*syllabus updated: 22 march* added recommended readings to situate the current events of the upcoming Quebec Student Strike*

Communication Analysis of Environment: Which Bodies? Which Spaces?     

CJ 4.320 | WEDNESDAY: 1:15 TO 4:00 PM
Instructor: Magdalena Olszanowski
Office Hours: Wed 4:30PM — 6:30PM | 
CJ 4. 260
Course Blog:

Just as none of us is outside or beyond geography, none of us is completely free from the struggle over geography. – Edward Said

This city is a map of love
on this street you met me / here snow joined our lips / here we said goodbye
and your eyes followed me for so long / here our paths married / here our hands found home
here I ran to you in illness / here I drove you for the last time
here you hid yourself from me / here I won’t stop looking for you
– Anna Kamienska


Bodies make spaces speak. Bodies extend space. Space is constructed for specific bodies. In this way, spaces and bodies co-construct each other. Recognizing our bodies as multifaceted, fluid has significant implications for our values, lifestyles and social relations.  The body is not a singular bounded entity but a multiplicity.

This course offers a critical and creative investigation into the parameters and meanings of our body in space and the communicative connection between bodies and space(s). We examine the different ways in which the ways we conceptualize the body and the way it influences, informs and reproduces the ways in which we situate ourselves in the world and the way we analyze, observe, and understand the environment around us. We explore different forms of analysis in order to become critically aware of the power that upholds a hierarchy of the body.

The course is organized around three questions that each week’s module explores:  1) What types of bodies have access to what types of spaces? 2) What happens when we disrupt spaces with bodies that are generally excluded? 3) How do environments reproduce ideology? In part, we will explore these questions with case studies such as, but not limited to:  The Situationist International, feminicide in Canada, the Quebec Student Strike, indigenous land rights, women who attempt to circumvent censorship online, disability rights protests in Montreal, #icantbreathe.

Learning Outcomes

  • Recognize the ways oppression is reproduced through the production of space
  • Investigate how ideology of the ‘normative body’ influences different aspects of social life, both on and offline
  • Develop a comprehensive and rigorous vocabulary with which to analyze the environment through various lenses, theories, paradigms, and perspectives.
  • Develop presentation skills in public speaking and online posting
  • Read and interpret the world from your embodied position.


This course combines lectures, discussions, presentations, poetry, music, site visits, online activity, and screenings.  Students are expected to come to class prepared to discuss the week’s readings, think with their bodies in everyday life, and participate in class discussions. Students are also encouraged to blog interesting images & texts related to space, place and the body, and bring in their own examples of interesting artists and/or projects for class discussions. 


There is no required text for the class. Texts will either be available on the library’s Course Reserve (COMS 324/4) or students will be asked to access relevant articles through the library’s various databases (Project Muse, EBSCO and SAGE) which can be accessed online. Please familiarize yourselves with these library databases. Each week you are expected to read the articles on the Reading list. Supplementary readings can be used to kickstart research or follow up on topics we talk about in class.

I recommend: Queer Phenomenology by Sarah Ahmed; The Routledge Body Reader; The Mobile Interface by Jason Farman


Class attendance is mandatory. Lateness is indicative of relative commitment, and you will be marked absent if you are more than 10 minutes late, or leave early. Students missing more than three classes without a medical note or written explanation will receive 0 for attendance.


All assignments should be typed and double-spaced, with numbered pages following a consistent citation style (MLA or APA). An excellent assignment will fulfill the above specifications, and be typographically error-free, grammatically correct, as well as conceptually well-structured with a properly developed and defended argument.

Assignments will be accepted late without penalty up to two days after the due date, but these late assignments will not receive comments. After this, late assignments will not be accepted unless you have contacted me prior to the due date and we have made an arrangement together that include a medical reason and written documentation attesting to your inability to complete the assignment on time.

All forms of plagiarism will result in a failed grade, and are subject to the regulations outlined in the university’s Academic Code of Conduct, Section 16.3.13. Plagiarism includes un-cited material obtained from the internet.  Familiarize yourself with the university policies regarding plagiarism as well as ways in which to avoid plagiarism. Tips regarding the latter are available at:

Learning Disabilities

I am very supportive of students with different learning abilities. However, I cannot help you unless I know about it in advance. If you have a learning disability, please tell me as soon as possible. If, for any reason, you suspect you may have a learning disability, have yourself assessed now.


I reserve the right to make changes to the syllabus during the year as necessary, with the goal of fully addressing class needs and improving your learning experience. Updates will be posted on the blog.

