AAG CFP: Platform Urbanism

From Scott Rodgers:

Platform Urbanism

Call for Papers/Panelists
Association of American Geographers Conference 2018
New Orleans, USA, 10-14 April 2018

Susan Moore (University College London)
Scott Rodgers (Birkbeck, University of London)

Digital Geographies Specialty Group
Media and Communication Geography Specialty Group
Urban Geography Speciality Group


Talk about ‘platforms’ is today all-pervasive: platform architecture, platform design, platform ecosystem, platform governance, platform markets, platform politics, platform thinking. But just what are platforms? And how might we understand their emergent urban geographies?

As Tarleton Gillespie (2010) argues, the term ‘platform’ clearly does discursive work for commercial entities such as Facebook, Amazon, Uber, Airbnb and Google. It allows them to be variably (and often ambiguously) described and imagined: as technical platforms; platforms for expression; or platforms of entrepreneurial opportunity. Indeed, as emergent spaces, platforms – both commercial and nonprofit – entail so many ambitions, activities, services, exchanges, forums, infrastructures, and ordinary practices that conceptualizing their general dynamics is difficult, perhaps even pointless.

Yet platforms do appear to have considerable implications, geographical as well as political. For Benjamin Bratton (2015), cloud-based platforms such as Facebook, Amazon and Google form a fundamental layer of what he calls planetary-scale computation, perhaps representing new forms of geopolitical sovereignty. This ‘sovereignty’ is, however, neither generalized nor homogeneous: in manifests in geographically uneven intensities and extents.

This session invites original research and conceptual reflections that explore, debate and critique the notion of an emergent ‘platform urbanism’. Recently, Nick Srnicek (2016) deployed the phrase ‘platform capitalism’ to encapsulate his argument that platforms not only mark a new kind of firm, but a new way of making economies. Here – in a move similar to Henri Lefevbre’s (1970/2003) in The urban revolution – we suggest a speculative substitution of ‘urbanism’ for ‘capitalism’, placing an emphasis on the possibility of irreducible, co-generative dynamics between platforms and the urban.

Contributions may address a wide range of commercial and nonprofit platforms – including those related to social networking, user-generated content, location-based technologies, mapping and the geoweb, goods and services, marketing, and gaming – and their relationships with various forms of urban living and urban spaces. 

Expressions of Interest

We intend to organize 1-2 paper sessions, depending on quantity and quality of submissions, followed by a panel discussion session.

Expressions of interest must be emailed to both Susan Moore (susan.moore@ucl.ac.uk) and Scott Rodgers (s.rodgers@bbk.ac.uk) by 1 October 2017. Those proposing a paper presentation should send an abstract of 250 words; those interested in participating as a panellist should include a short outline of their intended contribution in their email.


Bratton, B. H. (2016). The stack: On software and sovereignty. MIT press.

Gillespie, T. (2010). The politics of ‘platforms’. New Media & Society12(3), 347-364.

Lefebvre, H. (1970/2003). The urban revolution (originally published as La révolution urbaine). University of Minnesota Press.

Srnicek, N. (2016). Platform capitalism. John Wiley & Sons.


AAG CFP: Urbanism and marginality in the Global South

From Aparna Parikh:

Call for Papers

Urbanism and marginality in the Global South
AAG Annual Meeting in New Orleans, April 10-14, 2018 

Organizer: Aparna Parikh, Penn State
Chair: Azita Ranjbar, Ohio State
Discussant: [TBD]

Deadline for Papers/ Panel Proposals: October 13, 2017

Sponsoring Specialty Groups: Urban Geography Specialty Group, Asian Geography Specialty Group

This session will investigate relationships between neoliberal urbanization and marginal labor in the Global South. The production and maintenance of neoliberal spaces depends on a variegated labor force, large numbers of whom are marginalized and rendered invisible in narratives of modernization. This session aims to focus on research examining narratives of differentially marginalized workforces to reveal contradictions within processes of neoliberal urbanization in numerous global contexts.

