CFP RGS-IBG 2017 : Problematizing colonial modernity : geographies of universalism and pluriversalism

vendredi 13 janvier 2017

CALL FOR PAPERS : RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2017, “Decolonizing Geographical Knowledges”, London 29 August – 1 September 2017

Problematizing colonial modernity : geographies of universalism and pluriversalism

Convenors :

Gerónimo Barrera de la Torre (University of Texas at Austin)

Federico Ferretti (University College Dublin)

Anthony Ince (University of Cardiff)

Session sponsored by the Political Geography Research Group (and applied for sponsorship to the Historical Geography Research Group)

The concept of universalism has been widely criticised by postcolonial and subaltern scholarship as an epistemic device of the Empire associated with the ‘darker sides’ of modernity and European Enlightenment. Nevertheless, works by historical geographers such as Charles Withers, David Livingstone, Robert Mayhew and others have shown the complexity and plurality of the Enlightenment and its locations. Moreover, a rich literature of historians and political scientists such as Daniel Carey, Sankar Muthu, Jonathan Israel and Sunil Agnani, addressed ‘radical’, ‘anti-imperial’ and ‘postcolonial’ Enlightenments, problematized this concept and highlighted the complexity and plurality of views which existed in modern European ‘universalistic’ thinking. Some of these authors suggested the usefulness of the idea that universalisation of rights and cultural differences are not necessarily in opposition to a program of social emancipation but can go together, or even that they are necessary to one another. Thinkers such as Silvia Federici have also explored the gendered particularities and lived experiences through which early capitalist modernities were formed, further troubling our assumptions regarding the ways in which the universal and particular interact in systems of domination. In recent years, scholars more or less akin to the Latin-American MCD (Modernity-Coloniality-Decoloniality) project such as Cesar Carrillo Trueba and Ramon Grosfoguel, have proposed the notion of pluriversalism in order to go beyond the opposition between an abstract universalism and local particularisms, by integrating both particular and general elements to develop ‘other universalisms’ or multiple (including non/European) modernities.

This session aims to discuss the past, present and future interactions between these debates and critical, radical and anarchist geographical scholarship in order to discuss further the relation between universals and differences for a project of cosmopolitan and pluralist social transformation.

For this, we welcome especially (but not exclusively) presentations on :

• Dialectics between cosmopolitanism and rooted identities in movements for social transformation (socialism, trade-unionism, anarchism, feminism, anti-colonialism etc.)

• Local cultures, places and universal ideas in contemporary revolutionary experiences such as Chiapas and Rojava

• Critical, radical and anarchist approaches to the dialectics between diversity/cultural differences/particularisms and universal ethical concepts (civil rights, gender issues, social justice, equality, etc.)

• Critical Enlightenments : ‘Radical Enlightenment’, ‘Enlightenment against Empire’, ‘Postcolonial Enlightenment’, Enlightenments outside Europe.

• Situating and pluralising Enlightenments, modernities and universalisms

• De-colonial, post-colonial and anti-colonial approaches to universalism and pluriversalism

• Historical geographies of universalism and pluriversalism

• Pluriversalism, decolonial perspectives and their links to critical, radical and anarchist geographical scholarship

• Coloniality of knowledge, geopolitics of knowledge and encyclopaedism

• De-colonial, ontological approaches and their links to critical, radical and anarchist geographical scholarship

• De-colonial thinking and feminist geography epistemologies

• Geographies of tolerance and intolerance

• Geographies of atheism, anti-clericalism and secularisation

• Universalism, pluriversalism and non-statist, or post-statist, geographies

• Universalism, pluriversalism and intersectionality

Please send an abstract of no more than 250 words by February 7th 2017, to :,,

Format : 1 or 2 timeslots with presentations of 15-20 minutes each

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