CFP AAG 2017: Practices of Decolonization and Racial Justice in Geography

Call For Papers
AAG 2017 Boston (April 5-8, 2017)

Session title: Practices of Decolonization and Racial Justice in Geography

Session convenors: Amber Murrey (Clark University), Patricia Daley (University of Oxford), and Yonique Campbell (The University of the West Indies, Mona Campus)

During the early years of the 21st Century, we have witnessed powerful reassertions of the continuing political, social, and economic relevance of decolonizing projects within the university. Working within many intellectual paradigms (subaltern studies, area studies, feminist and anti-racist politicalecology, decolonial studies, critical race studies, anarchist thought), decolonizing scholars have advanced innovative projects to undermine privilege and power within institutions of higher learning. These efforts have included the bolstering of a sundry and powerful literature articulating critiques of racial, gender, andgeographical inequalities and their reverberations and influences within university spaces. These dialogues confront deeply rooted, complex, and multidimensional power structures that continue to effect and enforce long-standing colonial inequalities. There is a well-developed and self-critical scholarship withingeography that has called out the discipline’s whiteness (in our classrooms, in our curriculums, and in our reference lists), the discipline’s privileging of Anglophone voices and places, the discipline’s role in advancing colonial projects, and the discipline’s hetero-normative methodological orientations. Race and colonialism have been urgently re-centered in today’s universities. This re-centering is made all the more acute by the charged global atmosphere created by the US Presidential Election, by rising anti-Black and anti-Muslim rhetoric and violence across North America and Western Europe, by demands to confront long-standing racial injustices within policing practices, by the racialized effects of global climate change, and by growing global economic inequalities.

At the same time, powerful student movements and activist-intellectual projects—from #RhodesMustFall to #whyismycurriculumsowhite to #CadaanStudies to “I, Too, Am Harvard” to #BlackLivesMatter to #FeesMustFall—have demanded that university administration and faculty account for the entanglements and engagements of the university with(in) historical and contemporary forms of oppression (both on and off campus). Indeed, universities have long been spaces wherein larger social changes reverberate profoundly: spaces of resistance and struggle as well as oppression and suppression.

We have seen this again throughout more than 18-months of sustained #Oromo student struggles across the Oromo region of Ethiopia, where hundreds of student activists have been shot at, beaten, and disappeared, where Internet connectivity has been reduced, and where campuses have been occupied by military police officers. We have seen this again through the violent police crackdown on protestors at the University of Nairobi, which resulted in the indefinite closing of the institution. We have seen this again in campuses across the US and the UK, where students have disrupted sporting events and held die-ins and lie-ins to bring attention to racial inequalities within their campuses and communities, s but are met with opposition and condemnation. Again, as we drafted this CfP, news was breaking that police fired teargas and shot rubber bullets at students (protesting increased tuition fees) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Howard campus.

Call for Abstracts

For this AAG panel session, we invite activists, scholars, artists, and decolonizers to participate in dialogue on these and other efforts underway to decolonize in the university. We are excited by the prospect of creating meaningful conversations across paradigms and between traditions of knowledge, so that scholars advocating and practicing slow scholarship against/within neoliberalized/managerialized academic cultures connect, for example, with anti-racist scholars… or so that anti-racist slow scholars engage with anarchist feminist pedagogists and Pan-African political ecologists, and so on. Bringing together people who are actively involved in efforts to decolonize the university and the discipline of geography, we will reflect on (collective experiences of) decolonization as a critical practice. At the same time, we have witnessed co-optations of calls to “decolonize the university” within hegemonic institutional frames, laid out, as these calls have been, through normative and established hierarchies of place and knowledge within our unequal and still-colonized global higher education landscape. We will be attentive to such efforts to mainstream or instrumentalize intellectual decolonization(s) and calls for racial justice.

