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’Producing anxiety in the neoliberal university´A CSPS lecture by prof. Lawrence D. Berg from the University of British Columbia, Canada.

Wednesday 17 April, 15:30 – 17:00, Gaia 1, Gaia building, Droevendaalsesteeg 3, Building 101, 6708 PB Wageningen, Drinks at 5

This talk presents a theoretical analysis of the neoliberal production of anxiety in academic faculty members in universities in Northern Europe. The presentation focuses on neoliberalization as it is instantiated through audit and ranking systems designed to produce academia as a space of economic efficiency and intensifying competition. We suggest that powerful forms of competition and ranking of academic performance have been developed in Northern Europe. These systems are differentiated and differentiating, and they serve to both index and facilitate the neoliberalization of the academy. Their impact is intensified by the existence of what Guy Debord identified as “the falling rate of use values”. Moreover, these audit and ranking systems produce an ongoing sense of anxiety among academic workers. I argue that neoliberalism in the academy is part of a wider system of anxiety production arising as part of the so-called “soft governance” of everything, including life itself, in contemporary late liberalism.
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Forensic Architecture and Violent Landscapes

Wednesday 29 May

15.00-17.00

Leeuwenborch, C67

“Forensic Architecture and Violent Landscapes” is a seminar organized by the Politics of Place and Space cluster of the CSPS, focusing on new methods of studying and understanding how landscapes and infrastructures make/unmake territorialities and mediate citizen state relations. Guided by two senior speakers from leading institutes we will explore different approaches and methodologies for reading the landscape and infrastructures of ‘violence’.

Stefan Laxness – Researcher and Project Coordinator at Forensic Architecture, Goldsmith University (UK)

Through its investigative work, Forensic Architecture develops methodologies to reaffirm a collective notion of public truth in the contemporary condition. The talk will present an overview of the work of Forensic Architecture. It will be structured around five key concepts – counter-forensics, forensic aesthetics, the image-data complex, operative models, and the architecture of memory – each of which will be introduced through a selection of projects.

Zeynep Kezer – Senior Lecturer in architecture at Newcastle University (UK)

Surrounded by steep and rugged mountain ranges and Euphrates’ two main tributaries, Dersim is a natural fortress, which evolved into a shatter zone as the modernizing (Ottoman and later Turkish) state’s efforts to bolster its central authority intensified in the last hundred years. This presentation probes the complex and mutually constitutive relationship between landscape and identity in this region. I argue that the differences between the practices of navigation and mapping used by the agents of the state and local populations not only produced discrepant landscapes in the same physical space, but also reified the rifts between the two groups.

Seminar organized by the Politics of Place and Space cluster of the Centre of Space, Place and Society, Wageningen University and Research.

For more info: Joost Jongerden (joost.jongerden@wur.nl)

Biopolitics in Community Forestry: Indigenous Peoples, Women’s Bodies and Forest

Violeta Gutiérrez Zamora

Date: Thursday 2 May, 12:30-13:30

Location: Leeuwenborch C68

Violeta is a Mexican sociologist, living and working in Helsinki and Joensuu, Finland. She works as an early stage researcher at the University of Eastern Finland (UEF) and is currently writing her doctoral dissertation based on the project: Power, Conflict, and Collaboration in Community Forestry: The case of Oaxaca, Mexico (CoForMex). In this project, she brings insights from feminist and decolonial political ecology and ethnographic research to bear on community forestry and territorial forms of environmental governmentality in Mexico. Violeta is a founding member of the Research Group Environment, Society and Development in Latin America (ESDLA) at the Department of Geographical and Historical Studies at UEF. She holds a Masters of Social Sciences Degree from the University of Helsinki and a Bachelor’s Degree (Licenciatura) in Sociology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Violeta has also been activist for human rights in grassroots organizations like Sin Fronteras I.A.P in Mexico, Maanvoima Collective and more recently with Somos La Colectiva in Finland.

