Monthly Archives: January 2017

CFP: Labour and life: changing geographies of the workplace

Call for Papers for the Royal Geographical Society with Institute of British Geographers Annual International Conference, 29 Aug – 1 Sep 2017, London, UK.

Session sponsored by the Economic Geography Research Group.
 
Labour and life: changing geographies of the workplace
 
This session will reflect on changes to capitalist work, its spatial constitution, and the consequent relations between labour and life. Classic accounts of the capitalist labour process emphasised disciplinary power, exercised through workplaces bounded in time and space, and producing a degradation of both work and workers (Braverman 1974; Wright 2006). Today, organisational theorists emphasise a capitalist ‘biocracy’ in which a range of life abilities are ‘put to work’ through the blurring of boundaries between work and non-work spaces, times and identities (Fleming 2014; Gregg 2011). Far from heralding a new halcyon era of creative labour, for some these developments have gone hand in hand with growing precarity, intensified labour exploitation and a suffocating ideology of work.
 
These arguments over changing relations between labour and life need critical engagement. In particular, geographical scholarship usefully resists all-encompassing accounts of changing capitalist work cultures, instead focusing on how the organisation and experience of work are shaped by particular and varying workplace geographies. The geographies of workplaces have been a recurrent but underexplored aspect of labour geographies (e.g. Castree 2007; Crang 1994; Henry & Massey 1995; Kanngieser 2013; McDowell 2009; McMorran 2012; Stein 1995). This session will foreground current scholarship in this area. The intention is for two ‘modules’ with four presentations in each. Potential foci for contributions include:
 
•  The theorisation of workplace geographies;
•  Workplaces as sites of discipline and / or biopower;
•  Workplaces as sites of pleasure and vitality;
•  Digital socio-materialities and the re-making of workplace geographies;
•  Workplace architectures and affective atmospheres;
•  Labour resistance and the politics of ‘anti-work’;
•  Gendered geographies of the workplace;
•  Creative methods for researching working life.
 
Please submit abstracts of up to 250 words to Philip Crang, via email at p.crang@rhul.ac.uk, by 7 February 2017. We will endeavour to contact all abstract authors with a response by 13 February.
 
Convenors:
 
Adam Badger, Department of Geography, Royal Holloway University of London. Email: adam.badger.2012@live.rhul.ac.uk
Philip Crang, Department of Geography, Royal Holloway University of London. Email: p.crang@rhul.ac.uk (corresponding convenor)
Katy Lawn, Department of Geography, Royal Holloway University of London. Email: katy.lawn.2015@live.rhul.ac.uk
 
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Collecting Natural Selection: The multi-sensory collecting journeys of Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace

by Dr. Janet Owen

The collecting journeys of Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace were undertaken to remote parts of the globe. They were, hazardous, multi-sensory journeys of heat and cold, tempest and calm. They were intense physical and mental encounters with alien environments: natural as well as cultural. They involved intense fear and diseases that brought them close to death. Throughout these travails they wrote how it was their zeal to collect natural history which helped them cope and gave them the will to live. For both men these journeys were uniquely memorable and life-changing. My research explores these complex experiences in more detail by focusing on two of the remotest locations on the European nineteenth-century world map: Tierra del Fuego and the Straits of Magellan which Darwin visited in 1832-3 and 1834, and Dorey in New Guinea which Wallace visited in 1858. They are places where both naturalists made rare acquisitions of human cultural artefacts as well as prolific collections of natural history specimens. Collecting specimens from the human and natural worlds provides a rare opportunity to gain a fresh perspective on the drive to collect which Wallace and Darwin embody. That these took place in two environments and cultures that could hardly be more different provides an opportunity to explore concepts of deep mapping and place this in an appropriate sensory framework.

I am currently writing an article for submission to the British Journal for the History of Science about these historical, multi-sensory journeys. As part of my research methodology, I travelled to these past theatres of collecting and captured my own sensory data, which helped me to ask new questions of the historical data left behind by Darwin and Wallace. I plan to prepare an article about these travels in due course, and am working on the idea of a long-term research project which centres on the interactive digital mapping of Darwin and Wallace’s collecting journeys.

 

Film: returning from Cape Horn 9th February 2016, in waters where HMS Beagle sheltered from storms in January 1833

Film: Wulaia Bay 9th February 2016. Where Darwin collected geological specimens, Yaghan body paints and other items for his zoological collection. 

Dr Janet Owen is currently an honorary research fellow in the Geography department at Royal Holloway. With an original background in archaeology and anthropology, she works in the arts/ museum sector and is the author of ‘Darwin’s Apprentice: An Archaeological Biography of John Lubbock’. All film content is author’s own.

