The Ends of Geography’s Worlds
Derek McCormack (University of Oxford)
Geographers and others have reflected frequently upon a range of disciplinary meta-concepts like region, territory, and place. These same concepts figure prominently in disciplinary dictionaries and encyclopedias. However, notwithstanding earlier work (e.g. Buttimer, 1976), there have been surprisingly few recent sustained engagements with world as concept for thinking and generating spacetimes (see Harrison, 2007; Gibson-Graham, 2008 Wainwright, 2010). At the same time, beyond geography, the question of the value and significance of the concept of world has recently been posed in important and provocative ways by thinkers working in a range of philosophical traditions including post-structuralism (Gaston, 2013), speculative realism (Morton, 2013), and affect theory (Stewart, 2014). In such work, world is variously rejected as an outmoded concept inadequate to the task of grasping the post-phenomenological complexity of the ‘hyperobjects’ that define life in the anthropocene (Morton), or carefully affirmed as a way of gathering the affective qualities of lived spacetimes (Stewart). In the context of these ongoing engagements, this session invites contributions that engage with the problems and promise of world as a concept for thinking spacetimes. Potential contributions might reflect upon a range of theoretical, methodological, and ethico-political issues, including: different conceptualisations of worlds by a range of philosophers (e.g. Heidegger, Nancy, Irigaray, Sloterdijk); the relations/tensions between phenomenological and post-phenomenological understandings of worlds; the import of world as a concept for elaborating the geographies of different ethical and political formations; and methodologies and approaches for making worlds explicit or for becoming attuned to their affective qualities and capacities.