the peripheral frontier: URBAN MODELS, GRASSROOTS POLITICS, and topographies of difference in São PAulo (1947-present)
My book manuscript investigates the relationship between urban policies, grassroots politics, and intersecting systems of discrimination (race, class, gender, and physical vulnerability) in São Paulo.
My entry point to these dynamics is the Northern periphery of São Paulo, a frontier between the city and the Serra da Cantareira. Building on four years of ethnographic, archival, and visual fieldwork, I analyze the historical genealogy of city-making in the self-built city at the feet of the Serra under different regimes and systems of power—state, church, and narcotrafficking—since post-WWII. I study these dynamics in grassroots mobilizations and architecture and planning practices. I conclude that shifting urbanization frontiers have expanded alongside the historical production of difference (race, ethnicity, gender, and physical vulnerability) and heterogeneous material conditions (topographies and legal geographies). These factors are critical to studying the structures of inequality that mediates human-environment relations under enduring structures of coloniality, including racism and hetheropatriarchy.