Geographies of Absence and Presence

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Cultural Geography Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM (Eastern Standard Time)
Room: Marshall North, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Organizers: Joern Langhorst, Nick Patin
Chairs: Joern Langhorst


This session will explore absence and presence as fundamental to the understanding and practices of everyday life and its open-ended and uncertain dynamics. They also are fundamental in the discursive formations of cultural and humanistic geography, and they form the critical subject-matter (epistemology and ontology) of other disciplines, such as landscape studies (including landscape architecture), psychoanalysis, philosophy, etc. Presence and absence operate in the material, socio-political, ecological and psychological dimensions of everyday life.

For instance, John Wylie (2009) writes of the dynamics of absence and presence to question and challenge conventional understandings of landscape. Wylie's text finds implications into cultural practices, events and memory, and social/ecological relations of everyday life. Gillian Rose (1997) writes of the absence and presence lining psychological identities to critically challenge conventional feminist scholarly approaches to reflexivity - approaches that tend to render a complete world-picture (simultaneously embraced by the power-laden, often male-dominated, and relegating views of the world in which they intend to critique). Rose's essay renders an understanding of the politics of identity practice as qualified with gaps, fractures, and absences. Raymond L. Bryant, Angel Paniagua, and Thanasis Kizos (2010), concerned with physical geography, conceptualize a 'shadow landscape' qualified by the apparent "depopulation and marginalization" of specific areal regions, to suggest alternate future land uses, question socio-economic politics, challenge practices that render some areas 'in the light' and others 'in the shadows', and propose alternate understandings of landscape politics.

This session seeks papers that research and explore the relations of absence and presence, such as (but not limited to) those explored in these texts. In general, this session looks for contributions that aim to embrace the equivocation and uncertainty that inherently or intrinsically qualifies absence and presence. Submissions that grapple with the epistemological and ontological meanings of absence and presence in general, that argue the pertinence, impact, and relevance of absence and presence to the fields of geography and landscape, and/or that explore distinct and discreet socio-political effects of absence and presence upon every-day life are encouraged. Also encouraged are talks that use and focus on alternate modes of media (visual, sculptural, digital, photography, video, audio, poetry) to explore methods of presentation or (re-)presentation of absence and presence.

Please send abstracts and inquiries to Joern Langhorst and Nick Patin by October 22.

Wylie, John. “Landscape, absence and the geographies of love.” Royal Geographical Society (with The Institute of British Geographers), 34 (2009): 275-289.
Rose, Gillian. “Situating knowledges: positionality, reflexivities and other tactics.” Progress in Human Geography, 21:3 (1997): 305-320. DOI: 10.1191/030913297673302122.
Bryant, Raymond L., Angel Paniagua, and Thanasis Kizos. "Conceptualising ‘shadow landscape’ in political ecology and rural studies." Land Use Policy, 28.3 (2011): 460-471.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Areti Athanasopoulos*, , Toponymy as Guide for Understanding Presence and Absence in the Landscape 20 3:05 PM
Presenter Nick Patin*, University of Colorado - Denver, Visibility, Life, and Death - an exploration into the things of absence and presence 20 3:25 PM
Presenter Sarah Brown*, University of Colorado - Denver, Purchasing Place: An Analysis of Contemporary Home Marketing through a Spatial Reading of The Second Sex 20 3:45 PM
Presenter Noelani Eidse*, McGill University, Melody Lynch, University of Melbourne, (Re)configurations of belonging: Shadow citizenship and negotiations over state sanctions in Indonesia and Vietnam 20 4:05 PM
Presenter Victoria Allen*, National Weather Service, A Culture of Clouds: Translating Meteorology into the Navajo Language 20 4:25 PM

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