Historical Geographies of Anarchism

CALL FOR PAPERS – Historical Geographies of Anarchism: situating struggles, studying environments

RGS-IBG 2015 AIC, Exeter 2-4 September 2015, Geographies of Anthropocene

Session sponsored by the RGS-IBG Historical Geography Research Group

Session convenors:
Geronimo Barrera, Research Institute “Dr. Jose Maria Luis Mora” (Mexico)
Fabien Colombo, University of Bordeaux (France)
Federico Ferretti, University of Geneva (Switzerland)
Francisco Toro, University of Granada (Spain)

Call for papers
In the last years, international geographical research has rediscovered anarchism, as witnessed by the 2012 special issues consecrated to it by the journals ACME and Antipode and by the recent flourishing of papers and conferences, in English and other languages, on historical anarchist geographers like Elisee Reclus and Petr Kropotkin.

Following the session Demanding the impossible: transgressing the frontiers of geography through anarchism held in the RGS-IBG 2013 International Conference, the proposed session aims to analyse the relation between geography and anarchism on the standpoints of historical geography and philosophy and history of geography.

For this purpose, we invite papers on the following topics:

Putting Anarchism in its place: historical experiences of anarchist and anarcho-syndicalist political and social practices analysed within their places, environments, cultures and genders, in the frame of the studies on Geography and Revolution.

Networks and circulations of anarchist knowledge, with a special focus on the literature on Transnational Anarchism, which is reconstructing the international trajectories of anarchist militants between the 19th and the 20th century, stressing their relations with anti-colonialist movements and non-European cultures, like African, Arabic and East-Asian workers or indigenous movements in Latin America.

Anarchism and Environmental History. In their last works, respectively L’Homme et la Terre and La civilisation et les grands fleuves historiques, Elisee Reclus and Lev MeCnikov tried to build a world geo-history in which natural and human features were seen as parts of a general harmony, which only a radical social change could realize. These works, starting by prehistory, can be seen as a tentative to give an anarchist vision of Anthropocene, and can be analysed today considering their effectiveness on the problems of global resources, which Reclus and MeCnikov considered related both to environmental problems and socioeconomic inequalities. Their approaches could serve present debates on limits of growth, political and social ecology, mesology, spatial justice, cosmopolitanism and international brotherhood.

Social and natural sciences for human liberation. Together with Petr Kropotkin, Reclus and MeCnikov elaborated the well-known theory of Mutual Aid, participating in the debates on Evolutionism and contrasting the Social Darwinism of that time, by considering cooperation as a factor in evolution. This concept also contributed to the socialist critiques of Thomas Malthus. Problematizing these topics entails reflexions on the present coming back of Creationism, Malthusianism and physical Determinism.

Anarchism, urban history and the origins of regional planning. Reclus and Kropotkin dealt with urban history considering towns as the places where the idea of free association was build. Nevertheless, they participated in a critique of the industrial town, influencing concepts like the Patrick Geddes’s Regional Planning, the Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City and the Arturo Soria y Mata’s Linear City. All these authors deserve further research which is welcome.

The session is also open for scholars not belonging to historical geography’s sector who are willing to deal with the above concepts within contemporary debates.

Instruction for authors
Please send paper title, abstract of no more than 250 words, 3 to 5 keywords and full contact details by 31January 2015 to: federico.ferretti@unige.ch

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