Call for Papers: Seminar at RGS-IBG Conference (London, 27th-30th August 2019)
Resistance in the Master’s House: Researching race in troubling times
Session Convenors: Shereen Fernandez (QMUL) & Azeezat Johnson (QMUL)
Sponsored by: Race, Culture and Equality Working Group (RACE)
The proposed session works from Audre Lorde’s (1984) warning against using the Master’s tools to dismantle the Master’s house (i.e. the evolving implicit and explicit logics of white supremacy). This is an opportunity for us to confront our role as academics in the reproduction of white supremacy: how does anti-racist scholarship and activism occur alongside and/or in spite of the white supremacist logics that sustains the Master’s house? This is particularly important to address at the RGS-IBG conference given the expense of participating in these spaces of knowledge dissemination, thus controlling who can (literally) afford to participate in the development of academic scholarship. We explore these questions in light of our neo- and re-colonising contexts (Esson et al. 2017), as well as the intertwined histories of coloniality, white supremacy and the discipline of Geography (McKittrick 2006; Noxolo, Raghuram, and Madge 2008; Yusoff 2018). This interrogation of our role in academia is used to re-imagine racial justice in these troubling and uncertain times.
We invite abstracts that relate (but are not limited to) the following questions:
- How do we move beyond self-flagellating statements about reflexivity and positionality, and towards challenging power structures and racial inequality within and beyond the academy?
- How do we organise effectively as academics given the urgency of these systems of oppression? What are some practical methods of activism that we as academics can take up across different local, national and regional contexts?
- How do we resist the depoliticization of tools that critique the functioning of white supremacy? What can be done to re-engage with the explicitly political rationale of decolonisation, postcolonialism and intersectionality?
- Where does/can racial justice take place? How do we account for shifting constructions of race across different temporal and regional contexts?
- What are the benefits and limitations of social media and ‘private’ communication for activists and scholars working on racial justice?
- How do we perpetuate legislation and border controls within the academy (e.g. through the Prevent Duty or immigration checks), and how does this impact work on racial justice?
We are particularly keen to engage with scholars located outside of the “Global North” and under-represented groups within the “Global North”. We also encourage scholars within and beyond Geography to apply.
Esson, James, Patricia Noxolo, Richard Baxter, Patricia Daley, and Margaret Byron. 2017. ‘The 2017 RGS-IBG chair’s theme: decolonising geographical knowledges, or reproducing coloniality?’, Area, 49: 384-88.
Lorde, Audre. 1984. Sister Outsider: essays and speeches (The Crossing Press: California).
McKittrick, Katherine. 2006. Demonic grounds: Black women and the cartographies of struggle (University of Minnesota Press: Minneapolis).
Noxolo, Patricia, Parvati Raghuram, and Clare Madge. 2008. ‘‘Geography is Pregnant’ and ‘Geography’s Milk is Flowing’: Metaphors for a Postcolonial Discipline?’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 26: 146-68.
Yusoff, Kathryn. 2018. A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None (University of Minnesota Press: Minnesota).