Race & Climate Change Workshop @ Birkbeck

via Lisa Tilley

A one-day workshop event followed by a public roundtable session at Birkbeck, University of London, Wednesday February 27 2019

This one-day event offers a space for considering how ‘race’, ‘racialisation’ and ‘racism’ operate as key terms of reference within the political, cultural and economic contexts of climate change. However, whereas ‘climate justice’ is often understood as the sanctioned space for discussions about race and climate change, this event broadens the scope by asking how and to what extent ‘race’ organises the more encompassing discourse of climate change, including its epistemologies (i.e., the history of climate change, climate science, mitigation, adaptation/resilience, geoengineering, justice/law), its institutions (i.e., UNFCCC, IPCC, Green Climate Fund), its geographical imaginaries (i.e., North/South, West/East, developed/developing, settler-colonial/Indigenous), its aesthetic genres (i.e., cinema, cli-fi, media), and its ontological forms (i.e., catastrophe, crisis, apocalypse, futurism). Consequently, the event is set up to grapple with the tension between the racialisation of climate change discourse and the racialised global structures and processes which contribute to a warming world and generate its differential effects on communities across the globe. How this tension plays out in relation to the intersectional dimensions of climate change (i.e., gender, class, and sex/sexuality) is also of paramount concern.

We invite contributions from scholars working on themes related, but not limited, to: Indigeneity, whiteness, blackness, migration, Afrofuturism, Afropessimism, development, the Anthropocene, settler colonialisms, critical race theory, political economy/ecology of oil and gas extraction, postcolonial theory, political theology, race and the international, queer ecology, biopower/geopower, climate change as a racialised object, climate change and fascism and/or the alt-right, and political geology.

Participants are invited to submit 200 word abstracts to any member of the organising committee:

Anupama Ranawana (a.m.ranawana@outlook.com)

Lisa Tilley (l.tilley@bbk.ac.uk)

Andrew Baldwin (w.a.baldwin@durham.ac.uk)

Tyler Tully (tyler.tully@exeter.ox.ac.uk)


The deadline for submitting abstracts is December 14th. Acceptance notifications will be sent shortly thereafter.


Teaching referencing

Image: Lisa Simpson in the library

I am currently teaching research and writing skills as part of my timetable. In particular, I have to teach referencing. As we all know, referencing is an incredibly tedious process, but we are always glad when we read something and the author has done their referencing properly, so we can track a particularly startling quote to its source. This process has not only enabled people to find said sources, but often also entire exciting bodies of literature that you may have been unaware off. There are also a number of other things that academics and other readers can pick up from a reference that gives them clues about the conditions around the publication of a particular piece. In order to get my students a bit more excited about referencing – and about the responsibility they are carrying as writers – I explained to them what each part of a reference means to a more experienced reader, and hopefully soon to them, too.

While this may have been complete “overkill”, I also like this sort of information, as it makes the process less abstract. I tried to avoid a situation like I experience it during my quantitative methods classes as an MSc student: we were given equations that we should use, but were never explained what each part referred to. Only when I went on youtube and had a look at how people explained things such as correlation, I was able to properly grasp what I was actually doing. “This is how you do it” never worked for me, so I assume that it is the same for other people (apologies if not!). Applied to referencing, this is what I have come up so far (not a definite list, just some basics) – additions, criticisms and further resources appreciated!

