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Vital Geographies seminars: archive

Vital Geographies seminars: archive

Return to the list of forthcoming seminars.

# Monday 16th May 2022, 4.00pm - Michael Guida, University of Sussex
Please email pmh1000@cam.ac.uk if you would like to attend this talk in person; owing to Covid safeguards, attendance is restricted in numbers.
Modern British birdsong and civilization
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, and online (Zoom): https://zoom.us/j/98817387914?pwd=Y2pOV1Rsbko3RjRDTFZHQ0NKaXZ6QT09 Meeting ID: 988 1738 7914 Passcode: 640898

In times of threat and warfare, the natural world has been an important source of hope and healing. The ongoing aliveness of nature has reinforced notions of stability, continuity, endurance and nationhood. British people of all kinds found that in the pressures and crises of early twentieth century modernity, the vibrations and rhythms of everyday nature allowed a modern future to be imaged. Birdsong in particular seemed to animate the scenery – of the suburbs as well as the countryside. Birdsong found a place in the founding of the new domestic medium of radio, and as part of the BBC’s national cultural menu. During the Second World War, birdlife was understood to be part of a civilized world, untainted by human conflict. The talk will consider listening to nature as a way of making sense of modern life, drawing from my new book, Listening to British Nature: Wartime, Radio and Modern Life, 1914-1945. I will argue that the sounds of the natural world were sought out and pulled close to secure the day and future prospects.

# Thursday 10th March 2022, 3.00pm - Ayesha Siddiqi (University of Cambridge)
The Sisyphean cycle of inequitable state production: state, space, and a drainage project in Pakistan
Venue: Online (Zoom): https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81592415012?pwd=N1NTNngwMjRiRGpHYU9tZXJEQ01Tdz09 Meeting ID: 815 9241 5012 Passcode: 303064

Rescheduled seminar, now online:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81592415012?pwd=N1NTNngwMjRiRGpHYU9tZXJEQ01Tdz09

Meeting ID: 815 9241 5012
Passcode: 303064

# Wednesday 2nd March 2022, 4.00pm - Dr Ayesha Siddiqi, University of Cambridge
[Postponed] The sisyphean cycle of inequitable state production: state, space, and a drainage project in Pakistan
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge; and online (Zoom): https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81592415012?pwd=N1NTNngwMjRiRGpHYU9tZXJEQ01Tdz09 Meeting ID: 815 9241 5012 Passcode: 303064

Please note that we have had to postpone this talk because of industrial action. We apologise for the late notice.

# Friday 25th February 2022, 4.00pm - Dr Anna Krzywoszynska, University of Sheffield
A Gaian Sensibility: Sensing Soils
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge; and online (Zoom): https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81826008101?pwd=NWJZS1JEZmtSdDFWWGFNUHRKT3RGQT09 Meeting ID: 818 2600 8101 Passcode: 116680

Abstract not available

# Wednesday 3rd November 2021, 4.30pm - Dr Catherine Oliver, University of Cambridge
Veganism, Archives, and Animals: Geographies of a Multispecies World
Venue: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84036973246?pwd=TXhtRFg5RWcyd3dhUy9YYTVlREpMZz09 Meeting ID: 840 3697 3246 Passcode: 358721

This talk launches Dr Oliver’s new book on the growing significance of veganism. This book brings together important theoretical and empirical insights to offer a historical and contemporary analysis of veganism and our future co-existence with other animals. Bringing together key concepts from geography, critical animal studies, and feminist theory Veganism, Archives, and Animals critically addresses veganism as both a subject of study and a spatial approach to the self, society, and everyday life. The book draws upon empirical research through archival research, interviews with vegans in Britain, and a multispecies ethnography with chickens. Dr Oliver argues that the field of ‘beyond-human geographies’ needs to more seriously take into account veganism as a rising socio-political force and in academic theory.

# Thursday 28th October 2021, 4.00pm - Professor Nayanika Mathur, University of Oxford
Crooked Cats: Beastly Encounters in the Anthropocene
Venue: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82075862878?pwd=WmVsWUFJTjNmaW0vd1hLc1BxcURUQT09 Meeting ID: 820 7586 2878 Passcode: 066892

This talk will focus on the methodological ambitions of my recently released book – Crooked Cats. Building upon 15 years of research in the Indian Himalaya this book retells the story of big cats that make prey of humans through a centring of the climate crisis. There are many theories on why and how a big cat comes to prey on humans, with the ecological collapse emerging as a central explanatory factor. Yet, uncertainty over the precise cause of crookedness persists. Crooked Cats explores in vivid detail the many lived complexities that arise from this absence of certain knowledge to study both governance regimes for the nonhuman and inter-species entanglements. Through creative ethnographic storytelling, Crooked Cats illuminates the Anthropocene in three critical ways: as method, as a way of reframing human-nonhuman relations on the planet, and as a political tool indicating the urgency of academic engagement.

