RGS-IBG 2020 Call for Papers: Non-representational geographies: approaches, methods and practices

Organizers Amy C. Barron, (The University of Manchester, amy.barron@manchester.ac.uk) and  Andrew S. Maclaren (The University of Aberdeen a.s.maclaren@gmail.com)


This session brings together scholars who draw on, advance and empirically use non-representational theories and methodologies, in all their diversity.  Non-representational theories serve as a springboard for exploring the affective geographies of a multitude of phenomena from ageing, to nationalism and geopolitics, to name a few.  Various approaches, methods and theoretical lineages reflect and infuse this diversity, bringing together a concern for how places, subjectivities and identities are enacted, felt and mediated.  The session also presents an opportunity for the ‘borders’ within the various subdisciplines of geography to be reconsidered with respect to non-representational theories and to reinforce the interrelations within and between subdisciplines in the use, development and engagement with this diversifying approach.

Topics in this session might include, but are not limited to:

–           What non-representational geographies are emerging within the subdisciplines of geography, the arts and wider social sciences?

–           How does place feature and matter in/to non-representational work?

–           How are different bodies part of the nature of affective places/non-representational geographies?

–           How are specific ‘types’ of places affective e.g. urban or rural places?

–           How might scholars engage with the non-representational methodologically?

We are interested in engaging with perspectives from academics at all career stages.

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.

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?

RGS-IBG 2020 Call for Papers: Drawing the line. Theories and Practices of Boundary Delimitation in European and Colonial Territories (Eighteenth-Twentieth Century)

Organizers: Federico Ferretti (University College Dublin, federico.ferretti@ucd.ie), Jacobo García-Álvarez and Paloma Puente-Lozano (Universidad Carlos III, Madrid).


Recent geographical scholarship on territory, sovereignty and borders have pointed out the need for questioning and exposing in historical perspective a number of “myths” and “political fictions” embedded within modern state-making and its discursive and material makings. Within this theoretical framework, processes of boundary delimitation and demarcation have proved to be a particularly relevant locusfor examining the complex entanglements of modern conceptions and theories of territory, sovereignty and borders within practices of statehood.  This session aims at analyzing the complexities and variety of theories and practices of boundary-making across Europe and colonial territories from the eighteenth to the twentieth century, and how they related to wider assumptions about sovereignty and statehood. We are especially interested in hearing about comparative methodologies and transnational approaches that allow for overcoming typical shortcomings of nation-centered historiographies, as well as in exploring the multiscalar nature of these processes of border-making and the heterogeneity of the actors involved in them.

We welcome presentations that align with these themes in diverse ways. This might include, but is not limited to the following topics:

-Cultures and traditions of delimitation and boundary-making across European or colonized/decolonized countries: variety of delimitation criteria, different organization and composition of boundary commissions, work dynamics and procedures in boundary-delimitation, etc.

-The role of geographic descriptions, maps, land surveys and other types of geographical knowledge in boundary-making practices and theories.

-Dynamics among actors involved in boundary-making (such as local communities, states representatives, technical experts) and the interplay of their conflicting territorial visions.

– Historical transformations of state territoriality and sovereignty.

-Conceptions of border, territory and sovereignty as displayed in demarcation processes.

-Methodological and epistemic issues involved in doing research on the history of territory.

RGS-IBG 2020 Call for papers: Speculative Thinking

Organizers:  Nina Williams (UNSW Canberra, nina.williams@adfa.edu.au) and Thomas Keating (UNSW Canberra, thomas.patrick.keating@gmail.com))


Writing about the environmental, political, and financial catastrophes that define the first part of the C21st, philosophers Didier Debaise and Isabelle Stengers (2017) call for a new ‘speculative’ mode of thought capable of responding to a crisis of “lazy thinking”, “false problems” and a rising “inability to think that what we care about might have a future”. Today, destruction at different registers of the mental, social and environmental ecology demonstrate all too clearly that these crises of thought continue apace.

Against this backdrop, speculative thinking would be a call to develop a sense of openness – in the most expanded terms possible – to “what, in this situation, might be of importance” (Debaise & Stengers, 2017). Against convention, speculative thinking here would not be a call to think more ‘abstractly’ but would be an open question of how to take care of the alternative as the sense of possibility within a given situation.

