff, faculty, migrant, non-student, and, and and and…

We propose a guidebook from below to a place which is of our own imaginings. Through this book we will dream together, share demands and cautions, escape routes and itineraries and help to call the rhizomatic university into being.

Contributions could be descriptive and prescriptive, analyzing transformations in the university today as well as the struggles both within and against the university and outside and beyond it. We encourage short’ to medium length writing and as many graphics as possible. Submissions should play with all aspects of the guidebook format and could include:

  • Maps
  • Specific histories or timelines of movements, universities, social centers or theoretical schools
  • Real and imagined itineraries through spaces of knowledge production
  • “Instructions to the visitor” – advice, cautions, survival strategies, DIY how-tos for making it in the university today
  • Photos or drawings of specific sites, along with short descriptions
  • “How it works” — theoretical understandings and analyses of the university (up to 5000 words)
  • “Useful phrases” and glossary terms
  • Flora and fauna
  • Comics
  • Nightlife and entertainment
  • Facts and figures

Please submit a brief description, abstract, sketch or diagram of your planned contribution via email to countercartographies(@) by June 5, 2010. We will make review decisions or suggestions on a rolling basis. Feel free to contact us with questions or comments.

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NC Rising! a conference on self-determination, chapel hill


we wanted to share with y’all a couple of our impressions from the workshops at NC RISING! we were able to attend thanks to the very well organized daycare service at the conference:

2 hours workshops:

RADICAL MAPPING: nice turn out, around 50 people in a packed classroom in Saunders.
after a well crafted power point on 3cs work and other cartographic projects, people were interested in the nitty gritty steps of mapping and also in its theoretical underpinnings, bringing Foucault’s famous pair of knowledge/power several times in relationship to cartography. one of the interventions spoke about squatters in Brasil using GIS…3cs gave some hints about how to use local government websites to identify vacant buildings

OCCUPY EVERYTHING: the panelists represented the recent university occupations in New School of NYC and  San Francisco State College as well as  the monthly Really Really Free Market in Carrboro.
just listening to the histories of each of this struggle was worthwhile. also, among all of them, and together with interventions from the packed room in Bingham Hall, we got a kind of working definition of occupation that might be useful.
occupation, whether of a campus building, a forest, a house, a multi-story building, a construction site…. whether using chains, barricades, dance parties, exchange of goods, etc… might be understood as:
-experience of possibility
-experience of affinity and solidarity
-experience of transcending well established identities and defined roles
-the creation of a public space outside of capitalist logic
-a reference point that speaks stronger than other kinds of propaganda
-the feeling that something else, different from the norm, works

it was interesting to see that curious crowd and all the buzzing activity taking place at saunders and bingham hall, the quotidian spaces we go through on an everyday basis were temporarily transformed into a anarchist bookfare, anti-capitalist workshops and childcare service….in a way, the conference was an occupation of sorts in itself : )

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