Towards these ends, we invite outlines of potential discussions (200 words) that address these and other related issues. Possible topics include:

  • Creating and sustaining collaborative decolonizing academic cultures
  • The role of scholars in decolonizing and/or colonizing projects
  • Enactions and/or experimentations of pedagogical, curriculum, and classroom decolonization(s)
  • Contemporary student movements and (re)configurations of power within university spaces
  • Instrumentalization(s) of anti-racist or anti-colonial knowledge projects by hegemonic actors
  • Racial justice, racial inequalities, and the discipline of geography (or the social sciences)
  • Place-based reflections on the politics of appeals to “decolonize knowledge,” to “decolonize the university,” and/or to “decolonizegeography”
  • Engagements with academic exclusions and punishment(s) within university spaces


If you would like to participate in this conversation, please send an outline of your ideas (200 words) to Patricia Daley (, Yonique Campbell (, and Amber Murrey ( by Friday October 7th, 2016. We look forward to connecting with you.

CFP AAG 2017: Future Technologies, Future Geographies

Call For Papers
AAG 2017 Boston (April 5-8, 2017)

Session title: Future Technologies, Future Geographies

The beginning premise of this session is that humanity is on a trajectory of rapidly accelerating technological progression that will fundamentally change our world in the not too distant future. Yet, while there is much evidence for such a trajectory, geographers have shied away from engaging its geographical implications. This is odd. Whereas geographers are willing to hypothesize the possible future outcomes of rising global temperatures, they seem reluctant to think through the possible consequences of emergent technologies. One indication of this reluctance is the almost complete absence of transhumanism within any academic geographical discussions. This session seeks to establish a forum for geographers interested in thinking through some of the many possible humangeographical implications of future technologies.

For the purposes of this session, there is no clear boundary for what is considered a future technology, but generally the term refers to technologies that have not yet become fully implemented or marketed. Some future technologies that appear to be just on the horizon include autonomous robots/vehicles, nanotechnology, 3-D printing, and ubiquitous computing. Further off technologies that are still in the exploratory realm include radical life extension, advanced artificial intelligence (AI), nuclear fusion energy, and molecular manufacturing.  This session is open to constructive geographical engagements with any future technologies. Papers are particularly encouraged that point to specific ways that current political-economic-social structures will be challenged and potentially rethought via these future technologies.

Possible questions to be addressed include:

  • What impact will autonomous vehicles have on city planning? On transportation infrastructure?
  • What are the implications of autonomous vehicles/robots and AI for thegeography of labor?
  • What will some of the economic geographic consequences be of 3-D printing, nanotechnology, ubiquitous computing?
  • Will economic globalization be threatened or strengthened by future technologies?
  • What are the implications of these technologies for the developing world?
  • Will the geography of raw material acquisition change with the advent of new forms of manufacturing?
  • Will advanced AI lead to a decentralization of the service sector?
  • Could manufacturing and services be de-commoditized through future technology shareware? What would the geography of that look like?
  • What are the geographic consequences of a future economy that is run autonomously?
  • Will cryptocurrencies come to impact the geography of money?
  • What will the future geography of energy look like?
  • Can future technologies lead to the fracturing of scalar power dynamics, i.e. a diminishing of corporate and state power in favor of increased local and regional power?
  • Would an increasingly decentralized economy brought about by future technologies bring about changes in political boundaries?
  • What are some of the possible demographic consequences of radically extended life?
  • What would the geography of access to life extension technology look like?
  • What are some geographical dimensions to transhumanism?

*** Please send an abstract, with contact information, to Hannes Gerhardt ( by October 20, 2016

This session is organized by Hannes Gerhardt (Associate Professor at University of West Georgia)

CFP AAG 2017: Critical Worldbuilding: Toward a Geographical Engagement with Speculative Fiction

Call For Papers
AAG 2017 Boston (April 5-8, 2017)

Session title: Critical Worldbuilding: Toward a Geographical Engagement with Speculative Fiction

Session Organizers: Jeffrey Martin (University of California, Berkeley) and Gretchen Sneegas (University of Georgia)

“Worldbuilding” – the construction of imaginary worlds – has long been a staple of speculative and visionary fiction. Today, the creation of alternate science fiction and fantasy universes – often with their own maps, histories, ecologies, cultures, and social structures – increasingly contributes to popular culture and big business. From novels to movies to games, from alternate versions of the “real world” (Marvel’s many properties, True Blood, Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle) to the more alien and bizarre (the many settings of Dungeons and Dragons, James Cameron’s Avatar, China Miéville’s Bas-Lag), these worlds represent an important and under-considered object of study and intervention for critical geographers.