Schedule of Assignments + Evaluation

  • Assignment 1: Mis-Guide 25% (February 11)
  • Assignment 2: Bodies in Spaces 40% (April 8)
    • Outline of paper/project and sketch of proposed idea 10%
    • Final Project (inc. Presentation) 30%
  • Assignment 3: Group Presentation 10% (tba)
  • Participation: In Class/Blog & Pop Quizzes 13%
  • Blog Posts 12% (3x)


Week 1: January 7 – APOLOGIA


Blog Post #1

Week 2: January 14 – What is a Body?


Grosz, Elizabeth. (2005). Reconfiguring Bodies. In Mariam Fraser and Monica Greco (Eds.), The Body: A Reader (47-51). London: Routledge.

Merleau-Ponty. (2009). The Experience of the Body and Classical Psychology. In Mariam Fraser and Monica Greco (Eds.), The Body: A Reader (52-54). London: Routledge.

Butler, Judith. (2009). Bodies that Matter. In Mariam Fraser and Monica Greco (Eds.), The Body: A Reader (62-65). London: Routledge.

Week 3: January 21 – What is Space?


Lefebrve, Henri. “The Production of Space.” In Gieseking, Jen J. And William Mangold, (Eds.), The People, Place, and Space Reader. (289-293). London: Routledge.

Debord, Guy. “Theory of the Dérive and Definitions.” In Gieseking, Jen J. And William Mangold, (Eds.), The People, Place, and Space Reader. (65-69). London: Routledge.

Situationist Manifesto (1960)

Guy  Debord. (1959) ‘Détournement as Negation and Prelude’, Bureau of Public Secrets.

Recommended Reading

Ahmed, Sara. (2006) Queer Phenomenology Ch. 1: Orientations Towards Objects, section “Inhabiting Spaces” (51-63). Durham: Duke University Press.

Week 4: January 28  – MAPPING

Guest Speaker: Caroline Ramirez


Farman, Jason (2012). Mobile Interface Theory Ch. 2 “Mapping and Representations of Space” (35-55) London: Routledge.

Elkin, Lauren. (2014). “Crazy Cartography: Artists and Writers Conjure a Slew of Imaginative Maps”

Case Study:

Where You Are: A Collection of Maps That Will Leave You Feeling Completely Lost

The Racial Dot Map

Week 5: February 4 –   Artists: their bodies as/in space(s)

Guest Speaker: Francesca Tallone


Armstrong, Carol. (2006). “Francesca Woodman: A Ghost in the House of the ‘Woman Artist’.” In: Armstrong, Carol, and Catherine de Zegher, ed. Women artists at the millennium. (347-368) Cambridge: MIT.

Hansen, Malene Vest (2002). “Public Places – Private Spaces Conceptualism, Feminism and Public Art: Notes on Sophie Calle’s The Detachment.” Konsthistorisk tidskrift/Journal of Art History, 71(4): 194-203.

Gomez-Peña. (1972). The New World Border: Prophecies for the End of the Century. In Mexico Reader (750-755). Exhibition inspired by Gomez-Peña.

Recommended Reading

One War Art. “Riot grrrl manifesto”.

Saint, Nigel.  (2011). Space and Absence in Sophie Calle’s Suite vénitienne and DisparitionsL’Esprit Créateur, 51(1): 125-138.



Valentine, Gil. (2005). “(Re)Negotiating the Heterosexual Street: Lesbian Production of Space.” In The Urban Geography Reader. (263-269). London: Routledge.

Grant, Melissa Gira. (2014). Ch 2: The Prostitute (13-25), Ch 5: the Industry (49-58), Ch 6: The Peephole (59-74) In Playing the Whore. London: Verso.

Knopp, Lawrence. (1995). “Ch 10: Sexuality and Urban Space: a framework for analysis” in David Bell & Gill Valentine, ed. Mapping Desire: Geographies of Sexuality. (136-146).London: Routledge.

Recommended Reading

Munt, Sally. (1995). “THE LESBIAN FLANEUR.” in David Bell & Gill Valentine, ed. Mapping Desire: Geographies of Sexuality. (114-125).London: Routledge.

Screening: TBA

Week 7: February 18 – “O Canada, our home & native land / God, keep our land glorious & free!” indigenous bodies & stolen lands


Razack, Sherene H. (2002). “Gendered Racial Violence and Spatialized Justice: The Murder of Pamela George.” In Race, Space, and the Law: Mapping a White Settler Society (123-156). Toronto: Between the Lines.

Ahmed, Sara. (2007) “Phenomenology of Whiteness.” Feminist Theory 8(2): 149-168.

