Institute of Australian Geographers 2020 conference 
Call for papers

Environmental change and intimacy

Leah Gibbs, University of Wollongong 
Helen F. Wilson, Durham University 

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@uow.edu.au and Helen F. Wilson helen.f.wilson@durham.ac.uk). Abstract deadline to be announced.


Dr Leah Gibbs
School of Geography and Sustainable Communities | Faculty of Social Sciences
University of Wollongong NSW 2522 Australia
+61 2 4298 1547