Very enjoyable conference in Chicago over the last several days. I’ve said a bit about the two sessions I spoke in – on Ebola and terrain – before. It was a good conference, with some excellent papers.
A particular highlight was Lauren Berlant giving the Society and Space lecture. The room was huge, but there was a very good turnout and some excellent questions – though the AAG really ought to provide roving mikes as a matter of course for such large spaces. I’m stepping down as editor of the journal this summer, after almost nine years in the role, and Deborah Cowen gave a brief announcement of this before the lecture.
Elvin Wyly and Jamie Peck also gave excellent journal lectures, for Urban Studies and Economic Geography. There was an excellent session on the idea of ‘No Man’s Land’ convened by Alasdair Pinkerton and Noam Leshom which included papers by Claudio Minca and Derek Gregory; and two fascinating sessions on ‘Territory beyond Terra’ convened by Kimberley Peters, Elaine Stratford and Philip Steinberg. I enjoyed the ‘author meets critics’ session on Deborah Cowen’s The Deadly Life of Logistics, and the packed session on David Harvey’s Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism.
I also met up with several friends, publishers and colleagues. Jeremy Crampton and I recorded a podcast on the collection we edited almost a decade ago – Space, Knowledge and Power: Foucault and Geography which should be on the Ashgate site soon. I met with a few excellent graduate students who wanted to get some advice – always good to hear what new work is in progress. My own PhD student Antonio Ferrez de Oliveira gave a well received talk on ‘temporary autonomous zones’.
The nature of such events is that you inevitably miss more good stuff than you see, due to session clashes, meetings and just general fatigue – these windowless rooms are not great environments. So I was especially sorry to miss the author meets critics session on Ben Anderson’s Encountering Affect, Mat Coleman’s Political Geography lecture, and Marijn Nieuwenhuis’s sessions on air. I did get out of the conference venue to spend a couple of hours at the Art Institute, which was superb.
I’m now on my way to New York for several weeks. The next AAG conference is in San Francisco, March 29-April 2 2016.