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CCHG series: Political Geology Workshop

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Please note the adjusted time - starting 10am

The emerging interest in political geology within geography has opened up exciting possibilities for rethinking the intersections of geology with society and politics. While it has emerged in conversation with the traditions of political ecology and geopolitics, it lay its stress on the geological as such. It is about the rocks, minerals, crust, and dust at the centre of politics and society. It looks at how they are wrapped together, torn apart, and set in motion through each other. It’s concern is with how lively geologies like volcanoes and earthquakes gather political contestation and dreams around them, how the cracks in stone walls fold in property law and the precarious careers of shady mayors. Geologists too are part of this story because they are political operators not only for energy companies and the extractive industries but also the neo-liberal knowledge machines of universities. If they were the 19th century story tellers of the Terrans and the terrestrial long durée, time-frame shattering priests, what myths of the earth do geologists tell today? How do they and others carry rocks, smuggle and transform them into pictures and maps, the formation of groups, make them public and fight over them? And what of the practices that refuse to let rocks, the ground, our mineral brothers and sisters, be dead, but instead violent, angry, sometimes gentle but usually sneaky players in struggles against an all too human politics. Who lets the geos resist Man-the-Political-Animal surrounded by the natural world like it’s a theatre backdrop? Political geology puts the geos back in the geopolitics. It collapses the scenography and lets the world in.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Cultural and Historical Geography (CCHG) - Department of Geography series.

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