While speculative fiction has long been examined as a lens through which to view the world – as it was, is, or could be – we contend that geography and critical social science have been under-involved in the creation, analysis, and struggles over fictional worlds. Worldbuilding is a fundamentally geographical exercise and an unavoidably political act (even if not recognized as such) – ideas, concerns, and controversies in the “real world” are embedded and reproduced through fictional worlds, and the production and consumption of these worlds informs and is informed by contemporary debates.

In this call for papers, we ask: How might critical social science and geographicaltools help us understand and engage with speculative fiction? How might criticalgeography inform the creation of “better” fictional worlds, and to what end(s)? What can fictional worlds tell us about our “real” world? How might speculative fiction contribute to geographical and social science theory and method, in a similar manner to the history of dialogue between science fiction and technological practice?

We seek a selection of papers and other contributions (see below) representing the breadth of the geographic discipline, across such themes and sub-disciplines as earth sciences, political economy, discursive representation, race, gender, technology, ecology, social relations, ideological reproductions, cartography, and more. Possible topics include, but are in no way limited to:

  • Critical race theory and the construction of the other/alien;
  • Landscape as character, the co-production of social and physical landscapes;
  • The durability of environmental determinism and other debunked narratives in fiction;
  • Colonialism and the frontier, progress narratives and modernization;
  • Cartography and the representation of fictional/speculative worlds;
  • Political economy’s presence and absence across worlds, and the naturalization of capitalism;
  • “Blindspots”/erasures in historical fiction, “reading back” modern norms;
  • Tropes, “resonance”, and challenging “realism” in speculative fiction (see esp. gender, sexism);
  • Nature and environmentalism;
  • Present and near-future u/dystopias

**We also welcome submissions representing less “traditional” forms of analytical scholarly work. Such submissions may include short works of fiction, graphic novels/comics, poetry, video shorts, maps, and other forms of representation showcasing our own worldbuilding geographic expression.**

Bringing together a diverse group of theoretical orientations, we hope this session will contribute critical insights to ongoing discussions on the interrelation between art and politics, the “real world” and the many worlds of our imaginations.

Please send an abstract of no more than 250 words by 5 p.m., October 15 to: Jeff Martin (j.vance.martin [at] berkeley [dot] edu) and Gretchen Sneegas (gsneegas [at] uga [dot] edu).



Call For Papers/Sessions
2017 IGU-UGI Thematic Conference (23-25 April, 2017)


Geography has often been accused of being applied to waging war. Yet, it also offers a vast array of contributions to the construction of peace. The 2017 IGU-UGI thematic conference “GEOGRAPHIES FOR PEACE / GEOGRAFÍAS PARA LA PAZ” will highlight the various contributions of geography to the construction of peace.

The confirmed working languages for the conference are English and Spanish. Confirmed speakers include: Simon Dalby, Vladimir Kolosov, Virginie Mamadouh, Nick Megoran, Janice Monk, David Newman, John O’Loughlin, Gearóid Ó Tuathail, Jarkko Saarinen and Michael Shapiro.

People wishing to organize sessions, concerning some of the suggested topics, or other themes connecting geographies and peace, are requested to propose them to the Scientific Committee by sending an e-mail with a short explanation (250 words, title included) in English or Spanish to

The deadline for submitting session proposals is 15 September 2016. Decisions will be made by 1 October 2016 and a call for papers will be published then with the final list of themes and accepted sessions. The deadline for submitting abstracts (250 words) for papers is 1 December 2016. Decisions will be made by 15 December.

