All posts by hjons

A history of geography through books

Clive Barnett ruminates on the ways we might chart through ‘old books’  the making of human geography, and its particular concern for space not as a residual but as a central concern to social science:

Originally posted on Pop Theory: It’s sad, I know, but one of my favourite places is the Bookbarn, in Somerset on the road from Bristol to Wells. It is, as the name suggests, a big barn full of old books (my partner refuses to ever come along with me, because the smell of second-hand books…

via Geography Books — Progressive Geographies

Call for participants— Spaces of Attunement: Life, Matter & the Dance of Encounters

Venue: Glamorgan Building, Cardiff University, UK
Date: March 30th & March 31st, 2015

Organisers: Julian Brigstocke (Cardiff University) & Tehseen Noorani (Johns Hopkins University)

Plenary speakers: Ben Anderson (Reader in Human Geography, Durham University); Deborah Dixon (Professor of Geography, Glasgow University); Kevin Hetherington (Dean of Social Sciences, The Open University); Mara Miele (Reader in Human Geography, Cardiff University); Kim Tallbear (Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Texas).

As the alarming consequences of the dominance of anthropocentric forms of thinking and politics on environmental, social and mental ecologies (Guattari, 1986) become ever more apparent, there has been a surge of interest in inventing new ways of collaborating with, listening to, and granting authority to new kinds of voices, including more-than-human life and forms of material agency. In this symposium, we invite participants to explore practices, politics, histories and futures of attunements to voices, temporalities, and material processes that exceed the human subject. In doing so, we ask participants to consider the ways in which matter and more-than-human life can make demands for human ethical and political response (Jackson, 2012).

Practices of attunement are associated with various traditions of thought including: phenomenological ideas of dwelling and worlding (Heidegger, 1923); post-phenomenological and neo-vitalist theories of encounters, affect, and hybridity (Bennett, 2009; Haraway, 2008; Anderson, 2014; Ash & Simpson, 2014); sensory methodologies (Evans & Miele, 2012; Spinney, 2015); spiritual practices (Oosterbaan, 2008); feminist materialisms (Braidotti, 2002); speculative modes of theory and politics (Whitehead, 1967; Stengers, 2011); and indigenous traditions of responsibility to the natural world, which have arguably been marginalized in recent debates (Tallbear, 2015).

Attunements strive to attain greater familiarity or intimacy with more-than-human worlds. In doing so, they experiment with creating more sustainable and egalitarian social forms. However, when attunement starts to invoke normative ideals of being ‘in harmony’, those who appear ‘out of tune’ (strangers, outsiders) can be registered as dangerous and threatening (Ahmed, 2013). Nevertheless, attunements can also affirm difference and be receptive to non-human ‘qualities, rhythms, forces, relations and movements’ (Stewart, 2011). Post-human attunements generate monstrous aesthetic forms (Dixon, Hawkins & Straughan, 2012) and require inventive practices of listening (Hetherington, 2013).  When objects, forces and spirits that exceed the spaces and times of human experience press themselves upon us with increasing force, attunements can be strange, uncanny and uncertain. They bring us into contact with lost futures and haunted presents (Fisher, 2014).  In fact, attuning to non-human or post-human worlds may require actively distancing our enquiries from the intimacy of the organic body and its lived experiences and affects (Colebrook, 2014).

This symposium invites participants to explore ‘attunement to the world in all its particularity, strangeness, enchantment and horror’ (Anderson et al., 2012). In doing so, we aim to contribute to recent efforts to recalibrate notions of authority, voice, and objectivity in ways that work towards more egalitarian, sustainable worlds.

Topics that will animate the discussion may include:

  • Practices of attunement that aim to facilitate deeper collaborations between humans, more-than-human life, and material agency;
  • Materialisms (old and new);
  • Intersections or tensions between new materialisms and indigenous standpoints;
  • Attunements, spirituality and ritual.
  • The role of attunements in (re)distributing power and authority;
  • Attunements and aesthetics;
  • How attunements affect the quality of experience and encounters;
  • Narrative and non-narrative forms for expressing experiences and practices of attunement;
  • Material/semiotic figures of attunement (stranger, diplomat, monster, guide, alchemist…);
  • Biopolitics, the anthropocene, and the inorganic.

Apply to attend / present a paper.
Researchers from across the arts, humanities and social sciences are warmly welcome. If you wish to attend, or to give a 20-minute paper, please complete the form at: before 1800, February 13th, 2015.
Proposals for alternative presentation formats, artworks, performances, films, sound art etc. are encouraged. We will do everything we can to help with this in terms of technology, time, and potentially some extra financial resources. Please get in touch.

YouTube Geography

Clive Barnett points to the International Geographical Union’s YouTube channel, which has some interviews with significant figures in anglophone geography from the last 50 years.

Pop Theory

drsI’ve only just come across the International Geographical Union (IGU) YouTube channel – seems to be about 6 months old. It’s got a bunch of interviews with geographers of a certain significance, shall we say – David Harvey, from 1984, on historical-geographical materialism; Derek Gregory from 1983, Torsten Hagerstrand, Dick Chorley and Michael Chisholm in discussion with Anne Buttimer (and lots of other interviews chaired by her and one with her). Wonderful stuff in a nerdy ‘history and philosophy of geography’ kind of way).