# Tuesday 1st June 2021, 4.00pm - jsd24@cam.ac.uk
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82103353807?pwd=QTNTUGFFMWVjNjZuRFlsdE5RZVlJZz09 Meeting ID: 821 0335 3807 Passcode: 354795
Resisting the Rule of Law in Nineteenth-Century Ceylon
Venue: Online (Zoom)

Abstract not available

# Thursday 13th May 2021, 5.00pm - Tom Simpson (Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge)
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87871680387?pwd=VUtzZkwzZVR4TktXSTQxaWViVHh4UT09 Meeting ID: 878 7168 0387 Passcode: 362935
Imperial Slippages: Encountering and Knowing Ice in and beyond Colonial India
Venue: Online (Zoom)

Abstract not available

# Thursday 6th May 2021, 4.00pm - Nancy Jacobs
Conviviality and companionship: tarrots and people in the African forests
Venue: Online (Zoom)

Abstract not available

# Thursday 30th November 2017, 1.00pm - Philip Howell, University of Cambridge
The slow death of Victorian liberal governmentality
Venue: Room 101, Hardy Building, Department of Geography

This talk considers the fate of nineteenth-century technologies of urban government and the essentially liberal vision of a ‘benign panopticon’. It raises the place of the state (particularly the local state) in theories of governmentality, and, in particular, the ‘state phobia’ of Foucault’s account of power. Revisiting discussions of the Victorian information state, information society, and inspection state, we might wonder whether we are living in the ruins and with the relics of a liberal governmentality? In neoliberal times, should we be less complacent about the ‘siren song of civil society’, and more bullish about the state’s role in promoting affirmative biopower?

# Thursday 16th November 2017, 1.00pm - Hannah Neate, Manchester Metropolitan University
Decolonisation and disciplinary histories, 1948-1990
Venue: Room 101, Hardy Building, Department of Geography

Abstract not available

# Thursday 16th March 2017, 1.00pm - Tim Brown, Queen Mary University of London
Making Imperial Citizens: Barnardo’s and the Preparation and Care of Child Emigrants, 1882-1905
Venue: Room 101, Hardy Building, Department of Geography

Abstract not available

# Thursday 16th February 2017, 1.00pm - Professor Lucy Bland, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge
Mixed race children of black GIs and British women born in WWII
Venue: Room 101, Hardy Building, Department of Geography

Lucy is a historian of gender and sexuality, author of, amongst other things:  Banishing the Beast:  English Feminism and Sexual Morality 1885-1914 (Penguin, 1995) and Modern Women on Trial: Sexual Transgression in the Age of the Flapper (Manchester University Press, 2013).

# Monday 16th January 2017, 1.00pm - Dr Tim Brown, Queen Mary University of London
tbc
Venue: Room 101, Hardy Building, Department of Geography

Abstract not available

# Thursday 17th November 2016, 1.00pm - Dr Avril Maddrell, UWE Bristol
Mapping grief: a conceptual framework for understanding the diverse spatialities of death, mourning and remembrance
Venue: Room 101, Hardy Building, Department of Geography

Abstract not available

# Thursday 27th October 2016, 1.00pm - Professor Anna Clark, University of Minnesota
Rage against the Machine: Individuals in the British Empire
Venue: Room 101, Hardy Building, Department of Geography

Anna is a visiting fellow at Emmanuel this term, and this talk is abstracted from her present project, looking at individual rights and the resistance to state biopolitics in the British Empire. In this project, Anna’s comparative analysis takes in examples from Ireland, New Zealand, India and Britain.

# Thursday 20th October 2016, 1.00pm - Ben Garlick, University of Edinburgh
Awkward biopolitics: osprey conservation, pesticides and biosecurity on Speyside, 1963-1968
Venue: Room 101, Hardy Building, Department of Geography

Abstract not available

# Thursday 10th March 2016, 1.00pm - Kayleigh Garthwaite, Department of Geography, Durham University
Behaving badly? Perspectives on health inequalities in two socially contrasting neighbourhoods in North East England
Venue: Room 101, Hardy Building, Department of Geography

It is widely accepted that health inequalities – unfair, unjust differences in health determinants and outcomes within and between populations – have serious immediate and long-term negative impacts on individuals and societies. But what do lay people think about the social patterning of health? Stockton Borough, North East England, has the greatest inequality in male life expectancy in the country – and the gap is widening. A man living in the most deprived ward will live, on average, 17.3 years less than a man living two miles away in the least deprived ward. This paper presents emerging findings from ongoing, longitudinal multi-site intensive ethnographic research examining how health inequalities are embodied in lived experiences in two contrasting wards within the borough of Stockton-on-Tees. The project is focused on providing an interrogation of the nature of locality, place and community (both as a physical space or a social network) in the two contrasting areas, as well as an extensive and detailed examination of the physical, social and cultural context within which health inequalities manifest themselves and are experienced.

Overall, participants tended to explain health inequalities and the subsequent gap in life expectancy in terms of individual behaviours and attitudes, rather than social/structural conditions. Generally, participants from the affluent neighbourhood tended to focus on lifestyle choice, education, and generational transmission of values and ‘faulty’ behaviours. These findings are variable, however, in terms of an emphasis on structure versus individual agency. Although health behaviour was initially given initially as a potential explanation, particularly during ethnographic observation, participants did offer wider, structural explanations for inequality during in-depth interviews. Discussions amongst people living in the most deprived neighbourhood showed that they were very aware of the effect of relative poverty on their health, physically, emotionally, and socially. Some participants expressed anger and frustration when talking about their experiences, but equally, a sense of fatalism and hopelessness was present in the accounts of people living in the most deprived areas.

