Negative geographies: exploring the politics of limits

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Political Geography Specialty Group, Cultural Geography Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM (MDT)
Room: Virginia A, Marriott, Lobby Level
Organizers: Mitch Rose, David Bissell
Chairs: Matthew Hannah

Call for Submissions

The aim of this session is to chart the political, conceptual and ethical consequences of how the underexplored problem of the negative might be posed in the contemporary present for cultural and political geography. Much of the social thought that has inspired contemporary geography has sidestepped questions of the negative in favour of championing the emancipatory potentials of the affirmative. The political presuppositions of key figures such as Nietzsche and Deleuze; Latour and Negri and their investment in collective, constituent, immanent powers are underpinned by a commitment to a mode of thought that is broadly premised on creativity and productivity. For good or for ill, it is the creative force of activity that transforms the world. Within the vein of social thought that inspires much contemporary geography, this ethos is borne out in the affirmation of positivity, pro-activity, the value of contribution, and thinking creatively. Ontologically it is committed to the generativity of a world that is always opening, always becoming, always plastic. Yet within geographies of pro-activity, the negative becomes relegated to the status of being reactionary and secondary; manifested as weak-will or failed action. From this perspective lethargy, indolence and inactivity, for example, are all states that are troubling because of their refusal to affirm, their failure to commit, and their unwillingness to transform. This denigration of the negative within an affirmative mode of thought is troubling because it obscures the possibilities for thinking the negative differently and on its own terms. As such, a reconsideration of the place of negativity is urgently required.

The aim of this session is to open up the problem of the negative onto the very idea of activity itself. Following recent calls for grappling with the significance of vulnerability, exposure and incapacity, the session hopes to open up new avenues through which key problems in cultural and political geography might be posed.



Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Mitch Rose*, Aberystwyth University, Tragic democracy 15 1:10 PM
Presenter Friederike Landau*, Postdoctoral Researcher, Testing the Limits of (In)Action – On the Affective Neg(oti)ation of the Future of Europe via Artist Activism 15 1:25 PM
Presenter Chris Philo*, University of Glasgow, Nothing-much geographies, or towards micrological investigations 15 1:40 PM
Presenter Vickie Zhang*, University of Melbourne, A weak affirmation of surrender, or, the love of a cultural translator 15 1:55 PM
Presenter Eleanor Wilkinson*, University of Southampton, Dead ends: On numbness, impasse, and the negative 15 2:10 PM
Presenter David Bissell*, University of Melbourne, Andrew Gorman-Murray, Western Sydney University, Disoriented Geographies: undoing relations, encountering limits 15 2:25 PM

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