[Iag-list] IAG conference Cultural Geography sessions

Kaya Barry k.barry at griffith.edu.au
Tue Feb 18 12:27:46 AEDT 2020

Hi everyone,

There are 5 sessions sponsored by the Cultural Geography Study Group for this year’s IAG conference at UNE Armidale:

  1.  Rethinking Infrastructure: Change, Challenge and Creativity
  2.  Environmental change and intimacy
  3.  New and emerging cultural geography
  4.  Geographies of the ground: materials, mobilities, temporalities
  5.  Regional resilience and vulnerabilities in the Anthropocene

Details for each are below with contact info. Send 200 word abstracts by 20 March 2020 to session organisers and submit via the conference website:


Rethinking Infrastructure: Change, Challenge and Creativity
Organisers: Kathy Mee, Emma Power, Ilan Wiesel

Geographers are increasingly utilising the concept of infrastructure as a way to understand the challenges of social change and creative responses to surviving, thriving and flourishing. According to Berlant (2016 p. 393) “at some crisis times like this one, politics is defined by a collectively held sense that a glitch has appeared in the reproduction of life. A glitch is an interruption within a transition, a troubled transmission. A glitch is also the revelation of an infrastructural failure”.  Infrastructures are sociotechnical tools, systems and practices that operate in the background of social life, organizing and patterning its possibilities (Amin 2014: 138). The things that people do, even when initially provisional, variable, adaptable and mobile, over time become institutionalised as infrastructures as they are re-performed across space and time. Infrastructures involve both material and immaterial elements, including physical objects and technologies, discourses, symbols, systems, management models, energy, plans, designs and affects (Wilson 2016 p. 273-274).  New infrastructural research considers “what infrastructural forms do in context and in relation to specific sets of actors and practices” (Power & Mee 2019 p.  5). Geographers have utilised this wider concept of infrastructure to explore a range of phenomena and practices, including affect, adaptation, care, digitalisation, financialization, governance, habit, mobility, violence and vulnerability.  We invite papers in this session that rethink infrastructural change, the challenges this brings and creative responses to infrastructures at a range of scales and through a variety of (sub)disciplinary perspectives.

Amin A (2014) Lively Infrastructure, Theory, Culture & Society, 31, 7-8: 137-161.
Berlant, L. (2016). The commons: Infrastructures for troubling times. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 34(3), 393-419.
Power ER & Mee KJ (2019) Housing: an infrastructure of care, Housing Studies: 1-22.
Wilson A (2016) The Infrastructure of Intimacy, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 41, 2: 247-280.

Environmental change and intimacy
Organisers: Leah Gibbs & Helen F. Wilson

This session considers how environmental change (however conceptualised) reworks, facilitates and/or unsettles intimacies across a range of sites, scenes, scales, and spaces. Whether focused on tidal estuaries or urban communities, bushland or beach, we invite a deliberately broad understanding of intimacy, whether human and/or non-human, elemental or material, feared or cherished. By paying attention to how intimacy appears in narratives and experiences of environmental change—whether catastrophic or mundane—we seek to address the implications for embodied life, and the interactions of culture, economy and politics.

Empirical studies might range from intimate more-than-human relations with private gardens or public parks; intimate interactions with species newly inhabiting a region or space; ambivalent encounters with potentially dangerous species; labour with weedy others; work with infrastructure or materials; efforts to preserve, protect or recover following catastrophic events; entanglements with the elements; engagements with watery places, such as rivers, waterholes, lakes, the ocean, ports, or public pools. Conceptual concerns may be equally broad, and consider notions of encounter, coexistence, transgression, edges, care, contact zones, multispecies ethics, and practice, to name just some concerns.

Questions at the heart of this call include: How might the intimacies of environmental change entangle risk and care, hope and pessimism? How do they become the basis for ethics, mutuality, conflict or denial? How are such intimacies sensed, researched and/or politicised, and with what implications? And how do they appear in and shape public discourse?

We invite methodological, empirical and theoretical contributions.

Abstracts of approximately 200 words should be submitted to the session convenors (Leah Gibbs leah at uow.edu.au<mailto:leah at uow.edu.au> and Helen F. Wilson helen.f.wilson at durham.ac.uk<mailto:helen.f.wilson at durham.ac.uk>).

New and Emerging Research in Cultural Geography
Organised by IAG Cultural Geography Study Group Convenors: Michelle Duffy, Michele Lobo, Kaya Barry, Vickie Zhang

In this session we provide a forum for postgraduates, early career researchers and research leaders to showcase recent cutting-edge research in Cultural Geography. Cultural geography comprises a wide-ranging group of geographical sub-disciplines that engages with the arts, humanities, natural and social sciences. Cultural domains of geographical research continue to grow in breadth and depth, with expanding theoretical formulations, methodological approaches and fields of interest. Cultural geographers embrace the historical, material, digital, discursive and affective to advance understandings of place, space and the environment. We welcome your papers that expand the horizon of Cultural Geography! Standard papers/alternative formats welcome.

