Putting philosophies of geography into practice

Putting philosophies of geography into practice

Sam Kinsley (University of Exeter)

This session is conceived as means to discuss the relations between the everyday practises of doing geography and the, sometimes-maligned, theoretical-methodological techniques we variously employ in geographical research and teaching. If we are ‘thinking always as geographers’, how do we represent that thought and the ways it becomes located in practice? Marking fifteen years since a session of the same title was convened at the annual conference in Belfast, the aim of this session, following Lorimer and Spedding (2002: 277), is to ‘explore new [established and forgotten] ways of thinking about the history and philosophy of geography’.  How then do we re-‘present the stories that geography tells (of) itself’? (ibid.) How can and do we cut into the ‘dogmatic image of what counts as [geographical] thought[?]’ (Thrift, 2004: 81) and seek to contrast the practising of geography with ‘hegemonic geographic knowledge’ (Rose, 1994: 4)?. The invitation of this session is to discuss and reflect upon contemporary knowledge practices in geography (taken at its broadest definition), such as (but in no way limited to):

  • Cultures, traditions, politics and practices of teaching/learning the history and philosophy of geography;
  • The dis-/en-abling role of learned/professional institutions in the production and sharing of geographical knowledge;
  • Spaces of disagreement and debate (in-person, in-text, in-between);
  •  The ‘field’ of theory and theory in ‘the field’;
  • Links and divisions between (sub)disciplinary discourses, the practices of departments and institutions and popular geographical knowledge;
  • The formal and informal communication of geographical knowledge and theory (peer-reviewed publications, blogs, social media);
  • Uses of space and time within/outside formal geography departments (labs, lecture theatres, cafes);
  • The ‘geographical canon’, authority, disciplinarity and space for others;
  • The role of activities such as the (UK) REF or QAA benchmarking on what ‘counts’ as geographical knowledge and theory.

The website for the Royal Geographical Society's History and Philosophy of Geography Research Group

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