RGS-IBG 2017 RACE Working Group Call for Sessions

The Race, Culture and Equality (RACE) Working Group would like to invite proposals for sessions to be sponsored by RACE at the RGS-IBG annual conference 2017 titled ‘Decolonizing geographical knowledges: opening up geography to the world’. A key objective of the RACE Working Group of the RGS-IBG is to promote scholarship on topics of racial inequality, colonization, decolonization and whiteness, and to encourage dialogue on race that advances academic knowledge and progressive practices. The RACE Working Group therefore welcomes proposals on these topics more generally, but we strongly encourage proposals that critically and creatively engage with these topics in relation to the conference theme specifically, for example; by exploring the limitations, contradictions and injustices of organising a conference on the topic of decolonization in western neoliberal academic settings; and/or by examining the contemporary co-option of decolonial thinking in a range of settings. We are also interested in sponsoring sessions and activities by activists and scholar-activists, as well as artists and scholar-artists, that propose and explore practical initiatives for dismantling colonial processes within the discipline, within the university system, and within the RGS-IBG.

Please email proposals to raceworkinggroup@gmail.com by 22 January 2017. Submissions should include a title, an abstract (max 250 words), the format of the session or activity, the number of timeslots requested (if applicable), and name(s) and affiliation(s) of the organizers. The guidelines for organising sessions can be found here http://tinyurl.com/pdrjfek. We will endeavor to respond to organizers by the end of January 2017.

  1. For more on decolonization, please see Tuck, E. and Yang, K. W. (2012) Decolonization is not a metaphor, Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, 1(1), p. 1-40.

New Materialism & Decoloniality Workshop, 7-8 July, Duisburg

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Next week, I will hopefully be attending (and speaking) at the New Materialism & Decoloniality Workshop at Duisburg University. I have to say ‘hopefully’, because the Home Office has still not returned my passport and other documents that I had to send off a few weeks ago for the first part of my citizenship application (fingers crossed that I get them back in time – any advice about alternative travel documents appreciated).

Organised by Olivia Rutazibwa and Pol Bargués-Pedreny of the Käte Hamburger Kolleg/Centre for Global Cooperation Research, the workshop seeks to bring the two theoretical directions into dialogue with one another. There will be three rounds of discussions in which two people present readings, followed by two discussants who engage with the presentations. The three themes are: 1) The Roots of the Argument. Deconstructions: Nature, Culture and Critique. 2) The Argument. Reconstructions: Infrastructures, Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Cosmologies. 3) Thinking ahead with the Argument. Implementations and Implications: Ethics, Ecology and Geopolitics. The three sessions will be followed by a round table. Speakers include:  Anna Agathangelou, Kai Koddenbrock, Mark Jackson, Lisa Tilley, Jessica Schmidt, Vanessa Pupavac and Ovidiu Tichindeleanu.

The dialogues will be preceded by an evening of dialogues and performances on the topic “Climate on the Rise, People on the Move. Understanding Today’s Global Challenges Differently”. Here, Rolando Vazquez (Utrecht University) and Doerthe Rosenow (Oxford Brookes University) “will explore our relation to the earth, vulnerability and what it means to be human in an increasingly uncanny world”.

Attendance is welcome and free. Please e-mail events@gcr21.uni-due.de .

CFP ISA 2017 Material and the Colonial Question

The following call for papers for the International Studies Association 2017 conference might be of interest to readers:

“Please consider this call for papers on the theme of ‘Material and the Colonial Question’ for ISA 2017 (Feb 22-25) in Baltimore. The ISA deadline for submissions is June 1st, so please send expressions of interest as soon as possible and full 200 word abstracts by May 20th to lisa.tilley@warwick.ac.uk. Many thanks!

Lisa Tilley, Olivia Rutazibwa, and Ajay Parasram.

Material and the Colonial Question

Divided cities, degraded resource frontiers, poisoned urban water supplies, violent commodity routes, oil pipelines, concrete settlements on colonised lands, toxic air, and contaminated biospheres – all of these may be understood as material substantiations of historically determined power relations in the present. A methodological shift to place material at the centre of analysis reveals the ways in which matter is implicated in politics and also provides a new means of expanding our debates around the colonial question.