# Thursday 25th February 2016, 1.00pm - Jason Dittmer, University College London
NATO Interoperability and Geopolitical Assemblages
Venue: Room 101, Hardy Building, Department of Geography

NATO has had, since its origins, a policy of attempting to produce interoperability among its national militaries. In this paper I examine the concept of interoperability through the lens of assemblage theory, and look to the diplomatic sites and processes through which it is negotiated. I then examine the two fields in which interoperability can be seen to emerge: procedures and war materiel. These differing materialities (of bodies, and of weapon systems) are key to how interoperability has emerged over time in ways that shape both political subjectivities and the form of international relations over time.

# Thursday 26th November 2015, 1.00pm - Jake Hodder, University of Nottingham
Untangling Black Internationalisms: Bayard Rustin, Nonviolence and the Promise of Africa, c. 1953
Venue: Room 101, Hardy Building, Department of Geography

“Bayard Rustin is best remembered for his work with Martin Luther King Jr. and, in particular, for his organisation of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the crowning achievement of his prolific career. This paper reconstructs some of Rustin’s formative years in the early 1950s when he was a leading pacifist charged with developing Gandhian nonviolence in American race relations. The paper considers Rustin’s American race work in the light of his interests in African decolonisation, centred on his unpublished 1953 “Africa Program”. By considering a previously ignored African American commentary, the paper questions the tendency to fold Black travels abroad into one another as part of a singular, coherent Black internationalist project, and how specific forms of black internationalism centred on nonviolence simultaneously utilised, redefined and undermined the rise of American post-war power.”

# Thursday 12th November 2015, 1.00pm - Oli Mould, Royal Holloway
An urban politics of subversive creativity: Architecture, objects and the urban terrain
Venue: Room 101, Hardy Building, Department of Geography

The role of creativity within geographical inquiry to date has enriched scholarly analysis. The ‘creative turn’ has articulated how geographers can adopt creative practices to further explore and articulate the subjectivities of the geographical imagination. Yet, creativity as a characteristic, if utilized more radically and ontologically, can offer far more theoretical and political utility, particularly within the urbanization discourses. Moreover, creativity can be theorized less as an act which creates innovations to existing (often hegemonic) structures of the neoliberal city, but more as an emancipating politics of rupture, subversion and reappropriation. This paper intertwines theoretical threads from critical social theory and the metaphysics of objects to argue that creativity is a fundamental political characteristic in that it creates new subjectivities and urban spatial politics that are as yet unrealized. Using examples from some of London’s activist and architectural groups, I explore the politics of using the fabric of the city more subversively.

# Thursday 5th November 2015, 1.00pm - Sam Strong, University of Cambridge
The spatial politics of aspiration
Venue: Room 101, Hardy Building, Department of Geography

The notion of aspiration achieves vast political work in contemporary society. It functions as a means of reducing issues of poverty, worklessness and social abandonment to the scale of the failed, abject subject. In so doing, aspiration is a concept which draws attention away from the systemic processes of power driving these issues. It thoroughly depoliticises those benefitting from such processes of power, portraying poverty as a natural outcome rather than a complex, often violent and intersectional act of abandon/ment. Furthermore, aspiration holds an ongoing role as an emergent governmentality, not only used to criticise the margins of society, but to discipline those at the centre. This paper takes issue with the frequent diagnosis of a ‘lack of aspiration’ recorded at ground-level during ethnographic fieldwork by local and national decision-makers. Instead, it draws upon testimonies of job-seekers and secondary school children living in Britain’s most deprived borough to interrogate the complex geographical formations of aspiration. It exposes the intimate linkages between the geographies of people’s everyday lives and encounters, and their hopes, desires and objectives for the future. It will conclude by considering the ways in which aspiration can be reclaimed as a concept upon which a more radical, socially just politics can be constructed.

# Thursday 28th May 2015, 1.00pm - Lizzie Richardson (University of Cambridge)
Performance and aesthetics in geography: a cultural politics beyond representation?
Venue: Room 101, Hardy Building, Department of Geography

The shift away from the perceived pervasiveness of representations in the so-called ‘new cultural geography’ has left open the question of cultural politics in geography. In Anglo-American ‘cultural geography’, but also in ‘human geography’ more broadly, there has been a move from identity politics onto the embodied, affective and emotional aspects of experience that can resist the apparently stabilising tendencies of fixed social categories. A result is that explanations for why ‘the world is marked by inequalities and injustices’ have ‘disappeared from at least some strands of cultural geography’ (Cresswell 2010). This rather parochial academic debate mirrors ongoing wider narratives of a ‘post’ (-feminist; -race; -gay etc) era, in which questions are being posed over the sorts of contests that should be made for and through categories of gender, sexuality, race and class. For some, these questions constitute a present marked by ambivalence, anxiety and vulnerability. This talk foregrounds such a condition of ambivalence, suggesting that it is central to the subject of culture in recent geographical work and is vital to any attempts to understand a ‘cultural politics’. I put forward aesthetics as a means for apprehending this ambivalent present through the uncertain matter of culture. Through three different usages of aesthetics in recent geographical scholarship, I suggest that a cultural politics emerges in the contradictions and resistances involved of the work of the human as a sometimes universal, sometimes differentiated figure.

