RGS-IBG 2020 Call for Papers: Worlds of wisdom: ontology, immanence and transcendence in geography, philosophy and geosophy

Organizer: Emily Hayes, (Oxford Brookes University, ehayes@brookes.ac.uk)


Over the last decades critical scholarship has laboured to shift Geography’s theories and praxes. In spite of these efforts the discipline continues to be associated with the oft-told associations of topographical exploration and imperialism and its crimes. Yet such a view of geographical practice is partial, lazy and chronically damaging. Imaginative measures to lift this veil are an ethical imperative in order to confront the denial of the conceptual might and philosophical essence of geographical practices.


As well as the temporal and spatial connections, material mechanisms of exchange and circulation between what were until the nineteenth century geographical, philosophical and geosophical ways of knowing, rather than separate disciplinary fields, are becoming more clearly apprehended. Recent scholarship on the Enlightenment has been particularly insightful concerning emergent natural philosophical communities and practices. This scholarship has brought both historical-geographical precision as well as added dimensions to global histories of science and understandings of universal knowledge. In addition, the examination of the relations across the shifting, but common, borders of the two ancient fields of knowledge, Geography and Philosophy, has begun. Inquiries into ethics and morality have been growth areas within the discipline. However, the incorporation of Philosophy and histories of Philosophy, from those of Ancient Greece and Rome to Philosophies of Anthropology, into routine geographical and historical geographical teaching, practice and parlance remains shallow.


Surveying Geography’s bridging, ie. its inductive and transformative, role between the sciences and humanities, this session will explore the ways in which geographical knowledge, materials and cognitive, physical, visual practices constitute an untapped reservoir of wisdom. The session seeks papers which theorise that the discipline’s histories constitute resources for exploring, learning and teaching historical and contemporary routes towards virtuous living. The latter helped to develop diverse viewpoints from which to observe and debate what might constitute good, or better, ways to live. In seeking to foster interdisciplinary exchange and to deepen understandings of the geographies of philosophy and the philosophical value of geography, this session aims to encourage dialogue between practitioners in these respective fields by asking the following:


–       Where have Geography and Philosophy been located within diverse schemes of faith, knowledge and science? Where, when and how have knowledge-makers contributed to both Geography and Philosophical communities?

–       What common and distinct cognitive concepts, visual and aesthetic tropes and linguistic terms have been developed by practitioners of the aforementioned disciplines? Where were the limits of this common ground?

–       How have shifting languages and concepts of space and geographical perceptions been used by philosophers? How have diverse geographical practitioners harnessed philosophical knowledge and practices? What social constituencies, practices and technologies were harnessed?

–       What future directions should this joint venture between Geography and Philosophy take?

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