Reflections from AAG 2015 on the notion of slow scholarship

“So the issue,” writes Martell, “is not speed, but control over speed. … In effect what slow is reintroducing is being human and well-being.”

The above quote is one of the arguments presented in a forthcoming article in ACME: An International E-journal for Critical Geographies advocating a movement For Slow Scholarship. Written by Alison Mountz and colleagues, the article develops a feminist ethics of care that challenges the isolating effects and embodied work conditions inherent to the increasing demands placed on academics within the neoliberal university.

The collectively written article explores alternatives to the fast-paced, metric-oriented neoliberal university – an argument contextualised in: a) an examination of how “the ‘slow’ in slow scholarship is not just about time, but about structures of power and inequality”, and b) the premise that “Care work is work. It is not self-indulgent; it is radical and necessary.”

This argument defines my experience of this year’s Association of American Geographers Annual Conference in Chicago. Continue reading

Talking research through photographs: notes from the Geographical Society of NSW’s Postgraduate Networking Day

Introduction by Ellen van Holstein

Each year the Geographical Society of New South Wales invites postgraduate students from all over New South Wales to meet up and talk research. Students were invited to bring a picture and briefly present their work based on that image. The event also encouraged the exchange of advice about how to manage a PhD and how to do conferences. The University of Wollongong cohort of postgraduates was represented with ten candidates. The event was an excellent opportunity to think about the core messages of our research projects and to reflect on what it is that makes our geographical minds tick. Having ten new postgraduates start PhDs in geography at the University of Wollongong this year, it was also a great opportunities for old and new AUSCCER postgraduates to get to know each other better and to revel once again in the great wealth of research diversity that AUSCCER accommodates. To get a glimpse of that diversity please click through the photos of the ten AUSCCERites who attended the Geographical Society of New South Wales postgraduate meeting.

Ellen's photo Continue reading

Rethinking redundancy: necessity, excess and uncertain futures

Call for Papers, Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, Chicago, 21-25 April 2015

Organizers:

Chantel Carr (University of Wollongong) cac900@uowmail.edu.au

Chris Gibson (University of Wollongong) cgibson@uow.edu.au

Redundancy is often expressed as a singular event that speaks to our deepest fears and emotions about our own necessity. It conjures the anxieties we carry through our working and social lives, of becoming surplus or unnecessary to future plans. Experiences of workplace redundancy and accompanying precariousness have multiplied in recent years, across an increasingly diverse set of workplaces affected by deregulation and shifts in labor process. Yet redundancy increasingly encircles us in other, more silent ways. For an increasingly diverse set of commodities, from smartphones to washing machines, future redundancy is assumed, and obsolescence a key principle of product design that enrols consumers materially within high throughput systems of provision. In aerospace engineering, systems are often designed in duplicate or even triplicate, in case crucial components fail. In programming, redundant code lies dormant, either never executed or having no external effect until failure occurs. These examples point to different ways in which excess or surplus might be planned, to be invoked when something goes wrong – when crisis is encountered. At this point, such “redundant” systems, processes or devices are deployed to ensure that insufficiencies are addressed and interruption is minimised  Such alternative framings extend and amplify notions of redundancy. They complicate our conceptions of necessity, surplus and value, and require that we pay attention to redundancy as calculative rather than happenstance, and as a process that occurs over time, rather than a singular event. Continue reading

Oceanic matters: Call for papers, AAG 2015

Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, Chicago, 21-25 April 2015

Session organisers: Catherine Phillips (University of Queensland) c.phillips2@uq.edu.au; Leah Gibbs (University of Wollongong) leah@uow.edu.au

This session aims to advance oceanic geographies that push in directions less ‘landlocked’ (Steinberg 2001; Anderson and Peters 2014) and more lively (Lambert et al. 2006) to examine the materiality and politics of oceans. Despite the flourishing in recent years of ‘more-than-human’ and material approaches, oceans and associated creatures have only recently come to the fore in a selection of analyses (see Bear and Eden 2008; Probyn 2011). Likewise, ocean geographies have largely neglected the materiality of the sea. This inattention to human-ocean relations and ocean materiality is puzzling given that oceans are central to so many pressing debates, including biodiversity protection, food security, climate change, water pollution and scarcity, and invasive species control. Such ocean crises highlight questions about cultures of living with/in marine environs, and processes of governance. Continue reading

First impressions – IAG/NZGS Conference Melbourne 2014

Post by Susannah Clement.

