Category Archives: Announcements

Pre-conference program + website

The 2014 PGSG AAG pre-conference schedule on our new website. If you haven’t already, please update your bookmarks and start following us at!

Moving back to

PGSG has officially relocated to our original web address, — please update your browser links and visit our updated page! This marks the end of our efforts to consolidate our blog site and the main page. Thanks for your patience with the transition, which we hope will now provide a stable platform for our group. If you have any comments about the new website, or what suggestions about you would like to see there, please contact Natalie.

Pre-Conference abstracts due Feb. 1


27th Annual PGSG Pre-conference – USF Tampa April 7, 2014

The Political Geography Specialty Group of the AAG and the School of Geosciences at the University of South Florida-Tampa are very pleased to announce that the 27th Annual PGSG Pre-conference will be held at the USF’s Tampa campus on Monday, April 7, 2014. The paper sessions will take place during the day. The PGSG will host a group dinner for pre-conference participants during the evening.

The meeting will be held in Room 3709 of the USF Marshall Student Center (MSC 4100, Tampa FL 33620, 813-974-5213 / 813-974-4180).
Campus and parking maps suitable for printing or storing on a portable device can be found at:

Deadlines and registration
Please submit a paper title and a 200 word abstract, along with author contact details (name, institutional address, email address), to Reece Jones and Natalie Koch at no later than February 1, 2014.

Please consider booking your hotel ASAP! Hotels near the USF Tampa campus include:

Embassy Suites Tampa – USF/Near Busch Gardens (located inside the campus)
Wingate by Wyndham Hotel Tampa (free shuttle service)
Clarion Hotel & Conference Center Tampa (free shuttle service)
La Quinta Inn Busch Gardens Tampa
For more options, see:

As with our past pre-conferences, there will be a nominal $20 registration fee for faculty only. Faculty, please bring cash if at all possible.

Sponsor: School of Geosciences, University of South Florida, Tampa
Local coordinators: Jayajit Chakraborty (, Pratyusha Basu (
Co-organizers: Reece Jones (, Natalie Koch (

Deadline extended for Kunming conference “Geopolitics in Changing SE Asia”

The deadline for submitting abstracts for the Geopolitics conference at Yunnan Normal University has been extended to the end of January 2014. While the conference will focus on geopolitics, boundaries and border topics related to China and SE Asia, presentations on other regions are acceptable.

See post below for additional information about the conference and abstract submission.

Conference: Geopolitics in Changing SE Asia – Boundaries & Borderlands

 International Conference on



20-23 July 2014

School of Tourism and Geography

Yunnan Normal University, Kunming, China

Organized by

  • Yunnan Normal University (YNU)
  • Institute of Geography Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS
  • Beijing Normal University (BNU)
  • East China Normal University (ECNU)

Sponsored by

  •  Geographical Society of China (GSC)
  • Association of American Geographers (AAG)
  • International Geographical Union (IGU)
  • Geographical Society of Yunnan Province


Two distinctive features of the world political map are that boundary issues remain of paramount importance and that borderlands have their own distinct landscape features.  Boundaries, borderlands, border regions and frontiers on land and sea have a long and rich tradition in political geography.  Contributions include books, monographs, articles and maps by geographers from almost every country, some writing about historical and colonial themes, others on contemporary and post-colonial issues.   Boundaries and borders continue to be among the major topics studied by political geographers on all continents.   These works are supplemented by other international associations and societies also committed to understanding the importance of boundaries in historical and contemporary contexts.

Promoting the geographic study of boundaries and borderlands have been major national and international geographical societies and associations and also commissions within the International Geographical Union, which have sponsored large and small conferences, field trips and publications to enrich the study of political geography and its counterpart geopolitics.  Two of political geography’s major journals, Political Geography and Geopolitics regularly include articles and book reviews about boundary issues.

The School of Geography and Tourism at Yunnan Normal University is organizing the first political geography conference in China to be held in Kunming, Yunnan Province, in 20-23 July 2014.  The title is “Geopolitics in Changing Southeast Asia: Boundaries and Borderlands.” The purpose is to bring together scholars from China, Southeast Asia, East Asia and those from outside the region who have interests in the twin subjects of boundaries and borderlands.   We welcome the contributions of scholars from the social and policy sciences (sociology, anthropology, economics, political science, law) as well as the humanities (history, film studies, religion, music,literature) and those  from interdisciplinary and regional studies programs.   Our aim is to bring together junior and senior scholars and also graduate students from inside and outside the region with interests in the topic.

The conference languages will be Chinese, English and Spanish.  The presentations will be followed by time for discussion.  A printed copy of all abstracts will be provided those attending.  There will be keynote presentations by noted scholars.  The conference will be held on campus, which is in the Southeast  part of Kunming.