This focus on speculation (see Woodward, 2016) comes at a time when Geography is developing exciting work into alternative and imperceptible registers of experience and ontology through notions of the elemental (McCormack, 2018), the pluriverse (Collard et al., 2015), encounter (Wilson, 2017), technological sense (Gabrys, 2019), post-humanism (Williams et al., 2019), post-phenomenology (Ash & Simpson, 2019), minor theory (Katz, 2017), and the micro-political (Sharpe, 2019). Parallel to this, a range of speculative interventions in philosophy and the social sciences offer different understandings of spacetimes and temporality beyond traditionally linear and successive modalities (Connolly, 2019; Savransky et al 2017).

In this session we are drawn to speculation as a response to the crisis of possibilities in an era of increasingly destructive governance and ecological degradation. Specifically, we are concerned with the speculative techniques and methods current environmental problems give rise to, the histories that shape and constitute a speculative perspective, and the technologies required to do speculatively thinking at a time when new questions are being asked about earthly collapse (Danowski & De Castro, 2017) and the “shifts in metaphysical assumptions” (Connolly, 2019, p.10) implied therein. We invite contributions that seek to engage in speculative modes of thinking, sensing and writing about the ecological world. These contributions may be interested in, but would not be limited to, the following:

  • Methods and (anti-)techniques for sensing and attuning to speculative forms of experience and ecological process;
  • Engagement with technologies and media for creating an expanded sensing, listening, perceiving, and attuning to the earth;
  • The role of speculative thought in the creation, contestation, and transgression of borders and borderlands;
  • The politics of speculation as a response to specific kinds of ecological problems e.g. the climate emergency, austerity politics, or the rise right-wing populisms;
  • Critical engagements with speculative philosophies, geographies and the question of abstraction;
  • Anti-, De- and Post-Colonial engagements with speculation and the question of who gets to speculate;
  • Conceptual work to speculate with creative processes at non-representational and micropolitical registers of thought;
  • Speculative geographical accounts of landscape, the future, digital space, and temporality.


RGS-IBG 2020, Call for papers: Friedrich Engels and Geography

Organizers: Camilla Royle (King’s College London, camilla.royle@kcl.ac.uk)


Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) was Karl Marx’s closest collaborator. Although mentioned less often than Marx in geographical discussions, he was an important theorist in his own right. With his pathbreaking work, The Condition of the Working Class in England (1845), he analysed the social drivers of poverty, ill health and environmental pollution in urban areas (Clark and Foster, 2006), concerns he returned to in his later work on housing (Larsen et al, 2016, Smith, 2008, p179). Influenced by the Chartist movement, the revolutions of 1848 and the Paris Commune he was a political organiser and journalist. His wide ranging work addressed science, anthropology, philosophy, military history and more (Hunt, 2010).

Engels worked closely with Marx, his economic thinking influenced Capitaland he edited the second and third volumes after Marx’s death. However, some have questioned whether Engels’ interpretation of Marxism gave it a deterministic, economistic or dualist slant alien to Marx’s own thought (Carver, 2003; Smith, 2008, pp34-5, 87). They have suggested that this was partly responsible for reformist and authoritarian versions of socialist practice in the 20thcentury.

This paper session takes the bicentenary of Engels’ birth as an opportunity to examine his contribution to geographical thinking today. Possible themes might include (but are not limited to):

  • Engels as a philosopher and as a Marxist
  • Geographies of workers’ and peasant struggles and revolutions
  • The housing question today
  • Engels on social epidemiology, health and urban life
  • Engels on women, gender and the family
  • Engels on science, nature and the environment
  • The relevance (or otherwise) of Engels to geography in the 21stcentury


Please send abstracts (maximum of 250 words) for a 15-20 minute paper presentation to Camilla.e.royle@kcl.ac.ukby 10 February. Include a proposed title and affiliation.

Skype presentations will be considered where scholars would find it difficult to attend in person – please email the organiser to discuss.

