Sorry to be making this request so late, but is there any group who still have room for one (very, very lost) PhD student? I have been doing quite a lot of “flanneurism” (I hate that word…) in the past few days, but I simply keep drawing a blank on ideas for this project, just as I had for Chora. This is largely because I am, in a very real sense, a foreigner to this place. I grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia, in a rather odd sociocultural class of late Soviet-era intellectuals. I’m pretty sure I don’t make sense of urban space the way the rest of you probably do since, if I’m not mistaken, I am the only one in the class not native to North America. This is a bit of a problem when it comes to engaging with local urban space for me. So much what I see in urban space here is personally confusing, and often banal and alienating – and without people to guide me along in it and help me make sense of it, I get lost on a kind of psychogeographic level. I’m not trying to be mean or pretentious on that (i.e. “I don’t like your country/city”) – I’m sure those of you who’ve travelled to vastly different places and societies might have felt the same sense of being lost and not at home (“unheimlich”?), even if you lived there for a long time. Which is precisely why I’m stuck for ideas of my own here – I don’t even know where to start. I honestly dread having to go out there alone again and try to conceptualize it – I’m still a little traumatized by my experience with the Chora project on that to be honest…
On the other hand that’s a seeming disadvantage that could easily be turned to a very real and potentially interesting advantage for a group – I would bring a different perspective (subject position?) to the table, and on top of that also my background in discourse analysis and linguistics that could be really useful. I would also be quite willing to pick up a lot of the writing work if needed. Please let me know ASAP if you could spare a place for another member for your group! I would really appreciate it and do my best to return the favour in dedication & honest effort on the project.