Feminist scholars have long examined intimate, everyday experiences as starting points to unravel the workings of global capitalism (see, for example Wright 2006; Katz 2001; Peake and Rieker 2013). These examinations suggest that “not only do global processes enact themselves on local ground but local processes and small scale actors might be seen as the very fabric of globalization” (Freeman 2001 in Mountz and Hyndman 2006, emphasis in original). This session seeks to focus on research analyzing experiences of this “fabric” to reveal the embedded particularity of neoliberalism in a certain location (Brenner and Theodore 2002), as well as its implications for other contexts. Possible themes for this session include, but are not limited to:

–       Relations across scale, and significance of the everyday (see, for example Herod and Wright 2002; Mountz and Hyndman 2006; Pratt and Rosner 2012)

–       Postcolonial urbanism and the politics of difference (see, for example Roy and Ong 2011; McFarlane and Robinson 2012; Varley 2013)

–       Thinking from the margins, and the Global South as a site of theory production (see, for example Roy 2005; Rao 2006; Derickson 2015)

Through these themes, this session hopes to investigate how everyday processes of marginalization can illuminate the workings of global structures of oppression; as enacted through capitalist, patriarchal and racist systems. 

Please email enquiries and abstracts (250 words) to Aparna Parikh (aparna@psu.edu) by October 13. Authors will be notified by October 20, and must register for the conference and submit their abstracts through the AAG website by the October 25 deadline to be added to the paper session.

Works cited:

Brenner, Neil, and Nik Theodore. 2002. “Cities and the Geographies of ‘actually Existing Neoliberalism.’” Antipode 34 (3): 349–379.

Derickson, Kate D. 2015. “Urban Geography I: Locating Urban Theory in the ‘urban Age.’” Progress in Human Geography 39 (5): 647–657.

Herod, Andrew, and Melissa W. Wright. 2002. Geographies of Power: Placing Scale. Blackwell Malden, MA.

Katz, Cindi. 2001. “Vagabond Capitalism and the Necessity of Social Reproduction.” Antipode 33 (4): 709–728.

McFarlane, Colin, and Jennifer Robinson. 2012. “Introduction—experiments in Comparative Urbanism.” Urban Geography 33 (6): 765–773.

Mountz, Alison, and Jennifer Hyndman. 2006. Feminist Approaches to the Global Intimate. JSTOR.

Peake, Linda, and Martina Rieker. 2013. “Rethinking Feminist Interventions Into the Urban.” Interrogating Feminist Understandings of the Urban, 1.

Pratt, Geraldine, and Victoria Rosner. 2012. The Global and the Intimate: Feminism in Our Time. Columbia University Press. http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=lVirAgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR9&dq=+The+Global+and+the+Intimate:+Feminism+in+Our+Time&ots=0CXl-wFAzx&sig=aWIz6PAeMRpjv2L2F4qzApaAYvE.

Rao, Vyjayanthi. 2006. “Slum as Theory: The South/Asian City and Globalization.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 30 (1): 225–32. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2427.2006.00658.x.

Roy, Ananya. 2005. “Urban Informality: Toward an Epistemology of Planning.” Journal of the American Planning Association 71 (2): 147–58. doi:10.1080/01944360508976689.

Roy, Ananya, and Aihwa Ong. 2011. Worlding Cities: Asian Experiments and the Art of Being Global. Vol. 41. John Wiley & Sons.

Varley, Ann. 2013. “Postcolonialising Informality?” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 31 (1): 4–22. doi:10.1068/d14410.

Wright, Melissa. 2006. Disposable Women and Other Myths of Globalization. London: Taylor and Francis.

AAG CFP: Who is Grievable?

