Category Archives: Deleuze

AAG 2018 Session and Panel on Anxious/Desiring Geographies

Along with Mikko Joronen (University of Tampere, Finland) and Nick Robinson (Royal Holloway) I’m very pleased and excited to announce two complementary sessions at next year’s AAG meetings on “Anxious/Desiring Geographies.” (See our CFP here.)

There will be a paper session and a panel session.

Paper presenters (abstracts below)

Pawan Singh (Deakin University) “Anxious to not be Identified in the Age of Social Media: Data Privacy and Visibility in Postcolonial India.

Keith Harris (University of Washington) “The schizo and the city: mapping desiring-geographies.”

Banu Gokariksel (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) and Anna J. Secor (University of Kentucky) “Ethical encounters, anxious antagonisms: The emergence of Alevi-Sunni difference in Turkey.

Laura McKinley (York University) “Canada 150 Discovery Pass; Anxiety, Desire and the Structure of Settler-Colonial Attachments to the Land.”

David B. Clarke (Swansea University) and Marcus Doel (Swansea University) “The Other is Not Enough: Becoming Afraid, Being Anxious, and Antiphilosophy in Book X of the Seminar of Jacques Lacan.”

(Chair: Mikko Joronen)

(Organizers: Jeremy Crampton, Mikko Joronen, and Nick Robinson)

Panel participants

Anna J. Secor (University of Kentucky)

Mikko Joronen (SPARG, Finland)

Sarah Moore (University of Wisconsin – Madison)

Felicity Callard (Birkbeck, University of London)

Paul Kingsbury (Simon Faser University)

(Chair: Jeremy Crampton).

(Organizers: Jeremy Crampton, Mikko Joronen and Nick Robinson)

We think these are two very exciting line-ups!

Read on! Continue reading

cfp AAG 2018: Anxious/Desiring Geographies

Call for Papers: “Anxious/Desiring geographies.”

Sponsored by the AAG Digital Geography Specialty Group and the Political Geography Specialty Group.
AAG Annual Conference New Orleans April 10-14, 2018

Organizers: Jeremy W. Crampton (Kentucky, USA), Nick Robinson (RHUL, UK), Mikko Joronen (Tampere, Finland).

At this political moment we seem beset by anxieties from every direction. Automation is identified as an existential threat to jobs. Vulnerabilities from political violence increase anxieties of the subaltern. Climate change and the inauguration of the Anthropocene threaten our wellbeing. Nast (2017) credits the financial crisis with being “psychically traumatic.”

At least since Gregory’s identification of the inadequacy of representation, which he dubbed “cartographic anxiety” (Gregory, 1994), geographers have meaningfully contributed to understandings of the affective politics of anxiety. Attention has been paid to a geopolitics of fear that is experienced on both an everyday and global level (Pain and Smith, 2008), and to sexual desires and identities (Bell and Valentine, 1995). Brown and Knopp (2016) identified a biopolitics of the state’s anxieties in the governance of the gay bar.

In this session we seek papers that deepen our geographical understandings of anxiety, desire and/or the possible relationship(s) between them.

Is anxiety a mental disease that can be diagnosed and treated (APA, 2013), founded on lack, or can it be deployed more positively (Robbins and Moore, 2012)? Is anxiety the only affect that does not deceive (Lacan, 2014)? What is the relation between anxiety, desire and place? What might a politics of locationally affective resistance look like (Griffiths, 2017)? How is desire productive of spaces? How do anxiety and desire circulate and relate to subjectivities and the material body? Are there particular places and spaces that are invested in anxiety or desire, and what is the lived experience there?

Topics that address these questions include but are not limited to:

  • Places of anxiety and desire
  • Surveillance anxiety (eg., geosurveillance, automated facial recognition)
  • Automation anxiety and desires
  • The affective politics of policing
  • Living in code/space & the smart city and becoming the data subject
  • Everyday anxieties
  • The biopolitics of anxiety and desire
  • The anxious/desiring/desired body
  • Affective resistances
  • Governing through desire
  • Anxieties from political violence
  • Affective relations of anxiety/desire to pain, grief, worry or fear


Please send a title and abstract of 250 words to,, and Mikko Joronen by October 15th.

American Psychiatric Association. 2013 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association.

Bell, D. and Valentine, G. Mapping Desire: Geographies of Sexualities. London: Routledge.

Brown, M. & L. Knopp. 2016. Sex, drink, and state anxieties: governance through the gay bar. Social & Cultural Geography, 17, pp. 335-358.

Gregory, D. 1994. Geographical Imaginations. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.

