RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2020


“I’m a Geographer”: Stories of academic identity

Research Group Affiliation(s)
Social and Cultural Geography Research Group
Geography’s interdisciplinarity and intellectually inclusive nature has been considered both a strength and a weakness (Castree 2011; Johnson 2003). We know that a plethora of cross-cutting identities exist within our discipline, and that these may present an opportunity to produce a more inclusive and representative Geography, but they also present tensions at the individual and collective levels.

Porous disciplinary borders facilitate intellectual mobilities across, within, through and beyond geography. This gains greater social and cultural significance when we consider who stays within geography, and who leaves. Geography welcomes doctoral students from diverse academic backgrounds, and simultaneously trains geographers who go on to reside in alternative academic fields. Whilst this can lead to the kind of inter/multi-disciplinarily working required to tackle complex global challenges, it may inevitably affect individual academic identities. In addition, sub-disciplinary branding is increasing within geography. As issue-related branding becomes more commonplace (nuclear geographer, climate change geographer), how is this creating fresh silos or hybridising our academic identities?

What does it mean to be a geographer? How do we relate to each other as geographers? This session aims to explore individual experiences of negotiating geography’s internal and external borders as an academic through autoethnographic accounts. In particular, we aim to illuminate the stories of hidden, dispersed or unruly geographers within the neoliberal academy.

We welcome autoethnographic presentations that explore one of more of the following themes:

• Inter/multi-disciplinary identities and communities of practice
• Unruly geographies and geographers
• Imposter syndrome
• Unusual pathways and disciplinary entanglements.
• Purposeful projects in academic identity
• Decolonising geography and identity through disciplinary debordering
• Hidden and contested geographers.
Instructions for Authors
Send abstracts of no more than 250 words to Emma Waight (emma.waight@coventry.ac.uk) or Becky Alexis-Martin (b.alexis-martin@mmu.ac.uk) by Monday 3rd February 2020. Please feel encouraged to contact us to discuss ideas for non-traditional presentation formats or other contributions.
Call For Papers Deadline
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