UPCOMING EVENT. Dream Worlds: Dark Ecologies of Anime.

passengerfilms

The first Passengerfilms event for 2017 will take place on Tuesday 31st January at The Book Club in Shoreditch, delving into the world of anime to discuss the theme of dream worlds and ecologies.

Passengerfilms and our panel invite you to join us in the uncovering of mutated ecologies, to further understand the status of reality. This event takes inspiration from the film that is noted as being the beginning of Studio Ghibli: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984). In a post-apocolyptic world, Nausicaä takes on the task of helping her world, which is filled with toxic waste, overgrown fauna and war.

nausicaa-of-the-valley-of-the-wind-cavern

The films selected and our discussion panel will build on this theme, looking at anime shorts to build on and continue the legacy of Nausicaä. The films use a recurrent and geographical theme of landscape to portray alternative worlds to our own – whether they are set in imaginations…

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CFP: Networks of Knowledge: Communicating Geographical Knowledge in the Long Nineteenth Century

Call for Papers
RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, London, 29 August–1 September 2017.

Lecture Theatre

Networks of Knowledge: Communicating Geographical Knowledge in the Long Nineteenth Century

Sponsored by the Historical Geography Research Group

Convened by: Benjamin Newman, Royal Holloway, University of London & Royal Geographical Society (w. IBG) & Innes M. Keighren, Royal Holloway, University of London.

The long nineteenth century witnessed a spike in the production and dissemination of geographical knowledge—a consequence of imperialism and scientific exploration on the one hand, and of improvements in the technologies of print and visual illustration on the other. Whether in the guise of thrilling accounts of heroic “discovery”, or more mundane records of empirical observation, such geographical knowledge was communicated to growing popular and professional audiences through books, periodicals, illustrated lectures, and exhibitions. The development of geographical societies and disciplinary periodicals during this period facilitated the dissemination of knowledge through institutional networks.

In recent years, historical geographers and historians of science have been concerned with the role of institutional networks in the circulation and consumption of knowledge, and with how local circumstances influence the mobility and reception of ideas (Finnegan, 2016; Keighren, 2010; Ogborn, 2010; Rupke, 1999; Secord, 1999; Withers, 2010). It is in relation to such work that we invite historical geographers and allied scholars to present current research concerned with the dissemination of geographical and related knowledge. We welcome papers that consider, among other things, geography’s nineteenth- and twentieth-century print culture, its performed oral traditions, and the technological advancements that encouraged the spread of knowledge to domestic and international audiences, both lay and specialised. Papers dealing with the role of speech, print, image, and object are particularly welcome.

Please submit abstracts (250 words max) to Ben Newman (benjamin.newman.2010@live.rhul.ac.uk) and Innes Keighren (innes.keighren@rhul.ac.uk), along with a title and author details, by 10 February, 2017.

Workshop: The Artificial Cave

by Flora Parrott
In June 2016 I borrowed the ‘Artificial Cave’ from the British Caving Association as part of an ongoing investigation into exploration of the subterranean. It arrived in a transit van in 5 foot sections made from fibreglass, painted black on the outside and blue within.
DSC_1434.jpg

The ‘Artificial Cave’

The Landscape Surgery workshop was an attempt to use this method of ‘thinking through making’, something that I talk with Art Students about a lot; an endeavor, no matter how simplistic to generate a physical environment or object that helps to visualise and negotiate a problem.
The groups were each given a short, vivid description from ‘Ice Caves of France and Switzerland’ by G.F Browne (first published in 1865) and asked to make the space described out of a set of resources, including: cardboard, paper, tin foil, newspaper, and various other Blue Peter-esque materials.
The results were energetic and ambitious and after an hour or so we had three ‘caves’ all very different in nature in the room. The materials had been used to represent varied forms, architectures and textures, as well as some fascinating symbolic gestures to forms impossible to make from cardboard and paper. Once the caves were complete, the groups wrote on our paper floor a set of instructions to guide a visitor through the space.

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There were two things that I found particularly interesting about the afternoon; firstly the way in which we respond to a ‘workspace’ and how quickly and dramatically a space and therefore our behaviour within it can be transformed. This was an idea that was also discussed in Cecilie Sachs-Olsen’s session a few weeks before. Whether a space is a presented as a gallery, performance space, lecture theatre or common room can change the uses and dynamics of a space. Secondly, the discussion about the ‘authenticity’ of an experience or thing: whether a reproduction can have an equal but different value to the ‘original’ from which it is drawn. I also like the idea of a text being read as instruction and being conjured into life – uniquely each time.

Flora is a practicing artist and fine art lecturer, currently a Levehulme artist-in-residence at Royal Holloway, and will be commencing her PhD at Royal Holloway in January 2017.