BRIDGING DIFFERENCES: EAST, WEST, SEAS AND MEDITERRANEAN WORLDS
Chair: Marcella Schmidt di Friedberg
Co-chair: Virginie Mamadouh, Lynda Johnston
For a long time, the categories of East, West, North and South have been used as both Cartesian coordinates and as metaphors assigning identities, often under the form of stereotypes, to people coming from different places. The successive waves of critical, radical, feminist, post/decolonial and non-representational geographies and geopolitics have increasingly questioned the essentialisation of identities deriving from these metaphors, especially criticising their use for imperialist, patriarchal, racist and reactionary political agendas, past and present. International geographical scholarship committed to these critical approaches urges us to substitute the absolute geographical metaphors mentioned above with the metaphor of ‘the bridge'. ‘The bridge' valorises all kind of differences, as well as the decolonisation of geography by rendering it mostly inclusive (in terms of gender, ethnicity, social conditions and political/religious thought of people participating in the discipline). Further, the metaphor of ‘the bridge' reconfigures the Mediterranean as a place of contacts and exchanges rather than a place for erecting walls, barriers or any kinds of enclosures. Interventions about other seas (and maybe deserts that function in a similar way) are also welcome. By assuming intersectional principles recognising that social, economic, political, religious, ethnic, speciesist, environmental and colonial forms of oppression are intrinsically linked the one to each other, the organisers of this joint session welcome all contributions that engage with the broad field of studies on critical, radical, anarchist, feminist, queer, intersectional, internationalist geographies. We welcome presentations that draw on critical social theory, critical race studies and socially and politically engaged scholarship, in general. The participation of non-academic presenters such as activists and independent scholars, is especially encouraged.