Paperny, Anna. (2014) “Canada’s Unwanted: Non-citizens paid to leave, jailed without charge, die in secret”

Screening: Alanis Obomsawin, The People of the Kattawapiskak River (2012)

Week 8: February 25 NO CLASS



Farman, Jason. (2012). Mobile Interface Theory Ch. 1 “Embodiment and the Mobile Interface” (16-34) London: Routledge.

Hemment, Drew. ( 2006). “Locative arts.” Leonardo: the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology 39(4): 348-355.

Case Study:

Electronic Disturbance Theatre’s Transborder Immigrant Tool

Week 10:   March 11 Online Bodies


Senft, Theresa. (2008). Camgirls: Celebrity and Community in the Age of Social Networks. Ch.1. (15-31).

National Organization for Women. Girl Geeks Discuss Their Place on the Web.

Case Study:

Ana Voog >

Jillian Mayer specifically 400 Nudes  /  How to Hide from Cameras /  Erasey Page 


Magda away / Guest Lecture from Laurence Parent


Titchkosky, Tanya. (2008). “To Pee or Not to Pee?” Ordinary Talk about Extraordinary Exclusions in a University Environment “, Canadian Journal of Sociology/Cahiers canadiens de sociologie, 33(1): 37-56.

Young, Stella (2014), “Disability simulations should be left in the 90s”

Recommended readings:

Freund, Peter. (2001) “Bodies, Disability and Spaces: The Social Model and Disabling Spatial Organisations”, Disability & Society, 16, 5, 689–706.

Kitchin, Rob. (1998) “ ‘Out of Place’, ‘Knowing One’s Place’ : Space, Power and Exclusion of Disabled People”, Disability & Society, 13, 3, 343-356.

Olszanowski, Magdalena. (2014). “Performance and negotiating hidden disability: an interview with Danielle Peers and Lindsay Eales.” nomorepotlucks 26.

Week 12: March 25   – WHICH BODIES? Which sounds where? Quebec Student Strike


Sterne, Jonathan. (2012). Bodies-Streets. Wi: journal of mobile media 6(2). 4pgs.

Barney, Darin. (2012). The truth of le printemps érables. Theory & Event 15(3), The Johns Hopkins University Press. 4pgs.

Sterne, Jonathan. (2012). Quebec’s #casseroles: on participation, percussion and protest. Theory & Event 15(3), The Johns Hopkins University Press. 4pgs.

Recommended Readings  *added due to the upcoming Quebec student strike 2015 — posted 22 march 2015*

*HIGHLY RECOMMENDED* Robertson, Kirsty. Teargas Epiphanies: New Economies of Protest, Vision, And Culture in Canada — excerpt of Ch.3, Section 1: “Protest as Space”,  (2006) 144-157.

Van Wyck, Peter. (2012). The Ciphered River of the StreetsWi: journal of mobile media 6(2).

Lynes, Krista. (2012). Clamouring Out: Against the Privative Sphere. Wi: journal of mobile media 6(2).

Grosz, Elizabeth. (1998). Bodies-Cities.

Week 13: April 1 – Hyperstition  – Creating New Worlds for Us to Exist


Wilson, Elizabeth. (1991).  The Sphinx in the City: Urban Life, the Control of Disorder, and Women. Ch.1- Into the Labyrinth. (1-11). Berkeley: University of California Press.

Haraway, Donna. (1991). “Cyborg–Manifesto.” IN SIMIANS, CYBORGS AND WOMEN: THE REINVENTION OF NATURE. New York: Routledge, 149-181.


Sun Ra, Space is the Place (1974)


University Rights and Responsibilities

Academic Integrity: “The integrity of University academic life and of the degrees, diplomas and certificates the University confers is dependent upon the honesty and soundness of the instructor-student learning relationship and, in particular, that of the evaluation process. Therefore, for their part, all students are expected to be honest in all of their academic endeavors and relationships with the University”. (From Article 1 of the Academic Code of Conduct). Please refer to this link for detailed information on Concordia’s Academic Code of Conduct:

Plagiarism: The most common offense under the Academic Code of Conduct is plagiarism which the Code defines as “the presentation of the work of another person as one’s own or without proper acknowledgement”. This could be material copied word for word from books, journals, internet sites, professor’s course notes, etc. It could be material that is paraphrased but closely resembles the original source. It could be the work of a fellow student, for example, an answer on a quiz, data for a lab report, a paper or assignment completed by another student. It might be a paper purchased through one of the many available sources. Plagiarism does not refer to words alone – it can also refer to copying images, graphs, tables, and ideas. “Presentation” is not limited to written work. It also includes oral presentations, computer assignments and artistic works. If a student translates the work of another person into French or English and does not cite the source, this is also plagiarism. To cite your own work without the correct attribution is also plagiarism.


