AAG 2018 CFP: Race, capitalism, and metropolitan space under (late) neoliberalism

Last year’s presidential election breathed new life into—and shined new light onto—one of the more contentious and protracted themes to occupy left political praxis and theory in the last century: Race? Or class? Decades of critical scholarship tell us that this polarized construction fails both to explain the contemporary world and to produce emancipatory political possibilities to fundamentally change it (See, e.g., Hall 1980, Robinson, 2000, Roediger, 2017). Nevertheless, the power of this particular duality remains seductive.

As scholars of the urban—and especially as geographers—we are called to consider these thorny, interrelated problems as they mark and are marked by the urban landscape. Yet the constellation of issues which the race/class binary responds to, is produced with, or otherwise engages is made all the more difficult to contend against or otherwise resolve as the hegemonies of racial neoliberalism (Goldberg, 2009) and neoliberal urbanism (Brenner & Theodore, 2002) have ossified in recent decades.

With the foregoing in mind, this session aims to interrogate the interconnections between race and class, capitalism and white supremacy as they are manifest in metropolitan space in the era of (late) neoliberalism. Explicitly rejecting the race/class binary in favor of intersectional and synthetic analysis, while also welcoming the particular challenges and possibilities of theorizing race and class (and contesting interstitial injustice) under neoliberalism, we invite participants to speak to the following themes:

  • Racial and class struggles over sub/urban space
  • Racial neoliberalism and economic development
  • Race/class dimensions of housing finance or policy
  • Economic and racial inequality under (late) neoliberalism
  • Suburbanization of poverty and racial diversity (or segregation)
  • Spaces of concentrated poverty and bounded blackness
  • Commodification of diversity

Participants should submit abstracts to Coleman Allums (coleman.allums@uga.edu), Scott Markley (scott.markley@uga.edu), and Taylor Hafley (taylor.hafley@uga.edu) by the 20th of October. Notification of acceptance will be communicated to participants by the 22nd, and participants must be fully registered by the 25th.



Brenner, N. and Theodore, N. 2002. Cities and the geographies of ‘actually existing neoliberalism.’ Antipode. 34(3):349-379.
Goldberg, D. T. 2009. The Threat of Race: Reflections on Racial Neoliberalism. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Hall, S. 1980. Race, articulation and societies structured in dominance. In Sociological Theories: Race and Colonialism (1980), pp. 305-345.
Roediger, D. R. 2017. Class, Race, and Marxism. London: Verso.
Robinson, C. J. 2000. Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press.



Coleman Allums
Anti-Politics and the Impossibility of Race

My essay "Anti-Politics and the Impossibility of Race: Reflections on Urban Secession in Atlanta" was just published with Atlanta Studies. Check it out!

Anti-Politics and the Impossibility of Race:

Sam Rosen, in a recent essay in The Atlantic , tackles Metro Atlanta's "controversial" cityhood movement. In the piece, Rosen gives a compelling overview of some of the major themes and histories that inform cityhood, touching on white flight, tax revolts, and racial politics, as well as governance, corruption, and self-determination.

AAG 2017 CFP: Suburban Geographies of Crisis and Change

Suburban Geographies of Crisis and Change

The 2007–2008 subprime mortgage crisis brought widespread attention to the conditions of suburbs in the United States, triggering a proliferation of critical interventions from across disciplines. These interventions investigated issues such as the “suburbanization of poverty,” suburban redevelopment, and the suburban socioeconomic and demographic changes that transpired during the years leading up to the crisis. This work has contributed to a reassessment—in theory and praxis—of the ways in which scholars and activists engage with numerous social and economic questions, which, for a long period, were considered the exclusive domain of the urban.

Now a decade removed from the advent of what has been called the Great Recession, we are interested in the post-crisis developments that have begun to unfold on the political, social, economic, and racial/ethnic landscapes of US suburbs. This session seeks to reveal and untangle the interacting processes undergirding these recent developments. In doing so, it aims to lend insights into the changing—or in some cases, persistent or recurrent—character of the suburban patchwork.

Within this basic framework, we invite critical contributions that speak to the following themes:

  • Suburbanization of poverty
  • Suburban gentrification and redevelopment
  • Cityhood and annexation
  • Race and racialization
  • Spatial inequality and mobility
  • Neighborhood inequality and residential segregation
  • Housing construction and demolition
  • Suburban planning
  • Local political governance and economic development
  • Suburban neoliberalization and (sub)regional competition
  • Education & community resources

Potential session participants should submit abstracts (250 words maximum) to Coleman Allums (coleman.allums@uga.edu) and Scott Markley (scott.markley@uga.edu) by October 17th, 2016. Notification of acceptance into the session will be provided by October 21st. Participants will then be expected to register and submit their abstracts through the AAG website by October 27th.

Visualizing (Some) Political Ecological Thought

As a complement to my reading in a graduate seminar on (beyond) political ecology this semester, I created word clouds at regular intervals to help myself track themes throughout the course. I wanted to share a few, because I think they efficiently demonstrate some interesting convergences, divergences, and strands of thought on nature/society within and beyond the canon of political ecology.

The first word cloud is composed of themes from texts in the first section of the course, which dealt with foundational concepts in political ecology:

James Scott's Seeing Like a State
Bruno Latour's Politics of Nature
Timothy Mitchell's Rule of Experts
James Ferguson's The Anti-Politics Machine
Anna Tsing's Friction

 Foundational Political Ecology

Foundational Political Ecology

The second word cloud is composed of themes from later sections. The books from these later sections, at least in the estimation of this course's syllabus, moved beyond political ecology in some important way. Among these various subsets of texts were feminist, materialist, anti-capitalist, non-white, and post-humanist contributions to nature/society thought. These books include:

Maria Mies & Vandana Shiva's Ecofeminism
Wendy Harcourt & Ingrid Nelson's Practicing Feminist Political Ecologies
Jane Bennett's Vibrant Matter
Tania Li's Lands End
Anna Tsing's The Mushroom at the End of the World
Carolyn Finney's Black Faces, White Spaces
Timothy Morton's Hyperobjects
Jedidiah Purdy's After Nature

 Beyond Political Ecology

Beyond Political Ecology

In the juxtaposition of these two word clouds, we see a thematic shift or evolution from a focus on power, knowledge, science, and the state, towards a focus on assemblages, difference, nature, social reproduction, materiality, and the everyday, among other themes.

Combined, these themes yield a final, synthetic word cloud and offer a fascinating, schematic view of political ecological (and beyond political ecological) thought:

 Synthetic Political Ecology

Synthetic Political Ecology