Nigelians Unite! (NB: not titled “Surely You Geste!”)

CALL FOR PAPERS, AAG Meetings, Los Angeles, 2013.

Geographies of the Gesture (le Geste)

(Organizers: Wendy Chang, Ph.D., Abula Djelil, and Samantha McGibbon-Weinstein, Ph.D)

Geographers have intensively scrutinized issues of performativity and assemblage, but have neglected intermediating processes and concomitant symbolic crises revolving around the gesture (le geste).  This session will advance the claim that a gestural turn is now imperative in geographical scholarship.  

The session takes its point of departure in the work of Roland Barthes whose semiological researches carried forward the science of signs as imagined by Ferdinand de Saussure.  We will, however, seek to move far beyond these essentially structuralist roots and to resituate the geographies of the gesture within a resolutely non-representational context linking performativity and assemblage via  embodied gesturalities.  Derrida attends to related questions of agencement in his work on games as expressions of the unity of chance and necessity. The idea of unity and chance in gestural geographies also opens up a horizon of reflection and critique based on Badiou’s notions of rupture-event and dispositif-encastrement.  In this manner, we may — tentatively — start to build a situated but non-representational theory of the gesture that is sensitive to the force of intentionalities, the magic of geography, and the trembling of history, or, as Vermeulen and Van der Akker express the matter: “a spacetime that is … neither ordered nor disordered” that lies somewhere between “unity and plurality, totality and fragmentation, purity and ambiguity.”

It is hoped in these ways to promote the relatively neglected theme of gesturalities in geography, and, in particular, to interrogate the ways in geographers might e/affectively attend to different modes of embodying, personifying, (en)gendering, framing, (de)coding, and enacting gestures.  

Themes include but are not limited to

  • Gesture and sexualities
  • Gesture and the making/unmaking of place
  • The gesture in urban learning assemblages
  • Performative intentions and the gesture
  • The gesture: between chance and necessity
  • Bodies and gestures
  • The gender of the gesture
  • Gestural regimes in/by/of/through the city
  • Deleuzo-Guattarian gestural machines
  • Mutable mobiles and gestural reflexivity.
  • Sloterdijk, spheres, and gesture.
  • Monsters, hauntings, and spectral presences in gestural regimes
  • Gestural approaches to mobilities research
  • Spiritualities, religion, and gestures
  • Scalar ontologies of the gesture
  • Gestural themes in music, painting, dance, and psychoanalysis
  • More-than-human modes of gesturing
  • Feminist and post-feminist critiques of the theory of gesture.
  • Merleau-Ponty’s gestural phenomenology
  • Rhizomatics and gestural failure or Versäumnis
  • Geography, gesture, and emotion

Please send proposals and abstracts to Dr. Wendy Chang > Papers from the Global South and from unwaged scholars are especially welcome.


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