It’s that time of year – the run-up to the American Association of Geographers conference, with a flurry of paper calls and session organizing. I’m really happy to announce something that Melissa Fernández and I have been cooking up as part of a larger collaboration that she kindly initiated with enormous energy.

The collaboration starts with the idea, one could say, of “de-exceptionalizing” the crisis. That is, if unilateral colonial administrative decisions —here, we started thinking about the fiscal control board the U.S. Congress imposed on Puerto Rico— are presented as exceptional measures to avert a “humanitarian” crisis, then what are the actually-existing, common contexts of such governmentalities? We focused a lot of our attention on how such crises function beyond the legal jargon that underpins them. What are the emotional sensibilities that transform the abstraction of calculable debts into something material — something present in people’s lives that they understand through crisis logics and not merely as an individualized effect?

Secondly, we also had many hours of discussion around the importance of crisis in urban transformations, and started to talk about many communal and artistic modes of resistance that took the urban condition as a right to fight for. However, the paper call is not strictly urban by any means and in fact, we hope to bring attention to many geographic contexts where crisis-modes transform, restrict and violate rights, belongings, and relations.

Last but not least, we also spent a lot of time talking about the circulation of notions of home/land; the transposition of home to diasporic contexts, given the migration of dispossessed subjects to find a base elsewhere… And the ways in which imaginations of home worked to manage labor discipline, political participation, moral obligations, gender norms, and acceptable identities in new wage contexts for crises exiles.

Anyway, the call explains best what we came up with…

Call for Papers: American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting, Boston, 5-10 April 2017.

SESSION TITLE:   Crisis-modes: logics, practices and re-articulations

Organised by: Melissa Fernández Arrigoitia (Sociology & Institute of Contemporary Arts (LICA), Lancaster University) and Javier Arbona (American Studies & Design, University of California – Davis).

From Greece, Spain and Ireland to Iceland, the UK, Brazil and Puerto Rico, the logics and impacts of neoliberal crisis have been far reaching in their variegated financial, political, social, punitive and environmental forms. Scholars have responded to these multi-sited and multi-layered ‘crisis-scapes’ (Vradis 2014) through a range of critical lenses (Athanasiou 2014, Deville 2016; Camp and Heatherton 2016; Driscoll Derickson, MacLeod and Verene 2015; Fields 2014; Johnson 2013; Newman & Schafran 2013). An important aspect of some of this work has been to think with and alongside other disciplines, practices and actors about ‘the multiple and intersectional social formations through which “crisis” is made manifest and contested’ (Featherstone, Strauss and MacKinnon 2015). By including the diverse spaces, reactions and challenges to actually existing neoliberalism, the destabilization (or, decolonization) of the geographic and epistemological administration of crisis can come into being.

This session seeks to expand these parameters of current ‘crisis thinking’ by inviting papers that examine crisis through methodological, theoretical and empirical insights into the lived experiences, aesthetic-political responses, and affective registers of neoliberal mobilities and modes of governance. We would like to explore together how neoliberalism’s ideological propositions circulate in often un- or under-recognized modalities. The focus here is on how, in ‘crisis-mode’, neoliberalism moves in and through new and intersecting domains — including the domestic, diasporic and imagined home/lands— at the same time that it becomes transacted, resisted and rearticulated through a variety of discourses, representations, (im)materialities and visual registers. Crisis often invites new security functions that foreshadow erosions of rights and belonging. We welcome insights into how these multiple processes may play out in cities under the spectres of crisis, including through urban architectural assemblages and instantiations of gentrification. Our goal here is not to flatten or compress the distinct modalities of neoliberalism but to accentuate the diverse, intersecting and complex forms that emerge with and against it as a way to think and theorise more deeply about the shaping of our common futures. This requires an ample canvas of inquiry.