Griffiths, M. (2017) Hope in Hebron: The political affects of activism in a strangled city. Antipode, 49, 617-635.

Lacan, J. 2014. Anxiety. Seminar Book X. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Nast, H. J. (2017) Into the arms of dolls: Japan’s declining fertility rates, the 1990s financial crisis and the (maternal) comforts of the posthuman. Social & Cultural Geography, 18, 758-785.

Pain, R. and Smith, S. (Eds) 2008. Fear: Critical Geopolitics and Everyday Life. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Robbins, P. and Moore, S.A. 2012. Ecological anxiety disorder: diagnosing the politics of the Anthropocene. cultural geographies, 20(1) 3–19.

Sioh, M. 2014. A small narrow space: postcolonial territorialization and the libidinal economy. In P. Kingsbury and S. Pile (Eds), Psychoanalytic Geographies. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate.


Where can tell me who I am?

In September I published a few musings on the topic “Where can tell me who I am.” This was preliminary for a talk at this year’s SEDAAG meetings. Here’s a link to the talk as delivered and the slides I used are here.

Where can tell me who I am (pdf)

Reflections on Philip K. Dick


Amazon have just released their adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s Man in the High Castle. David Gill, at San Francisco State University, was recently interviewed by Salon about the show. He makes some interesting observations that I think bear examination:

The thing it seems to be lacking is the sense of a square peg being pounded into a round hole. In other words, there’s this subtle notion in the novel that the Nazi victory has completely paralyzed the American dream and these people are all struggling to find a new moral compass to guide their lives by. In this, the American Dream has been subverted — so what we’re gonna see in the show is like an American Revolution where they rise against their Nazi oppressors

In other words, the TV version has bottled the basic premise of the book and has instead turned it into a good guys vs. bad guys scenario. He adds:

I’d be okay with that, but it seems they’ve really shifted the focus of the project itself and are really only interested in showing us fascist imagery juxtaposed with American iconography.

This is a pity as Ridley Scott is attached to the project as an Executive Producer which doesn’t bode well for the rumored sequel to Blade Runner.

Perhaps this doesn’t matter as any tv show must be different from a book version for reasons of pacing and drama. Although I do think it’s a mistake to think tv can’t be subtle–I just watched Nicola Walker in two very good shows. River, with Stellan Skarsgård, and Unforgotten with Sanjeev Bhasker. Both were moving and fascinating shows which explored emotional depths with little or no action.

But I happened to ask my GIS class this week if they’d heard of Philip K. Dick. No one had, until I started mentioning movies, some of which they recognized. So what this means is that PKD is little read by the current generation, but more likely get their knowledge via movies and tv. When the subtleties are ironed out, this isn’t necessarily good.

Take Blade Runner itself. Again Gill makes a good observation when he says:

As far as accurately translating his ideas and dynamics onto the screen, I don’t think anyone has been successful. “Blade Runner” inverts the moral of [his novel] “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” — instead of being a story about how humans can be like androids, it’s about how androids can be like humans.

In some ways this is the more devastating critique. Dick’s novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was not about simulation, but the potential loss of the human, and, more generally of life itself. As key aspect to the book is the loss or lack of actual biological non-human life due to climate change/war and its replacement by artificial replacements. So this was about diminishment of human life as we are no loner able to have relationships with other species (instead there are artificial turtles, spiders, owls etc). Everybody is trying to get off-world as the earth is dying.


Scene from Blade Runner


Beijing, 2013

This is why, the book’s other half of the story, which is not in the movie at all is so critical. This is the idea of salvation or at least escape offered by Mercerism; an invented “religion” based literally on empathy for others (you hold onto empathy boxes which merge your affective body with others). When you grasp the handles of the box, you join communally with Wilbur Mercer, who is on a seemingly never-ending trek up a mountain (iirc). Unfortunately, Mercer is exposed as a fraud, an actor by the name of Al Jerry (think ‘pataphysics and Al Jarry). But this doesn’t matter. It’s not whether Jerry is divine or not, but rather the affective connections he enables or guides. As an android hunter, Deckard is suffering from affective flatness, to such an extent of course that there is a famous indeterminancy about whether he himself is an android. Again, the point is not whether he is or is not. It’s about what people’s/androids/animals affective capacities are–a becoming-animal if you like. (My use of Deleuzian language here is deliberate: PKD, J.G. Ballard and especially Christopher Priest are amazing writers of affect. I’m currently re-reading Priest’s best novel, The Affirmation and suggest you start with that if you’re unfamiliar with Priest.)

I’ll watch the Amazon series when I get a chance (I saw the pilot last year and visually it’s very impressive). I’d recommend River or Unforgotten first though.