This way to the IAG/NZGS...

This way to the IAG/NZGS…

The rush of last minute packing, cancelled flights, terminal changes and jettisoning your overweight belongings at check-in could be construed as a ‘bad’ start to ones conference experience. But in hindsight, the ‘running through the airport’ story can be brought up in those awkward networking conversations on the first day. You know the ones – I had many at the IAG/NZGS Postgrad day. They go something like this… Continue reading

Conference presentations – some tips and tricks

Professor Chris Gibson

Professor Chris Gibson

The 2014 IAG/NZGS Joint Conference is being held next week (30 June – 2 July) in Melbourne. So we’ve decided to revisit Chris Gibson‘s blog post from 2012 about tips and tricks for conference presentations. Feel free to add your own tips in the comments section of this post or share them with us via Twitter @AUSCCER. Continue reading

Relational landscapes and rock star geographers on a solo flight

After a very smooth trip to Malmö, Sweden I stepped into an IKEA catalogue. This hotel room was going to be home for the next four days. I was in Malmö for the Relational Landscape Studies of Urbanisations Conference at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. I have blogged before about how I find conferences exciting and overwhelming experiences. It was great “flying in AUSCCER formation” at the two first conferences I attended. In those instances there were colleagues who introduced me and who guided me and other starting PhD students around. None of that on this occasion, it was time for my first solo flight.

The AAG jostle: last thoughts from the bar

By Ellen van Holstein

Having presented my own work at the AAG early in proceedings, I spent the rest of the conference walking around the rooms like a little girl in a candy shop. So much to see, so little time. Oh! Tim Cresswell tweets about a lecture on epigenetics that is about to start. That does not sound like my field of interest, but Tim Cresswell has probably been to the AAG a couple of times; he knows what he is talking about. Right? So I decide to go.

The next hour and a half the speaker, Becky Mansfield, plunges into a critical discussion of the fascinating science of epigenetics, leaving me in a deep state of excitement and confusion. A state I don’t get myself out of until the end of the conference.

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Meeting my book critics at the AAG 2014

Writing my first book was an incredible experience. Empowering when words flowed. Exhilarating when thoughts came together coherently on paper. Frustrating when nothing seemed to make sense – in my head or on paper. Terrifying when writer’s block set in. Mind numbing when faced with the fourth, let alone the four-hundredth round of edits and proofs. Gratifying, exhausting, emotional – sometimes all at once depending on the moment. An experience beyond words really. It was therefore both exciting and terrifying to invite four academic colleagues to provide a public critique of my newly published book Gender and Wildfire: Landscapes of Uncertainty at the Association of American Geographers (AAG) Meeting – held this year in Tampa, Florida. The following is a summary of my author-meets-critics session.

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AAG 2014 Tampa Conference, Day 1: Thoughts From The Bar

By Nick Skilton and Ellen van Holstein

Nick Skilton and Ellen van Holstein are both PhD Candidates with the Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental Research. They are currently at the Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting in Tampa, Florida.

Nick presenting at the AAG conference in Tampa, Florida.

Nick presenting at the AAG conference in Tampa, Florida.

Nick: We’ve finally all found each in the downstairs bar of the Floridan Hotel. The chandeliers scream old school bling, and the waitress is surly because we don’t get tipping etiquette. They don’t have kettles in hotel rooms, but they have great bourbon, and burgers that get served ‘bloody’ enough to send me – the vegan AUSCCERite – upstairs to my room for dinner. Continue reading