See the attached pdf for more information on the conference.

CFP AAG 2017: Electoral Geography – 2016 Elections

Call For Papers
AAG 2017 Boston (April 5-8, 2017)

Session title: Electoral Geography – 2016 Elections

We are asking for papers to form paper sessions devoted to Electoral Geography with a focus on the 2016 elections–though not necessarily so. We also welcome papers devoted to other aspects or issues of electoral geography (gerrymandering, Brexit, turnout). We think there could be some interesting overlap between Brexit, Trump, and Bernie. State, regional, and local elections and issues are also welcome.

Send abstracts to John Heppen, University of Wisconsin, River Falls (

AAG CFP – Political geographies of authoritarianism

CFP – Political geographies of authoritarianism

AAG Annual Meeting 2017, Boston

Organizers: Natalie Koch (Syracuse University) and Joshua Hagen (Northern State University)

Sponsored by: Political Geography Specialty Group; Cultural Geography Specialty Group


“Authoritarianism” has rapidly become a buzzword in left-leaning media commentary about the 2016 US presidential election. Reports and commentaries have both decried and sought to explain the remarkable rise of Trump as the Republican candidate, under titles such as: “The rise of American authoritarianism,” “It’s not just Trump: Authoritarian populism is rising across the West,” and “Trumpmenbashi: What Central Asia’s spectacular states can tell us about authoritarianism in America.” Leaving aside the “validity” of these commentaries, they are important because they function as geopolitical identity narratives, implicated in the articulation of normative maps of global space and political subject positions.

Yet in considering the “specter” of illiberal practices and logics in the United States and globally, geographers have not tended to focus on the specific concept of “authoritarianism.” While the concept has long been an important research area in political science, it has not been a major theme in geography scholarship to date. Authoritarianism thus remains a curiously understudied topic given geographers’ longtime interest in democracy, liberalism, and social justice. Social scientists and theorists, by contrast, have made significant efforts to theorize authoritarian political relations, albeit through contrasting lenses. This is seen, for example, in Michel Foucault’s explorations in Discipline and Punish, Hannah Arendt’s On Despotism, Michael Mann’s Fascists, Juan Linz’s typological approach in Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes, and Max Weber’s wide-ranging classifications of nondemocratic rule beyond authoritarianism, such as (neo)patrimonialism and sultanism, in Economy and Society.

Fascism, despotism, patrimonialism, sultanism, illiberalism: the various labels for liberalism’s “other” are prolific. Like “authoritarianism,” these terms are most frequently applied to the state scale. Yet, geographers are uniquely positioned to move beyond this framing and to critically examine a variety of scales at which authoritarianism is produced, enacted, and imagined. So too are geographers positioned to bring a more grounded approach to the study of authoritarianism than some of the prevailing generalizing approaches in political science and related fields. Our goal is thus to unite geographers interested in the theme of authoritarianism, both taking stock of existing work in geography, and initiating a discussion about how critical geographers might approach future research on authoritarianism. This will involve two session types: (1) a roundtable/panel discussion and (2) a paper session.

(1) Roundtable/panel discussion: we are seeking panelists who might speak to general questions about conducting research in and on authoritarian, nondemocratic, or otherwise illiberal contexts. We would like to think collectively about questions such as: why have geographers been so reluctant to frame their research as contributing to the interdisciplinary body of research on authoritarianism? What methodological and theoretical challenges arise by positioning one’s work around the moniker of “authoritarianism”? And how might geographers advance a critical approach to authoritarianism?

