Black Geographies: Insurgent Knowledge, Spatial Poetics, and the Politics of Blackness is the title of a forthcoming symposium hosted by the Geography Department at the University of California-Berkeley on October 18-20, 2017. The deadline for submission of abstracts (250-300 words) is June 16, 2017.
Description: Black liberation movements around the world, from the streets of Oakland and Ferguson to the shores of southern Europe, have focused international conversations among activists, academics, and artists on the importance of blackness to the geographical imagination. Importantly, this dialogue has elucidated the possibilities of blackness not only as a tool for understanding whiteness, non-being, and social/physical death, but also as a radical framework for envisioning liberation, social justice, and reconstruction. We invite our colleagues to Black Geographies to discuss the possibilities of interdisciplinary work oriented on black geographic thought. This symposium offers geography in general, and black geographies specifically, as capacious fields of inquiry that invite historical, political economic, sociological, and artistic perspectives–as well as a range of “established” and alternative methodologies.
The double valence of our use of “black geographies” refers both to the ways that geography can be used to understand the complex, overlapping spatialities of black life and the stretching of geographical knowledge that takes place when scholars consciously center questions of race and blackness. Katherine McKittrick’s important interventions, for instance, employ the concept of “poetics” to describe those landscapes and places that have been narratively and counter-conceptually created with blackness as their source.
The symposium will be organized around the following set of interrelated questions:
- What are the processes by which racial-spatial inequalities are reproduced and contested? How do we create a black geographic praxis that is equally attentive to the political economic and the poetic; to the ecological and the quotidian?
- How can an empirically rigorous and critical approach to spatiality contribute to conversations about fungibility, the legacies of enslavement, and diasporic coordinates stretching beyond the Black Atlantic?
- How can centering Blackness and racism transform the way that we think about spatiality and power, and what can this move bring to cross-disciplinary understanding of the current political climate? And, how does centering blackness across disciplines using a geographic framework point to new possibilities for liberation and change?
Please submit abstracts to firstname.lastname@example.org and include your name, position, affiliation, and contact information.