CFP: [Theory] 'Aerographies': re-thinking elemental assumptions in recent material theories of space

full name / name of organization: 
Mark Jackson
contact email:


Call for Papers:

Seeking submissions from colleagues across the geographical humanities,
social sciences and sciences interested in engaging with the themes of air
and elementality.

Annual Meeting of the Association for American Geographers, Las Vegas March
22nd-29th, 2009

'Aerographies': re-thinking unthought elemental and metaphysical
assumptions in recent human geographies

"...our concepts have been formed on the model of solids." (H. Bergson)

"Metaphysics always supposes, in some manner, a solid crust from which to
raise a construction." (L. Irigaray)

The most vital of geography's concerns are those that materiality opens in
thinking the connections between earth and life (Whatmore 2006). The return
to materialist concerns in recent cultural, social and political
geographies reflects this vitality. Geographies of affect, emotion,
performance and performativity, mobilities, non-representation, science and
technology, corporeality, everyday life, representation and vision, memory,
networks and assemblages, complexity, etc... all premise their engagements
through specificities of the material, whose complex, relational dynamics
"en-world" us in multiple ways. Yet, while engaged material practices are
said to open relational thinking in dynamic ways, "matter", and what we
mean by the term itself, remains under considered. This has implications,
for the objects we think with shape our metaphysical and ontological
presumptions. As such, how we engage what we mean by matter is shaped by
the objects we mobilize and the empirical sites we refract.

As Irigaray and Bergson argue, we moderns privilege "the solid crust" to
give our thought shape. But what if Being and thought are not of the same
matter? What if we began with the non-solid? What if we began, /in medias
res/, as Irigaray insists we must, with air? Is air the forgotten material
mediation of our geographical logos?

We are interested to deepen and extend recent efforts to re-think the
geographies of material relation (ex. Ingold, 2008; Olwig, 2008), by
interrogating the elemental assumptions behind how we engage the conceptual
and practical spaces of matter and relation. In particular, we are
interested to engage air as an evocative "object" for thinking relational
and experiential space. Would beginning with the most ephemeral, and yet
the constitutively most important element for life, enable us to reflect
relational interaction in exciting and ever more relevant ways? Can
'thinking with air' respond with rigor, innovation, and responsibility to
contemporary geographical imperatives ? Can it do so within registers
perhaps under recognized in our present earth-writing? Can air be an
evocative object for extending geographical engagements with relational
materiality and space?

We welcome papers on such topics as, but not limited to:

* Air as an evocative "object" for thought

* Earth-writing/air-writing

* The spatial fold of breath

* Behind the Face: the ethical demand of breath

* Atmospheric spatialities

* Vocal spaces and soundscapes

* Noise pollution and the experience of space

* Air pollution and the experience of space

* Absence/presence and the elemental prejudices of visible solids

* Material and relational inference through observation

* Political ecologies of the invisible

* Pollen and the unseen predicates of the bios

* The gendering of solidity

* Pneumatic space

* Olfactory space

* Pheromones and the spatial caress

* Non-western elementalities

* Aether as the fifth element

* Dark matter and speculative materiality

* Choric space and the topographic privilege in geography

Papers submitted will be considered for one or more organised sessions at
the 2009 AAG in Las Vegas (March 22nd-27th).

Session organiser: Mark Jackson

Session Co-chairs: J-D Dewsbury, Maria Fannin

Send your titles and paper abstracts, or expressions of interest, to Mark
Jackson <>

*Deadline: October 10, 2008


T. Ingold. 2008. 'Bindings against boundaries: entanglements of life in an
open world' /Environment and Planning A / 40 1796 – 1810

K. R. Olwig. 2008. 'Has ‘geography’ always been modern?: choros,
(non)representation, performance, and the landscape'/ Environment and
Planning A/ 40 1843 – 1861

S.Whatmore. 2006. 'Materialist returns: practising cultural geographies in
and for a more-than-human world' /Cultural Geographies/ 13.4 600-610

--________________________________Dr. Mark JacksonLecturer in Human GeographySchool of Geographical SciencesUniversity of BristolBristol, UK BS8 1SS+44 0117 928 From the Literary Calls for Papers Mailing List more information at on Tue Sep 16 2008 - 04:24:53 EDT

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