Camouflaging murderous technology: streets as weapons of mass destruction

Panel for SHOT Annual Meetings Oct 7-11, 2004 Amsterdam

Panel organizers: Sarah Jain (Stanford University) Derek Simons (Simon Fraser University)

Abstract submission deadline March 26, 2004, to Derek Simons, at [email protected] Please send one page abstract and one page CV. We welcome inquiries and drive-by ideas.

Call for Papers: Imagine the charges that could be leveled against such a plainly terrorist conglomerate as the street: murderous, taking a human toll in the US alone that has surpassed American losses in every war of the century and exceeds 2.2 million people worldwide per year; genocidal, almost exclusively savaging those who sojourn on streets; relentlessly imperialistic, exponentially appropriating space; and totalitarian, demanding absolute conformity to strict codes of behaviour and approved thought patterns, buttressed by merciless propaganda campaigns.

In real life we are remarkably sanguine about this murderous technology. In fact, most of us feel a complex intimacy with the streetscape, even as it exacts its heavy toll in limning physical, social and political options. The panel we are proposing will explore both how streets variously devalue human possibility, and how this devaluation is camouflaged by being woven into the fabric of exigency; how, that is, streets sidle up to the most intimate preoccupations as they boss around at best, and maim and kill at worst. What camouflage techniques does this technical juggernaut use to assuage and enlist ? This session will build on one of the key themes of the 2004 annual SHOT conference: camouflage. We look forward to including a variety of approaches, and we are most interested in papers that broach a palimpsest of camouflage (how does one invisibility spawn others?), such as planning and urban space, speed and cement, glass and capital, or gender and automobility. We would also welcome papers that address non-Western urban forms, materials, and expectations.