RGS-IBG 2014 CFP: Geographies of colonial & postcolonial exile

Another Call for Papers for the RGS-IBG Conference – this time by myself and Uma Kothari at Manchester. This follows up some interests in colonial exile and resistant politics that we both have. Please feel free to get in touch if you are interested and have any questions/queries.

RGS-IBG 2014 CFP: Geographies of colonial & postcolonial exile

Session Organisers: Andy Davies (University of Liverpool) & Uma Kothari (University of Manchester)

Sponsored by the Historical Geography Research Group of the RGS-IBG

The concept of exile is inherently geographical. Individuals or communities are dis-located from their ‘true’ homes and re-positioned ‘out-of-place’. Edward Said (1984) encapsulated the contradictions of exile as a space of trauma and loss, yet simultaneously a potentially productive space of encounter, transition and resistance. As a result, geographers have productively explored the concept of exile and its effects (Folch-Serra, 2006, Murphy, 2011, McConnell, 2013, Yeh, 2007).

In this session we seek to build on this literature by exploring practices of exile, and exiling, as they occurred in (post)colonial contexts. Exiling lay at the heart of colonial administrations’ attempts to limit the spread of sedition and to spatially restrict the movements of ‘dangerous’ individuals. Recent transnational and translocal understandings of empire (Ghosh & Kennedy, 2006, Metcalfe, 2007, Ogborn, 2008) have helped us understand the implications of these colonial practices such as how they provided a fertile space for exiles to resist colonial rule through  networks of nationalist anti-colonialism (Kothari, 2012). We seek papers that explore the varied historical geographies of exile as both a disciplinary practice but also a potential space of co-production of anti-colonial knowledge, politics and resistance.

We welcome contributions from across geography, and particularly from scholars situated in the global south and from postgraduate students.

Themes/questions which could be explored include, but are not limited to:

  • Theoretical & empirical engagements with colonial regimes’ attempts to exclude and manage undesirable populations
  • The geographies of co-production, encounter and power between and amongst exile communities
  • The lived experiences of translocal exile, from resistant practices through to acts of complicity & acceptance
  • Exile and nationalism – from ‘orthodox’ nationalist movements, to the development of pan-nationalist and movements in exile
  • Studies that incorporate the ‘more-than-human’ into their analysis – for example, the sea as an agent for those who were exiled to small islands
  • Exile experiences after the end of formal colonialism – from communities suddenly ‘unwelcome’ from newly independent states through to issues faced by exiles returning home
  • Discussions of how colonial exile was and is a forbear of contemporary exile and/or diasporic communities. This could include implications of colonial forms of exile for the contemporary world.
  • Theoretical reflections on the nature of exile and how ‘colonial’ exile relates to other time periods

Please email a 250 word abstract and/or expression of interest to Andy Davies addavies@liverpool.ac.uk by 3rd February 2014.


Folch-Serra, M (2006) Linking repression and exile: a geography of the Spanish republican Diaspora, 1939-1975 Treballs de la Societat Catalana de Geografia 61-62, 41-63

Kothari, U (2012) Contesting Colonial Rule: politics of exile in the Indian Ocean Geoforum 43(4), 697-706.

McConnell, F. (2013) Citizens and Refugees: Constructing and Negotiating Tibetan Identities in Exile. Annals Of The Association Of American Geographers, 103(4), 967-983.

Metcalf, T.R. (2007) Imperial Connections: India in the Indian Ocean Arena Berkeley, University of California Press

Murphy, J. (2011) From place to exile. Transactions Of The Institute Of British Geographers, (4), 473

Ogborn, M (2008) Global Lives: Britain & the World 1550 – 1800 Cambridge, Cambridge University Press

Said, E. W. (1984 [2000]) Reflections on Exile. In Reflections on Exile: & other literary and cultural essays London, Granta, 173-186

Yeh, E. T. (2007). Exile meets homeland: politics, performance, and authenticity in the Tibetan diaspora. Environment & Planning D: Society & Space, 25 (4), 648-667

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