Pragmatism Conference, Queen Mary

Queen Mary, University of London is pleased to be hosting an international conference on Human Geography and the Pragmatic Tradition: May 23 and 24 2017

This international conference examines the potential for philosophical pragmatism to augment scholarship in the discipline of human geography. It is some time since geographers created the space needed to foster collective reflection about the potential contribution of this tradition of thought for the discipline. Previous efforts to do this have generated a strong legacy for renewing debate (see, e.g., the special issue of Geoforum, edited by Smith and Wood, 2008). We seek to move this conversation forward through an incisive engagement with pragmatist understandings and their application in the discipline of human geography today. The first day will end with a public lecture, given by QMUL’s Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Professor Robert Lake (Rutgers University, USA) on the theme of Hope for democracy: Pragmatism Between Populism and Expertise.

The preliminary schedule is copied below as I can’t attach it. Spaces are limited and need to be booked via Eventbrite here:

Any queries, please get in touch. Many thanks.



23-24 May 2017 at Queen Mary University of London, Graduate Centre Room 601

TUESDAY 23rd MAY 2017

9:00 – 9:30 Welcome and Introductions

9:30 – 11:00 Session 1. Pragmatist Ontologies

Gary Bridge, Geography & Planning, Cardiff University, UK

“Situating spatial transitions: Dewey and the uncertainties of life”

Ihnjinette Jon, Urban Planning & Design, University of Washington, US

“Seeking for a ‘moment,’ not the truth: Pragmatism and contemporary planning theory”

Meg Holden, Urban Studies & Geography, Simon Fraser University, CA

“Why the cash value of contemporary pragmatism for geography depends on more than its materialism”

11:00 – 11:10 Coffee

11:10 – 12:40 Session 2. Pragmatist Processes

Owain Jones, Bath Spa University, UK

“Pragmatism and local methods for creative (geographical) inquiry”

Klaus Geiselhart, Institut for Geographie, Friedrich-Alexander Universitat, Germany

“Social criticism? Sure, but how? Opposition and mediation as socio-political attitudes”

Trevor Barnes, Geography, University of British Columbia, CA

“What geographers talk about when they talk about talk”

12:40 – 1:30 Lunch

1:30 – 3:00 Session 3. Pragmatism and Feminism/Rights

Susan Saegert, Geography & Environmental Psychology, CUNY, US

“Embodied inequalities: Can we go beyond the geographies and epistemologies of ignorance?”

Nichola Wood, Geography, University of Leeds, UK

“Pragmatism and feminism: The women of Hull House”

Joe Hoover, Politics and International Relations, Queen Mary University of London, UK

“Performative rights and situationist ethics”

3:00 – 3:10 Tea

3:10 – 5:10 Session 4. Pragmatism and Democracy

Malcolm Cutchin, Health Care Sciences, Wayne State University, US

“Habits of social inquiry and reconstruction: A Deweyan vision of democracy, imagination, and human geography”

Jane Wills and Liam Harney, Geography, Queen Mary University of London, UK

“Pragmatism, place, publics, and people”

Laura Cesafsky, Geography, Environment & Society, University of Minnesota, US

“Of footholds and stages: Democratic subjectification in Dewey and Ranciere”

Crispian Fuller, Geography and Planning, Cardiff University, UK

“Mead, urban political theory and the political subject”

6:00 – 8:00 Public Lecture

Robert Lake, Geography and Urban Planning, Rutgers University, US

“Hope for Democracy: Pragmatism between populism and expertise”


9:30 – 11:00 Session 5. Pragmatism and Political Economy

Jamie Gough, Urban Studies & Planning, University of Sheffield, UK

“Political economy and pragmatism: Brexit, xenophobia, and left strategy”

Alireza Farahani, Geography, Clark University, US

“Exploring possibilities for a new encounter in the grounds of development”

Patrick Heidkamp, Southern Connecticut State University, US

“Toward a critical pragmatist approach to an (environmental) economic geography”

11:00 – 11:10 Coffee

11:10 – 12:40 Session 6. Pragmatism, Geography, and Justice

Daniel Esser, School of International Service, American University, US

“Disembedding Dewey: Pragmatism beyond modernity?

Alice Huff, Geography, UCLA, US

“Conflict and moral inquiry: Negotiating difference in New Orleans neighborhood schooling struggles”

Richard Nunes, Real Estate & Planning, University of Reading, UK

“Pragmatism and justice: From critical pragmatism to transformative pragmatism”

12:40 – 2:00 Lunch, Conference Review and Discussion of Next Steps


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s