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HPGRG Dissertation Prize 2019 Announced

We are delighted to announce that the dissertation prize panel recommended a joint award of the prize to two dissertations of exceptionally high quality. The joint winners of this year’s prize are Olivia Russell (University of Edinburgh) and Mitchell Wilson (University of Bristol).

Olivia Russel’s dissertation, Geography, Cartography and Military Intelligence: Gertrude Campbell’s Cartographic Work for the Royal Geographical Society in 1913 to 1918, is a study of archival material relating to the life and cartographic work of Gertrude Bell, focusing on her contributions to military intelligence in World War I through cartographic work in ‘Arabia’. The work presents a nuanced, multiple understanding of Bell and her activities. Empirical chapters are structured through three key themes (informed by a critical engagement with literature) and demonstrate keen attention to detail in the use of evidence and construction of arguments. Overall, the dissertation draws on a great range of primary source material from the archives of the RGS, using these to consider issues around both colonialism and the role of women in the production of geographical knowledge. It thus responds to very contemporary questions about structural issues within the discipline. This is a standout dissertation addressing the history of geography, which adds to calls for the inclusion of ‘all marginalised knowledges’ within a critical historiography of the discipline.

Mitchell Wilson’s dissertation, Expanding the Empirical Repertoire of Non-Representational Theory Through a Methodological Reflection on Creating a Documentary Film, presents a theoretically sophisticated discussion of Geography’s relation to film-making, and takes direction from a range of multi-disciplinary work (including non-representational theory and visual culture), making new connections between them. It then embarks on the production of a documentary film to demonstrate how film-making techniques can be used to engineer affect, thus moving beyond ‘critique’ to become productive. The documentary, which is very thoughtfully curated and presented, explores the art and subversive qualities of drag through the performances of Ty Jeffries. This is then used to explore the nature of ‘hope’ in the Anthropocene: a discussion which simultaneously seems somewhat tangential and yet in keeping with the “ephemerality and transitory nature” of the research. Overall the work is remarkable in its level of sophisticated and critical engagement with literature; in its care and attention to detail; and in its sensitivity. It forms an important contribution to discussions around videographic geographies, presenting astute readings of Spinoza to think hope as ‘unsteady joy’.

Committee changes following the AGM

We have a number of out-going committee members following the most recent AGM.

The Chair, Heike Jöns, thanked Pauline Couper for her exemplary work as HPGRG Undergraduate Prize Coordinator over two terms from 2013 to 2019. She also thanked Thomas Jellis for having built up the new HPGRG website and Twitter account and for looking after these with great commitment and dedication from 2013 to 2019.

The Research Group welcomed Emily Hayes to the committee as Undergraduate Prize Coordinator and, following some discussion, the  role of Website Editor will now be merged with that of the Communications Officer (Michiel Van Meeteren).

We hope to appoint a Postgraduate Liaison Officer in the near future.

Agenda for the AGM at RGS-IBG 2019

13:10 to 14:25, Friday, 30  August,  Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), Lowther Room

  1. Apologies
  1. Minutes of 2018 AGM (HJ)
  1. HPGRG Sessions for 2019 (FF)
  1. HPGRG Research Group Guests for 2019 (HJ)
  1. HPGRG Accounts (JB)
  1. HPGRG Dissertation Prize (PC)
  1. HPGRG Membership (FG)
  1. HPGRG Website (TJ)
  1. HPGRG Communications and Newsletter (MvM)
  1. Committee Membership Terms and Elections (HJ)
  1. HPGRG Information Sheet on Job Roles (HJ)
  1. 35th HPGRG anniversary in 2020 (HJ)
  1. Possible Research Group Activities (ALL)
  1. Call for Sessions for 2020 RGS-IBG Annual International Conference (HJ)
  1. Any Other Business

Newsletter 2019 #2 out now

The latest issue of our newsletter is now out!

This newsletter contains, among other things, the agenda of our HPGRG Annual General Meeting at the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference in London next week and a list of HPGRG-sponsored sessions during this event. You are cordially invited to attend the HPGRG AGM and the HPGRG-sponsored sessions, but the latter require official conference registration, while the former could be attended with an AGM visitor pass only (please see message from the HPGRG chair in the newsletter).

We hope that you will find this second HPGRG newsletter of interest and look forward to your contributions to future editions – the third HPGRG newsletter of this year is due to be published in the autumn of 2019.

You can see all our newsletters here.

Newsletter 2019 #1 now out!

Our HPGRG committee has decided to relaunch a regular HPGRG email newsletter three times a year, which will be edited by our new HPGRG Communications Officer, Dr Michiel van Meeteren (Loughborough University) in January/February, May/June and September/October.

If you wish to communicate publications, events or other information of interest to the HPGRG membership via the next HPGRG newsletter, which will be sent in June, please email Michiel van Meeteren.

We hope that you will find our HPGRG Newsletter informative and look forward to your contributions to future editions.

Call for Sessions: RGS-IBG Annual Conference 2019

The History and Philosophy of Geography Research Group (HPGRG) invites suggestions for sponsored sessions at the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2019 in London from Wednesday, 28 to Friday, 30 August 2019. The conference will focus on Geographies of trouble / geographies of hope and be chaired by Professor Hester Parr (University of Glasgow).

We welcome suggestions for sessions across our remit, interpreted broadly, as the histories and/or philosophies of human geography, physical geography and associated fields.

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 Federico Ferretti, Secretary of HPGRG by Tuesday, 18 December 2019:

 – 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; for possibilities of session formats, see https://www.rgs.org/research/annual-international-conference/programme-(1)/guidance-for-session-organisers/

– 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 by Monday, 7 January 2019. The deadline for submitting complete sessions to HPGRG is Friday, 8 February 2019 for submission to the Society by Friday, 15 February 2019. This would leave about one month for session organisers to send out a call for papers and finalise the session programme. 

Please direct any questions to Federico Ferretti.

The HPGRG committee looks forward to your submissions!

Committee changes

At our most recent AGM, held in Cardiff, we had a number of out-going committee members. Our Chair, Paul Simpson, and Secretary, Isla Forsyth, came to the end of their extended term (2014-2018); our Communications Officer, Vanessa Schofield, reached the end of her term (2015-2018), and our Postgraduate Liaison Officer, Diana Beljaars, stepped down due to no longer being a postgraduate (2016-2018). We thank them for all their work on the committee.

We now welcome our in-coming committee members. Our Chair will be Heike Jöns, who has had a long-standing involvement with the Research Group. In addition, we welcome Federico Ferretti as Secretary, and Michiel Van Meeteren as Communications Officer. We hope to appoint a Postgraduate Liaison Officer in the near future.