24th Annual Critical Geography Conference
Pennsylvania State University
October 27-28, 2017


Recent developments in U.S. politics, culture and government – occurring alongside political upsurges and reconfigurations in several other countries and world regions – force us to take pause and consider the meaning of our work as critical geographers. While this contemporary moment is marked by the increasing precarity of both critical scholarly research and the lives of the communities with whom we work, it is also an opportunity to reimagine the work we do, how we do it, and why we do it.

It is in the context of this uncertain political present that we ask the geographic and larger academic community: What futures can we imagine for critical geographies? How can we leverage the intellectual and institutional infrastructures of critical geographies to address contemporary social issues and contribute to struggles for social justice? What conceptual and methodological tools do we possess, and what critical capacities have we yet to realize? What new questions, perspectives, and critical concepts – and more centrally, what new worlds – can critical geographies bring into being?

We invite perspectives from all subfields of geography and related fields and welcome approaches drawing on feminist, queer, post-colonial, political ecology, Marxist, anarchist, critical GIS and cartography, critical geography, settler studies, and critical race perspectives among others. We invite papers addressing the following themes and topics:

Envisioning alternative worlds: How can geographic knowledge and research address major contemporary social issues and/or contribute to struggles for social, political, environmental, and economic justice? We welcome research that imagines alternative futures and trajectories for human communities, including but not limited to research addressing the climate/environmental crisis, geopolitics, social justice, alternative currencies and economies, alternative energy and food systems, utopias/dystopias, etc.

(In)visible bodies: How can geographic thought and research address issues of identity, inequality, and violence at the site of the body and the everyday? How can geographic research make bodies invisible or visible, and with what consequences? We welcome research engaging critical work on identities, ethnicity, race, gender, sexuality, and dis/ability that seeks to connect the body to larger systems of privilege, knowledge, and power.

Borders, divisions, and (inter)national space: How have critical geographies become even more relevant in the contemporary political moment, wherein xenophobia and the reassertion of national and ethnic identities increasingly set the tone for both reactionary and revolutionary political discourse across the globe? We welcome work on nationalisms, xenophobia, refugees, immigration, borders, urbanization, settler societies, geopolitics, and political economy that engages problems at the intersection of territories, places, spaces, and scales.

Critical (visual) methodologies and praxis: What critical (visual) methodologies and praxes can we incorporate into geographic work? We welcome work engaging qualitative methods, open-source, critical and/or participatory GIS and cartography, film geographies and theory, critical media studies, postcolonial and feminist methodologies, art-scholarship, etc. that imagine new ways to engage and apply geographic methodologies, methods, and praxis to rethink problems of geographic representation.

Visions for a new science: How must geographic knowledge, research, and pedagogy change to address existing and emerging social and political issues? How do we envision our work in geography intersecting with broader publics through activism, outreach, and the arts? How might we leverage critical geographies to resist the neoliberal consolidation of the academy and institutional prohibitions on critical academic work? We welcome work that asks critical questions of the discipline of geography (and more broadly, science) and considers possible futures for the academic institution.

Submission of Abstracts:

The conference will be composed of paper sessions as well as organized panel discussions.  The format for papers will be 15 minutes + 5 minutes for Q&A. Please submit an abstract (200 words or less) to: geog.crit.con@gmail.com

The abstract should include this information: Title, Organizer, Contact Information, Participants (if proposing a panel), Theme, and Abstract.

Panels are also encouraged. If you would like to organize a panel, please send an abstract and list of likely participants to: geog.crit.con@gmail.com

We will also be organizing an art exhibit to display creative works (e.g. photography, film, visual arts, sculpture, etc.) engaging these themes. See this page for more details.

Abstracts are due by 5pm September 15, 2017.