The conference will include two days of papers and presentations; the third day will be a field trip to nearby border regions. Yunnan Province has a very rich ethnic diversity with 26 distinctive minority groups.   Evening cultural events of music and dancing are planned.

Potential Topics

  • The conference organizers are open to a wide variety of topics that may include:
  • Cultural landscapes
  • Borderland landscapes
  • Cultural heritage
  • Historical land boundaries
  • Maritime boundaries
  • Disputed territories and boundaries
  • Environmental security issues
  • Regionalism
  • Cross-border environmental problems
  • International investments
  • Labor migration and labor issues
  • Refugee movements and resettlement
  • Tourism, including heritage tourism and cross-border tourism
  • Religions: traditional or emerging
  • Gender issues
  • Nongovernmental organizations
  • Sustainable development and local empowerment
  • Media geographies and the state
  • Cyberboundaries and cyberstates

Registration fees:

Those attending will not have to pay for room or meals; these will be provided by Yunnan Normal University.  There is no registration fee.

Chinese Scientific Committee Members

  • Prof. Dahe Qin (IGU Vice President, Academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences, China)
  • Prof. Lin Yang (Yunnan Normal University, China)
  • Prof. Huasong Luo (Yunnan Normal University, China)
  • Prof. Shengkui Cheng (Chinese Academy of Sciences, China)
  • Prof. Weidong Liu (Chinese Academy of Sciences, China)
  • Prof. Debin Du (East China Normal University, China)
  • Prof. Jia nxiong Ma (The Chinese University of HongKong)
  • Prof. Yuejing Ge (Chair, Beijing Normal University, China)
  • Prof. Shangyi Zhou (Beijing Normal University, China)
  • Prof. Yue He (Yunnan Normal University, China)
  • Prof. Jinliang Wang (Yunnan Normal University, China)
  • Prof. Yapin Chen (Yunnan Normal University, China)
  • Prof. Liran Xiong (Yunnan Normal University, Chin)

Supportive Members of International Geography Communities

  • Prof.  Anton Gosar (Faculty of Tourism, University of Primorska, Portoroz, Slovenia and Past President of IGU Political Geography Commission)
  • Dr. Douglas Richardson (AAG Executive Director, USA)
  • Prof. Vladimir Kolossov (Moscow State University, President, International Geographical Union)
  • Prof.  Alec Murphy (Department of Geography, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon)
  • Prof. Joe Painter (Department of Geography, University of Durham, UK and chair of the RGS-IBG Political Geography Research Group)
  • Prof. Elenna Dell’agnese (Department of Geography, University of Milan, Italy and Chair, IGU Political Geography Commission)
  • Prof. Natalie Koch (Department of Geography, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY   Secretary, AAG Poltiical Geography Specialty Group)
  • Prof.  Reece Jones (Department of Geography, University of Hawaii, Chair, AAG Political Geography Specialty Group)
  • Prof.  David Newman ( Dean, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Ben Gurion University, Beersheba, Israel and Editor, Geopolitics)
  • Prof.  Anton Gosar (Faculty of Tourism, University of Primorska, Portoroz, Slovenia and Past President of IGU Political Geography Commission)
  • Prof.  Anssi Passi ( Department of Geography, University of Oulu, Finland)
  • Prof.  Victor Konrad (President, Association of Borderland Studies and Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada)
  • Prof. Karin Dean (Senior Researcher Institute of Humanities, Talinn University, Estonia)
  • Prof. Viiginie Mamadouh (Department of Geography University of Amsterdam)
  • Professor James Sidaway (Department of Geography, University of Singapore)

Deadlines and Contact Persons

Please send tentative title, a 100-125 word abstract, email address and key words to the names below by 1 January 2014.   A tentative copy of the program will be provided in Spring 2014.

Chinese language abstracts:  Dr. Zhiding Hu, School of Tourism and Geography, Yunnan Normal University, Kunming, China

English language abstracts: Professor Stanley D. Brunn, Department of Geography, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY  40506 and Department of Geography, Yunnan Normal University,Kunming, China   (he is Visiting Professor in the department for Fall 2013 and Spring 2014).

Full paper: May 20, 2014.

CFP: Politics of Regions – Regions of Politics

Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting, Tampa (Florida), April 8-12, 2014

Roger Baars (Goethe-University Frankfurt) and Sami Moisio (University of Oulu)

Traditional approaches to the theorisation of socio-spatial relations are criticised for their problematic one-dimensionality focusing predominantly on a single spatial dimension such like territory, scale or network (Jessop, Brenner & Jones, 2008). It has been stated that in order to escape such fetishism all spatial dimensions should be seen as closely intertwined (Leitner, Sheppard & Sziarto, 2008). Related to this, Terlouw and Weststrate (2013) argue for an overdue shift of attention from the historical evolution of regions to the circumstances in the present in which regions are becoming. The session aims to bring together empirical and theoretical perspectives on the multi-dimensionality of regions as spatialities-in-becoming by addressing the motives behind ‘region making’ processes, the political effects of regions utilised by stakeholders in different situations to promote their specific interests (cf. Harrison, 2013), and the power dynamics within which such region making takes place. The session also welcomes papers which scrutinize the territorial and relational aspects of region making.