(2) Paper session: we are seeking participants who might showcase what kind of research questions are being explored by geographers interested in authoritarian or illiberal political configurations. We are primarily interested in empirically-grounded case studies, but innovative theoretical paper proposals will also be considered. Possible topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Scales of authoritarianism beyond state space
  • Spatial and social “islands” of liberalism/illiberalism
  • Authoritarian/illiberal governmentality
  • Orientalism, normativity, and authoritarianism
  • The authoritarianism of neoliberalism?
  • Constructing authoritarianism in democracy promotion agendas
  • Authoritarian state resilience
  • Dictators, personalism, and charisma
  • Popular autocrats and “benevolent” authoritarianism
  • Authoritarian physical cultures and sport
  • Citizenship, subjectivity, and agency in authoritarian polities
  • Gender, race, and minorities in authoritarian polities
  • Human rights and authoritarianism
  • Conflict spaces, post-conflict transformations, and authoritarianism
  • Nature-society relations under authoritarianism
  • Environmental authoritarianism
  • Typologies and the politics of the term “authoritarianism” vs. alternative framings (e.g. fascism, despotism, paternalism, illiberalism)
  • Practice-based methods and the challenge of “-isms”
  • Methods/fieldwork and the challenges of researching authoritarianism


Presenters interested in participating in the paper session: please submit an abstract of 200-250 words to the organizers by October 1st.

Presenters interested in participating in the panel discussion: please submit a brief description of around 100 words, detailing your theoretical/research interests related to authoritarianism by October 1st.


Natalie Koch:

Joshua Hagen:

CFP AAG 2017: Geographies that Matter: The Middle East beyond the State

Call For Papers
AAG 2017 Boston (April 5-8, 2017)

Session title: Geographies that Matter: The Middle East beyond the State

The prioritization of the state as a unit of study in geography is closely linked to the discipline’s colonial history. The same can also be said for the origins and motivations behind area studies and regional geography. While these histories are troublesome, we argue that modern Geography’s lack of critical, long-term engagement with the Middle East through field research is equally problematic. This CFP calls for innovative ways in which we can have engaged Middle East-focused work in Geography that goes beyond classic geopolitical tropes of state power and conflict. In a recent piece, Ince & de la Torre (2016) call for post-statist geographies, an approach that prioritizes “interrogating the intersections between statism and other power relations; constructing new epistemologies and methodologies; and shifting the way the state is represented in geographical work” (11). Building on their example, we wish to organize a (group of) session(s) that engage(s) substantively with post-statist geographies by turning our attention to engagements the Middle East.

The Middle East is an important source of theoretical insights for scholars interested in post-statist geographies. This is in part due to the still-developing state of field research by geographers there, but also, importantly, to the relative strength of localized networks within and across the region. These networks furnish numerous opportunities to investigate the evolving interactions between places inside and outside of the Middle East and the state apparatuses that try to govern them. At the same time, although state power is everywhere uneven, this uneven quality must be contextualized in time and space rather than through careless recourse to geopolitical scripts at play in formal politics – for instance, “state failure.” Due to geographers’ keenness for thinking through the politics of space, place and networks, they are well positioned to engage in the region in a way the challenges the traditional geopolitical narrative of (failed) states and conflict.

Accordingly, this Call for Papers is organizing a session that explores

> Conceptual alternatives to studying politics in state-container terms, with an emphasis on networks, topologies, STS, mobilities, etc;
> Methodological challenges that arise in the course of fieldwork in the region, from the point of formulating research questions, priorities, and frameworks; to research design and implementation; and the processing and publishing of our data, with particular attention to how these things can transcend methodological nationalism; and
> Critical and currently-pressing political issues such as the Syrian conflict, environmental management, the refugee “crisis,” and global economic development in ways that highlight emergent geographies of politics in a world still dominated by territorial states.

Please send 200 word abstracts to or by September 30, 2016

Works Cited:

Ince, Anthony, and Gerónimo Barrera de la Torre. 2016. “For Post-Statist Geographies.” Political Geography 55 (November): 10–19. doi:10.1016/j.polgeo.2016.04.001.