This panel draws together papers which centre on the material realities of unequal political environments and thus adjust and enhance theorising both of the material and the (post)colonial. Panel contributions variously consider how material arrangements constitute subject/object, human/thing colonial power relations. These will also uncover means of overcoming the separation between the material and the representational in decolonial and postcolonial work by tracing lineages of Indigenous thought, or by recovering material questions from the work of anticolonial thinkers including Frantz Fanon.

Papers included range from a reading of the sociogenic material of the (post)colonial city through the work of Fanon and Sylvia Wynter, to an examination of the materialities of Black Power.

Panel contributors may relate to one or more of the following research questions:

In what ways is material politically implicated in the colonial present?
How are colonial social relations materialised in physical space?
What are the possibilities for engagement between posthumanism and post-/de-colonial thought?
What are the political implications of physiological changes in relation to material environments?
How does matter mediate political life?
How are material exclusions from the figure of the human produced?
How are dehumanising spaces such as refugee camps and urban ‘slums’ produced politically?
How can existing postcolonial and decolonial theory enhance new materialisms theorising?

References:
Abourahme, Nasser (2014) Assembling and Spilling-Over: Towards an ‘Ethnography of Cement’ in a Palestinian Refugee Camp. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research.
Jackson, Mark (Ed.) (Forthcoming) Postcolonialism, Posthumanism, and Political Ontology. Routledge.
Mitchell, Timothy (2011) Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil. Verso.
Todd, Zoe (2016) An Indigenous Feminist’s Take on the Ontological Turn: ‘Ontology’ is Just Another Word for Colonialism. Journal of Historical Sociology.”

Global Social Theory – Call for Contributions

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On behalf of the Global Social Theory team (Gurminder Bhambra, Lisa Tilley, Lucy Mayblin, Pat Lockley, Angela Last):

Dear all,

Many of you will already be familiar with the new research and pedagogy resource ‘Global Social Theory’ which is partly inspired by the ‘Why is my curriculum white?’ movement and seeks to build a series of accessible introductions to truly global thinkers, as well as to important concepts and topics.

The site is now widely used as a teaching resource, which is wonderful, but we still need to build up the content in order to keep the project growing.

Many key thinkers have yet to be profiled, including Said, Spivak, Bhabha, Walter Rodney, Chakrabarty, and other prominent scholars. However, we would also like many more entries on thinkers who have not been canonised in Western scholarship, or who work through registers other than academic texts, such as music, poetry or fiction.

Otherwise, many key concepts and topics have yet to be covered including, land, labour, freedom, space, sovereignty, subjectivity, violence, security, and so on.

So, please do get in touch with me (or one of the other editors) if you would like to contribute a summary of a concept, topic or thinker. Entries have ranged from shorter 300 word summaries to more detailed 900 word overviews, but each entry includes ‘Essential Readings’ ‘Further Readings’ and some key ‘Questions’ which are very useful in a classroom setting.

Finally, and on behalf of the GST team, I would like to wish you all a happy and healthy 2016!

All my best,

Lisa

Guest talk at the New Centre for Research & Practice

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On Monday, I gave a virtual guest lecture at the New Centre for Research & Practice. It was the first instalment of a seminar on ‘Global Politics of the Anthropocene‘, organised and taught by Carlos Amador. You can still join the remainder of the discussion, either as a ‘student’ (which enables you to join the discussions) or as a silent listener (‘audit’ option). The upcoming Monday events (UK time: 11pm – 1:30 am) include speakers across disciplines, including fellow Scottish academic Zoe Todd (Anthropology, University of Aberdeen).

The paper I had prepared was on Daniel Maximin‘s geopoetics, which focus on undoing hegemonic geopolitical images by utilising the geophysical. The talk also drew attention to the violence of academic knowledge production, including citation practices. Both themes, for me, relate very strongly to Anthropocene discourse, where attention to the colonial/imperialist dimensions of geophysical phenomena, as well as of research practices themselves, has been lacking.