If you are interested in participating, please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words to Roger Baars ( latest by 17th Nov 2013. The discounted registration for the conference ends on 3rd Dec 2013.  For more information please visit

CFP: Cybergeopolitics and Digital Culture: New Spaces of Internet Activity

Paper Session, Association of American Geographers 2014, Tampa
Organizers: Emily Fekete, University of Kansas, and Donald E. Colley III, San Diego State University

Specialty group sponsors: Political geography specialty group

Without indulging in technological determinism, the internet has taken an increasingly significant role in daily life. Most people, especially younger generations, and places are directly affected by the internet through their access or lack thereof to online information. As such the manipulation and control of internet access and online content has very real political consequences with respect to governance, the state, news media content and social discrimination. The transformation of digital culture and interaction in, on and across online spaces speaks to a need for an understanding of the internet not only as a space where political action occurs, but also as a space that directly creates new spaces of action offline. The blurring of online and offline spaces in everyday life has wide ranging impacts on the creation of internet policies, the future of e-governance, the organization of political activism, the treatment of marginal social groups, and the types of and access to news and information. Geography needs to embrace the value of online spaces, not as an entity separate from offline spaces, but rather as an extension of the fragmented spaces of postmodern social politics.

We welcome papers that address the issues outlined above. Presentations could include, but are not limited to, topics on:

-    Political ramifications of cyber infrastructure
-    Issues of the state and internet policy
-    The ‘Dictator’s Dilemma’ and internet censorship
-    Social movements and online organization
-    Online space as spaces of discrimination
-    Issues of gender/sexism and technology
-    Internet Accessibility and the Digital Divide
-    Racial/Ethnic experiences of Internet use
-    Activism and the Internet

Please send abstracts and inquiries to or

We would also like to have a panel session exploring these topics in more detail to follow the paper session. If you are interested in being a panelist, please contact us.

Emily Fekete
PhD Candidate
Department of Geography
University of Kansas

CFP: Biopolitics, Religion, and Security

AAG Tampa, Florida, 8-12 April, 2014
Sponsored by: Geography of Religions and Belief Systems Specialty Group; Political Geography Specialty Group

This session invites papers which examine the relationship between religion and the biopolitical. Religion is not only an external ideology (Althusser 2001) or an individualizing pastoral technology of power (Foucault 2007), but a shifting discursive formation (Asad 1993; Masuzawa 2005). Religion can also be conceived of as biopolitical- the creation, maintenance, and calculation of a population is often connected to concern for morals, afterlives, and  spirituality as well. This is evidenced in contentious debates unfolding in multiple sites: the War on Terror, public school scientific education in the United States, anti-blasphemy and homosexual propaganda laws in Russia, and the securitization of Texan uteruses.

Biopolitical rationale seeks to maximize life while protecting populations from security threats. Religion reconfigures the logic of biopolitical security by asking how not only life but afterlife are targets of governmental and social interventions. This session would be a good fit for projects which draw from and expand on theories of biopower /biopolitics and touch on questions such as:

* What role does religion play in constructing and securing healthy citizenries?
* How is religion configured as a securitizing force against threats and risks to vulnerable populations?
*Conversely, how is religion understood as a security threat to populations?

The aim of this session is to share critical geographic approaches to analyzing security, religion and biopolitics. Please email questions and draft abstracts to session organizer The strict final deadline is December 3rd for submission of final abstracts to the AAG  Annual Meeting online portal.

