Monday 15 July 2019 to Tuesday 16 July 2019
09:30 AM - 03:30 PM
Advancing peace geographies - transformations, collaborations and new directions
We are delighted to invite you to the conference “Advancing peace geographies – transformations, collaborations and new directions” hosted by the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations (Coventry University) in partnership with the Department for Geography, Earth and Environmental Science (University of Birmingham). The organising committee is particularly pleased to confirm Dr Sara Koopman as a keynote speaker for this event.
In 2014, McConnell, Megoran and Williams sketched out the potential for "peace geographies" to bring the disciplines of Geography and Peace Studies into closer dialogue, addressing precisely these questions. The aim was, first, to re-balance geographical scholarship's dominant focus on violence and conflict, calling for closer attention to peace. A brief glance at the proceedings of marquee events such as the AAG or RGS conferences demonstrates that this shift is still slow to take place.
Simultaneously, whilst the ‘spatial turn’ in Peace and Conflict Studies (Bjorkdahl and Buckley-Zistel 2016) amply demonstrates the potential benefits of applying geographical approaches, growing concerns have emerged that the discipline is otherwise losing its ‘radical’, critical edge (Jackson 2015, Jutila et al 2008). Calls are growing to revive the commitment to social justice, mutuality and activism (see e.g. Boulding 2001; Stephenson 2012) that made Peace Studies distinctive as a discipline (Jackson 2015).
We contend that the intellectual ground opened up by peace geographies still holds untapped potential to advance critical and engaged scholarship in Peace Studies and Geography alike. Geographical understandings of place, space and scale open up new avenues to ground peacemaking processes in concrete spatio-temporal contexts. Further, disciplinary exchange allows critical exploration of theoretical standpoints and opportunities to 're-radicalise' our inquiries through conceptual cross-fertilisation. Isolationism, segregation and the strengthening of national borders appear increasingly popular today, making it timely to analyse the ways in which the social relations have spatial implications, and the way in which space produces and reproduces social relations.
This conference is envisioned as a mutually reinvigorating dialogue. It provides an opportunity to take stock of progress made in the emerging field of peace geographies, with particular attention to radical intersections. We aim to identify new directions for research and to actively build bridges between researchers in different disciplines.