Political Geology Workshop @ Cambridge, 17 November 2017

Political Geology: Active Stratigraphies and the Making of Life
Friday 17 November 2017
University of Cambridge
Department of Geography
Seminar Room
10am – 5pm

What and where is the geos in geopolitics?

This workshop will consider the evolution of ideas around the geos, its politics, scientific histories, and practices. The goal is to bring scholars from a diversity of fields and disciplines together to rethink the relationship between politics and geology and the agency of the geos in shaping and transforming politics. Presentations will focus on the politics of geophysical scientific practices; counter-histories of geological science in the West; power, erosion and soil; culture and volatile geologies; the politics of deep-futures in the present; subsurface depth, hidden-volumes, and mediation; and amodern geological imaginaries.

Convenors: Amy Donovan (Cambridge) and Adam Bobbette (Cambridge)
Participants: Andrew Barry (UCL), Seth Denizen (Berkeley), Deborah Dixon (Glasgow), Joe Gerlach (Bristol), Karg Kama (Oxford), Simone Kotva (Cambridge), Angela Last (Leicester), Richard Powell (Cambridge), Jim Secord (Cambridge), Rachael Tily (Oxford)

This workshop is kindly supported by the Department of Geography; Natures, Cultures, Knowledges; and Cambridge Cultural and Historical Geography.

10:30-Adam Bobbette & Amy Donovan: Where is the Geos in Geopolitics?
11:00-Rachael Tily: Genealogies of Geomorphological Techniques: An STS history

11:30-Jim Secord: Global Geology and the Tectonics of Empire
12:00-Andrew Barry: The Proximity of Things: Subterannean Geopolitics and the Construction of the Transadriatic Gas Pipeline


1:30-Richard Powell: The Geo and its Discipline(s)
2:00-Philip Conway: The Historical Ontology of Environment: From the Unity of Nature to the Birth of Geopolitics

2:30-Deborah Dixon: Mining Hashima: Geopower, Differentiated Vitalism and the Violence of Expropriation
3:00-Seth Denizen: Hollow Soil: The Politics of Infiltration in Iztapalapa

3:30-4:00-Tea & Coffee

4:00-Angela Last: Against ‘terrenism’: Léopold Sédar Senghor, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and the fear of a de-spiritualised Earth
4:30-Simone Kotva: Attention in the Anthropocene

5:00 – 6:00 (discussion)


Gabo Guzzo – The Geological Turn @ Banner Repeater Project Space

Image Source:Gabo Guzzo

More on the geologic(al) turn: Gabo Guzzo, artist in residence at the Banner Repeater reading room/project space at Hackney Downs Station, is taking on the Anthropocene during his residency between 24 May – 10 June 2012.
According to Super/Collider, Guzzo is ‘a London-based Italian artist and economist’. He ‘will present a diagram in relation to this epoch. using this diagram he will explore the effect we have had on the earth by fostering collaborative conversations and responses to his offering’. If I understand it correctly, you can pop in before the opening night on 31 May for discussions. The opening night will take place from 5-9pm. From 7pm, there will be a debate on the ‘Anthropocene’ between chemist Paul Crutzen (known for popularising the idea of the Anthropocene), artist Rasheed Araeen, geologist Jan Zalaseiwicz and art historian/critic TJ Demos.

Political Geology & (In)determinate Subjects Workshops @ Lancaster University

For people who liked the Terra Infirma workshop and/or the Geologic Turn symposium, here are two days of presentations and discussions at Lancaster University:

Political Geology: Stratigraphies of Power 21 June 2012, 11am – 5pm

(In)determinate Subjects: Indeterminacy & Justice 22 June 2012, 10am – 6pm

The events are described as follows:

Political Geology: Stratigraphies of Power

‘With what language can we describe the politics of the Earth? ‘Geopolitics’ should be the name of that language; yet the geopolitical lexicon is strangely lacking in any reference to the Earth System, to its structures and resistances, its deep time and its sudden upheavals. In recent decades, social and political theory has undertaken a number of biological turns, giving rise for example to political ecology, ecological economics and theories of biopolitics. But, despite Deleuze and Guattari’s exploration of ‘geophilosophy’, there has been no comparable geological turn – no concerted inquiry into the ways that the geophysical, as much as the biological, conditions what politics is and can be. However, debates about the Anthropocene seem to mark a growing recognition of humankind as a geological force. At the same time, unregenerate seismic, volcanic, atmospheric and other geomorphological forces attest to the limits of the human, yet also propel and incite human agency.