# Thursday 14th May 2015, 1.00pm - Joe Day (Cambridge Group, University of Cambridge)
The determinants of historic migration streams: The importance of cultural barriers
Venue: Room 101, Hardy Building, Department of Geography

Abstract not available

# Thursday 5th March 2015, 1.00pm - Carl Griffin (University of Sussex)
Geography’s final imperial frontier? On the influence of Geography on the humanities' 'spatial turn'
Venue: Room 101, Hardy Building, Department of Geography

Ever since Frederic Jameson coined the term the ‘spatial turn’ in 1988, geographers have been quick to proudly pronounce that the humanities and the social sciences have indeed spatially turned. Today, such claims are legion and are made not just by geographers but also by those in other disciplines too. Rare is the month without an announcement of a conference, workshop or publication on the theme of space: in 2015 space sells books and excites conference attendees’ imaginations in a newly febrile way. But beyond such impressions, and beyond claims to the spatial turn, what is the depth and meaning of the turn? And what is the influence of Geography – the discipline – and of the work of geographers on the telling of space in the humanities? In attempting to answer these questions, this paper focuses on the example of work in academic history, the humanities discipline arguably most squarely aligned with ours, examining the claims to space and the citation practices in both general and specialist history journals. In so doing, it argues that the spatial turn, if it is a ‘turn’, lacks depth, and that the influence of work in geography in thinking space in the humanities is minimal. Rather, historians, amongst others, often draw on other influences as well as crafting their own spatial conceptions. It concludes by arguing that we as geographers need to acknowledge that space, as a concept, exists beyond Geography, and therefore ultimately that we cannot claim space as our own.

# Thursday 26th February 2015, 1.00pm - Emily O’Gorman (Macquarie University)
The invention of wetlands: histories of conservation and contestation from Australia
Venue: Room 101, Hardy Building, Department of Geography

In this talk I will firstly give a brief overview of my new project on the environmental history of wetlands in the Murray-Darling Basin. In this project I’m interested in examining what has counted as a wetlands for whom and with what consequences? From the mid twentieth century, but particularly from the 1970s, international conservation efforts and wetlands ecology have been central in regulatory definitions of what a wetland is, significantly influencing their management in many places around the world. ‘Wetlands management’ has become contentious in some cases, especially where it has been linked to the exclusion of particular people, animals, and plants from protected areas. While the scale and terminology of these international efforts were in many ways new, they also brought together a range of existing local activities and concerns, (and ignored others) and these often had much longer histories. The main focus of the paper is on one of these earlier efforts, in a region that has become an iconic wetland in Australia: The Coorong lagoon in South Australia. This history concentrates on the mass killing of young pelicans on islands in the lagoon in 1911, and the subsequent leasing of the islands by a group of ornithologists who sought to protect the pelicans and other birds that nested there. This event reveals a longer history of contention over these places; in this case, competing views over killing, protection and private property, by fishermen, ornithologists and local Aboriginal people. It also illuminates how places, and their human and nonhuman inhabitants, have shaped and been shaped by laws and regulatory structures.

# Thursday 19th February 2015, 1.00pm - Ruth Craggs (King’s College London)
British New Towns, decolonisation, and the global geographies of urban expertise
Venue: Room 101, Hardy Building, Department of Geography

Abstract not available

# Thursday 27th November 2014, 1.00pm - Caroline Bressey, University College London
Conversations with Caroline: archival spaces of the Victorian asylum
Venue: Room 101, Hardy Building, Department of Geography

Abstract not available

# Thursday 20th November 2014, 1.00pm - Akanksha Marphatia, University of Cambridge
Can the past help us to understand the present? A life-course perspective on the predictors and consequences of adolescent education and life outcomes in rural India
Venue: Room 101 (Hardy Building, Downing Site)

Abstract not available

# Thursday 6th November 2014, 1.00pm - Natalie Cox, University of Warwick
The turbulent tale of Richard Burton, an armchair, and the Hakluyt Society: a story of nineteenth-century geography and the materialities of exploration
Venue: Room 101 (Hardy Building, Downing Site)

Abstract not available

# Thursday 22nd May 2014, 5.00pm - Dr Tariq Jazeel, Department of Geography, University College London
Please note the time and venue: Seminar Room at 5pm.
Between comparison and singularity: architecture, Auroville and the aesthetic politics of urban Utopianism
Venue: Seminar Room (Department of Geography, Downing Site)

Abstract not available

# Thursday 8th May 2014, 1.00pm - Dr David Beckingham, University of Cambridge
The pledge and the public sphere: Father Mathew and the politics of temperance
Venue: Room 101 (Hardy Building, Downing Site)

Abstract not available

# Thursday 6th March 2014, 1.00pm - Mr Chay Brooks (University of Cambridge)
“The ignorance of the uneducated”: Cold War Philanthropy and the Institute of International Education
Venue: Room 101 (Hardy Building, Downing Site)

Abstract not available

# Thursday 20th February 2014, 1.00pm - Dr Philip Howell (University of Cambridge)
Finding a Forever Home? The Battersea Dogs Home and the Victorian Domestication of the Dog
Venue: Room 101 (Hardy Building, Downing Site)

Abstract not available

# Thursday 13th February 2014, 1.00pm - Dr John Morrissey (National University of Ireland, Galway)
Colonial Subjection: Emergent Forms of Governmentality in Early Modern Ireland.
Venue: Room 101 (Hardy Building, Downing Site)

