Slumdog – Next Prompt

No we have not shifted gears and turned into a movie club, although there is nothing to stop anyone from going in that direction with our next topic if you so choose.  As Night School evolves, I think we are all interested in exploring issues that have a practical implication as well providing a catalyst for provocative discussion.  With the number of graduate degrees in architecture, urban design, urban planning and policy amongst our friends, one might think we would be educated about issues around gentrification and urban development.  Alas we find ourselves woefully under-schooled.  In an effort to add to our knowledge and maybe even move into the direction of a collective project outside of our living rooms, let’s explore some of the issues around this problematic phrase Slumdog.


6 thoughts on “Slumdog – Next Prompt

  1. Aria says:

    Well I have a comment, I guess, about the prompt. Or a question, maybe. I guess, I wonder if the phrase is kind of excluding Atlanta. I mean, I know there are lots of people in Atlanta that live in horribly substandard conditions. But for me the phrase slumdog brings to mind the miles and miles of shacks that you find in some parts of the world. And if that’s an intentional focus, that’s fine, and maybe I’m wrong altogether, but as Atlantans, I wonder……I don’t know. This is not at all the kind of feedback you asked for. And maybe I should just post it as a comment to your post. Which I like very much!

    • MaryStuart says:

      Aria, thanks for your feedback. Very helpful! I agree that the term is problematic. I think one of the problems, is that for me the terms slum implies something in another country. I guess the question is are the problems with this phrase interesting and important to discuss and part of the topic or do they take away from the intention for activism and practicality behind the topic. Should we use something more like ghetto? Although there are problems with that phrase as well.

      • Aria says:

        Yeah I agree. I wonder if the fact that the term “slum” makes me think of far away places is naive to begin with. Although, maybe one thing to talk about are the differences between poverty in a place like Atlanta and poverty in a place like….I dunno…Rio de Janeiro, for instance. Maybe I’m just repeating what you already said. Anyway, how does the form of activism change with whichever term you’re using?

    • ellen says:

      I’m really glad this has come up. I set out to write the prompt for this one, but just couldn’t articulate much of anything. I think this is might be good in terms of discussion, but I think since this came from a conversation about how we often times romanticize what is abandoned or ruined, it could lead to many directions with loaded connotations. “ghetto” “slum” are not able to be romanticized in my mind and, instead, we are faced with terms that invoke visions of an overwhelming amount of concentrated poverty. I’m still a little confused on the question/prompt/place of entry on this. or maybe i just feel overwhelmed on how to do this topic justice? then i’m left with the question of how can I take that (and acknowledging my own naivety) to contribute intelligently to discussion?

      • MaryStuart says:

        I think that all of the words we have to describe low-income, disenfranchised housing or areas of the city are loaded. They may be loaded with off base romantic notions or other negative ones, but they are all problematic. So maybe that’s the beginning of our conversation. I have no doubt that you will make an intelligent contribution!!!!

      • GinaMoe says:

        I’m really loving the utilization of the blog to sort out some questions. I’m so glad we started talking about diction. And I’m double glad someone brought up ghetto because I did a whole low income housing project in Italy when I was there. I’m going to have to dig up that research they have some interesting social programs I’d love to hear your thoughts on.

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