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Plantations, ghettos, prisons: US racial geographies

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In the first part of this essay, I develop the argument that Michel Foucault's work should be read with geographical and topological ideas in mind. I argue that Foucault's archeology and genealogy are fundamentally determined by spatial, topological, geographical, and geometrical metaphors and concepts. This spatial dimension of genealogy is explicitly related to racism and the regimes that domesticate agents through the practices, institutions and ideologies of racialization. The second part offers a genealogical reading of US history and spatiality in terms of its racial institutions. I suggest that if we want to read the US geographies of topographies and cartographies of racism in a Foucauldian manner, then we must focus on plantations, ghettos, and prisons as the spaces-institutions-geographies that consolidated the racial matrix of US polity. My goal is to acculturate Foucauldian racial genealogy to the US racial matrix, and, conversely, to read US geo-history in terms of racializing spatialities.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Philosophy Stony Brook University (SUNY) Stony Brook NY USA

Publication date: February 1, 2004

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