From Avril Maddell:

CFP: AAG Annual Meeting, New Orleans, USA, April 10-14, 2018

 For whom and what do we grieve? The spaces and politics of diverse experiences of death, loss and remembrance

The idea of Deathscapes is not limited to landscapes associated with death, but in a wider sense includes the spatial dimensions and relations situating and contextualising dying, death, bereavement and remembrance. Politics are at the core of these geographies of death, dying, grieving and memorialisation (see Johnson 1994; Sidaway 2009; Maddrell 2010; Wagner 2010; Stevenson et al 2016), in both everyday and extraordinary circumstances. Local and national governments act as key providers of cemeteries and crematoria in some countries. The state directs key public bodies such as the military, border security and police, and services such as public housing, schools and prisons; they also commission, regulate and curate public memorials. Likewise, public housing, welfare regimes and immigration policy impact on the experience of living-dying and bereavement. This applies to groups marginalised by monolithic and intersectional exclusion from power (e.g. see Morin 2016 on racialized carceral death). Also, as the Mediterranean Missing Migrants Project, #BlackLivesMatter and events in Charlottesville, USA testify, it applies to the politics of who is deemed ‘grievable’ in Butler’s (2009) terms, as well as who is publicly remembered, how, where and when – and at what cost? The politics and political processes surrounding death and remembrance, how these intersect with bodies, lives, communities and socio-cultural differences merit further examination in Geographical and wider analyses.

We welcome the submission of conceptual, empirical, creative and methodological papers form the Global ‘North’ or ‘South’, which explore the varied and intersectional political dimensions of embodied, individual, collective and institutionalised death, dying, loss and remembrance through a spatial lens.

Papers could address, but are not limited to:

  • intersectional embodied, gendered, classed and ethnic geographies of death, loss, remembrance
  • the geopolitics of migration deathscapes
  • cemetery and crematoria needs in multi-cultural societies
  • contested memorialisation in public places
  • the political lives of the dying/dead/ commemorated
  • death and remembrance in poverty/austerity
  • carceral deathscapes

Session organizers:

  • Yasminah Beebeejaun (UCL, UK)
  • Avril Maddrell (Reading, UK)
  • Danny McNally (Reading, UK)
  • Brenda Mathijssen (Reading, UK)

Please send titles and abstracts (no more than 250 words) to Danny McNally (D.mcnally@reading.ac.uk) or Brenda Mathijssen (b.mathijssen@reading.ac.uk) by Friday October 6th 2017.

The Russian Revolution and the Black Atlantic Conference

From David Featherstone:

The Red and the Black: The Russian Revolution and the Black Atlantic Conference organised by the Institute for the Black Atlantic Research to mark the centenary of the Russian Revolution. The conference which aims to explore the impact the revolutionary events in Russia during 1917 made across the African diaspora, will also feature live performances by the American singer and songwriter David Rovics (Friday evening 13th Oct.) and the Nigerian-born, Liverpool-based playwright and singer Tayo Aluko (Sun. 15th at 1.30). Keynote lectures will be delivered by Prof. Winston James (University of California, Irvine), Dr Cathy Bergin (University of Brighton) and Prof. Hakim Adi(University of Chichester).

Info and programme here

Linton Kwesi Johnson, the Jamaican-born “dub poet,” political orator, musician and journalist will read his poetry at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston  on Saturday 14 October at 8 PM.

Kwesi Johnson, a former member of the Black Panthers, developed his work with Rasta Love, a group of poets and drummers. His first collection of poetry, Voices of the Living and the Dead, was published in 1974 by Race Today. In 2002 he became only the second living poet and the first black poet to have his work included in Penguin’s Modern Classics series, under the title Mi Revalueshanary Fren: Selected Poems. Johnson’s first album, Dread Beat An Blood was released in 1978, and since then he has released 14 more albums, including LKJ Live in Paris in 2004, a CD and DVD celebrating his 25th anniversary as a reggae recording artist. Linton Kwesi Johnson has also been running his own record label, LKJ Records, since 1981.

Kwesi Johnson performance is a part of The Red and the Black: The Russian Revolution and the Black Atlantic Conference organised by the Institute for the Black Atlantic Research to mark the centenary of the Russian Revolution. The conference which aims to explore the impact the revolutionary events in Russia during 1917 made across the African diaspora, will also feature live performances by the American singer and songwriter David Rovics (Friday evening 13th Oct.) and the Nigerian-born, Liverpool-based playwright and singer Tayo Aluko (Sun. 15th at 1.30). Keynote lectures will be delivered by Prof. Winston James (University of California, Irvine), Dr Cathy Bergin (University of Brighton) and Prof. Hakim Adi(University of Chichester).

