Critical resource geographies in Pakistan and Colombia: Ethics, performance, and learning

Authors: Christopher Courtheyn*, Universidad del Rosario, Ahsan Kamel, Qauid-e Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan
Topics: Cultural and Political Ecology, Political Geography, Third World
Keywords: action research, performance, South-South, social movements, Pakistan, Colombia
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Maryland B, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


How do conflicts around nature influence our attempts to learn about them? This paper uses a dialogic approach to wrestle with this question by drawing from our experiences working with rural movements against extractivism in two parts of the global South: Pakistan and Colombia. Resource geographies are constituted by embodied spatial practices, and social movements are rich sites of knowledge creation that follow alternative epistemologies. Instead of considering social movements as objects of investigation, this paper emphasizes researcher positionality, the performance of academic learning, and the embodied and performative aspects of these struggles that may contradict and even potentiate our modalities of learning about these conflicts. This implies going beyond the usual deductive models of academic research to explore action research and critical performance geography as approaches to doing critical resource geographies. By considering a set of questions on the ethics, modalities, tools, and outputs of action research that lies at the intersection of political action and investigation, we explore how fieldwork can inform Southern theorizing and solidarities.

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