Abstract not available

# Wednesday 7th March 2012, 4.15pm - Dr Patricia Daley (School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford)
The English Riots of 2012: Race, Rhetoric and Policies, but What Solutions?
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

This paper addresses the English Riots of August 2011. It is divided into three parts: in the first, it examines elite and popular discourse on the riots, which illustrates well the tensions associated with an increasingly socially-divided British society. The second part challenges the attempt by the state and the conservative media to de-contextualise the riots, by demonstrating how the discourse supports particular policy prescriptions of a neo-liberal British government, seeking to reduce its commitment to the poorer sections of its society, in a context of excessive policing, institutional racism, high unemployment, and cut-backs in social welfare expenditure. The arguments are supported by empirical (some anecdotal and subjective) evidence from London, mainly the London borough of Hackney. In the final section, the paper suggests that by reading the lived experiences of the youth and communities, scholars and activists (working collectively) can be directed to forms of action-oriented research that may lead to more transformative and non-violent solutions in Britain.

# Friday 2nd March 2012, 4.15pm - Professor Cindi Katz, Environmental Psychology Program Graduate Center, The City University of New York
Reflections on countertopography
Venue: Room 101, Hardy Building, Department of Geography

In this special seminar, Cindi Katz has kindly agreed to discuss her seminal paper “On the Grounds of Globalization: A Topography for Feminist Political Engagement.” SIGNS: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 26(4) (2001): 1213-1234. Revisiting this paper, 10 years on, is an opportunity to reflect on the ways in which Cindi’s conceptualisation of countertopography – a perspective and a methodology capable of making links and connections between places undergoing a common set of processes, and enabling a grounded but translocal politics of resistance – has been and may be taken up by other scholars.

Please note that this paper is available at the following address: http://web.gc.cuny.edu/Psychology/environmental/ckatz/ckatz_index.html.

# Wednesday 22nd February 2012, 4.15pm - Dr Peter Merriman, Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, Aberystwyth University
Modern women on modern machines: cultural constructions of women motorists in late Victorian and Edwardian Britain
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

In this paper I examine the sensations, criticisms and prejudices which gathered around the spatial practices of women who began to motor and drive in increasing numbers in late Victorian and Edwardian Britain. I suggest that while some women positioned their actions as socially and politically progressive, many women distanced themselves from the radical actions and feminist politics of groups such as the suffragettes. Indeed, motoring could be presented as both progressive and conservative, being labelled as a more practical, comfortable and becoming sport for ladies than pastimes such as bicycling, horse-riding or golf. The paper examines how debates erupted about the social acceptability of women driving motor-cars, the effect of the pastime on women’s beauty, and the desirable qualities for a lady’s car. I will discuss the commentaries which gathered around women racing drivers, as well as identifying the social spaces and networks which emerged for women motorists, ranging from the motoring columns and guidebooks for Britain’s ‘motoristes’ and ‘les chauffeuses’, to the West End consumption spaces of the Ladies’ Automobile Club and motoring outfitters, which catered for the desires and fashions of the aristocratic lady motorist.

# Wednesday 1st February 2012, 4.15pm - Dr Fiona McConnell (Department of Geography, University of Cambridge)
Rehearsing the state: the governance practices of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography

With the split mandate of continuing the struggle for the homeland and dealing with the immediate needs of a refugee community, exile polities have a very particular sense of political temporality. Based on ethnographic research on the Tibetan Government-in-Exile based in India, this paper investigates this active state-in-waiting; a set of institutions, practices and actors through which this exiled community is experimenting, modifying and rehearsing statehood in order to employ it ‘for real’ back in the homeland. Bringing critical theories of the state into dialogue with geographies of temporality the paper focuses on the idea of rehearsal, and four cuts at rehearsing exile Tibetan stateness will be explored: rehearsal spaces in terms of the function of exile settlements; the various roles adopted and prescribed within the exile community; scripts developed for planning the present and imagining the future; and the role of audiences for these performances of statecraft. In setting the means through which futures are made present alongside issues of prolonged waiting, the paper explores how futures are anticipated and acted upon at the scale of the nation, and examine what happens to these anticipatory logics when the time frame is extended indefinitely. More generally, it will be argued that this case challenges both teleological assumptions about state-building and the presumed correlation between statehood and permanence, and statelessness and temporariness.

# Wednesday 30th November 2011, 4.15pm - Daniel Grey (University of Oxford)
'Justifiable' Homicide? Responses to Wife-Murder in Nineteenth-Century India and Britain
Venue: Seminar Room (Department of Geography, Downing Site)

In July 1825, the Supreme Criminal Court for Bengal, known as the Nizamat Adalat, reviewed the case of Chait Ram, a man who had been charged at the Bareilly sessions with the murder of his wife, Mussumaut Dhunkeeah. Ram freely admitted killing her and even identified the weapon he had used, but claimed the murder was the result of his wife’s adultery with a neighbour. Since the killing of a wife caught in the act of adultery was not a crime under Islamic law, the qadis (Islamic judges) of the Nizamat Adalat recommended he be released from custody at once. While one of the three officiating British judges argued that Ram had not sufficiently proven that his wife had indeed been conducting an affair, and suggested that a sentence of life imprisonment would be appropriate given the circumstances, his two colleagues disagreed and upheld the qadis ruling. Ram was freed immediately ‘without further punishment.’ At one level, the case of Chait Ram and the decision of the British officials to follow the recommendation of the Muslim legal scholars who reviewed it can perhaps be seen as part of the wider policy of early colonial rulers to attempt to maintain the appearance of benevolent rule by not interfering overtly with established legal practice. Yet British judges had few qualms dismissing reports by the qadis when they disagreed with what had been said. Moreover, an approach which focuses exclusively on what such verdicts meant in terms of the perception of violence in India ignores the fact that remarkably similar cases – and remarkably similar outcomes – were by no means unusual back in Britain.