The events will take place in UCLAN’s Media Innovation Studio (the 4th floor of Media Factory, Kirkham St, Preston, Lancashire PR1 2XY).

Tickets for both performances and the conference are available at Ticket Source: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/386462

CFP for AAG: On Problematization

CFP: AAG Annual Meeting, New Orleans, April 10-14, 2018

“On Problematization”

Session organizers:          JD Dewsbury      (UNSW @ ADFA Canberra)

Tom Roberts      (UNSW @ ADFA Canberra)

Scott Sharpe      (UNSW @ ADFA Canberra)

“Up to now, overall, each person trusted in his [sic] concepts, as in a miraculous dowry that had come from some just as miraculous world … The first need then is for an absolute skepticism with respect to all traditional concepts of philosophy”

  • Friedrich Nietzsche (Debaise, 2016: 10)

The notion of ‘problematization’ turns around a central question of pressing concern for geographers today, namely: what capacities for thinking and doing social research are lost when we make do with problems that are themselves preconceived? In an intellectual milieu that often privileges doom-laden narratives, there is a need to address an insidious conservatism when identifying the kinds of problems that geographical research might inhabit. This task is, we feel, rendered all the more critical in a time increasingly dominated by the sad encounters of fear and the forces of ressentiment, the effect of which is to reduce our powers of thinking and acting to an instrumental logic of problem-solving. This session seeks to mobilize debate around the notion of problematization, which we present as a provocation to refuse the comforting conservatism of ready-made problems in contemporary geographical research. Problems, we contend, always have the solutions they deserve, which makes the articulation of a problem – that is, the process of problematization – a matter of invention. It is precisely this inventive, generative, and indeed disruptive force of problematization that we wish to explore here, whether in relation to the micropolitics of articulating new conceptual problems, the ethics of producing subjectivities through problematizing processes, or, indeed, the inherence of material forces that make of life a problematic process in itself.

We therefore welcome papers that seek to incorporate problematization into the doing of their thinking, whether by resisting the comfort of ready-made problems through the composition of new empirico-theoretical landscapes, experimenting with research practices at the very limit of sense-making, or by generating modes of subjectivity capable of expressing the singularity of events. By focusing on problematization our aim is to generate conversation in relation to a broad range of contemporary research topics, including but by no means limited to: aesthetics, biotechnology, code, digitalization, ecology, fashion, geology, health, image, literature, machines, politics, science, etc. We are particularly interested in papers that unpack, explore and experiment with the notion of problematization in relation to:

  • Methods: practices that problematize methodological assumptions pertaining to authenticity, representation, creativity, and the distinction between fact and fiction;
  • Impact: projects that short-circuit the demands of policy, that disrupt the scalar politics of ‘impactful’ research, or that explore alternative modes of valuing and evaluating research outputs;
  • Concepts: interventions that question the ontological foundations of social scientific research and the values these foundations imply, that body-forth new and uncertain stances towards the real, or that seek to infect everyday experience with nonhuman forces;
  • Empirics: experiments that re-think what counts as empirical research, that inhabit the zone of indiscernibility between bodies and ideas, and that trouble established logics of perception.

Please send titles and abstracts (no more than 250 words) to JD Dewsbury (JD.Dewsbury@adfa.edu.au), Tom Roberts (Thomas.roberts@adfa.edu.au) and Scott Sharpe (S.Sharpe@adfa.edu.au) by Friday October 6th, 2017.





Debaise, D. (2016). “The Dramatic Power of Events.” Deleuze Studies, 10(1), pp. 5-18.


Online Gods

From Ian Cook:

We are proud to announce the launch of Online Gods – A Podcast about Digital Cultures

How are digital interactions remoulding the public sphere in India and elsewhere? What do online cultures and debates do to questions of faith, the nation and belonging? How can anthropologists research the digital world? How can we examine the digital by inhabiting the digital?