For further information please visit

Disability: The University’s commitment to providing equal educational opportunities to all students includes students with disabilities. To demonstrate full respect for the academic capacities and potential of students with disabilities, the University seeks to remove attitudinal and physical barriers that may hinder or prevent qualified students with disabilities from participating fully in University life. Please see the instructor during the first class if you feel you require assistance.

For more information please visit

Safe Space Classroom: Concordia classrooms are considered ‘safe space classrooms’. In order to create a climate for open and honest dialogue and to encourage the broadest range of viewpoints, it is important for class participants to treat each other with respect. Name-calling, accusations, verbal attacks, sarcasm, and other negative exchanges are counter-productive to successful teaching and learning. The purpose of class discussions is to generate greater understanding about different topics. The expression of the broadest range of ideas, including dissenting views, helps to accomplish this goal. However, in expressing viewpoints, students should try to raise questions and comments in ways that will promote learning, rather than defensiveness and feelings of conflict in other students. Thus, questions and comments should be asked or stated in such a way that will promote greater insight into the awareness of topics as opposed to anger and conflict. The purpose of dialogue and discussion is not to reach a consensus, nor to convince each other of different viewpoints. Rather, the purpose of dialogue in the classroom is to reach higher levels of learning by examining different viewpoints and opinions with respect and civility.

Department Policies

Participation: This grade is based on overall punctuality and attendance in the classes, labs and workshops. Student preparedness, initiative and level of class engagement is evaluated (this means participating in discussions and demonstration of familiarity with required readings).

Participation also includes completing all required readings and all assignments on time. Students are expected to be collegial, respectful and tolerant of peers, teaching assistants,

technical instructors and professors. The best classroom experience will occur with courteous

and engaged participation and interaction with each other, the work, the discussions and debates.

Attendance: Regular attendance is a requirement. Students are expected to actively participate in all classes, workshops, critiques, discussions and labs associated with courses, and to complete all required course work according to deadlines and guidelines as assigned. Failure to comply can result in loss of marks.

Electronic Devices: No electronic devices may be used once the class starts. All mobile phones, iPods, PDAs, cell phones, laptops etc. must be turned off and put away. The only exceptions are if the Office of Disabilities has authorized such use or the instructor specifically grants permission for use.



Numerical Grade Letter Grade Official Grade Point

  • 94 – 100 A+ 4.33
  • 90 – 93 A 4.0
  • 86 – 89 A- 3.67
  • 82 – 85 B+ 3.3
  • 78 – 81 B 3.0
  • 74 – 77 B- 2.67
  • 70 – 73 C+ 2.33
  • 66 – 69 C 2.0
  • 62 – 65 C- 1.67
  • 58 – 61 D+ 1.33
  • 54 – 57 D 1.0
  • 50 – 53 D- 0.67
  • 0 – 49 F 0.0

Please note the individual instructors may elect to use numerical grades, letter grades or both for individual assignments, while all final marks for the course are given as letter grades at the university level.

A = Superior work in both content and presentation. This is a student who appears, even at an early stage, to be a potential honours student. The work answers all components of a question. It demonstrates clear and persuasive argument, a well-structured text that features solid introductory and concluding arguments, and examples to illustrate the argument. Few, if any presentation errors appear.

B = Better than average in both content and presentation. This student has the potential for honours, though it is less evident than for the A student. Student’s work is clear and well structured. Minor components of an answer might be missing, and there may be fewer illustrations for the argument. Some minor but noticeable errors in presentation may have interfered with the general quality of the work.

C = Student demonstrates a satisfactory understanding of the material. Ideas are presented in a style that is at least somewhat coherent and orderly. Occasional examples are provided to support arguments. Presentation errors that affect the quality of the work are more apparent than in B work. Some components of a question may have been omitted in the response.

D = Student has only a basic grasp of the material. Sense of organization and development is often not demonstrated in the response. Few, if any, examples are provided to illustrate argument. Major components of a question might have been neglected; and major presentation errors hamper the work.

F = Shows an inadequate grasp of the material. Work has major errors of style; and provides no supporting illustration for argument. Ideas are not clear to the reader. Work lacks a sense of structure. Additional criteria, parameters and guidelines will be handed out in class when each assignment is introduced and discussed.

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