# Tuesday 22nd November 2011, 4.15pm - Bronwyn Parry (Queen Mary, University of London)
Please note this is a Tuesday
Patents and the Challenge of ‘Sharewaring’ in Post-Genomic Bioscience or …The Strange Case of Betty Crocker and The Mouse
Venue: Room 101 (Hardy Building, Downing Site)

Biotechnology has recently become populated with all manner of ‘queer’ assemblages: the stem cell line, chimeras, technologically enhanced human beings and the subject of this paper – model mice. These mice, which are central to the performance of contemporary bioscience, are distinct from their historical precursors in several ways. Rather than being constructed as a finished ‘product’ to be covetously controlled as a single piece of tangible intellectual property, the engineered mouse and mouse model colonies from which they are drawn are now conceived of, and operate as, a vital research space or laboratory within which to continually experiment on the ‘software’ of mammalian genetics and phonotypical associations. In this paper I consider how protection of these assemblages is now and could be effected through the application of alternative forms of IPR to the patent including by branding and trademarking and sharewaring. In so doing I compare how such instruments have been applied in other industrial sectors and reflect on the implications that these developments could have for the re-valorization of the commons in the realm of biological resource use.

# Tuesday 1st November 2011, 4.00pm - David Beckingham (Sidney Sussex, University of Cambridge)
Please note this is a Tuesday; please note the earlier starting time.
Towards a Genealogy of Care: The Treatment of Scotland’s Inebriates
Venue: Seminar Room (Department of Geography, Downing Site)

This paper traces the legal and medical geographies of residential care for inebriates in late nineteenth and early twentieth-century Scotland. Legislation enabled the creation of private and later public institutions. Local authorities were never formally required to construct such institutions, however. The permissive nature of the legislation created an uneven geography of treatment which I have previously examined using a framework of liberty and control, emphasising that place played a significant part in responses to inebriety. Put simply, the magistrates in one town might sentence an inebriate to five days in prison, whereas those elsewhere might refer an inebriate to a reformatory for up to three years. Formal inebriate care relied on the criminal justice system for its inmates – itself shaped by concerns of class and gender – but was also affected by debates about the relationship between inebriety and insanity, whose sufferers could be subjected to permanent detention for the good of themselves and of society. Against that broader landscape of police cell, court, prison and asylum, I argue that to understand inebriate care – and its failure – we have to grasp the movement of individuals between institutions as much as we do the treatment or otherwise that was provided within them.

# Wednesday 11th May 2011, 4.15pm - Dr Rachel Poliquin
Taxidermy, Longing, and Beastly Allure
Venue: Hardy Building 101, Downing Site (please note change of venue)

During her post-doctoral fellowship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rachel Poliquin delved into the strangely alluring world of taxidermy with a book, a blog, and an exhibition.  Her book Taxidermy and Longing (Penn State Press 2012) explores the cultural history and poetic resonance of taxidermy from its rudimentary beginnings in cabinets of wonder to its revival in contemporary art.  From hunting trophies to extinct species and kitten weddings to perpetual pets, Taxidermy and Longing examines the meaning and matter of preserved animal-things and why anyone would want them to exist.

With a background in visual arts and the cultural history of science, Rachel Poliquin is a writer and curator dedicated to exploring all things orderly and disorderly in the natural world.  Her recent projects have focussed on the cultural history of taxidermy.  In 2009, Poliquin curated the exhibition “Ravishing Beasts: The Strangely Alluring World of Taxidermy” at the Museum of Vancouver, and in 2010, she wrote and designed the vertebrate exhibits for the Beaty Biodiversity Museum at the University of British Columbia. Poliquin also maintains the taxidermy blog www.ravishingbeasts.com.
 

# Wednesday 16th February 2011, 4.15pm - Professor Alan Lester, Department of Geography, University of Sussex
Personifying Colonial Governance: Life Geography of George Arthur and the Transition from Colonial Philanthropy to Development Discourse
Venue: Hardy Building 101, Downing Site (please note change of venue)

This paper aims to draw attention to significant shifts in the nature of humane governance during the nineteenth century and to open up a theoretical intersection between life geography, colonial discourse analysis and assemblage theory. It focuses on the career in British colonial governance of George Arthur, successively Aide de Camp in Jersey, Quarter Master General in Jamaica, Superintendent of Honduras, Lieutenant Governor of Van Diemen’s Land, Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, and Governor of the Bombay Presidency. Situating Arthur as an individual component within emergent colonial governmental assemblages, the paper examines the ways that an individual like Arthur could effect and be affected by shifts in humanitarian and governmental discourse and practice. The geographies of Arthur’s entanglements in colonial discourses were paramount in affecting the nature and extent of his capacity to effect reformulation of those discourses. Arthur’s personal performances and expressions of colonial government in different sites of empire and through specific episodes of contestation assisted in the deterritorialization of certain kinds of colonial governmentality and the reterritorialization of others. As Arthur moved from the West Indies to Van Diemen’s Land to Upper Canada to India, so his person discernibly effected shifts from ameliorative through conservative humanitarian, to developmental forms of imperial governance.

