RGS-IBG 2020 Call for Papers: Unknowing Geographies: Situating ignorance, inattention and erasure

Organized by: Dr Jeremy Brice, London School of Economics and Political Science (j.brice@lse.ac.uk)

Emerging interdisciplinary scholarship in ignorance studies and agnotology has excavated complex entanglements between knowledge production and the generation of illegibilities, lacunae and ignorance (Gross 2010; McGoey 2019). However, geographers remain marginal to these discussions and extant studies of unknowing rarely focus explicitly on spatiality, temporality, scale or location (Frickel & Kinchy 2015). As a result, the geographies of unknowing – the places and moments which produce and shape ignorance, the mobilities of non-knowledge, and their role in ordering spaces, networks and circulations – have yet to receive sustained examination. Fundamental questions also remain about why certain places remain unmapped, some histories are forgotten and particular futures go unanticipated, and about how the making of these unknown geographies might be entwined with the selective erasure of risk, violence and inequality or the effacement of indigenous and vernacular knowledges.

This session aims to situate critical engagement with the politics, ethics and economies of ignorance through bringing together papers examining both spaces, mobilities and practices of unknowing and times, places and experiences which are rendered unknowable by dominant knowledges. Building on geographies of scientific, indigenous and (post)colonial knowledges, it will explore how geographies – as both spatio-temporal orderings and disciplinary knowledge practices – are implicated within and productive of processes of unknowing. In so doing it seeks especially to acknowledge and scrutinise the historical and contemporary role of geography’s own disciplinary institutions, theories and methodologies in engendering ignorance, imperceptibility and disavowal of marginalised knowledges. This session thus aims to enrich scholarship on the history and philosophy of geographical knowledge through stimulating enquiry into the genealogies, politics and implications of specifically geographical modes of unknowing.

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