Online Gods is a monthly podcast on digital cultures and their political ramifications, featuring lively conversations with scholars and activists.

Listen now to Episode 1: Big Data and The Ladies Finger featuring Ralph Schroeder and Nisha Susan.

Subscribe: RSS

Look out for a new episode of Online Gods on the last day of every month. Coming up in Episode 2 – Angela Zito on media as religion and Kuffir Nalgundwar on Dalit online activism

Presented by anthropologist Ian Cook, “Online Gods” is a key initiative of the ERC funded project ONLINERPOL www.fordigitaldignity.com led by media anthropologist Sahana Udupa at LMU Munich. It is co-hosted by the HAU Network for Ethnographic Theory. Online Gods represents our collective commitment to multimedia diffusion of research in accessible and engaging formats.

Film Screening

From Michele Lancione:

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to draw your attention to a film screening I put together at the forthcoming RGS-IBG conference. The film is called ‘A inceput ploaia/It started raining‘, and it is about evictions and the fight for housing in Bucharest (Romania). You can watch the trailer here (https://vimeo.com/203610201) and read more about this project at www.ainceputploaia.com

The screening will be followed by a panel chaired by Alex Vasudevan discussing visual methods, ethnography at the urban margins, activism and evictions, with Gillian Rose, AbdouMaliq Simone, Katherine Brickell and Liviu Chelcea.

Both will take place on Thursday, 31st:

– Film screening: Session 3, 14:40 – 16:20, Sir Alexander Fleming Building, Lecture Theatre G34

– Panel: Session 4, 16:50 – 18:30, Sir Alexander Fleming Building, Lecture Theatre G34

You can find the details of both sessions at

http://conference.rgs.org/AC2017/208 and http://conference.rgs.org/AC2017/240

Best wishes,


Conference: The Right to the City and Social Ecology

The Right to the City and Social Ecology – Towards Ecological and Democratic Cities

TRISE invites activists, scholars, movements and citizens to a conference on the need to rebuild our cities along democratic and ecological lines!

The conference will take place in Thessaloniki, Greece, from 1st to 3rd of September 2017.


Friday 1 September

Theme of the day: The Right to the City

09.00-11.00 Registration

11.00-11.45 Welcoming greetings and introductory statements: Dimitrios Roussopoulos (Montreal) TRISE Chair and Svante Malmström (Oulu) TRISE General Secretary

11.45-12.45 Keynote speech: Magali Fricaudet (Barcelona): “From Human Rights in the City to the Right to the City”

12.45-14.00 Lunch

14.00-16.00 Seminar A: Social Ecology, the City and the State

Alexandros Schismenos – Direct democracy, social ecology and public space
Federico Venturini – Reconceptualising the right to the city through social ecology
Metin Guven – Do We Need a Theory of State?
16.00-16.15 Break

16.15-17.15 Keynote speech: Theodoros Karyotis (Thessaloniki): “Whose right to the city? Collective subjects and urban conflicts in times of crisis”

17.15-17.30 Break

17.30-19.30 Parallel workshops:

Constitution Street (Jemma Neville)
How to talk about the commons transition in non-expert audiences (Alekos Pantazis)
20.00 Dinner


Saturday 2 September

Theme of the day: Social Ecology

09.00-09.30 Registration

09.30-10.30 Keynote speech: Brian Morris (London): “The legacy of Murray Bookchin”

10.30-10.45 Break

10.45-12.45 Seminar B: Case studies of Urban Struggles

Tina Schivatcheva – (Re)claiming the environmental conservation areas at the urban environment interface of the city of Bourgas, Bulgaria as egalitarian socio-political spaces
Lycourghiotis, Laboura & Chalkia – Bicycle and city: The example of Patras and a cycle path suggestion
Bogado & Solanas – Squatting movements in Spain and Brazil: Resistance and autonomy in the occupation of empty buildings in central urban areas
Meg Sherman – La Nuit Debut Utopia harnessed from vision to flesh