# Wednesday 2nd February 2011, 4.15pm - Dr. Ha joon Chang, Faculty of Economics
Institutions and Economic Development: Theory, Policy, and History
Venue: Hardy Building 101, Downing Site (please note change of venue)

Ha-Joon Chang, a Korean national, has taught at the Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge, since 1990. In addition to numerous articles in journals and edited volumes, Ha-Joon Chang has published 13 authored books (four of them co-authored) and 9 edited books (six of them co-edited). His most recent books include Reclaiming Development – An Alternative Economic Policy Manual (with Ilene Grabel; Zed Press, 2004), The East Asian Development Experience – The Miracle, the Crisis, and the Future (Zed Press, 2006), and Bad Samaritans (Random House, UK, 2007, and Bloomsbury USA, 2008), and 23 Things That They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism (Penguin, 2010, and Bloomsbury USA, 2011). By 2011, his writings will have been translated into 20 languages. Apart from his academic activities, Ha-Joon Chang has worked as a consultant for numerous international organisations, including various UN agencies (UNCTAD, WIDER, UNDP, UNIDO, UNRISD, INTECH, FAO, and ILO), the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank. He has also worked as a consultant for a number of governments (such as Canada, Japan, South Africa, the UK, and Venezuela) and various NGOs (such as ActionAid, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Oxfam). Ha-Joon Chang is the winner of the 2003 Myrdal Prize, awarded to his book, Kicking Away the Ladder, by the European Association for Evolutionary Political Economy (EAEPE). He is also the winner (jointly with Richard Nelson of Columbia University) of the 2005 Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought awarded by Tufts University. Previous winners of the Prize include the Nobel Laureates Amartya Sen and Daniel Kahnemann as well as John Kenneth Galbraith

# Wednesday 24th November 2010, 4.15pm - Ms Melanie Jones, PhD Candidate
The politics of urban space: building parks in Savannah, Atlanta and Nashville, 1850-1915
Venue: Hardy Building 101, Downing Site (please note change of venue)

From the mid-nineteenth century, the construction of parks was promoted as a means to alleviate the problems of disease, crime and immorality that beset the American city, to improve its appearance and increase property values; that the South engaged later and more modestly in this movement has been taken as evidence of a broader lack of interest in reforming the city. This paper examines the development of park systems in three southern cities, arguing that it was the structures of municipal government – and particularly, the powers wielded by the park commission – rather than the extent to which citizens and authorities subscribed to the ideals of the park movement, that determined the effectiveness with which they provided for the recreation of their citizens.

# Thursday 28th October 2010, 4.15pm - Dr. P MR Howell
The dog fancy at war: breeds, breeding and Britishness, 1914-1918
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography, Downing Site

This paper looks at the impact of the First World War upon the institutions of dog breeding and showing in Britain. Some have suggested that dogs had a ‘good war’, but it is demonstrable not only that particular breeds suffered – the dachshund, inevitably – but also the business and culture of pedigree dogs. Such suspicion was heaped upon dog owners, breeders and showers, particularly under the food shortages of 1916-1918, that their patriotism and Britishness was called into question. The leadership of the Kennel Club was challenged, as was the survival of the business of pedigree breeding. Whilst dog breeding has been understood principally in terms of class relations, this study thus concentrates on questions of politics and even biopolitics. It extends the study of the cultural ‘domestication’ of the pet dog by looking at the exclusion and abjection of animals and their owners from the national community.

# Wednesday 26th May 2010, 4.15pm - Dr Colin McFarlane, Department of Geography, Durham University
Assemblage and critical urbanism
Venue: Room 101, Hardy Building

This presentation offers a conceptualisation of assemblage as a basis for a distinct form of analysis and orientation to critical urbanism. In particular, it outlines three sets of contributions that assemblage affords for thinking politically and normatively of the city. First, agency: the particular purchase that the distributive and multiple nature of agency within assemblage brings to critical urbanism. There are three concerns here that the agency of assemblage calls forth: distribution, capacities, and power. Second, production: the emphasis assemblage brings to emergence and to the labour of maintenance, which casts light on the contingent ways in which particular urban assemblages are invested in to the exclusion of alternative ways of imagining and living in the city. The concern with production entails consideration of a key element in the constitution of contemporary cities: mobilities, the increasingly rapid production of urbanism through travelling policies, ideas, goods, money and people, and their attendant inclusions and exclusions. Third, imaginary: the politics at work through the imaginary of assemblage itself, as collage, composition, and gathering. I examine two registers of urban imaginary that assemblage sets to work: first, the image of the cosmopolitan city, as the closest approximation in the social sciences to the assemblage idea; and, second, the concern with gathering as a particular form of generative critique, i.e. the production of the city through multiple constituencies, knowledges and voices.

