Fuller Geographies 2017 ‘Decolonising participatory geographies’


Extended – final chance to contribute a short 5 min outline to this conference discussion session:

Fuller Geographies 2017 ‘Decolonising participatory geographies’: extended and final call for Participation

RGS-IBG Annual Conference 2017: Decolonizing Geographical Knowledges, London, 29th August to 1st September.

Sponsored by the Participatory Geographies Research Group

Session organisers: Sophie Wynne-Jones (Bangor University) Mike Kesby (University of St Andrews) and Sam Halvorsen (University of Cambridge);

Participatory Geographers might feel slightly ahead of an agenda to “decolonise geographical knowledges” and “re-think scholarly epistemic and institutional forms of knowledge production that privilege predominantly western over ‘southern’ knowledges and ways of seeing” (Radcliffe, IBG conference Chair, 2017). To-be-sure, post ‘Participation, the new tyranny?’ we cannot be complacent about this assumed lead, and must continue to confront the domineering tendencies within our own ostensibly emancipatory practices. This said, it is  positive that our action orientation tends to prevent our attempts to ‘open space for alternatives’ from simply creating ‘terra nullius’, since the history of colonialism is exactly that such regions are ripe for annexation by those less afraid to impose their claims and visions. Reflecting on recent events that seem to augur a nationalist (pre-fascist?) new world order, it cannot be ignored that democracy is midwife to ascendant anti-liberal, anti-science narratives, ‘alternative facts’ and renewed othering. In our research and teaching, what old or new strategies can we use to negotiate between continuing a project of decolonising, deconstructing and situating our own knowledge production whilst robustly defending normative, broadly liberal values like justice, equity, and democracy; including promoting the utility (if not ‘superiority’) of a participatory approach to understanding and action?

Fuller Geographies has sought to provide a space at the RGS-IBG conference to reflect upon and take forward discussions on the collective challenges and opportunities presented to geographers seeking to operate in a participatory, radical and caring way. In the past we have provided open spaces – allowing participants to set the agenda collectively – and have invited activists from outside the academy to share their ideas and expertise. This year we aim to provide a space for collective thought and action on the theme of decolonising participatory geography. Rather than formal power-point presentations we are seeking contributions for short (e.g. 5 minute) outlines of problem areas in relation to decolonising participatory geography that will act as starting points for discussion.

We would particularly welcome contributions from individuals or groups that are marginalised and under-represented in hegemonic Anglophone disciplinary geography. Suggested themes might include, but are not limited to:

-       Participatory geographies in/with the global south

-       Participatory geographies and indigeneity

-       Participatory geographies beyond Anglophone geography

-       Postcolonial and decolonial critiques of participatory geographies

-       Decolonising research and teaching in UK High Education

-       Translation and its limits in participatory geographies

-       Ethics and responsibility in transnational participatory geographies

-       Valuing participation in different places and times

Please send a brief outline (max 200 words) of your proposed discussion topic to mgk@st-andrews.ac.uk by Friday 3rd March


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