Call for Papers: Connecting Elements

Connecting Elements | RGS-IBG 2013 Session Proposal Isla Forsyth (University of Nottingham) and William Hasty (University of Edinburgh)


If it is the case that geography is the art of earth-writing, then, until relatively recently, geographers have been too literal in their interpretation of the earth aspect of this couplet. The earthly spaces and worldly matters of the seas and the skies, as well as those existing below the ground and at the outer reaches of the atmosphere, have been neglected in human geography, but, of course, of late this has begun to change.  The seas (e.g. Steinberg, 2001), skies (e.g. Adey, 2006), subterranean worlds (e.g. Scott, 2008) and extra-terrestrial spaces (e.g. Macdonald, 2007), now feature in geographical analyses of all kinds.  Indeed, parts of the geographical literature have gone watery and turbulent, vertical and angular, atmospheric as well as earthly: all of which has taken the discipline in new directions, raised new questions and pushed debates further by encountering these new frontiers of thought and practice.  If attention to these ‘new’ elements (water, air, sand, etc) in the geographical literature has enriched our discipline, then this session seeks not only to embrace these developments but to start to ask what might be gained from greater consideration of the connections between them.  If the ship and the plane (to name but two examples) are shaping new geographies of war, empire, law, knowledge, and so on, then one must begin to consider the ways in which these sites always exist at (and as) a confluence of elements, at (and as) places where land, sea and air converge to shape all that matters.  Taking particular spaces, places, sites, technologies, lives and objects as starting points, this session aims to critically consider the inevitably entangled and messily material geographies of the world in practice.  Following the pun of the session title through, we seek not only to explore the idea of connecting elements in this substantive sense, but also to foster conversations between geographers of the seas, skies,  land (above and below ground), and atmosphere and outer-space, thereby connecting elements of the discipline too.

Papers might include and/or consider the connections between but are not limited to:

Aerial Geographies; Technologies of mobility; Geographies of the Sea; Subterranean exploration; Atmospheres; Landscape; Extra-terrestrial geographies.

Please send 250 word abstracts to both Isla Forsyth ( and William Hasty ( by 30th January 2013