  • Author name: readers need the surname and either the initials or first name(s) to be able to identify the author. Other information: people often know each other in their respective fields, but there will also be authors they don’t know. In both cases, the name not only serves as an identifier (‘ah, that UK cultural geographer who always goes on about exploration’), but also as a short hand to see which field and perspective a person is potentially coming from (‘I don’t know them, must be from another field – either way, I should really get to know their work!’). Sometimes a name also gives an idea about nationality, ethnicity and gender – these are very controversial attributes, and people are still debating how to deal with this information in referencing. On the one hand, such clues can lead to sexist, racist, nationalist etc bias, on the other hand, they can help a reader assess how an author is positioned towards the topic (let’s say, an essay on colonialism or abortion). There are other issues: in using initials instead of surnames, a reference list style can help obscure gender to avoid a reader’s bias, but can also, for example, render women even more invisible in historically male-dominated academic literature. It also doesn’t work if you have, for instance, a Russian or Icelandic surname, as the surname will be gendered.
  • Publication date and page number: books are often reprinted or have several editions. The reader needs to be able to find your quote, even if ten different editions exists. Other information: the date gives the reader information about the historical period in which something was published or republished. It also gives the reader an idea not only about the political situation, but also the theories that were in fashion at the time and the debate that academics or society had (especially if you know WHERE a publication is from – see below).
  • Place of publication and publisher: like other companies, publishing houses change their headquarters, merge with other publishers, change name, or vanish completely. They also have particular specialisms and sometimes political directions, as they are dealing with knowledge. The publisher and place will not only help a reader track a particular edition of a book, but also give information about the reputation, ethos and ownership of a publisher (e.g. a mainstream liberal US educational publisher, a radical South African black owned publishing house), and also about the geographical area of a publisher. This is especially important with politically sensitive material that may be edited and translated differently in different geographical areas (e.g. the politically controversial works of the philosophers Karl Marx and Simone de Beauvoir are great examples), and at different times (e.g. Cold War, pre-decolonisation, Nazi Germany).
  • Websites: sometimes, you are asked for the date of access. This is because websites or individual articles are often taken off the web after a particular time, or their titles or content have been edited, for example, after objections from readers. Sometimes these ‘dead’ or edited websites are traceable through archives/mirrors. Again, the access date can help in finding them.

Note: as this was the first tutorial on referencing, I haven’t yet gone into issues such as canonisation: how the geographical ‘canon’ is built and in question, and how this relates to referencing. I go into this in my theory lectures, but I feel that it should also be taught as part of skills training.

Political Geology: Active Stratigraphies and the Making of Life

I have just received a hardcopy of the ‘Political Geology‘ collection, edited by Adam Bobbette and Amy Donovan. I have a chapter in it called ‘Against ‘Terrenism’: Léopold Sédar Senghor, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and the Fear of a De-spiritualised Earth’. The title of the book may seem confusing: when isn’t geology political? Aren’t we constantly fighting over resources or negotiating geologic sources of disaster? What the book is trying to do is to look at how geology can also move into politics in other ways, for instance, as a foundation for political philosophies or related intellectual challenges. My own chapter looks at the tension within organicist visions of the inorganic, and how they are politically utilised in problematic ways.

In 1961 Négritude poet and Senegalese president Léopold Sédar Senghor organised a conference entitled ‘Construire la Terre’ (Building the Earth), which was inspired by the work of the French geologist, palaeontologist, philosopher and Catholic priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. What Senghor attempted in his speech could be described as an attempt at imagining African post-independence politics through geological dimensions. This chapter looks at the political issues with Senghor’s vision of planetary development, and compares it with today’s desires for ‘ancestral geographies’ across the political spectrum.

Kathryn Sophia Belle @ Goldsmiths CPCT

1949: A Debate Between Claudia Jones and Simone de Beauvoir – a lecture by Kathryn Sophia Belle


Thursday 4 October 2018

Room RHB 256

Goldsmiths, University of London

New Cross SE14 6NW

I am very excited that Kathryn Sophia Belle is speaking at the Centre for Philosophy and Critical Thought at Goldsmiths. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to go due to teaching commitments (which involve using her work), but I hope that some of you can go!

Here is some info from the CPCT website (as Belle has pointed out on Twitter, the cover image does make for a poignant/disturbing juxtaposition):

Kathryn Sophia Belle (formerly known as Kathryn T. Gines), is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Pennsylvania State University. She is the author of Hannah Arendt and the Negro Question (Indiana UP, 2014) and the co-editor (with Donna-Dale L. Marcano and Maria del Guadalupe Davidson) of Convergences: Black Feminism and Continental Philosophy (SUNY, 2010) and a founder of the journal Critical Philosophy of Race. She is the founding director of the Collegium of Black Women Philosophers.

“This paper puts Claudia Jones (“An End to the Neglect of the Problems of Negro Women!”) in conversation with Simone de Beauvoir (The Second Sex). It pays particular attention to Jones’ intersectional analysis (of Black women’s experiences as simultaneously raced, classed, and gendered), juxtaposing it to de Beauvoir’s analogical approach (analysing gender oppression as analogous with racial oppression).”

This event is co-sponsored by the Centre for Feminist Research.

All welcome!