CFP AAG 2017: The Urban Politics of Policy Failure

Call For Papers
AAG 2017 Boston (April 5-8, 2017)

Session title: The Urban Politics of Policy Failure

Much attention has been paid to urban management and redevelopment success stories. Urbanists are grappling with the ways that successful models or best practices can come into the politics of managing cities and their people. Whether looking at unique aspects of a city that contribute to its vitality, or searching for a model that ‘works’, city makers and urban scholars alike are interested in successes. Less attention has been paid however to the processes and outcomes of policy failure. How is failure framed and understood? Why is it that some policies don’t succeed? What happens to failed policies? How do cities deal with failure? Where do the concepts of success and failure fit into longer historical narratives of the city? And what are the spatial politics that surround questions of failure vs. success? This session examines the interaction of policy failure and urban politics, policies, and changing spatial configurations within cities. In doing so, we hope to extrapolate analysis of urban geographies that challenge and reconfigure our understanding of contemporary urban governance.

We welcome papers from diverse conceptual, empirical and geographic perspectives on themes like, but not limited to:
> Causes and consequences of urban policy failure.
> Legacies of failed urban policies.
> Failure and success in policy mobilities.
> Infrastructural and ecological dimensions of policy failure.
> Topological and relational geographies of failure.

Please send a 250 word abstract by October 1st to Cristina Temenos ( and John Lauermann (

CFP AAG 2017: “The Wasteland” and other Geographies

Call For Papers
AAG 2017 Boston (April 5-8, 2017)

Session title: “The Wasteland” and other Geographies

Organizers: Heather Agnew, UCLA; Robert Kopack, University of Toronto;

Session description:

Who are those hooded hordes swarming
Over endless plains, stumbling in cracked earth
Ringed by the flat horizon only
What is the city over the mountains
Cracks and reforms and bursts in the violet air
Falling towers
Jerusalem Athens Alexandria
Vienna London
T.S. Eliot “The Waste Land”

From popular representations in film and other media, to recent works within a diverse set of academic disciplines, the concept of the “Wasteland” has emerged as a cultural touchstone of the 21st century. While the concept itself is fluid and open to a variety of interpretations, certain threads lead a pathway through. These include the importance of humanity’s relationship to landscape, the imposition (or withdrawal) of value and authority in relation to both space and place, continuity/discontinuity, fear, the strange, the bizarre, and the inhabited.

Understandings and imaginations of the wasteland are deeply historical and reveal intellectual as well as cultural and political traditions. Authors such as Di Palma (2014) identify the historical construction of value through the appropriation of “wasted lands” by colonial authorities, while Roszak (1973) details the dominance of objective, scientific epistemology as causing the current “wasteland” of the technocratic dislocation from nature. Building upon these scholarly works, we aim to extend this conversation to also include modern popular narratives, for example, the zombie phenomenon in popular film, television, and video games, which serve as lenses through which to ‘play out’ the socio-cultural fears and projections of the future.

Importantly, the ‘wasteland‘ has been treated as a particular form of aesthetic in recent years with ‘exploration’ and ‘discovery’ demonstrating a revival of the geographic tradition. Academic work, in addition to more general media interest have showcase industrial and environmental collapse in almost sublime form. Sites of ruin and abandonment are providing the narrative sequence for the march of history, the movement of capital and the disintegration of empires. Photography has no doubt played an enormous role. Yet how far can the imagery alone take us? Wastelands are a matter of perspective and quite potentially sites of contest. What are the places and landscapes behind the games?

Who is living there? Who remembers? What really is a wasteland and according to who?

It is with the collective desire to explore a genre and to better understand places imagined or held as wastelands that this call for papers emerged. We seek to put pieces of scholarship and academic experience together that look at ruin, rubble, neglect, abandonment, collapse, decay, and value. Because ‘wasteland’ is also envisioned as a site of opportunity and exploitation, the degradation of land value provides the potential for realizing alternative spatial imaginaries, even utopias. This panel invites papers that work within these themes (or others too) that thoughtfully and critically engage with historical, modernist, and postmodern analyses of how spaces of value transform into sites of neglect, disinvestment, and disgust (or other geographies). The multiplicity of perspectives of the wasteland, cries out for further inquiry and scholarly discussion.

