“There Would Be More Black Spaces”: Care/giving Cartographies during COVID‐19


Black geographies, Black feminist anthropology, and related fields have provided substantial evidence attesting to the effects of racially violent spatial practices such as dispossession, racial segregation, mass incarceration, and redlining for the health outcomes and life chances of Black communities and other racialized groups, and conversely, the political and healing potential of placemaking projects. We foreground theory from Black geographies and Black feminist work on care to examine care/giving cartographies at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. We present findings from semi-structured interviews conducted virtually in 2021 that combined care/giving narratives and counter-mapping with 20 African American residents of Tucson, Arizona, as part of a longer-term community-based placemaking project. Interview data underscore the spatial and discursive pervasiveness of anti-Blackness, including within biomedical spaces of care, and negative effects on health. We argue that narratives centering care/giving alongside practices of counter-mapping are indictments of the institutional structures abetting anti-Black racism as a structuring, spatial logic. [anti-Black racism, COVID-19, caregiving, counter-mapping]

A map drawing in pencil inside a notebook. Labels such as Tucson, Catalina Foothills, long desert drives, and I-10.
Figure 1, T’s map
A chart in pencil with arrows between Gym, Laboratory, and Home.
Figure 2, E’s map
A drawing in pencil with note: map is of my morning walk routes for 3-2.5 miles.
Figure 3, Q’s map
A scatter plot-style diagram with the title Tucson. Plots include crafting place, hiking trail, park, restaurant, downtown, museum, and the houses of several names.
Figure 4, V’s map
A scatter plot-style diagram with plots labeled as nana's house, physical/virtual BIPOC spaces, the Dunbar Pavilion, my house, and sessions with my therapist.
Figure 5, H’s map