“Politicizing disappearance after Mexico’s ‘historic’ election” in Political Geography

The corrected proof of Politicizing disappearance after Mexico’s “historic” election, an essay with Oliver Gabriel Hernández Lara at the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México, is available in Political Geography (find it here and here). This is our first of a series of publications currently in preparation about the intersection of urban development in central Mexico and governance of/through various forms of violence. Here’s the first paragraph:

Andrés Manuel López Obrador and MORENA achieved a significant electoral victory in Mexico on 1 July 2018. López Obrador (hereafter AMLO) became President with the most votes ever by a candidate in that race, and the MORENA coalition won an absolute legislative majority, leaning heavily on the most educated, best salaried segments of the electorate (Parametría, 2018). This can be explained as much by the strength of MORENA as by the incapacity of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and its allies to reduce violence in recent years. The PRI, which dominated post-revolutionary politics and returned to power in 2012 in the figure of Enrique Peña Nieto, was defeated even in longtime strongholds. Analysts accordingly characterize this as a “historic” election, echoing AMLO, who described it as Mexico’s “fourth great transformation,” with promises to stand with the poor against a “mafia of power.” For political geographers, however, the first months of AMLO’s government demand analysis less of a break than of the endurance of violence, and the ongoing “disappearance” of vulnerabilized populations, by which MORENA’s electoral victory was made possible.

Posted in Aesthetics, Cities, geografía crítica, Mexico, Political Geography, Posts (uncategorized) | Leave a comment

Humanitarian aid is never a crime: petition regarding No More Deaths and the case of Scott Warren

This petition was circulated by Johnny Finn on the Latin America Specialty Group of the AAG list.


Hi All,

As I’m sure most of you have heard, geographer and humanitarian activist Scott Warren is currently on trial for several federal felony charges related to his humanitarian work along the US-Mexico border. Here’s a good write-up: theintercept.com/2019/05/04/…. His parents have started a petition urging the prosecutors to drop all charges (see below). Please consider signing.





​Our son Scott is facing three federal felony charges for providing humanitarian aid to two migrants in the southwest borderlands of the United States. We’re asking you to sign this petition demanding that the US Attorney’s office drop all charges against him. He has been charged with two counts of felony harboring and one count of conspiracy for, according to the charging documents, “providing food, water, clean clothes and beds”. If convicted, faces up to 20 years in prison.

Each year persons fleeing poverty, oppression, and violence in their home countries make the desperate decision to confront Arizona’s western desert, one of the harshest landscapes on earth, in search of a better life. For many, the decision ends in a painful and lonely death in the remote reaches of the Sonoran Desert. No one deserves to die in the desert. No one deserves to go to prison for trying to prevent those deaths. The work of Scott and other humanitarian aid v olunteers to alleviate suffering should be upheld as standards of virtue for all of us rather than punished by threat of prison. Help us show the USAO that there is widespread support for humanitarian aid work and that prosecuting our son is both morally wrong and politically unpopular.

Scott’s devotion to his humanitarian work consistently inspires us. We first realized the extent of his commitment when we saw – as parents, felt – the pain he suffered upon encountering the bodies of migrants in the desert, and the deep sense of responsibility he feels to commemorate their journeys both as migrants and as human beings. That the USAO would seek to criminalize compassion and respect for human dignity is unconscionable.

That’s why I signed a petition to Michael Bailey, U.S. Attorney, Anna Wright, Assistant U.S. Attorney, and Nathaniel Walters, Assistant U.S. Attorney, which says:

“The US Attorney’s Office must drop all charges against Dr. Scott Warren, PhD, stemming from his humanitarian aid work in the US-Mexico border region of Arizona. Furthermore, the USAO must also cease prosecution of all humanitarian aid workers and allow them to provide life-saving aid without fear of government harassment and prosecution.”

Will you sign the petition, too? Click here to add your name:



Posted in Activism, América Latina, Mexico, Politics, The Americas, Transnationalism | Leave a comment

“Anthropocene, Capitalocene, … Plantationocene?” in political geography section of GECO

Geography Compass recently published Janae Davis, Alex A. Moulton, Levi Van Sant, and Brian Williams in the political geography section, on a political-geographical approach to “the Plantationocene,” with a particular emphasis on neglected geographies of race and on practices of undoing social and ecological legacies of the plantation. Their article is “Anthropocene, Capitalocene, … Plantationocene?: A Manifesto for Ecological Justice in an Age of Global Crises.” The abstract is below.

