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.

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RGS-IBG RACE 2018 Workshop & Performing Welsh Identities

This year, I’m involved in 2 sessions at the RGS-IBG 2018, both of which are affiliated with the RACE Working Group. The first one is the group’s annual workshop, this time organised by Dr Margaret Byron (Leicester). The workshop’s first half will focus on the amazing multicultural community of Butetown in Cardiff, and the second part will focus on racism in the academy through discussions of students’ and staff’s experience during dissertation/thesis research. The workshop will be run on Tuesday 28 August 2018 from 12-5pm (free entry, free lunch, open to public). More information can be found here.


Image: Adeola Dewis

The second set of sessions, ‘Performing Welsh Identities’ (Thursday 30 August 2018, 2:40 – 6:30pm) is organised with Dr Patricia Noxolo (Birmingham). My participation in this performance and discussion session came about through my work as a musician and record label owner: I had noticed a lot of interesting artistic work on Wales and coming out of Wales, and felt like a workshop might be a good opportunity to connect people, as well as performers and geographers. Patricia Noxolo has been leading a project on Caribbean In/Securities that is looking at “the negotiation of risk in cultural production and creativity”. She will be focusing on Caribbean migration and performativities. Participants include: Adeola Devis, Rosie Okae and Ffion Aynsley (Off Chance), Roshi Nasehi (Roshi & Pars Radio), Geraint Rhys Whittaker. Others TBC. Details on the session can be found here.


Images: Roshi & Pars Radio (left); Off Chance Theatre Company (middle); Geraint Rhys (right)

New Article in TCS Geo-Social Formations Special Issue

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Image Source: Björk ‘Mutal Core’

My new article ‘We Are the World? Anthropocene Cultural Production between Geopoetics and Geopolitics‘ is now out in the ‘Geo-Social Formations and the Anthropocene’ Special Issue of Theory, Culture & Society. It was written two years ago, and should be read as the predecessor of the Geoforum article on geopoetics and geopolitics. Big thank you to Kathryn Yusoff and Nigel Clark for inviting me to participate in this issue. Other authors include Myra J Hird and Simon Dalby.

The article is also the second in a series of three on interwar ‘cosmic’ materialisms and their implications for the present. The previous one, ‘Negotiating the Inhuman: Bakhtin, Materiality & the Instrumentalisation of Climate Change’ was also published by Theory, Culture & Society. The third one is currently under review at another journal.

Abstract

The proposal of the ‘Anthropocene’ as a new geological epoch where humans represent the dominant natural force has renewed artistic interest in the ‘geopoetic’, which is mobilized by cultural producers to incite changes in personal and collective participation in planetary life and politics. This article draws attention to prior engagements with the geophysical and the political: the work of Simone Weil and of the editors of the Martinican cultural journal Tropiques, Suzanne and Aimé Césaire. Synthesizing the political and scientific shifts in human-world relationships of their time, both projects are set against oppressive or narcissistic materialisms and experiment with the image of the ‘cosmic’ to cultivate a preoccupation not (only) with a tangible materialism but with an intangible one that emphasizes process and connectivity across wide spatial and temporal scales. The writers’ movement between poetics and politics will be used to enquire what kind of socio-political work a contemporary geopoetic could potentially do.

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

RITA Seminar: Imagining Caribbean Future Spaces

Montserrat, The Pompeii of the Caribbean
Courthouse and former Employee, Plymouth, Monserrat. Image: Christopher Pillitz

I am honoured to be speaking on the Future Environmental Spaces panel at the upcoming RITA (Race in the Americas) seminar on Imagining Caribbean Future Spaces. My presentation ‘Apostropher L’Apocalypse’ will discuss French-Caribbean poetic engagements with disasters and politics, and their invaluable contributions to Anthropocene discourse. The seminar is taking place on 31 October at the University of Birmingham and is organised by Patricia Noxolo, Adunni Adams and James Owen Heath. Attendance is free of charge. Speakers include Lisabeth Paravisini-Gebert, Fabienne Viala, Selwyn R. Cudjoe, Maria Cristina Fumagalli, Pat Noxolo, Louise Hardwick and Thomas Glave.

Here are the seminar details:

“[W]e need imaginations that are sensitive to inner-city decay and the lungs of the globe orchestrated into forests and rivers and skies. We need to build afresh through the brokenness of our world….”
— Wilson Harris

This one-day symposium looks at the ways in which the Caribbean and the future are imagined together. How has the future of the Caribbean been imagined and how is it being re-imagined at a time of environmental change and global insecurity? How does the future look when we imagine it in and through the Caribbean – is the Caribbean a space to imagine the future differently?

31 October 2014, 9am – 5.15pm

The University of Birmingham
Room 311
Geography Building
Edgbaston
Birmingham B15 2TT

You can register for the seminar here. The programme can be viewed here.

Carribbean Future Spaces is funded by the Institute for Latin American Studies & the University of Birmingham.