George Garrett Archive

Today I went to a talk about George Garrett at Liverpool Central Library. Garrett was a radical sailor who spent most of his life in either Liverpool or New York, organising for labour issues, speaking out against racism and imperialism, and writing plays and short stories after being inspired by his membership of the Wobblies in New York in the 1920s. Shamefully, I’d never heard of Garrett before this week, but over the past year or so there’s been a Heritage Lottery funded project to create an archive of his life and it’s currently on display in the Library, and there are a few talks going on about him, and a reading of one of his plays as a part of the Writing On The Wall Festival which is currently taking place in the city. There’s also a fascinating looking event on at Toxteth Library where Levi Tafari will be using poetry to understand the struggles of black soldiers/sailors/workers in the aftermath of WW1, which sadly I don’t think I’m going to be able to make as I’m busy that evening. It’s fascinating stuff – the archive website explains things better than I can – but Garrett is someone who I’d like to find out more about.

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It’s been a busy few months, and as a result, I’ve once again let the blogging slide, but hopefully the impending summer will give me a chance to get things up and running once again.

In any case, here are some of the interesting things that have happened recently – with more updates to follow soon!

1) The session on the Geographies of Sound that myself, Matt Benwell and Bethan Evans are organising at the RGS-IBG this summer has been chosen to represent the Society’s new journal Geo which will be launching officially during the conference. We’re really excited by this, and it’s made what was already a fascinating set of papers even more exciting. I will update details of the session in a few weeks time – we’ve got two sessions covering a really interesting ways of engaging with research on sound & space.

2) The AAG Annual Meeting took place in Tampa, FL last month. As always, the jet lag flying back from the States was a nightmare, but it was great to listen to some fascinating talks. Highlights included Ayonna Datta’s Urban Geography Plenary on Sexual Violence in Delhi slums, Rinaldo Walcott’s Antipode Lecture, and a fascinating author meets critics discussion of Joel Wainwright’s book on the involvement of the military in geographical research in Oaxaca (see Rachel Woodward’s review for Antipode here). I was speaking about my research on colonial Pondicherry as a contact zone in a session organised by Lucy Mayblin and Lucy Jackson at Sheffield, which was really interesting and helped to sharpen up some of my ideas thanks to some interesting questions and discussion. I also was a discussant in a session on borders organised by Margath Walker, which was again interesting, and I learned a lot about borders as a result.

3) It was the annual Barcelona field class at the start of April, which seems a long time ago now, but once again, the city was a great space for our students to explore. The various people we took them to meet were great hosts – despite the fact that this was the 5th or 6th year that we’ve been to visit. The Crisis, and the continuing effects of it upon Spain are still all too visible, however, and some of our students projects explored some interesting ideas here, from student futures after graduation through to ideas about cosmopolitan identity construction amongst subaltern and migrant actors. the first bits of work are beginning to come through now, so I’m looking forward to seeing the results.

4) I’ve also been asked to present at a workshop in Manchester in early June on ‘Theorising Resistance in Development’, (some details here) where again I’m going to be speaking quite historically about Pondicherry, but (hopefully!) tying some of these historical events into more contemporary ideas about how freedom and liberty are framed in the Indian constitution – particularly drawing on Gurpreet Mahajan’s work here.

5) This coming Wednesday (the 7th of May) with colleagues in our research cluster at Liverpool, we are organising the latest Engage@Liverpool methods ‘Masterclass’ on the challenges of participatory research techniques. This is part of the University’s engagement with methods training for doctoral and postdoctoral students, and together with Bethan we’ll be speaking about our work with KCC Live! on the riots project which we undertook last year. There are still places if people are interested in finding out more – it’s free of charge but you do need to register – details here.

That’s it for now – will hopefully update with enw developments as things progress over the summer!

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Derek Gregory to talk at the University of Glasgow, Friday March 7, 3:30pm

Derek Gregory is speaking in Glasgow next week – it looks an interesting talk which continues his interests in drones and contemporary war-making.

Understanding Empire: Technology, Power, Politics


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PhD Studentship available: Geographies of Democracy

News from Clive Barnett of a PhD Studentship to work with him on geography & democracy

Pop Theory

Details here (or here) of a PhD Studentship available at the University of Exeter to work with me in the broad area of ‘Geographies of Democracy’. Do please either pass this on to any likely interested candidates, or contact me with any questions. Deadline for applications is 27th March 2014. Here is the blurb:

Applications are invited for one fully funded three-year doctoral studentship in Human Geography at the University of Exeter, under the supervision of Professor Clive Barnett, commencing in September 2014.

The substantive focus of the studentship is expected to be in the broad area of Geographies of Democracy; applicants are invited to define their own focussed research project in this area. Indicative topics include research on contemporary urban politics, the politics of public space, geographies of social movement mobilisations, and the geographies of political parties and elections. The student will be a member of the Spatial…

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Postcolonial discontents

Over on Clive Barnett’s Pop Theory blog, news of the latest tussle in the debates started by Vivek Chibber’s book ‘Postcolonial Theory and the Spectre of Capital’. Incidentally, I got Chibber’s book last week, so am going to be interested to finally read it!

Pop Theory

For anyone interested in the debate aroused by Vivek Chibber’s critique of postcolonial theory for being insufficiently Marxist-in-the-right-sort-of-way, which has included a robust response from Partha Chatterjee, Bruce Robbins has a review of Chibber’s book at n+1, and Chibber has a response to Robbins at Jacobin, to which Robbins has in turn his own response at n+1 again. Phew.

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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 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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Antipode Activist & Workshop Funding

News of Funding available from Antipode – some great projects have been funded in the past.

“Don’t forget – this year’s round of Antipode Foundation Scholar-Activist Project and International Workshop Awards closes at the end of March.

Grants of up to £10,000 (or its equivalent in another currency) are available to critical geographers collaborating with non-academics and activists or holding events such as conferences, seminar series, summer schools, etc.

Read all about them…

…and please share with colleagues and comrades everywhere.

Many thanks,

Andy Kent, Secretary, The Antipode Foundation”

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