The “Plantationocene” has gained traction in the environmental humanities as a way of conceptualizing the current era otherwise nominated as the Anthropocene, Capitalocene, or the Chthulucene. For Donna Haraway, Anna Tsing, and their interlocutors, the concept suggests that our current ecological crisis is rooted in logics of environmental modernization, homogeneity, and control, which were developed on historical plantations. This paper argues that, while there is indeed a need to analyze the ways in which the plantation past shapes the present, current discussions of the Plantationocene have several crucial limitations. Here, we focus on two: first, the current multispecies framing conceptualizes the plantation largely as a system of human control over nature, obscuring the centrality of racial politics; and second, the emerging Plantationocene discussion has yet to meaningfully engage with the wide variety of existing critiques of the plantation mode of development. Thus, we draw on a deep well of Black geographic and ecological work that provides a powerful challenge to the ongoing colonial–racial legacies of the plantation, prompting consideration of white supremacy, capitalist development, and (mis)characterizations of what it means to be human. These approaches not only reveal a more nuanced and comprehensive analysis of the role of the plantation in current global crises but also highlight ongoing struggles and the possibilities of ecological justice in the future.

We are looking ahead to some exciting articles in the coming months. These include pieces on geoeconomics, memory and the city, settler colonialism, and ethnography.

Posted in Political Geography | Leave a comment

Support for “Banishing Ghosts and Building Solidarities in Central Mexico After the Long Sixties”

The Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research (WIHR) recently announced its support for a 2019-2020 cohort of faculty fellows. Among the projects supported was my work on the relationship between politics, identity, and space amidst the failures of late liberalism in central Mexico.

The fellowship will facilitate my completion of two papers that I see existing under the title “Banishing Ghosts and Building Solidarities in Central Mexico After the Long Sixties” — one paper from my longitudinal ethnographic project on post-1968 political geographies of young people in Mexico City, and one from my collaboration with Oliver Hernández Lara, a sociologist at Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México, around landscapes of disappearance in central Mexico. (Oliver and I have co-authored an essay in this direction for a forthcoming issue of Political Geography, which I frame and circulate in a future blog post.) Together, the proposed articles, for completion in Spring 2020, interpret and amplify aesthetic interventions and political strategies through which activists, artists, and organized communities politicize contemporary violence in Mexico.

Posted in 1968, Activism, Aesthetics, Art, Critical Human Geography, Memory, Mexico, Political Geography, Politics, Social Movements | Leave a comment

Upcoming talk at University of Denver: “Politicizing Landscapes of Disappearance in Central Mexico”

Image | Posted on by | Leave a comment

John Krygier on Matt Wilson’s ‘New Lines’

There are a number of stimulating reflections/provocations/proposals, etc., in this post by John Krygier about Matt Wilson’s New Lines. 

Posted in Critical Human Geography | Leave a comment

“Fragments of an anti‐fascist geography” in political geography section of GECO

Geography Compass has just published Ant Ince‘s new article on anti-fascist geography in the journal’s political geography section, “Fragments of an anti‐fascist geography: Interrogating racism, nationalism, and state power.” We are looking ahead to some exciting publications in the coming months, including articles on geoeconomics and on the plantationocene.

Ant’s abstract is below:

Fragments of an anti‐fascist geography: Interrogating racism, nationalism, and state power

Extensive research exists in geography concerning racism and nationalism, yet there has been surprisingly little written on the far right, and even less on their anti‐fascist opponents. In the context of a resurgent far right, this paper draws together disparate work on this topic within geography to investigate the possibilities for the development of anti‐fascist geographies. While fascism and anti‐fascism have been chronically under‐researched in geography, I argue that there remains an insightful body of research in existence and that geographers are well positioned to undertake substantial work on the subject. Three connecting dimensions of an anti‐fascist geography are identified, namely, investigating not only racism but also the more‐than‐racist dimensions of the far right; their intersections with one another; and the development of anti‐fascist rationalities in geographical scholarship. Through this discussion, I suggest that the field of anarchist geographies offers a useful framework for these tasks, not only for empirical study but also for developing agendas to embed anti‐fascist principles into academic practices. By focusing in on the spatialities of far right and anti‐fascist politics, political geographers can position themselves at the forefront of this important area of work.


Posted in Critical Human Geography, Political Geography, Politics, Social Movements | Leave a comment