Workshop: “Weathering as Intersectional Feminist Praxis” @ Goldsmiths

Feminist Review

Readers might be interested in this upcoming workshop, connected to the Feminist Review Environment Special Issues, in which I also have an article.

via Yasmin Gunaratnam/Feminist Review

In conjunction with the publication of Feminist Review Issue 118 – Environment, we are pleased to co-host a workshop with the Centre for Feminist Research (Goldsmiths) on the theme of environmental humanities and feminism with Astrida Neimanis* at Goldsmiths on Wednesday 24th October 2018, 2-5 pm.

The workshop will explicitly take up the concept of “weathering” as an embodied engagement with climate change. Through discussion, writing, reflection, and interactive exercises, we will examine how weathering is a more-than-meteorological process in which lineaments of power entangle ecological, social, and political worlds. We invite applications from postgraduate students, early career scholars, activists and artists who are interested in participating in this inter-active workshop.

Please send a short statement (250-300 words) outlining your areas of work and how it would benefit from participation in the workshop to Astrida at astrida.neimanis@sydney.edu.au by 1 October 2018. Participants will be asked to read “Weathering” (Neimanis and Hamilton, feminist review 118 [2018]: 80-84) as advance preparation.

The workshop will be followed by a public talk by Astrida Neimanis: Naming without Claiming? Citation Practices and Feminist Foundations in Environmental Humanities

Discussant Kathryn Yusoff** (Geography, Queen Mary, London)

From the nature/culture binary to the notion of situated knowledges, feminist conceptual labours are arguably foundational to contemporary environmental humanities scholarship. Yet, while names like Donna Haraway and Val Plumwood may make their way into bibliographies, most field-defining texts in environmental humanities do not consider how the feminism of such thinkers is integral to their concepts. Based on research conducted with Jennifer Mae Hamilton, this talk considers the stakes of naming feminist figures without claiming their feminist commitments in the process of field formation; it concludes by suggesting how an explicitly feminist environmental humanities might be enacted.

*Astrida Neimanis is a Senior Lecturer in Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney, on Gadigal Country, in Australia. She is Associate Editor of Environmental Humanities, and together with Jennifer Mae Hamilton, coordinates the COMPOSTING feminisms and environmental humanities research group. Her recent book is Bodies of Water: Posthuman Feminist Phenomenology (2017).

**Kathryn Yusoff is Professor of Inhuman Geography at Queen Mary (University of London). Her work is centred on dynamic earth events such as abrupt climate change, biodiversity loss and extinction. She is interested in how these “earth revolutions” impact social thought. Broadly, her work has focused on political aesthetics, social theory and abrupt environmental change.

Two upcoming talks at Westminster and Birmingham on geopoetics

I am giving two talks this term on my current work on geopoetics. The talks are based on a chapter for a collection called ‘Geopoetics in Practice’ (Editors: Eric Magrane, Linda Russo, Sarah de Leeuw, Craig Santos Perez). The instructions for authors were to write a poetic piece and a commentary on their practice (or both combined). I submitted a piece entitled ‘Geopoetics, via Germany’, which also represents a critique of the geohumanities. It is an autobiographical piece which moves between family/local environmental history and German/geopolitical history. It was emotionally very hard to write, and it is even harder to read, but I think I have found a format in which I can present the work.

The first talk is at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Westminster (32-38 Wells Street, London, W1T 3UW), Tuesday 25 September 2018, 4-5.30pm.

The second talk is at the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham (Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT), Tuesday 13 November 2018, 1-2pm.

Both are departmental seminars, but should be open to visitors.

The Handbook of Interdisciplinary Research Methods is out!

This book is finally out! It’s a rather epic project that followed on from Celia Lury and Nina Wakeford’s edited collected on ‘Inventive Methods‘. Where ‘Inventive Methods’ focused on devices that are used across disciplines – the list, the pattern, the event, the photograph, the tape recorder – the ‘Handbook of Interdisciplinary Research Methods‘ focuses on processes (originally, the book was going to be called ‘ING’ or ‘The Ings of Things’, to emphasise the gerund theme). I have a section that diverges from the theme to complicate the notion of interdisciplinarity. Many thanks to all the contributors for their work and patience with this project! I will be posting details for the launch as soon as I receive them.

PS: The original section introduction for this book can be found in the collection ‘Decolonising the University‘ (edited by Gurminder K. Bhambra, Dalia Gebrial, Kerem Nişancıoğlu).