This presentation aims to understand the dynamics of both protecting and abandoning specific forms of non-human and human life (based on race and gender) through their inclusion or exclusion in community-based forest management and in what way such dynamics are displayed on socio-territorial conflicts. Through the understanding of biopower as a technique of governing in community-based forestry, this paper discusses the process of subjectivation via the insertion of the knowledge and bodies of indigenous peoples in general and indigenous women in particular into disciplining practices to reproduce specific forms of “productive life” and with the aim of securing them. At the same time, despite the subjectivization of indigenous peoples, as holders of right over forests, the socio-territorial conflicts between communities reveal the state control over populations and “making them live or letting them die”

Gentrify or Die: The False Choice Facing (some) North-Western European Cities

Earl Harper

Earl is currently in the final year of his doctoral study at the University of Bristol (UK). He obtained a BSc in Environmental Science before switching to social science for his MSc in Environmental Governance, both at the University of Manchester (UK). Earl has a forthcoming paper in the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research based on his thesis and is Editing a Routledge Environmental Humanities Series book on ‘Apocalyptic Imaginaries in the Anthropocene’. Earl will be visiting WUR with the Sociology of Development & Change Group until July 2019.

Date: Tuesday 7 May, 12:30-13:30

Location: Leeuwenborch C83

The presentation – based on my current doctoral research at The University of Bristol – will explore how, in recent years, gentrification has found a new driving force: climate change. Using examples from European cities, and current research on ecological gentrification, the presentation demonstrates how in London, Manchester and Amsterdam, climate change has become part of the justification regime for gentrification projects. These projects, advertised as ‘eco-housing’, ’sustainable urban centres’ or ‘low-carbon living’ have been welcomed to the urbanscape by city-planners, especially in global cities like London, Amsterdam, New York and Seattle as examples of how the city can and should be in the future. It is the argument of this presentation, though, that beneath the sustainable exterior, the same socio-economic and socio-environmental inequalities present in traditional modes of gentrification are reproduced. The consequences of narratives of apocalyptic climate change being used to justify gentrification are two-fold: (1) as levels of affluence in a geographic area increase, so does consumption and (2) as the projects become more ubiquitous globally, an immunological fantasy is established where residents are sold a feeling of immunisation against the climate apocalypse. Finally, the paper concludes with a call for study to explore whether, similarly to the Urbanisation of Nature, cities are also a particular moment in the urbanisation of the apocalypse.

Wageningen Geography Lectures: Dr. Jess Bier: “Digital Mapmaking on the Ground in Palestine and Israel since 1967: Spatializing the Situated Production of Scientific Knowledge”

Tuesday 11 December,

16:00-17:30 Gaia1 (Droevendaalsesteeg 3, Wageningen Campus)

Complimentary drinks afterwards!

Dr. Jess Bier: “Digital Mapmaking on the Ground in Palestine and Israel since 1967: Spatializing the Situated Production of Scientific Knowledge”

This talk examines how geographical and political landscapes shape the ways that maps are made. By analyzing the process of making 2 to 3 maps from key moments in the history of Palestine/Israel since 1967, it will investigate how conditions on the ground affect the features that appear on the map, and vice versa.

Digital cartography, including GIS and Google Maps, promises the ultimate creation of one accurate and authoritative map of the world. Satellite imagery and remotely sensed data also seemingly make it possible to accurately map anywhere, from almost anywhere else. Even so, on-the-ground geographic fieldwork continues to be important for the collection and validation of digital data, raising important issues of closure and mobility. And politically, by helping to expand and democratize cartography as a discipline, digital cartography has helped increase, rather than reduce, the numerous different perspectives and ways of mapping the Earth.

Drawing on research in science and technology studies (STS), feminist studies of science, and critical cartography, this talk tells the stories behind specific maps and mapmaking practices in, respectively, Palestinian and Israeli, governmental and non-governmental, organizations. It specifies the complex ways that geographic and political imbalances of power can differently, and unjustly, affect Palestinian, Israeli, and/or international cartographers. In the process, it examines how the Israeli occupation serves to shape scientific knowledge of the occupation, and why two trained professionals, using similar tools and approaches, can look at the same landscape and see quite different things.

Dr. Jess Bier is assistant professor of urban sociology at Erasmus University Rotterdam, where she studies the social and political landscapes of science and technology. She is the author of Mapping Israel, Mapping Palestine (MIT Press 2017).

In her research, she focuses on the geographies of knowledge, looking at how science and technology are transformed as they travel through space and time. Moreover she studies how knowledge and data can rework space and time, for example by shaping changes in urban landscapes, infrastructures, and forms of mobility.

Please distribute widely, all are welcome, drop me a line if you intend to join to help me estimate chairs/drinks: clemens.driessen@wur.nl