Places of Graffiti

Authored by: John Finn

The Ashgate Research Companion to Media Geography

Print publication date:  August  2014
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9781409444015
eBook ISBN: 9781315613178
Adobe ISBN: 9781317042822


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In the summer of 2009, I was invited to give a talk at a research seminar organized by a research group affiliated with the Federal University of Bahia in Salvador, Brazil. The topic of the seminar – “representations of Bahian 1 1

Bahian refers to a person from Bahia, a state in northeastern Brazil. The term is often deployed, however, not as simply a geographical marker, but as a cultural and social one, too.

society” – posed a challenge for me: as an outsider who had been living and working in Brazil for less than a year, how should I approach this presentation to an audience that would be dominated by local scholars, students, and the public? I opted to put together a talk that merged a central aspect of my own research in Brazil – race – with the idea using the urban landscape as a visual medium to understand the racial and identity struggles taking place in Bahian society. Indeed, there had been something about the visual urban landscape that had been nagging at me since I had landed in Bahia the year before: if everyone in the city suddenly disappeared, and we were forced to understand the city in terms of images of people in advertising throughout the city, what would we see? If we were to judge Salvador’s human geography based on this capitalist representational landscape, how would our perspective of the city change?

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