Punjab Research Group

RGS/IBG Annual Conference – Call for Papers

Posted in Conferences, News/Information by Pippa on January 25, 2009

Uma Kothari (University of Manchester) and Richard Phillips (University of Liverpool) invite abstracts for a session at the RGS-IBG Annual Conference, which will be held at the University of Manchester, 26th-28th August 2009:


Colonial Imaginaries and Postcolonial Transformations

The aims of this session are to demonstrate contemporary forms of agency by subaltern groups that attempt to transform, subvert, challenge and rework colonial representations albeit in the context of ongoing articulations of a colonial imagination.

Colonial discourse has been central to the construction of non-western people as legitimate subjects of colonial rule, passive counterparts to the active, civilised westerners who are conversely represented as natural imperial overlords.

Geographical imagination is central to this discursive logic, with geographical media such as exploration, adventure and travel being routinely deployed in the construction of western superiority, through representations of civilised, self-possessed, humanised and active subjects.

However, despite a proliferation of research on the power of colonial and specifically geographical imagination, much less attention has been paid to the contestation of this discourse, particularly by the colonial and would-be colonial subjects who are rendered passive and anonymous through this discourse.

This agency is rarely acknowledged with the West, which is portrayed from within as the originating site of the production of knowledge, ideas and history while those in and of the ‘Third World’, with limited self-determination, are perceived primarily as the receiver of these influences.

Building on Said’s notion of `imaginary geographies’, concerned with how spaces are perceived, represented and interpreted through a colonial discourse, and how these problematically construct ideas and images of other people, we invite contributions that examine the various ways in which colonial imaginations of the past and their current manifestations are being contested and reconfigured, particularly through geographical media and imaginative forms.


Please send abstracts (200 words) to Uma Kothari (uma.kothari@manchester.ac.uk) or Richard Phillips (richard.phillips@liverpool.ac.uk) by 18 February 2009.

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