"Dialectics of Life and Death"
Activist Geographers Grouping
Year Three, San Francisco, April 17-21, 2007
Over the past two years, a growing number of people have worked to create the Activist Geographers Grouping (AGG), a fruitful experiment aimed at creating an intellectually engaged and generous community during the Association of American Geography annual meetings. AGG is a project rather than a membership organization, and is independent from the AAG. Geographers need not be academics. We invite anyone who shares the formation's overarching political goals and desire to experiment with forms of knowledge creation and representation to work with us to shape this ongoing collaboration.
For the first year of the project, we organized a mini conference around the theme of 'Living Beyond the Warfare-Welfare Complex,' and last year we focused on creating a 'community-in-formation.' A community-in-formation is at once a space for meeting and working with one another, and the collective creation of a community. In an effort to foster greater collaboration and collective planning, we held a planning meeting and decided to establish a theme around which folks could tie-in their in- and out-of-conference events. We wanted to cultivate an extended conversation about the life and death connections between militarism, racism, sexism, capitalism, the state, and politics, and thus chose to frame this year's project around the 'Dialectics of Life and Death.'
Marx once described the dehumanizing process involved in the creation of value under capitalism as the conversion of 'the worker into a crippled monstrosity.' With this insight, 'Dialectics of Life and Death' seeks to broadly examine the relationalities and socio-spatial productions of human and non-human, value and waste, and life and death. These issues underscore the differential access, variability and unequal conditions that exist for bodily self-determination, for living and being human. This theme encompasses broad issues of social justice, war, and the myriad ways in which people struggle for survival and dignity, and can serve as a way for bringing our specific projects together. Topics might also include (these are meant as suggestions, not boundaries): militarized landscapes; the spectacle of state terror; differential valorization of labor power and worker turnover as 'waste;' war and everyday life; health inequities and 'excess' mortality; commodification and social reproduction.
As in previous years, a couple of us will produce a flyer to publicize the project and associated sessions, community and social events. If you are organizing a conference session or community event that speaks to the theme of 'Dialectics of Life and Death,' and you would like to be part of this project, please email Jenna Loyd (jloyd@...
> ) or Shiloh Krupar (shilohrk@...
). We welcome your involvement and encourage emails of interest for this year's mini-conference until the last week of March, at which point we will need to finalize the flyer. Finally, you are invited to circulate any CFPs or ideas for projects on the AGG site, especially if you're looking for people to work with.
Finally, part of the ongoing transformation of the community, we will be holding a meeting to create a working group who would like to plan a collaborative, multi-sited activist-research project on militarism. We encourage folks interested in short- and long-term collaboration to join us. More details on beginning the project to follow.
AGG is a working group that collaborates our independent works, illuminating the life and death connections between militarism, racism, sexism, capitalism, the state, and politics. We aim to create activist research that honors struggles for survival and dignity and helps create a better world. For more information and to join the listserv, visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/activistgeographers/