Defining Issues of our Era

Moving Together: conference at Durham

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Readers of this blog might be interested in the upcoming conference at Durham, featuring the always brilliant Debbie Lisle as keynote speaker.

Moving Together – Exploring the nexus between disparate approaches to movement

Wednesday, 4th of May 2016

Department of Geography, Durham University, UK


Submission deadline: 19th February 2016
Recent years have seen an upsurge in research that engages with the complexities of different kinds of movements. From bodies to borders, oceans to air, and data to social movements, scholars in and across the arts, humanities and social sciences are privileging the paradigm of movement to make sense of mobile things and beings in contemporary life. This broad collection of works has been characterised by explorations of movements across a range of dimensions, in particular the spatial (volumetric, virtual, relational), the temporal, and the ontological (Edensor, 2012; Elden, 2013; Graham, 2014; Kellerman, 2011; Lisle, 2013; McCormack, 2002; Steinberg and Peters, 2015), and the significance of these diverse movements has been well documented. Such studies have reached out to explore the social implications of movement; in particular it’s embodied and experiential elements, as well as its effects on politics, economics and the environment (Cresswell, 2006; Huysmans & Squire, 2009; Langley, 2015; Clark 2009). Recent research has also been concerned with the various implications movement has for the way we conduct academic research (Bissell, 2010; Lisle, 2014; Merriman, 2013).

Whilst considerable momentum has recently developed around the term ‘mobilities’, the incredible diversity in kinds of movements and the breadth of their effects has led to sizable bodies of relatively isolated work on motion developing throughout the arts, humanities and social sciences. Each of these approaches places emphases on different conceptual and empirical aspects of movement, employs individual vocabularies and methodologies, and makes particular analytical omissions. Movement has therefore been examined across an intellectual diaspora that could significantly benefit from a more connected conversation. This conference seeks to promote such a conversation, drawing into discussion a broad range of innovative postgraduate accounts that employ different empirical, theoretical and methodological approaches to movement. In so doing we hope to collectively dwell on and explore the nexus between different accounts of movement, and make sense of its interrelated political, socio-cultural, economic and environmental effects.

We especially encourage accounts that expand on three questions:

1.     What is it that moves? Particularly, we would like to explore the variety of ‘things’ in motion, from human political figures, to political structures, landscapes, animals, materials, information, ideas, and other metaphysical entities. How do their unique qualities affect the ways in which we understand these movements and their effects?

2.      How do such ‘things’ move? We invite papers in which attempts are made to understand the distinct features or qualities of movements along different dimensions. How, for example, do different entities flow, circulate, converge, break apart, swarm, pulse, slow, pause, or accelerate as they move across different dimensions? What forces come to act upon these movements? And at what different scales (molecular/global/fleeting/geological) can we understand these movements to occur?

3.      What is the significance of movement? How do different movements touch upon and enter social, cultural, political, economic and environmental realms? How might movement be useful for thinking about the anthropocene? And if, as Adey (2006) and Merriman (2015) argue, everything in existence can be understood to be in motion, then how can we hold on to movement and retain its utility for examining political, economic, cultural, and social phenomena?

Abstracts should be no more than 300 words and should be submitted to either, or by the 19th of February 2016.

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