The NERFC fellowship

The Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library and the Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education at the University of Southern Maine invite historical geographers, historians of cartography, and scholars working in related fields to apply for fellowships in the 2020–2021 New England Regional Fellowship Consortium (NERFC). The NERFC fellowship offers two dozen awards of $5000 to spend at least two weeks at three Consortium member institutions. The Leventhal and Osher collections, both NERFC member institutions, represent two of the most significant collections of cartographic material in New England, while many of the NERFC’s other 28 member institutions also hold cartographic and geographic objects in their collections. By developing a proposed NERFC itinerary at the Leventhal and Osher collections plus one additional member institution, scholars working at the intersection of geography and history will have an opportunity for a unique research opportunity.

More information: https://www.leventhalmap.org/nerfc-fellowship/  The deadline for applications is February 1, 2020.


History and Philosophy of Geography Research Group (HPGRG) Sponsored Sessions, RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2020, London

The History and Philosophy of Geography Research Group (HPGRG) invites suggestions for sponsored sessions at the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2020 in London, Tuesday 1st to Friday 4th September 2020. The conference will focus on Borders, Borderlands and Bordering and will be chaired by Professor Uma Kothari.

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 (federico.ferretti@ucd.ie), by Monday 6th January 2020

– 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 Friday 10th January 2020. The deadline for submitting complete sessions to HPGRG is Wednesday, 12 February 2020 for submission to the Society by Friday, 14 February 2020. 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 (federico.ferretti@ucd.ie). Further details about the Annual Conference 2020 can be found at https://www.rgs.org/research/annual-international-conference/ and about HPGRG at https://hpgrg.org.uk/.

The HPGRG committee looks forward to your submissions!

2 HPGRG Bursaries available for the RGS Midterm conference, 30 Apr-1 May Glasgow

The HPGRG is happy to announce that we will sponsor two PhD students working in the History and Philosophy of Geography domain for the RGS  Midterm conference. The midterm is a great occasion to interact with peers in the British PhD community. More information at https://rgsmidterm2020.wordpress.com/bursaries/ , deadline for applications 14 Februari 2020 (apply on the link above). 

Call for papers : Bridging Differences: East, West, Seas and Mediterranean worlds. (34th International Geographical Congress, Istanbul 17-21 August 2020)

34th International Geographical Congress, Istanbul 17-21 August 2020

Joint CFP of the Commission History of Geography, the Commission Gender and Geography and the Commission Political Geography


Chair: Marcella Schmidt di Friedberg
Co-chairs: Virginie Mamadouh, Lynda Johnston

Call for papers:

For a long time, the categories of East, West, North and South have been used as both Cartesian coordinates and as metaphors assigning identities, often under the form of stereotypes, to people coming from different places. The successive waves of critical, radical, feminist, post/decolonial and non-representational geographies and geopolitics have increasingly questioned the essentialisation of identities deriving from these metaphors, especially criticising their use for imperialist, patriarchal, racist and reactionary political agendas, past and present. International geographical scholarship committed to these critical approaches urges us to substitute the absolute geographical metaphors mentioned above with the metaphor of ‘the bridge’. ‘The bridge’ valorises all kind of differences, as well as the decolonisation of geography by rendering it mostly inclusive (in terms of gender, ethnicity, social conditions and political/religious thought of people participating in the discipline). Further, the metaphor of ‘the bridge’ reconfigures the Mediterranean as a place of contacts and exchanges rather than a place for erecting walls, barriers or any kinds of enclosures. Interventions about other seas (and maybe deserts that function in a similar way) are also welcome. By assuming intersectional principles recognising that social, economic, political, religious, ethnic, speciesist, environmental and colonial forms of oppression are intrinsically linked the one to each other, the organisers of this joint session welcome all contributions that engage with the broad field of studies on critical, radical, anarchist, feminist, queer, intersectional, internationalist geographies. We welcome presentations that draw on critical social theory, critical race studies and socially and politically engaged scholarship, in general. The participation of non-

academic presenters such as activists and independent scholars, is especially encouraged.

Please send an abstract by 13 January 2020 following the instructions in the Conference website: https://www.igc2020.org/en/default.asp

For info: marcella.schmidt@unimib.it

This is the website for the History and Philosophy of Geography Research Group (HPGRG) of the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers (RGS-IBG)