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Image source: New Centre for Research & Practice

CPA 2015 Annual Meeting ‘Shifting the Geography of Reason XII: Technologies of Liberation’

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Reblogged from the Caribbean Philosophical Association via Lisa Tilley:
(apparently, the deadline has been extended)

Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo, Mexico
June 18-21, 2015

Technologies of liberation could refer to the interrelated use of the computer, Internet, radio, mobile phones and applications including social media that, through their decentralizing character, enable people to reach large numbers of others who they can engage in multi-directional communication as journalists, commentators, and organizers. Facilitating the exposing of wrong-doing and the mobilizing of protest, scrutiny, and expanded participation, in the recent history of democratic rebellion in North Africa and the Middle East, we might think of liberation technologies as including the utilization of social media to organize the events that together culminated in the Arab Spring. The centrality of technology to processes of liberation, social justice and political transformation remain apparent across generations and across the world.

The Zapatistas were among the first to use digital technologies in the struggle against neoliberal globalization, and their efforts attracted the attention of many sympathetic intellectuals and non-governmental organizations throughout the world. The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) used social networks to cross borders and build transnational alliances in real time; they were able, through their use of the World Wide Web, to promulgate their message and capture the imagination and support of other marginalized peoples fighting for liberation.

The meeting of reflections on liberation and technology is also present in Frantz Fanon’s reflections on the radio and medicine in Algeria during its war of national independence from 1954 to 1962, in addition to many of the similar reflections in the speeches of Malcolm X. As Malcolm X and Fanon’s 90th birthdays will respectively be on May 19th and July 20th, 2015, this theme could be addressed in celebration of ancestral contributions and recent world events.

Considering whether under the right conditions, in Fanon’s language, technologies can take on positive coefficients, please send individual paper and panel proposals to caribphil@gmail.com by December 15th, 2014.  Be sure to include the full name, email address, institutional affiliation, and paper title of each potential participant and an abstract outlining the nature of the proposed panel and/or paper(s). As always, we will also accept proposals that do not directly address the conference theme.

Founded in 2003 in Mona, Jamaica, the principal goal of the CPA is to support the free exchange of ideas and foster an intellectual community that is truly representative of the diversity of voices and perspectives that is paradigmatic of, but not limited to, the Caribbean. The Caribbean is thus understood not solely as a geopolitical region, but as a trope to investigate dimensions of the multiple undersides of modernity. Likewise, philosophy is conceived, not as an isolated academic discipline, but as rigorous theoretical reflection about fundamental problems faced by humanity. Understood in this way, Caribbean philosophy is a transdisciplinary form of interrogation aiming to elucidate fundamental questions that emerge with discovery, conquest, racial, gender, and sexual domination, genocide, dependency, and exploitation as well as freedom, emancipation, and decolonization.

CFP: ‘Not drowning but fighting’: Decolonising the Anthropocene

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Image: Tokelauns protest during Pacific Warrior Day of Action (Te Mana: Litia Maiava) via ABC Australia

We all may be a geophysical force, we may all be geology,
but we don’t matter, are matter and own matter equally.
Despite this realisation, we feel like we’ve been rendered geologically active,
but politically rather passive.
We pass through premature fossilisation in the face of nature’s agency
that we are suddenly able to perceive, apparently through Bruno Latour.
Shouting, flailing, we spew forth a deluge of cultural production
that portrays us as just that: already dead.

While the Anthropocene is embraced as an opportunity to reframe our engagement with the ‘geo’ in geography or even geopolitics, the on-going struggles against the dynamics that gave rise to the phenomenon of the Anthropocene are rarely mentioned. At best, the image of the Anthropocene serves to confirm the excesses of capitalism or is used to fantasise about a complicity of the Earth with socialist ideals of revolution. But mostly, discourse around the Anthropocene extends the experience economy into deep time and the earth’s core through affective engagements. The great Promethean realisation of the (M)anthropocene liberates us from paying attention to the everyday struggles against continued injustices against humans and nonhumans alike. In this session we would like to make present the not-so-present narratives of the Anthropocene in geographical discourse, especially around violence, inequality, white supremacy and on-going colonialism.
What does it mean, to use Aimé Césaire’s words, ‘to inhabit the face of a great disaster’, to witness and participate in its continued (re)production, both inside and outside of academia? What examples of contestation and intervention provoke re-inscription?

We invite responses for a session for the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference ‘Geographies of the Anthropocene’ in Exeter, UK (1-4 September 2015).
Please e-mail abstracts (250 words) to  Kathryn Yusoff (k.yusoff@qmul.ac.uk), Anja Kanngieser (a.kanngieser@gold.ac.uk) or Angela Last (angela.last@glasgow.ac.uk) by 1 February 2015.