We may ask: How are certain (raced, gendered and classed) bodies marked by or tied to the ‘restructurings’ of urban belonging through the multi-scalar ‘home’ (Blunt and Dowling 2006)?; How does mobility and stasis figure in the emerging socio-spatial barometers of success and failure ‘at home’ or ‘abroad’?  How can we understand the urban aesthetics (Ghertner 2015) of a political and moral economy of debt/indebtedness?  How do ‘everyday relationalities of care’ (Han 2012) become attached (and central) to alternative aesthetic and political repertoires that resist or reconfigure dominant declarations of crisis?  What kinds of artistic and ‘more than artistic’ practices, terminologies and collaborations are generating new (or reworked) platforms for dialogues and negotiation (Tsilimpounidi 2015)? What socio-spatial arrangements are implicated in the creation of urban property speculation in crisis, and how are these interrupted or exposed?  Finally, how can feminist geopolitical and postcolonial outlooks illuminate these neoliberal incursions, as well as our own role in delineating the contours of crisis knowledge?

We invite participation from colleagues that are working across disciplinary domains, in either local or transnational research and praxis. Themes could include (but are not limited to):

• Logics and theories of neoliberal ideology in crisis contexts
• (Im)materialities and spatialities of crisis
• Urban art, gentrification and architecture
• Intersections of affect/care/aesthetics/politics in the manifestations or re-articulations of crisis
• Artistic registers of and resistances to neoliberal urban crises-modes
• Neoliberal appropriations of urban resistance to crisis
• Risk and/of art
• Policing the crisis: bio-power, security and governance in crisis-scapes
• Dynamics and socio-material life of new financial products and practices
• Imbrications of financial and environmental crises
• Emotional geographies of crisis
• Feminist geopolitics of the home in crisis
• Moral economies of debt and indebtednees
• Emergent subjectivities in/of crisis
• Critical legal geographies of crisis
• Postcolonial and historical geographies of crisis
• Production and deployment of crisis knowledge
• De-colonial thinking and crisis
• Scholar-artist-activist (or other) collaborations
• Critical methodological reflections on local or comparative research practice

We are looking for abstracts of 300 words (max.) to be sent to both session conveners by Monday 3d October 2016 ( / ).

A special journal issue is planned from the session(s). Please indicate in your email if you would like to be part of this.

Please visit for information on travel grants and childcare subsidy from the AAG.


Athanasiou , A. (2014) ‘Governing For the Market: Emergencies and Emergences in Power and Subjectivity’ in Brekke , J. Dalakoglou, D. Filippidis, C. and Vradis, A. (eds) Crisis-Scapes: Athens and beyond. ESRC: ‘City and a Time of Crisis’ project.
Blunt, A. and Dowling, R. (2006) Home. Routledge: London.
Camp, J.T & Heatherton, C. (eds). Policing the Planet: Why the Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter. New York: Verso.
Deville, J. (2015) Lived economies of default: consumer credit, debt collection, and the capture of affect. London: Routledge.
Driscoll Derickson, K.D., MacLeod, G. & Verene, N. (2015). Knowing about crisis. Space and Polity, 19(1): 91 – 96.
Featherstone, D., Strauss, K. & MacKinnon, D. (2015) In, against and beyond neo-liberalism: The “crisis” and alternative political futures. Space and Polity, 19(1): 1-11.
Fields, D. (2014) Contesting the financialization of urban space: Community-based organizations and the struggle to preserve affordable rental housing in New York City. Journal of Urban Affairs, 37(2), 144-165.
Ghertner, A. (2015) Rule by Aesthetics: World-class City making in Delhi. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Han, C. (2012) Life in Debt: Times of Care and Violence in Neoliberal Chile. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Johnson, L. (2013) Catastrophe bonds and financial risk: Securing capital and rule through contingency. Geoforum, 45: 30-40.
Newman, K. & Schafran, A. (2013) Introduction to Special Issue: Assessing the Foreclosure Crisis From the Ground Up. Housing Policy Debate, 23(1): 1-4.
Tsilimpounidi, M. (2015) If these Walls Could Talk: Street art and urban belonging in the Athens of crisis. Laboratorium, 7(2): 18–35.
Vradis, A. (2014) ‘Crisis-scapes suspended: Introduction to Special Feature on Crisis-scape Athens and Beyond’, City, 18 (4-5).