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Jess Linz


Certificate in Social Theory, University of Kentucky, 2018

MA Geography, University of Kentucky, 2016

BS Architecture, University of Cincinnati, 2008


My current research is on gentrification in Mexico City. I'm interested in the contradictions between the "ciudad humana" or "humane city" (which proposes an urban landscape with clean water, air, reduced traffic, reasonable commutes, safe public places to walk at night, etc.) and the exclusion that comes with gentrification. Is the humane city a gentrified city that is only accessible to a privileged few? What circulating affects play a part in maintaining or destroying this paradigm? How are they taken up as tools for change? How do they exceed the confines of their utility?

In addition to my dissertation research, I have several collaborative projects about creative political responses to oppressive structures. The projects bleed into and draw from one other: The first, in collaboration with Anna Secor, sketches an affect-based political position in the context of a political impasse: a moment of stalemate that seems to offer no viable pathways forward. The second is a project with Araby Smyth and Lauren Hudson on creative feminist responses to the competition, scarcity, and patriarchy inherent to the academy, forging new ways of relating and imposing them upon the larger structures as possible. A video of our talk at the UK Gender and Women's Studies Conference from September 2017 is visible on YouTube at this link. The third, with Robby Hardesty and Anna Secor, explores the political potential of memes, drawing on Walter Benjamin and queer theory.

My MA research examined urban redevelopment in an inner neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio. My findings showed that materiality -- like objects in local establishments -- plays a role in exacerbating social exclusion and housing displacement. My research, published in Geoforum (2017) suggests that neighborhood boosters working towards inclusive redevelopment should keep in mind how aesthetics has an effect of including some and excluding others, often to the detriment of long-term neighborhood residents.

Before I began graduate school at University of Kentucky, I worked through the recession in many jobs, including as a junior architect, bicycle mechanic, Spanish-English medical interpreter, nonprofit bicycle program coordinator, and affordable housing advocate to name some of the ones outside of the service industry. But what I'm most proud of is the volunteer work I have done for multiple bicycle collectives in Cincinnati, Ohio and Guadalajara, Mexico, helping start or run women's programs, and teaching mechanics to women. On occasion I help out at Broke Spoke Community Bike Shop in Lexington.



GEO 323: Mexico Environment, Politics & Society


Teaching Assistant

GEO 220: U.S. Cities

GEO 109: Digital Mapping

GEO 162: Global Environmental Issues 

GEO 160: Lands and People of the Non-Western World