I am currently finalizing my syllabus for an undergraduate course on Economic and Social Geography, which I have organized around selected topics that I expect to be of particular interest for my students. Here is the “course description” from my syllabus.
This course introduces economic and social geographies and ways of understanding them. The course is taught from the perspective that the social and economic are not separate spheres but are interrelated. Lectures emphasize geographical processes like state formation, migration, the creation of (gendered, racialized, spatial) divisions of labor, production and consumption, economic ‘development,’ and social-spatial ordering and disordering.
With reference to readings and through in-class interpretation other texts (e.g., narrative and documentary films, advertisements, political propaganda, etc.) the course also introduces key concepts that help geographers make sense of economic and social geographies. You will learn to critically examine processes through which economic and social geographies come to be (understood) as they are. This will demand cultivating historical-geographical knowledge, a sense of how and why geographical thought about the economic and the social has changed over time, and a background in methodological and theoretical approaches to writing economic and social geographies. In this regard, we will be selective, but you will learn to differentiate between assumptions that undergird influential perspectives within and beyond the discipline. Your ability to make use of concepts offered by scholars writing from these influential perspectives will be demonstrated in interpretive essays, a field assignment, quizzes, and a final exam.
I will post the complete syllabus, including the reading schedule, to my page on teaching when it is available on the department website.
Directly relevant to some of the topics around which I have organized my course — “the ‘outsides’ of capital,” the “cultural turn” in e/Economic g/Geography, “social marginality and alternative economic geographies” — are several announcements for upcoming paper sessions and workshops on diverse and alternative economies. I have selected two of these to repost on the blog (see below).
Globalization, Sharing / Gift Economies, and Contested Everyday Futures
Call for Papers for the 2014 IGU Regional Conference
Globalization, as an uneven process of proliferating connections across space, has become a central marker of society, recasting the spatialities of our world. While capitalist accumulation and state control have intensified through globalizing processes, new economic avenues for confronting and circumventing these systems have emerged. Many have emerged, not as localist reactions against global processes, but through the same global spatial configurations and technologies. These new ‘sharing’ (Gold 2004) or ‘gift’ (Mauss 1954) economies often arguably involve the co-production of resources and value beyond both capitalist markets and state regulations. Many, if not most, of these non-financial economies are not explicitly political, however they can destabilize or circumvent the commodity form, constructing and mobilizing ways of being, relating in, and performing a globalised world that indicate a “politics of economic possibility” (Gibson-Graham 2006) and alternative notions of value. Indeed, many everyday sharing/gift practices echo some of the most revolutionary ideas of the past century, including Kropotkin’s anarchist vision of mutual aid (1972 / 1912) and Marxist theories of working class “general intellect” as driving social change (Virno 2001).
This panel considers the everyday spaces and practices of sharing and gift economies, and what they can tell us about alternative global futures. In what ways are they resisting, evading, recuperated by, or entangled within, spatialities of statist-capitalist globalization? To what extent are they re-shaping constructions of value? How might we learn from the self-organised intellectual and material generosity of sharing economies to address the profound challenges society now faces?
Please send abstracts to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 15th!
March 2014, 10am-5pm, University of Leicester
This workshop aims to explore and compare ‘alternative’ ways of doing life that exist in the capitalist/global/neoliberal mainstream. In particular, rather than (perhaps) spectacular, explicit alternatives that are somehow counter-cultural or escapist, the workshop intends to map ordinary, mundane, provincial and everyday practices that may nevertheless constitute alternatives. The event is inspired by JK Gibson-Graham’s approach to mapping diverse economies – and is linked to Katherine Gibson’s public lecture at Leicester the previous day – although seeks engagement with a range of alternatives that fall within and beyond the remit of the ‘economic’. The workshop is also tethered to Leicester Geography’s “Communities and the Everyday” research theme.
We seek abstracts for short papers (10 minutes each) that identify, map and critically interrogate alternatives within the ordinary, mainstream capitalist present. We encourage papers based upon empirical research and/or case studies, both historical and contemporary, and which offer therein critical but constructive engagements with the diverse economies approach. Papers may reflect on (but not be limited to) alternatives within several realms of life: food, housing, parenting/childcare, education, play, family practices, leisure, art, sexualities, intimacies and sex-itself, being ‘green’, travel, alternative working practices, spiritual/emotional alternatives and different ways of expressing alternatives, such as through creative/artistic practices.
If you are interested in participating please submit 250 word abstracts to Dr Jenny Pickerill (email@example.com) by 31st January 2014. We will let you know if you have been selected by February 7th 2014.
Alternatively, if you are interested in attending but not presenting (places are limited), please register your place with Dr Jenny Pickerill (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 15th February 2014.