Throughout 2017 the School of Geography and Sustainable Communities will be offering seminars canvasing a variety of topics that are relevant to current discussions and research.  These seminars usually take place on a Wednesdays at 12.30 pm - 1.30 pm, room location is next to each Seminar date. Please see below for more information about dates, speakers and topics for 2017.   

There is a short break from Seminars.  Returning in August with the following presenters:  


Juan Salazar
Western Sydney University

Title: Microbial geographies at the extremes of life: bioprospecting in Antarctica


Sandie Suchet-Pearson
Macquarie University

Title: Women keening songspirals: nourishing and sharing people-as-place 


Affrica Taylor
University of Canberra

Title: Unsettling child-rabbit encounters: Staying with the trouble of invasive colonial legacies

In this presentation I describe a series of unsettling child-rabbit encounters that are taken from a multispecies ethnographic research project I am undertaking with a group of pre-school children, called ‘Walking with Wildlife in Wild Weather Times’. The encounters take place during walks in a heritage-listed grassy woodlands area on the ANU campus, and at ‘The Rabbits’ exhibition at the National Museum of Australia. Situating these encounters within the ecological legacies of settler colonialism, I discuss some of the complex ways in which the children are both troubled by and continue to grapple with their encounters with ‘invasive’ rabbits. Drawing upon the relational philosophies of Donna Haraway (2016) and Deborah Bird Rose (2004), I also reflect upon on how the children’s grapplings might offer us a glimpse into the possibility for a recuperative and decolonising ethics of multispecies cohabitation on damaged lands.

Haraway, D. (2016) Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Cthulucene, Durham London: Duke University Press.

Rose, D. B. (2004) Reports from a Wild Country: Ethics for Decolonisation, Sydney: UNSW Press.

Affrica Taylor is a cultural geographer in Faculty of Education, Science, Technology and Mathematics at the University of Canberra and a founding member of the Common Worlds Research Collective. She brings feminist, queer and decolonising environmental humanities perspectives into play with her more-than-human geographies of childhood and her multispecies ethnographic research. She is currently involved in a research project ‘Walking with Wildlife in Wild Weather Times’ with young children at the ANU. Her books include: Reconceptualising the Natures of Childhood; Unsettling the Colonial Places and Spaces of Early Childhood Education; and Children and Animals: A Common World Ethics for Entangled Lives (forthcoming).


A/Prof David Bissell
The University of Melbourne

Title: Work mobilities for challenging times

In an era of intensified urbanisation, where more people are living and working in cities than ever before, the question of how our everyday mobilities are transforming the fabric of social life is a critical issue for our times. In this seminar, I will discuss some of my recent research on urban commuting in Australia to show how the mobilities paradigm can provide geographers with new understandings of power in a world increasingly characterised by complex patterns of mobility and stillness. Drawing on fieldwork encounters with three long distance commuters whose daily lives extent over vast distances, I will draw attention to the diverse circumstances through which mobile lives can emerge, and I will discuss the political, ethical and practical questions that mobile lives provoke. I will explain how mobility is the missing link in a set of debates currently taking place in Australia where job creation and housing affordability are currently centre-stage.

David Bissell is Associate Professor and ARC Future Fellow in the School of Geography at the University of Melbourne. His current research draws on cultural geography and theories of mobility to investigate contemporary social problems involving mobility-labour relationships. His current research projects are about how long distance mobile working practices are reshaping the home; and how new mobile technologies are transforming urban life. He is co-editor of Stillness in a Mobile World (2011) and The Routledge Handbook of Mobilities (2014). His monograph, Transit Lives: How Commuting is Transforming Our Cities, will be published by MIT Press in early 2018.



Jamie Peck
The University of British Columbia

Offshore outsourcing—the movement of jobs to lower-wage countries—has been one of the defining features of globalization, ever since the identification of the “new international division of labor” in the 1970s. Routine blue-collar work has been going “offshore” ever since that time, a flipside of deindustrialization in the so-called rustbelt regions, but the digital revolution starting in the 1990s, coupled with ongoing liberalization, extended this process to many parts of the service economy too. Politically controversial since the beginning, “offshoring” is conventionally seen as a threat to jobs, wages, and economic security in higher-income countries, having become synonymous with races to the bottom and the dirty work of globalization. Even though the majority of corporations make use of the practice, fearful of negative publicity most now manage these activities in a discreet manner. Partly as a result, the global sourcing business largely operates under the radar, its ocean-spanning activities in low-cost labor arbitrage, organizational innovation, and corporate partnering remaining in a private world.

Drawing on his latest book, Offshore, Jamie Peck reflects on the first sustained exploration of the workings of the global sourcing industry, its business practices, its market dynamics, its technologies, its cultural politics, and not least, its constantly shifting economic geographies.

Jamie Peck is Canada Research Chair in Urban & Regional Political Economy, Distinguished University Scholar, and Professor of Geography at the University of British Columbia, Canada. With long-term research interests in urban restructuring, geographical political economy, labor studies, the politics of policy formation and mobility, and economic geography, his current research is focused on the financial restructuring of U.S. cities, the politics of contingent labor, and the political economy of neoliberalization. Recent books include Offshore: Exploring the worlds of global outsourcing (2017, Oxford); Fast Policy: Experimental statecraft at the thresholds of neoliberalism (2015, Minnesota, with Nik Theodore); Constructions of Neoliberal Reason (2010, Oxford); and the Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Economic Geography (2012, Wiley, coedited with Trevor Barnes & Eric Sheppard). A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and previously the holder of Guggenheim and Harkness fellowships, Peck is the Editor-in-Chief of the Environment and Planning series of journals.


David Schlosberg
University of Sydney

Title: Sustainable Materialism: New Environmentalisms and Everyday Life

This paper examines new environmental movements focused on what I call a sustainable materialism. Many food and energy movements, for example, are based in a conception of sustainability that acknowledges human immersion in nonhuman natural systems, and include an interest in changing the material relationship between humans, other beings, and the nonhuman realm. Interviews illustrate that movement participants reflect on the realization, similar to Bennett, that the matter of the nonhuman realm has some sort of agency, both in itself and on us; human material practice around things like food, energy, and clothing is increasingly understood as networked with complex and dynamic agentic systems. Bennett has offered an ontology about the vitality of the nonhuman – one that encourages us to enhance our own receptivity. For Meyer, a politics of new materialism should “begin by engaging materiality as it is already manifest in practice.” The argument of this paper is that we already see movements engaging with such practice. The focus is on the very flow of food, matter, energy from the natural world, through our productive processes, into and through our bodies, and back into the nonhuman realm. New institutions and systems are being built in ways that direct the material flows of everyday life in vitalizing, resilient, and sustainable ways, with specific attention to the relationship between the provision of human needs and the environment in which those needs are met.

David Schlosberg is Professor of Environmental Politics in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney, and co-Director of the Sydney Environment Institute. He is known internationally for his work in environmental politics, environmental movements, and political theory - in particular the intersection of the three with his work on environmental justice. David’s current applied work includes both adaptation and resilience planning and food security policy with the City of Sydney, and the impacts of climate change as part of the University of Sydney’s Research Hub on Health and Social Impacts of Climate Change for the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. His more theoretical work focuses on environmental movements and everyday life, as well as the relationship between the idea of the Anthropocene and the reality of environmental injustice.



Last reviewed: 26 July, 2017