Call for Papers: RGS-IBG Annual Conference 2019, 28th – 30th August 2019, London

MORE-THAN-HUMAN HAUNTED LANDSCAPES: TRACE-ING BINARIES OF HOPE/DESOLATION

(Co-sponsored by Social and Cultural Geography Research Group and the Postgraduate Forum).

Convened by: Adam Searle – University of Cambridge; and Jonathon Turnbull – University of Cambridge

 

Abstract

Landscapes bear traces of hope and desolation. They are at once the physical manifestation of geologic time and the coming together of living and nonliving things, reminders of the past through iterations of the future. These traces haunt landscapes, they are active and inter/active of what Derrida would name hauntologies, methodological invitations to consider what is through attention to what isn’t. Landscapes are haunted in multifarious ways (e.g. through extinction, nuclear disaster, contamination) and the traces of haunting events refute the concept of singularity in meaning. What do haunted landscapes have in common? Their traces are material, for example, through geological imprints or altered ecological relations; but they are simultaneously virtual, culturally and affectively powerful, troublesome and stimulating. Haunted landscapes allow the binary of hope/desolation to function, often bringing promise with despair, engendering a dialectic between utopia and dystopia. In the Anthropocene – the era in which humans become a planet-changing force – it is often non-humans that haunt our landscapes. This is reflected in the way the Anthropocene is also the era of the sixth mass extinction. With this in mind, we invite papers interested in the traces which allow the binary of hope/desolation to function, asking how we can learn from each empirical haunting. In particular we encourage research at the intersections of human/animal/plant/geological worlds, and how the constellations of these more-than-human shared existences inspire novel modes of understanding geographies of landscape, and the interrelations of existence and environment.

We invite contributions in all empirical areas. They could explore:

  • The theoretical potential of contaminated or wasteland geographies, particularly in more-than-human terms;
  • the agency of the environment and the question of abandonment on whose terms;
  • the role of extinctions (of vitalities, languages, practices) and their memories in engagements of landscapes and their temporalities;
  • hauntologies and their implications for the Anthropocene.

Some key readings include:

  • Edensor, Tim. (2005) The ghosts of industrial ruins: Ordering and disordering memory in excessive Space. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 23: 829-849.
  • Gandy, Matthew. (2013) Marginalia: Aesthetics, ecology, and urban wastelands. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 103: 1301-1316.
  • Haraway, Donna Jeanne. (2016) Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene, Durham: Duke University Press.
  • Kirksey, S Eben, Shapiro, Nicholas and Brodine, Maria. (2013) Hope in blasted landscapes. Social Science Information 52: 228-256.
  • Tsing, Anna. (2015) The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins, Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • Tsing, Anna, Swanson, Heather, Gan, Elaine, et al. (2017) Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet: Ghosts and Monsters of the Anthropocene. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
  • van Dooren, Thom. (2014) Flight ways: Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction, New York: Columbia University Press.
  • VanderMeer, Jeff. (2014) Annihilation, New York: Fsg Originals.
  • VanderMeer, Jeff. (2014) Authority, New York: Fsg Originals.
  • Vandermeer, Jeff. (2014) Acceptance. Fsg Originals.
  • Wylie, John. (2009) Landscape, absence and the geographies of love. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 34: 275-289.

Please send abstracts of approximately 250 words to Adam Searle (aeds2@cam.ac.uk) and Jonathon Turnbull (jjt44@cam.ac.uk) by midnight on 1st February 2019. In addition, we welcome submissions of non-traditional formats, for example video or visual submissions. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions or comments you may have! and happy new year!

Share