Call for Papers: AAG 2015, Chicago, IL
Assembling Power: Connections and disjunctures in the works of Foucault and Latour
Organized by Nate Gabriel (Rutgers University) and Eric Sarmiento (Rutgers University)
The works of Michel Foucault and Bruno Latour are central to various conceptions of ‘assemblage,’ and to recent critical geographic inquiry more broadly. Simultaneously, in critical geography and cognate fields, research frameworks drawing on assemblage thinking have been viewed with some skepticism even as, and perhaps because, they have gained an increasingly firm hold in the discipline (cf. Robbins and Marks 2010; Castree 2002; Holifield 2009; Brenner et al. 2011; McFarlane 2011). The political and analytical use of assemblage thinking has been addressed at some length, but within these discussions the most fervent debates typically revolve around theorizations of asymmetrical power relations: do power disparities explain social realities and injustice, or is the task of critical analysis to explain existing power relations in all of their unevenness? A number of related issues and analytical concerns follow from this basic divergence, such as the status of more-than-human actors in mediating social relations (Whatmore 2002; Braun 2005), including the production of value through labor (Castree 2002); conceptions and consequences of theorizing agency differently (Bennett 2010); the analytical relationship between epistemological and ontological questions (Grosz 1994, 2008); definitions of ‘the political’ (Stengers 2010; Braun and Whatmore 2010; Hinchliffe et al. 2005); and so on.
In this session, we seek to further these investigations by exploring the similarities, differences, and synergies between the works of Foucault and Latour. We contend that when viewed together, their writings — with all of their overlaps, disjunctures, complementarities, and divergent emphases — generate a productive ferment with respect to questions of power, space, agency, and materiality that has yet to be fully explored. To this end, we seek papers that focus explicitly on the connections (or dis-connections) between Foucault and Latour, which may pursue any number of avenues, including but not limited to:
- Subjectivity and embodiment
- The relationship(s) between poststructuralism and assemblage thinking
- Spatialities of power
- Metaphysics of transformation and becoming
- Research methods
- Agency as a distributed phenomenon
- Knowledge as “eco-physiologically grounded” (Babich 1994)
- The ethical cultivation of the self, and the forces that impinge on it
- Ontology and/or epistemology
- Expanded notions of the political
Interested authors are invited to submit a title and a 250-word abstract by October 15, 2014 to both Nate Gabriel (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Eric Sarmiento (email@example.com). Also feel free to write us with any questions or to discuss potential topics.
Babich, Babette (1994). Nietzsche’s Philosophy of Science: Reflecting Science on the Ground of Art and Life. Albany, SUNY Press.
Bennett, Jane (2010). Vibrant Matter: a political ecology of things. Chapel Hill: Duke University Press.
Braun, Bruce (2005). “Environmental issues: writing a more-than-human urban geography.” Progress in Human Geography 29:5 (635-650).
Braun, Bruce and Sarah Whatmore (2010). Political Matter: Technoscience, Democracy, and Public Life.Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Brenner, N., D. Madden, and D. Wachsmuth (2011). “Assemblage urbanism and the challenges of critical urban theory.” City 15:2 (225-240).
Castree, Noel (2002). “False antitheses? Marxism, Nature, and Actor-Networks.” Antipode 34:1 (111-146).
Grosz, Elizabeth (1994). Volatile Bodies: Toward a Corporeal Feminism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Grosz, Elizabeth (2008). Chaos, territory, art: Deleuze and the framing of the earth. New York, Columbia University Press.
Hinchliffe, S., M. Kearnes, M. Degen, S. Whatmore (2005). “Urban wild things: a cosmopolitical experiment.” Environment and Planning D 23:5 (643-658).
Holifield, Ryan (2009). “Actor-Network Theory as a Critical Approach to Environmental Justice: A Case Against Synthesis with Urban Political Ecology.” Antipode 41:4 (637-658).
McFarlane, Colin (2011). “Assemblage and Critical Urban Praxis: Part one.” City 15:2 (204-224).
Robbins, Paul and Brian Marks (2010). “Assemblage Geographies.” In S. Smith, R. Pain, and S. Marston (eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Social Geographies. London: Sage.
Stengers, Isabelle (2010). Cosmopolitics I. Robert Bononno (trans.). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Whatmore, Sarah (2002). Hybrid Geographies: natures, cultures, spaces. London: Sage.