Moving Encounters With Spatial Racism: Walking in San Jose Japantown

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In this article, I address how walking as a curatorial practice of storying a neighborhood facilitates an irreducible politics of place occurring as affective intensities at various registers, where everyday movements entangle with spatial enactments of racism. Working with theories of assemblage and immanent movement, I examine walking narratives in San Jose Japantown, California (U.S.), a historic, ethnic neighborhood historically subjected to U.S. government and banking practices of “redlining” and Japanese American incarceration and dislocation to prison camps. As an analytical method, assemblage requires attention to movement: material elements of arrangement, the relations they require, new arranging and arrangements they might enable, and how these arrangements are legitimated. I examine spatial racism as an assemblage, analyzing its affective qualities wherein attentiveness to immanent movement might breach the assemblage and, in doing so, reach toward radical reformation through memorialization, community activism and development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-266
Number of pages10
JournalQualitative Inquiry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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