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Scholar activism in a time of crisis

Type: Panel
Theme: Expanding the Community of Geography
Sponsor Groups:
Organizers: Jennifer Fluri
Chairs: Paul Routledge


Scholar activism in a time of crisis

We are living in an unprecedented intersection of political, economic and climate crises. As Naomi Klein (2019) argues climate change interconnects with the crisis of rising white supremacy, the various forms of authoritarian nationalism, austerity neoliberalism and forced displacement and migration.

At the same time we are witnessing an exciting upsurge of grassroots movements and initiatives that are confronting these crises and proposing alternatives such as Black Lives Matter; Extinction Rebellion; the global climate school strikes; factory occupations; and the green new deal.

If the crisis is precisely that in which, as Gramsci argued, the old is dying and the new struggles to be born then for praxis-minded scholars this poses the question: what is to be done?
Taking our lead from feminist work on gender and the geopolitics of violence and protest (Fluri, 2017; Fluri and Lehr, 2019), calls for critical scholars to practice radical vulnerability (Nagar, 2014, 2019), examinations of the geopolitics of trauma and massive displacement (Loyd, Ehrkamp & Secor, 2018; Ehrkamp, Loyd, & Secor, 2019) and work on scholar activist (Derickson and Routledge, 2015; Routledge and Derickson, 2015) we wish to explore the role of scholar activist bodies at such times of crisis and emergency.

This session then examines new tactics and potentials for scholar activists and poses the questions:
How does a focus upon embodiment open up potentials for new solutions?
How far and in what ways can a neoliberal university now nurture forms of liberators politics?
What creative responses to crisis can scholar activists contribute (e.g. such as the intersection of geography with the arts)? What responses address the intersectionality of crises?

Derickson, K. D., & Routledge, P. (2015). Resourcing scholar-activism: Collaboration, transformation, and the production of knowledge. The Professional Geographer, 67(1), 1-7.

Ehrkamp, P., Loyd, J. M., & Secor, A. (2019). Embodiment and memory in the geopolitics of trauma. In Handbook on Critical Geographies of Migration. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Fluri, J. L., & Lehr, R. (2019). “We Are Farkhunda”: Geographies of Violence, Protest, and Performance. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 45(1), 149-173.

Fluri, J. L., & Piedalue, A. (2017). Embodying violence: critical geographies of gender, race, and culture.

Klein, N. 2019 On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal. Allen Lane.

Loyd, J. M., Ehrkamp, P., & Secor, A. J. (2018). A geopolitics of trauma: Refugee administration and protracted uncertainty in Turkey. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 43(3), 377-389.

Nagar, R. (2014). Muddying the waters: Coauthoring feminisms across scholarship and activism. University of Illinois Press.

Nagar, R. (2019). HUNGRY TRANSLATIONS: Relearning the World Through Radical Vulnerability. University of Illinois Press.

Routledge, P., & Derickson, K. D. (2015). Situated solidarities and the practice of scholar-activism. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 33(3), 391-407.


Type Details Minutes
Discussant Richa Nagar University of Minnesota - Minneapolis 15
Panelist A. Marie Ranjbar Ohio State University 10
Panelist Anu Sabhlok Indian Institute of Science Education and Research 10
Panelist Benjamin Barron University of Colorado 10
Panelist Paul Routledge University of Leeds 10
Discussant Neda Shaban University of Colorado, Boulder 10
Introduction Jennifer Fluri University of Colorado, Boulder 10

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