Jess Linz

jli325's picture
  • PhD Candidate
  • Teaching Assistant
  • Geography
  • Social Theory
1422 Patterson Office Tower, Office hours Spring 2019: T/Th 3:15-4:15pm
  • Other Affiliations:
Research Interests:

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'm working on several projects about creative political responses to oppressive structures. The projects bleed into and draw from one other: The first is a project with Anna Secor that sketches an affect-based political position in the context of an impasse that seems to promise no paths forward. The second is a project with Araby Smyth and Lauren Hudson that we're calling the Feminist Coven, 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 in 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 was on urban redevelopment in inner neighborhoods of Cincinnati, Ohio, studying how non-humans (things and materials mainly) play an affective role in gentrification, contributing to social exclusion and housing displacement. 

Before I came to University of Kentucky, I worked for several years in many different jobs: as a junior architect, bicycle mechanic, Spanish-English medical interpreter, nonprofit program coordinator, and affordable housing advocate to name some of the ones outside of the service industry. Over the years, I've volunteered for multiple bicycle collectives, helping start or run women's programs, and teaching mechanics. I sometimes help out at Broke Spoke Bicycle Cooperative in Lexington.

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