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A century of Grace; restorative spatial justice, pedagogy, and beloved community in twenty-first century Detroit

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This article poses feminist biographical investigation as a dialectical approach to situated knowledge, and as a potential avenue for a feminist theorization of space and place. By exploring biography as a departure from canonical epistemological structures, the attempt here is to credit, contextualize and identify key places and people of origin in the evolution and production of theory and knowledge without such heavy dependency on the usual resources that legitimize theoretical and pedagogical contributions; such as academic publications, teaching contributions and references. The biographical focus of this article is the life and work of Grace Lee Boggs, an important contributor to urban studies whose theoretical and pedagogical contributions have gone largely unacknowledged by geographers and spatial thinkers. What can a biographical investigation teach us about feminist knowledge production relating to the production of space? What does feminist biography offer epistemologically to our understandings of space? These questions are examined here through the theoretical contributions of Grace Lee Boggs, a long-time resident of Detroit, second generation Chinese American, civil rights and feminist activist and working class philosopher, as a means of exploring biography as a feminist research methodology.
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Keywords: Biography as method; Detroit Summer; feminist pedagogy; restorative spatial justice

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Geography, York University, Toronto, Canada

Publication date: March 4, 2018

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