WAAAUB Holds First Ever International Convention: Commitment to AUB and Enhancing Ties among Alumni  
AUBMC Receives US Accreditation
Seven New Members to Join the AUB Board of Trustees
Establishment of the Michael Atiyah Chair in Mathematical Sciences at AUB
AUB Nutrition and Food Science Department Named as WHO Collaborating Center
Academic Excellence Rewarded: AUB's Merit Scholarships
AUB Announces New Center for Civic Engagement and Community Service
Shahe Kazarian's - Reflections of My I (Published by Cadmus Project: 2007)
Faculty Profile: Patrick Lewtas
Professor Mrad Lectures Abroad
Staff Profile: Ramzieh Saad
Essay Competition Honors Arab World's 'Prince of Poets'
Donald Mitchell Examines Control Over City Streets
The Political Consequences of American Romanticism
Juan Cole Points at Failures in United States
Scholar Studies Impact of Terrorism on American Imports
Ambassador Evaluates Role of United Kingdom in the Arab World
A View of Islam in the Eighth Century
The Need for Dialogue Between Religions
Istanbul's Pleasures Revealed
National Identity Without Citizenship?
On-line Workshops Help Train Journalists
Student Artwork Exhibited at Jafet Library
Amulets and Talismans at the AUB Museum
Living with Animals: To Prevent Torture and the Impact of War
Women's Auxiliary Holiday Luncheon
Home of Hope Orphans Tour AUB Medical Center
Italian Opera Recital at Assembly Hall
Strengthening Ukraine and Lebanese Relations with Music
AUB Music Club Concert
From Sufi Chant to Oriental Jazz
AUB Choir and Choral Society Celebrate Christmas
Benefit Christmas Concerts Help Ayadina Center
Red Cross Club Forms Human Ribbon
January 2008 Vol. 9 No. 4

Donald Mitchell Examines Control Over City Streets

Professor Donald Mitchell

Rights over control of public spaces was the subject of the lecture delivered in West Hall on December 11 by Professor Donald Mitchell of Syracuse University. Entitled "Pretexts, Paranoia, and Public Space: Rethinking the Right to the City After 9/11," the talk was hosted by the Prince al Waleed bin Talal Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR).

Mitchell's argument concerned the controversial issue of the American law-enforcement authorities gaining legal control over city streets by randomly banning people from certain public spaces. Mainly, he delineated the instances of intensified monitoring of public spaces brought on by the culture of fear and paranoia engendered by the terrorist attacks on America in 2001.

According to Mitchell, the government of the United States has legalized over the past few years an ever-increasing usage of public spaces, such as skyscrapers, sports stadiums, parks, and city streets. Because the American Constitution does not clearly stipulate that people are entitled to access public spaces without restraint, this right has established the extent to which police and intelligence forces may "deem certain individuals' presence in public spaces legitimate," which encompasses a wide variety of people performing different kinds of daily activities.

In today's America, "paranoia reigns supreme", said Mitchell. Loiterers, strollers, black men on fatherly errands, bird watchers, mothers with cribs, and even members of the press constitute "potential terrorist threats" and can be promptly arrested when their presence in a public place becomes unwelcome.

The act of trespassing after 9/11 has been redefined as a kind of "encroachment on the authority of the state," said Mitchell, adding that all people in America will continue, in theory, to encroach on each other's privacy and space until their status as potential terrorists is unequivocally resolved. He concluded that the current culture of paranoia can only be attenuated by "fighting for a world of productive difference" in which the right to urbanity and a city's public spaces are greatly diminished.

Mitchell, who is a Distinguished Professor of Geography at Syracuse University, is a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. He is currently working on a new project called:"Bracero: Remaking the California Landscape, 1942-1964." His latest book, with Lynn Staeheli, The People's Property: Power, Politics, and the Public, has just been published by Routledge.