# Wednesday 12th May 2010, 4.15pm - Catherine Sumnall, PhD student, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
Popping the question: how relevant was marriage in the European past? Evidence from the Gurk valley, Carinthia, 1868 to 1938
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography, Downing Site

Not everywhere in Europe can marriage be regarded as a cornerstone of the social order, or the basis around which new households are created. Michael Mitterauer illustrated back in 1977 how in eighteenth century Carinthia, Austria’s most southerly province, marriages amongst the landless poor did not necessarily result in household formation or even cohabitation. In many more cases, legal restrictions on peasant marriage resulted in children outside wedlock, either borne of a fleeting encounter or a stable relationship forbidden its ceremonial and legal legitimisation. Yet strangely, even after the Austrian state’s concern was piqued by the extremity of extra-marital fertility in some rural districts, the abolition of legal restrictions of peasant marriage in 1868 did not result in increased take-up of marriage in all parts of the monarchy. In rural Carinthia in fact, births outside wedlock continued to rise, and sustained their plateau well into the twentieth century at level of up to 90% in some parishes. What meaning does a marriage ceremony have in such circumstances where its absence was first enforced by law, and then made irrelevant by the evolution of practices of fertility, sexuality and courtship that seemed to thrive on its very absence? In this paper I explore the reasons behind the preferred option for the overwhelming majority of the population of the Gurk valley in Carinthia, prior to 1938: non-marriage.

# Wednesday 28th April 2010, 4.15pm - Melanie Jones, PhD student, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
New date to be confirmed
The politics of urban space: building parks in Savannah, Atlanta and Nashville, 1850-1915
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography, Downing Site

From the mid-nineteenth century, the construction of parks was promoted as a means to alleviate the problems of disease, crime and immorality that beset the American city, to improve its appearance and increase property values; that the South engaged later and more modestly in this movement has been taken as evidence of a broader lack of interest in reforming the city. This paper examines the development of park systems in three southern cities, arguing that it was the structures of municipal government – and particularly, the powers wielded by the park commission – rather than the extent to which citizens and authorities subscribed to the ideals of the park movement, that determined the effectiveness with which they provided for the recreation of their citizens.

# Wednesday 13th May 2009, 4.15pm - Jennifer Gold, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
British Decolonization, 'Manpower Resource' Debates and the Politics of Scientific Governance in the Long Sixties.
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography, Downing Site

Jennifer Gold is a PhD student in the Department of Geography, Cambridge University and was a visiting fellow at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University between January and April 2009. Her research examines the formulation and implementation of the UK government’s resettlement policy for former colonial scientists, with particular reference to forestry science. This paper examines the interconnections between decolonization and post-war ‘manpower resource’ concerns, situating resettlement within domestic debates on knowledge economy formation and Cold War geopolitics.

# Wednesday 22nd April 2009, 4.15pm - Prof. David Slater, Department of Geography, Loughborough University
Rethinking the Imperial Difference in Global Times
Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Geography, Downing Site

David Slater is a Professor in the Department of Geography at Loughborough University. His recent publications include – Imperial Geopolitics and the Promise of Democracy (Development and Change, Nov 2007), Imperial Powers and Democratic Imaginations (Third World Quarterly Dec 2006) and Geopolitics and the Post-Colonial, 2004, Blackwell, Oxford. He is currently writing on the geopolitics of knowledge and imperial power.

# Wednesday 8th November 2006, 4.15pm - Luiza Bialasiewicz, Department of Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London
Traces of Europe
Venue: Room 101, Hardy Building

Dr Bialasiewicz is interested in the political geography of Europe, and in particular is concerned with the relations between national/regional cultures and the development of the Idea of Europe.

# Wednesday 25th October 2006, 4.15pm - Katie Willis, Department of Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London
I'm a Citizen of the World': Gender, Identity and the Politics of Scale among British Expatriates in China
Venue: Room 101, Hardy Building

Recent literature on the mobility patterns of a so-called ‘global elite’ or ‘transnational capitalist class’ has focused on their ease of cross-border movement and the ability to operate in a range of national settings due to the increased homogenisation of ‘global business space’. This representation fails, however, to recognise the ways in which the practices of individuals are implicated in the construction of this global space.

This paper uses the example of British expatriates in China to examine these debates in relation to particular spaces and scales. While many ‘career expatriates’ argue that they no longer possess a particular ‘national’ identity, it is clear that their abilities to be ‘global citizens’ in terms of where they are able to live and work are a reflection of practices at a range of smaller scales. This paper will focus on the gender dimensions of these processes and will focus on the scales of the body and the household to examine how the ‘national’ space of China is experienced and negotiated by men and women. The paper is based on 120 interviews with Britons in China, the UK and Singapore.

# Sunday 22nd October 2006, 4.15pm - Speaker to be confirmed
Geography, mutualism and welfare: the geography of British hospital contributory schemes before, during and after (?) the NHS
Venue: Room 101, Hardy Building

This paper explores how an ethos of mutualism formed and was expressed through spatial relationships (agreements about competitive recruitment of subscribers, for example) – it has lessons for the new mutualism beloved of Milburn, Reid etc. It will be based on the book Professor Mohan recently published with Martin Gorsky (Mutualism and health care, Manchester University Press, 2006)