Friday, October 14 through Sunday, October 16, 2016
"That things are ‘status quo’ is the catastrophe." (Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project, 1927-1940, N9a,1)
In an age marked by the persistent catastrophes of colonialism, climate change, austerity, inequality, gendered and raced violence, state and non-state terrorism, post-democratic practices, and ‘preemptive policing,’ we call for a coming together around the common purpose of critical geographical engagement. Inspired by Richa Nagar and Susan Geiger (2007), as well as Paul Routledge and Kate Derickson (2015), we mobilize the idea of “Situated Solidarities” to inspire alternative forms of geographic practice and thought. For in the context of the catastrophic status quo, terrains of possibility remain open through a range of variously scaled initiatives. We ask: In what ways can counter-hegemonic politics and thought be enacted during the current conjuncture? Our keynote speaker will be Paul Routledge, School of Geography, University of Leeds. We have identified five themes for intervention:
Forging solidarity: Under this theme we hope to gather discussions that engage the possibilities and tensions that arise through the intersection of scholarship and other forms of political action. Conversations might take shape around previous experiences, ongoing interventions, and/or struggles with engaging meaningful activism within our academic work. Contributors might find inspiration, as we have in convening this conference, in what Nagar and Geiger (2007) call “situated solidarities.”
Persistent challenges: For this theme we invite participants for a discussion on the persistent challenges that vex and divide political and social movements, to renew questions on the efficacy and role of critique. Discussions may include climate change, austerity and economic reform, inequality, development and displacement, gendered and raced violence, and state or non-state terrorisms.
Initiatives: By initiatives, we refer to any number of contemporary uprisings, movements, and projects, purposefully including both radical disruptions of the status quo and perhaps equally radical attempts to resurrect, defend, or repurpose the heritage of past movements. Examples might include (but are in no way limited to) Black Lives Matter, Idle No More, Nuit Debout, protest assemblies or plaza occupations, and Break Free climate justice activism, as well as militant Islamist movements, resurgent white supremacist organizations, and the rise of new nationalist movements throughout Europe and elsewhere.
Critical enactments: For this theme we invite contributions that focus on questions of practice, methodology, epistemology, and positionality. Contributions might be oriented towards negotiating tensions between academic and activist spaces, the challenges of simultaneously critiquing and constructing forms of knowledge, and/or the ways we aspire to engage in ethical relations with our research subjects.
Future/No future?: For this theme we invite participants to contribute to ideas about the future -- as an object of study, of politics, and of attachment. Contributions might be oriented towards a range of futures: wild, queer, feminist, anti-racist, revolutionary, actuarial, catastrophic, technological, and more.
With the intent of creating an alternative conference event, we invite participants to submit their short abstracts (max. 150 words) for participation to one or more of the themes listed above. All sessions will be panel discussions rather than conventional research paper presentations in order to activate capacities for solidarity, exchange, collaboration, and debate. Conference organizers will review submitted abstracts and organize participants into panels. If you have a specific idea for a panel session with specific participants, please email the conference organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org. With an eye toward diversity of participants at different stages of career, we will work with participants to organize these sessions.
The deadline for submissions of interest in participating is September 13th. The conference committee will then contact you regarding this contribution and its incorporation into our conference sessionst, so that you may plan accordingly. If you have questions, please email email@example.com.
Nagar, R., & Geiger, S. (2007). Reflexivity and positionality in feminist fieldwork revisited. In eds. Adam Tickell, Eric Sheppard, Jamie Peck and Trevor Barnes, Politics and Practice in Economic Geography. London: Sage, pp. 267-278.
Routledge, P., & Derickson, K. D. (2015). Situated solidarities and the practice of scholar-activism. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 33(3), 391-407.