Borrowing liberally from TS Eliot’s framework “The Waste Land” session(s) will be organized loosely along these lines:

Possible papers topics:

The Burial of the Dead
> Popular cultural representation of the wasteland
> Socio-cultural implications of the modern Zombie phenomenon
> Post-apocalyptic narratives and representations of the post-modern landscape

A Game of Chess
> Active engagements in the creation of wasteland(s)
> “Wasted Lands” – and the colonial seizure of terra nulla
> Urban development, and the designation of socio-cultural/economic values

The Fire Sermon
> The moment of destruction and the immediate aftermath of catastrophe
> Warfare, spaces of contestation, and “no-man’s land”
> Political imaginaries, and the rhetoric of impending doom

Death by Water
> The anthropocene and ecological wastelands
> Erosion and immersion of marginal regions and environs

What the Thunder Said
> The echoes of the industrial age, and rust belt abandonment
> Continuing impact of Post-Soviet landscape

Those interesting in participating should register at and submit an abstract of no more than 250 words and his/her PIN to or by Friday, October 23, 2016. In you’re unable to submit an abstract by Oct. 21, then please write the conveners stating your intent to submit. Participants must also formally submit their abstract by the AAG deadline, Oct. 29th.

CFP AAG 2017: Theorizing Citizenship in Higher Education: Students as Agents for Change?

Call For Papers
AAG 2017 Boston (April 5-8, 2017)

Theorizing Citizenship in Higher Education: Students as Agents for Change?
Session Convenors: Mark Holton (Plymouth University) and Yi’En Cheng (Yale-NUS College)

Citizenship – whether it is constitutional-legal status tied to certain rights and responsibilities; or practiced by people as they navigate obstacles to carve out spaces and communities of belonging; or even as embodied, sensuous, and felt within the psychic and emotional realms – is central to a repertoire of issues in contemporary restructuring of higher education around the world. Recent research has begun to question how various processes are changing students’ ideas and practices around citizenship: from the increasingly globalised networks of students moving around the world to the neoliberalization of higher education policies that have heavily marketized (transnational) degree programmes, term-time accommodation, and student organizations and unions; from the mounting pressure on students to search for and acquire ‘useful’ cultural and embodied capitals, such as critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and global competencies, to the ways in which students’ identities are negotiated, accepted, or rejected on campuses. At the same time, class, gender, race/ethnicity and other social differences continue to act as prisms through which inequalities are [re]produced, even though these can also occur alongside hopeful practices of love, care, solidarity, and anti-injustice. Analyses of interactions across structure, agency, and change are part and parcel of writings about these young people’s educational lives. How might the notion of citizenship help frame these ongoing discussions and/or open up conversations about students-as-citizens? What kinds of citizenships are emerging in these different moments of higher educational change? Relatedly, how can that further our understanding of higher education spaces as contentious, politicized, and possibly radical locations?

In this session, we explore how citizenship can be theorized in diverse contexts of higher education, across both the global north and south. By fostering a dialogue between citizenship studies and geographies of higher education, the session will allow us to rethink and renew the research agenda on the geographies of higher education students. We are interested in multiple ways of thinking about citizenship as informed by students’ experiences during and beyond term-time, their mobilities across various scales and borders, as well as their engagement with explicit and implicit forms of politics. We want to unpack the ways in which dominant understandings of the ‘student voice’ and the ‘student experience’ in higher education are assembled through representations, discourses, and practices of citizenship within particular political-economic and socio-cultural regimes. We are also keen to examine students’ responses to the burdens placed upon them in terms of peer, institutional and policy pressures and the extent to which this might act as potential catalysts for change. Papers that offer fresh materials, theoretically and empirically, to advancing existing scholarship on the geographies of citizenship in higher education and student lives are especially welcomed.

Please submit a 250-word abstract with title and short bio to Mark Holton ( and Yi’En Cheng (, by 20 September 2016.