This workshop will explore the possibilities for a political vocabulary that can articulate the geophysical dimensions of politics and the political dimensions of the geophysical.’

Speakers will include:

Nigel Clark (Open University), Deborah Dixon (Aberystwyth University), Stuart Elden (Durham University), Myra Hird (Queen’s University, Canada), Arun Saldanha (University of Minnesota), Bronislaw Szerszynski (Lancaster University) and Kathryn Yusoff (Lancaster University).

Cost for attending (including lunch): £20; £10 for students or Lancaster staff.
This workshop is organised by the Centre for the Study of Environmental Change and the Lancaster Environment Centre. To book a place, or for more information, go to
http://bit.ly/politicalgeology or contact Bronislaw Szerszynski (bron@lancaster.ac.uk).

(In)determinate Subjects: Indeterminacy & Justice

‘Increasing attention has been given to exploring how to account for entities that are both between time and between natures, such as subject/objects, forms of biotic, technoscientific and inhuman life. This conversation will ask: In what ways can indeterminate entities be observed within (and in excess of) the material/practical conditions of their emergence? How do these conditions create different kinds of responsibility(and new vocabularies which trouble and expand the contours of ‘responsibility’) which we may not have yet anticipated? How can we imagine alternative forms of accounting which apprehend ontological and temporal conditions of precarity and justice? By exploring these and further questions we hope the conversation will help us explore alternative forms of experimentality and human – inhuman configurations which may take new account of indeterminacy and move us towards a more enduring postrelational politics.’

Speakers include: Myra Hird (Queens), Rebecca Ellis (Lancaster University), Claire Waterton (Lancaster University), Nigel Clark (Open University), Natasha Myers (York University) Elizabeth Barron (Harvard University), Filippo Bertoni (University of Amsterdam), Hayder Al-Mohammad (University of Southampton), Arun Saldanha (University of Minnesota), Kathryn Yusoff (Lancaster University) with Celia Roberts (Lancaster University), Maureen McNeil (Lancaster University), and Lucy Suchman (Lancaster University).

To reserve a place contact k.yusoff@lancaster.ac.uk

TCAUP symposia online: ‘The Geologic Turn’ and ‘Curating Race, Curating Space’

While I’m still working on the next post (and attending the Atlas book launch!), here are the links to presentations from two interesting symposia, hosted and kindly put online by the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning (TCAUP). I witnessed the introductory lecture to the ‘Geologic Turn’ symposium (organised by Etienne Turpin), but unfortunately missed the second half as well as the ‘Curating Race, Curating Space’ event (organised by Milton S F Curry).

Here are the videos in order, by symposium:

The Geologic Turn

Etienne Turpin (Introduction)
Stan Allen ‘Landform Building: Architecture’s New Terrain’ (Keynote)

Seth Denizen
Jane Hutton
Amy C. Kulper
Discussion with Meredith Miller

Jamie Kruse and Elizabeth Ellsworth (smudge studio)
Discussion with Rosalyne Sheih

D. Graham Burnett
Edward Eigen
Paulo Tavares
Discussion with Rania Ghosn

Curating Race, Curating Space

Milton S F Curry (Introduction)

Madhu Dubey ‘Racial Geographies of Cyber-Futurism’
Darell W. Fields ‘The Black Architecture Project: Artifacts and Community’
Tobias Wofford‘Framing Culture/Displaying Race: Traditional and Contemporary Art in the First World Festival of Negro Arts’
Discussion with Peter Gilgen and Matthew Biro

Hansy Better ‘Sites of In-Betweenness’
Amanda Williams
Discussion with Joan Kee and Teman Evans

Liz Ogbu ‘Design for Social Impact: Linking platforms of advocacy and practice’
Andres Lepik ‘Changing the Paradigms: Social engagement in architecture and the role of exhibitions’
Olympia Kazi
Discussion with Keith Mitnick

Final Discussion with Robert Fishman and Session Moderators

While you’re at it, you should also catch Antoine Picon’s lecture ‘What Can we Learn from Construction? Architecture, Technology and Culture’.