Using the slide above and the text below, I presented this project as a lightning talk at the GCDI End-of-Year Showcase on Tuesday May 12th. I participated in the event as a recipient of a Provost Digital Innovation Grant winner. The ask was to share one slide and a minute talk that conveys the “essence” of your project. I am sharing it here as both a(nother) short description of the project, and an update on how the project is being envisioned and pursued.
Recalibrating Queens is an attempt to better understand the present moment of urban development and city-building, as well as envision better futures for the borough by looking back and excavating the history and historical development of the geography that we call Queens.
The approach is to go way back – to before Queens was “Queens”, even before European contact, and to move forward through time, while simultaneously continuing to interrogate the present moment and recent history in the borough. More than crafting one coherent history, the goal is to create a pluralistic history rooted in primary recollections of the various communities that have inhabited the area.
At its heart it is an activist scholarship project, rooted in organizing work I do with my neighbors in western Queens, and it serves as one outgrowth of my dissertation research.
The project lives on a WordPress site, and integrates different tools like Leaflet and JS Timeline, and PressForward to create a rich, multi-media environment in which visitors can follow and engage with the research, and the unlearning and relearning involved. I also put the research back out to the public in the form of downloadable resources, op-eds and guest blog posts on other sites, and via social media.
The scholarly goal of the work is leverage a pluralistic history of Queens to illuminate the ongoing processes of the white, western, settler colonialism and racial capitalism, and destabilize our understandings of the development, housing, land, progress and the like so as to identify openings for realizing alternative futures.