12.45-14.00 Lunch

14.00-15.00 Keynote speech: Havin Guneser (Hamburg): “From Bookchin to Abdullah Öcalan”

15.00-15.15 Break

15.15-16.45 Seminar C: Turkey and the Kurdish quest

Haris Tsavdaroglou – The battle for the common space and the right to the city in Istanbul: from the creative city to the rebel city and vice versa
Özdemir & Yalnıç – Constituent actors in the democratization of cities in North Kurdistan

16.45-17.00 Break

17.00-19.00 Workshop: The relevance of Social Ecology for Urban Social Movements (Federico Venturini & Malin Widehammar)

19.30-20.30 Double book launch at Micropolis: Greek edition of The Murray Bookchin Reader by Janet Biehl and of Political Ecology by Dimitrios Roussopoulos.

20.30 Dinner at Micropolis


Sunday 3 September

Theme of the day: Towards Ecological and Democratic Cities

09.00-09.30 Registration

09.30-10.30 Keynote speech: Emet Değirmenci (Seattle): “A Social Ecology Approach To Degrowth”

10.30-10.45 Break

10.45-12.45 Seminar D: Concepts and Practices for Social Change

Olli Tammilehto – The Present is Pregnant with a Social-ecological Future, The shadow society and societal phase shift
Pettas, Tsirimokos, Maroulis – Energy Democracy and Degrowth, The case study of Tilos Island
Anne Scheinberg – Value Added, Introduction to informal recovery in Europe

12.45-14.00 Lunch

14.00-16.00 Parallel workshops:

Due Diligence and Real Recycling and Re-use Numbers, European Circular Economy Ecology (Springloop Cooperatie)
Body Displacement (Vilelmini Andrioti)
16.00-16.15 Break

16.15-17.15 Keynote speech: Dan Chodorkoff (Marshfield): “From the present situation going forward”

17.15-17.30 Break

17.30-19.30 Concluding panel: “Towards Ecological and Democratic Cities – How do we move forward?”. Speakers include: Malin Widehammar (Gothenburg), Svante Malmström (Oulu), Havin Guneser (Hamburg), Theodoros Karyotis (Thessaloniki)

20.00 Dinner

Gay Science, III, 249

The sigh of the search for knowledge.– “Oh, my greed! There is no selflessness in my soul but only an all-coveting self that would like to appropriate many individuals as so many additional pairs of eyes and hands–a self that would like to bring back the whole past, too, and that will not lose anything that it could possibly possess. Oh, my greed is a flame! Oh, that I might be reborn in a hundred beings!” –Whoever does not know this sigh from firsthand experience does not know the passion of the search for knowledge.

Sandra Harding at Oxford

Sandra Harding will be speaking in Oxford on Feminist Standpoint Epistemology, Objectivity and Diversity in Oxford on 4th and 5th May.

Everyone is welcome, but Sandra would particularly like to meet and engage with postgrads and ECRs.

5.00 Thursday 4th May, Examination Schools, University of Oxford

Public lecture:  ‘After Mr. Nowhere: New Proper Philosophic Selfs?’

The lecture will expand on the themes in the last chapter of her Objectivity and Diversity.

Abstract: Contemporary analytic philosophy has modeled itself on distinctive characteristics of modern Western sciences: in its initial formulations, it was to be a “scientific philosophy.”  Its objectivity, and thus its intellectual and social value, was defined in terms of its freedom from social and political values. Yet the new social movements emerging since the 1960’s, such as poor peoples’ movements, civil rights, feminist, anti-colonial, and many more, have developed methods of research, including in philosophy, that claim a stronger commitment to objectivity than the conventionally objective sciences and their philosophies ever could achieve, though they refuse the value-free understanding of how best to maximize objectivity. This presentation will identify and reflect on the different conceptions of the “proper philosophic self” created by the knowledge-production projects of these new social movements.


4.00 Friday 5th May, Harris Manchester College, Oxford

Panel session: Feminist Standpoint Epistemology

Sandra Harding in discussion with Beverley Clack, Liz Frazer, Sabina Lovibond, and Katherine Morris