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Agenda for the HPGRG AGM at the RGS-IBG Annual Conference 2014

Annual General Meeting 2014

13:10 to 14:25, Thursday 28 August 2014


  1. Apologies (Richard Powell)
  2. Minutes of 2013 AGM
  3. HPGRG Sessions for 2014 (Heike Jöns and Isla Forsyth)
  4. HPGRG Research Group Guests for 2014 (Heike Jöns)
  5. HPGRG Accounts (Sam Kinsley)
  6. HPGRG Dissertation Prize (Pauline Couper; Mathilde Leduc-Grimaldi; Heike Jöns)
  7. HPGRG Website (Thomas Jellis)
  8. HPGRG Membership update (Paul Simpson)
  9. Ideas for HPGRG Workshop for 2015 (Richard Powell)
  10. Call for Sessions for 2015 RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, University of Exeter (Richard Powell)
  11. Discussion of Committee Roles and Responsibilities (Richard Powell)
  12. Committee Membership Terms and Elections (Richard Powell)
    • Chair
    • Secretary
    • Membership Secretary
  13. Any Other Business

HPGRG AGM at the RGS-IBG annual conference 2014

The History and Philosophy of Geography Research Group Annual General Meeting 2014 will be held at 13.10-14.25 (Plenary/Lunch session), on Thursday 28 August in the RGS-IBG Council Room, as part of the RGS-IBG annual conference.

Any Committee Member or normal member of the Research Group (or any other interested person) who is not registered to attend the conference but who wishes to attend the AGM (or any other Research Group’s AGM) can gain a free visitor pass for the meeting by emailing AC2014 [at] rgs [dot] org and providing their name, affiliation, email address and the meeting(s) they wish to attend.  Stephanie Wyse at RGS-IBG will confirm receipt and arrange for a visitor pass to be collected from the registration desk on the day.

HPGRG Dissertation Prize winners 2012 and 2013

The HPGRG committee are pleased to announce the winners of the annual dissertation prize. Due to various issues, we are announcing both the 2012 and 2013 prizes.

In 2012 we awarded two first prizes:

Emily Foulger (University of Nottingham) “A Woman’s Eye: Isabella Bird Bishop’s travels in the RGS-IBG archives”

Matthew Jones (University of Oxford) “Ordering mysteries? An historical geography of the Routledge expedition to Easter Island, 1913-16”

In 2013 we awarded one first prize:

Emily Nash (Queen Mary, University of London) “‘On the Wild Side’ The Geography Collective, public geographies and exploration”

Congratulations to all of the winners.

Conference awards 2013

as a research group of the RGS-IBG, the remit of the HPGRG includes supporting postgraduate members to attend the RGS-IBG annual conference. This year we are pleased to support two postgraduate researchers giving papers at the annual conference with a bursary of £50.

Chay Brooks from the University of Cambridge is giving a paper entitled ‘Agents of Good Will’: An historical geography of philanthropy and the Institute of International Education, c. 1946-1952, in the Historical Geographies of Internationalism, 1900s-1970s session.

Jake Hodder from the University of Nottingham is giving a paper entitled Radical Pacifism, Internationalism and the Ephemeral Geographies of the World Peace Brigade (1962-64), also in the Historical Geographies of Internationalism, 1900s-1970s session.

The abstracts for both of these papers are available on the session page at the RGS-IBG website.

‘Geography and its publics’ at iCHSTM 2013, sponsored by the HPGRG

The HPGRG are pleased to publicise the ‘Geography and its publics‘ strand at the 2013 International Congress of History of Science, Technology and Medicine to be held in Manchester between 21 and 28 of July 2013.

The ‘Geography and its publics‘ strand is made up of six sessions, between the 24th and 25th July, with a broad range of papers, including keynotes from Prof. Charlie Withers (Edinburgh) on the morning of the 24th and Prof. Karen Morin (Bucknell) on the morning of the 25th. Please see the provisional programme for more details on the interesting collection of papers that will be presented in these sessions.

The International Congress of History of Science, Technology and Medicine is the largest event in the field, and takes place every four years. Recent meetings have been held in Mexico City (2001), Beijing (2005) and Budapest (2009).

Call for Sessions: RGS-IBG Annual Conference 2013

The History and Philosophy of Geography Research Group (HPGRG) invites suggestions for 12 sponsored sessions at the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2013 in London from 28th to 30th August 2013. The conference will focus on “New geographical frontiers” and be chaired by Professor Jonathan Rigg (Durham University).

We welcome suggestions for sessions across our remit, interpreted broadly, as the histories and/or philosophies of human geography, physical geography and associated fields. Proposals for co-sponsored sessions with other Research Groups are welcome.

HPGRG sponsorship can provide promotion for your session, help manage timetabling clashes, and enable bidding for funding for research group guests and awards for postgraduate presenters in your sessions.

Please send the following information to Heike Jöns, Secretary of HPGRG (, by Monday, 10th December 2012:

  • title of proposed session, name of organizers, and abstract of c. 200-250 words
  • indication of proposed format (e.g. papers or panel discussion, number of papers, use of discussants; see the RGS page for possibilities of session formats)
  • number of 1h 40 minutes slots requested
  • possible co-sponsorship with other research groups

We will inform session organizers about HPGRG sponsorship and further procedures before Christmas. The deadline for submitting complete sessions to the Society is 13th February 2013. This would leave about two months for session organisers to send out a call for papers and finalise the session programme.

Please direct any questions to Heike Jons ( Please see the RGS-IBG website for further details about the Annual Conference 2013 and about HPGRG on this website.

The HPGRG committee looks forward to your submissions!