Please send abstracts to Michelle Duffy (Michelle.Duffy at newcastle.edu.au)<mailto:Michelle.Duffy at newcastle.edu.au)>, Kaya Barry (K.barry at griffith.edu.au)<mailto:K.barry at griffith.edu.au)>, Michele Lobo (Michele.Lobo at deakin.edu.au<mailto:Michele.Lobo at deakin.edu.au>), and Vickie Zhang (vzhang at student.unimelb.edu.au<mailto:vzhang at student.unimelb.edu.au>).

Geographies of the ground: materials, mobilities, temporalities
Session Organisers: Tim Edensor & Catherine Phillips

The ground – the earth’s solid surface upon which we live – is a physical manifestation of intermingling traces. Air, water, plants, chemicals penetrate it, while it emits gases and reveals elements. The ground, and the realms it covers, serves as a source for production and a sink for disposal. The traces that inhabit the ground serve as reminders of geologic and cultural histories, but imaginings of the future find inspiration here as well.

Recent work about vertical geographies has alerted us to the horizontalism of much geography. What happens if we scratch this surface? What stories, matters, and interconnections might be revealed, if we delve into the depths of the ground? Much has been consigned to the underground. Edgeworth, for instance, (2017: 157) explains how discarded material provides a foundation on which cities perpetually rise; in central London, this platform is 5-8 metres thick. In another vein, we might ask how the Anthropocene is revealed (or obscured) with notions of material disposal and transformation mark temporal boundaries. What extractions and depositions are occurring, and what this might suggest for future worlds and stratigraphies?

This session seeks papers that explore the diverse ways in which we might investigate what lies within and beneath ground. Topics might include (but are not limited to):

  *   What substances find their way underground or to the surface, and with what consequences? What toxicities or therapies emerge? How might we theorise this material that has moved and now mingles with different human and non-humans?
  *   What materials, stories, possibilities appear through examination of that which has been covered, discarded, buried? What are the implications of the substances that have been discarded and covered over for the surface?
  *   How do different humans and non-humans dwell underground? How are such inhabitations practiced and understood? What might these tell us about shared existences, or new ways of understanding geographies?
  *   How are particular underground terrains threaded with successive forms of infrastructure and how might we conceptualize such composite undergrounds?
  *   What removals, disposals, and accommodations constitute particular under/grounds? What mobilities are involved? And what interests inform these changes, and their impacts?

Please send abstracts to Tim Edensor (t.edensor at mmu.ac.uk<mailto:t.edensor at mmu.ac.uk>) & Catherine Phillips (catherine.phillips1 at unimelb.edu.au<mailto:catherine.phillips1 at unimelb.edu.au>)

Regional resilience and vulnerabilities in the Anthropocene
Session organisers: Michelle Duffy, Beth Edmondson, Kaya Barry

In recent years an expanding literature has begun to explore regional vulnerabilities to anthropogenic climate change. Spanning many disciplines, this scholarship shows promising signs of supporting new understandings of some of the particularities of regions as sites of resilience and challenge. In Australia, regions are ‘often the first areas that suffer from and exhibit adverse impacts from changes’ (Sullivan, 2020: 1), and they are also often adept at responding to them. We are interested in extending these considerations to build new understandings of how regions are affected by climate change and how they experience the intersections of functioning as environments, societies, production centres, landscapes, sites of leadership, imagination and culture.

As an epoch characterised by rising human-induced instability across the complex and interconnected earth system, the Anthropocene casts a different light on regions.  At this time, regions are where anthropogenic climate change is happening to rivers, farms, animals, rainfalls, forests, food supply chains, how people sustain themselves and others, and relational dynamics between them. In regions, human and non-human species regions are experiencing firsthand problems such as biodiversity loss, climate change, deforestation and land degradation.

The goal of this session is to explore and engage with how people in regions are embedded, both as active agents and subjects of environmental changes that are occurring across human and non-human experiences. These changes are disrupting how human and non-human species live and interrelate.

We invite papers that address questions such as:

  *   How do regions engage with and experience the double-edged dynamics between resilience and vulnerability in responding to climate change?
  *   How can ideas of place and change, transition and resilience, and challenges for the future, provide new insights into lived experiences of relations between environment, landscape, livelihood and culture?
  *   Is the Anthropocene changing the meaning of region/s?
  *   How do regions bear witness to climate change?
  *   Can new understanding of the intimate and deep entanglements of human and non-human worlds contribute to new resilience in regions experiencing climate change?
  *   How can regions create buffering periods of transition as they respond to the most disruptive implications and effects of climate change?
  *   How are everyday practices of community resilience enacted informally across regions responding to climate change?
  *   How are regions ‘re-establishing landscape connectivity’ as they adapt to climate change (Grecequet et al. 2019: 198).

Please send abstracts to: Michelle Duffy (Michelle.Duffy at newcastle.edu.au<mailto:Michelle.Duffy at newcastle.edu.au>), Beth Edmondson (beth.edmondson at federation.edu.au<mailto:beth.edmondson at federation.edu.au>) & Kaya Barry: (k.barry at griffith.edu.au<mailto:k.barry at griffith.edu.au>).

Dr Kaya Barry | Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research
Griffith University  | Nathan | QLD 4111 | Australia
T: +61 (0)7373 57317 | M: +61431835064 | E: k.barry at griffith.edu.au<mailto:k.barry at griffith.edu.au>  | Twitter: @kayathiea<https://twitter.com/kayathiea>

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