CFP: Theorizing Neoliberalism from the Inside Out

AAG Tampa, Florida, 8-12 April, 2014
In the wake of the global financial crisis, many signaled a fundamental shift in neoliberal politics. While for some it was ‘dead but dominant’(Smith, 2009), for others it was entering a ‘post’ (Peck et al., 2009) or increasingly “variegated” form (Brenner et al., 2010). The consensus seemed to be that neoliberalism has qualitatively changed from what it was before the crisis. Simultaneously, the resurgence of austerity politics and deeply embedded persistence of neoliberal policy projects indicates a pressing need to come to terms – theoretically and empirically – with the types of neoliberalisms which lie ahead. The hope of this session is to provide a space for a sustained critique of neoliberal practice based on the increasing contradiction between fragmented neoliberal strategies and their original political logics. Critiques of neoliberalism often entail case studies that exhibit instances where further injustice and inequality have resulted from the rollback of government and the rollout of privatization, foreign direct investment, and market-oriented governance. Building on this rich lineage, this session seeks to explore ways for critiquing neoliberalism in its fragmented, variegated, post-crisis state. A durable framework for critiquing neoliberalism would thread together these instances of injustice and inequality using the common strands of the inherent contradictions of capitalism. For example, papers could focus on specific aspects of neoliberal theory: geographies of liberalization, individualism, freedom (Friedman 2002[1962]; Peck 2010), decentralization (Hayek 2007[1944]), or “homo economicus” (entrepreneur of the self) (Foucault 2008[1979]; Read 2009). Realizing that neoliberal practice is not always smoothly rolled out, and is contingent upon the preexisting topography of located spaces and places (cf. Larner 2003),  this session can also host papers that examine neoliberal practice(s) in view of their contingent outcomes.

Please send your abstracts to:
Carlo E. Sica ( and John Lauermann (

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • The privatization of governance
  • The decentralization of urban/environmental governance
  • The historical development of neoliberalization
  • Freedom, choice and development
  • Accumulation by dispossession
  • Entrepreneurialism and homo economicus
  • Sustainability and other neoliberal fantasies

Brenner, N., J. Peck and N. Theodore, 2010. Variegated neoliberalization: geographies, modalities, pathways. Global Networks 10, 182-222.

Foucault, M., 2008. The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the Collège de France 1978-1979 M. Senellart et al., eds., New York: Picador/Palgrave Macmillan.

Friedman, M., 2002. Capitalism and Freedom 3rd ed. R. D. Friedman, ed., Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Hayek, F.A., 2007. The Road to Serfdom 3rd ed. B. Caldwell, ed., Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Larner, W., 2003. Neoliberalism? Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 21(5), pp.509–512.

Peck, J., N. Theodore and N. Brenner, 2009. Postneoliberalism and its Malcontents. Antipode 41, 94-116.

Peck, J., 2010. Freedom, rebooted; Finding the Chicago School. In Constructions of Neoliberal Reason. New York: Oxford University Press.

Read, J., 2009. A Genealogy of Homo-Economicus: Neoliberalism and the Production of Subjectivity. Foucault Studies, (6), pp.25–36.

Smith, N. 2009. Toxic Capitalism. New Political Economy 14, 407 – 12.

John Lauermann
PhD Candidate, Graduate School of Geography, Clark University

CFP: Geographies of Late Modern Civil-Military Relations

AAG Tampa, Florida, 8-12 April, 2014.

Session organizers:  Wesley Attewell (University of British Columbia), Jeffrey White (University of British Columbia), Craig Jones (University of British Columbia).

In a document published on September 11, 2013, the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) cites the necessity of adapting to the “dynamic strategic environment of the 21st century” as grounds for adopting a “more holistic and balanced” approach to “asymmetric” or “irregular” threats to national security.  More specifically, “recent policy initiatives, national security directives, military strategies, and evolving military doctrine reflect a growing appreciation of the need to leverage more nonmilitary tools and elements of the instruments of national power, such as interagency partners and the private sector” (I-1).  This JCS Publication (3-57), in other words, highlights the failure of traditional civil-military binaries to capture the complexity of late modern warfare.

While this “civilianization” of contemporary military operations is increasingly being subjected to critique by human geographers, the extent to which “war” – to paraphrase Foucault (2003) – has served as the “motor of institutions and order” in domestic – and ostensibly pacific – contexts has been less well-documented.  Accordingly, this session seeks papers that destabilize and interrogate the entanglements of civilian and military affairs that are being catalyzed in both the battle-spaces, as well as the neo-colonial homelands of Weizman’s (2012) “humanitarian present”.   Potential topics include, but are not limited to:
Counterinsurgency warfare and its afterlives.
The development-security nexus.
Humanitarianism and late modern warfare.
Police forces and police power.
Lawyering late modern warfare.
The historical geographies of civil-military entanglement.
Gender and militarism.
Social reproduction and the warfare-workfare state.
Spaces and practices of military caregiving.
Militarized citizenship and the figure of the citizen-soldier.
War economies and the military-industrial-academic-media complex.
Please send proposed titles and abstracts of up to 250 words to Jeffrey Whyte (, Craig Jones (, and Wesley Attewell ( by October 24, 2013.

Works Cited

Foucault, Michel.  2003.  Society must be defended.  New York:  Palgrave Macmillan.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff.  2013.  “Civil-Military Operations (Joint Publication 3-57)”.  The Joint Chiefs of Staff.  Available at:  <;.  Accessed: October 9.

Weizman, Eyal.  2012.  The Least of All Possible Evils:  Humanitarian Violence from Arendt to Gaza.  New York:  Verso.