Kaily Heitz

PhD Candidate, Geography
University of California, Berkeley
CSTMS Research Unit: Berkeley Program in Science and Technology Studies, Designated Emphasis in STS
Affiliation period: November 2018 -
Advisor(s)Jovan Lewis and Jake Kosek
Degrees BA Environmental Analysis :: Pitzer College

My research explores how the identity of a place gets formed through visuality, technology and racialization. How does a place like Oakland become a "Black city" in the public imagination, regardless of its actual Black population, and particularly in the midst of rapid gentrification and displacement? How does its identity transcend geographical borders through hyper-connectivity and visual technologies? And simultaneously, how does Oakland's position within the U.S. West and its white settler imaginary inform our understandings of geographically situated conceptualizations of blackness? This work draws on black feminist geographies, new media studies and science and technology studies to look at practices of black community building in Oakland, city development, and how the production of a "post-racial" Black city is articulated through the image. I examine the relationship between the image, the affective value of place, blackness, and the production of space, by looking at how social media and Black radical aesthetic imagery is leveraged in making claims to physical and imaginative territories.

last updated: December 4th, 2018