Calls for Papers for Carceral Geography sessions at RGS-IBG 2019

There are three live calls for papers for prospective sessions sponsored by the Carceral Geography Working Group of the RGS-IBG:

  • The carceral offshore: unpacking geographies of detriment, intent and spatiality at sea 
  • Carceral Archipelagos of trouble and hope
  • The politics of hope within systems of border control: Troubled subjects, materials and temporalities

Details for each are below – submit your papers now!


The carceral offshore: unpacking geographies of detriment, intent and spatiality at sea

In examining geographies of trouble/geographies of hope at this year’s conference, it would be difficult for the seas and oceans not to come to mind. With recent, and also more longstanding, attention being drawn to both environmental and socio-cultural and political crisis (and so-called ‘crisis’) offshore (from threats to more-than-human ocean biodiversity and the perils of plastics, to the devastating human dimensions of oceanic migration and offshore detention) this session seeks to pay attention to the ways in which ‘carceral conditions’ (Moran, Turner and Schliehe, 2017) can be further unpacked at sea; and how in turn the sea becomes a space for further conceptualising the carceral.

This session invites papers to explore a myriad of issues that connect up carcerality (broadly encapsulated by conditions of detriment, intent and spatiality, see Moran, Turner and Schliehe, 2017) and the seas (also broadly understood as relational, three-dimensional, multi-state and more-than-wet, see Peters and Steinberg 2019). Papers may be historical or contemporary in focus, empirically driven or conceptually led.

Themes could include but are not limited to:

  • ships (in their many and various types, from cruise liners to cargo ships to sailing vessels and prison hulks) as a carceral spaces/spaces of incarceration;
  • the specific spaces within ships (from everyday spaces such cabins to engine rooms to safe rooms or panic rooms and on board holding cells) and their carceral conditions;
  • the materiality of seas and oceans themselves as geophysical spaces of carcerality for those who live or work there or are forced to traverse these ‘water’ worlds;
  • the politics of demarcating, bordering and ordering the seas and oceans in ways that create carceral conditions for those using the seas;
  • other ‘maritime’ spaces of incarceration – ports that connect land and sea; islands (from artificial to quarantine); exploratory platforms and rigs; fantasy spaces such as seasteads;
  • specific maritime technologies that may have incarcerating effects such as submarines; dive wear and apparatus; maritime simulation machines in vessel handling training; nets and meshes etc.
  • the way more-than-human life/biodiversity at sea (from sea-going mammals, to fish, to micro organisms) become subject to carceral conditions through their relation to human use, exploitation and governance;
  • how forms of offshoring might be examined as ‘carceral’ (for example the offshoring of activities and people which/who are constructed as ‘other’);
  • how forms of ocean mapping and planning might have incarcerating impacts for people, ecosystems, more-than-human life and relations between these.

If you would be interested in participating, please get in touch and send abstracts of no more 200 words to Kimberley Peters ( and Jennifer Turner ( by 8th February 2019.

Carceral Archipelagos of trouble and hope

Ever since the establishment of carceral institutions, their legitimate existence has been questioned. In recent years, the carceral archipelago that was first described by Foucault (1975/1991: 297) as a series of institutions that operate with a punitive model and are built on surveillance and discipline, has increasingly included spaces beyond the prison. In this session, we want to explore this archipelago further by asking how far we can venture from the enclosed institutions and still identify the carceral (Moran et al 2017). Playing with this year’s theme we want to particularly focus on trouble and the many troubles that exist in the carceral sphere, as well as hope. Hope might be more elusive than trouble; however, the two are not binaries but rather co-exist and intertwine in carceral spaces. In fact, trouble can produce hope and hope can be troubling to some. We invite submissions that explore the reach of the carceral, e.g. with regards to electronic monitoring and digital developments; but also pay particular attention the spatial in carceral geography and how people not just do time, but also ‘do space’ (Philo 2018). We would like to explore the carceral archipelago and how this fits in with what has been described as societies of control (Deleuze 1992). We invite papers from all disciplinary backgrounds that seek to engage with, but are not limited to, the following topics and areas:

• The various roles of trouble in carceral environments
• The role of punishment in defining the carceral
• More dispersed forms of carceral interventions like electronic monitoring, community sentences and other interventions
• The role of the digital in carceral archipelagos
• Experiences of hope in carceral space
• Issues of legitimacy and questions of abolition
• Normalisation the strive towards reducing boundaries
• Carceral landscapes and the design of hope and/or trouble
• Carceral practices beyond the prison
• Disruptive practices, resistance and questions of citizenship

Please send abstracts of max 200 words, giving names, institutional affiliation and contact details for authors/presenters, to Anna Schliehe ( by no later than Friday the 8th of February 2019.

The politics of hope within systems of border control: Troubled subjects, materials and temporalities

The contemporary landscape of border control is not widely considered to be hopeful. Profit margins and a political rhetoric of ‘secure borders’ are valued more than life lived in fullness. The UK’s hostile environment policies, the measures put in place by ‘Fortress Europe’, ‘Brexit’ and anxieties of settled status, escalating family detention and Trump’s border wall are but a few examples of increasing hostility to migrants. Simply put, things are getting worse.

And yet hope remains. The politics of migration control can also be characterised as a struggle for/over hope. We encounter hopeful actions in those moving to find family, escape war, find work and in aims for a better life. We find them in the activists and charities working to kindle hope within these systems. Yet we also see hope in the policy strategies to deter ‘hopeful’ migrants, to reduce incentives and to ‘increase border security’. What then, does it mean to talk of ‘hope’ in the context of such increasingly pervasive, hostile and deadly systems of border control? What forms of politics does a focus upon hope open up, and what does it risk precluding? And what might it mean to “hope with teeth” (Mieville 2018)?

The aim for border scholars and activists, however, cannot be to simply engender a sense of hopefulness in the face of such strategies. In this session we therefore seek to further unpack the politics of hope in the context of borders and immigration control by recognising that hope is not necessarily positive, nor is it inherently progressive. We trouble the potentially dangerous simplicity of the ‘hopeful migrant subject’, focusing instead on the multiple forms of hopeful, incoherent subjectivities that are emerging within systems of border control. We also seek to investigate the power of objects and things in shaping the forms and intensities of hope or despair. Furthermore, what temporalities of hope emerge in the context of border control?

We welcome papers and submissions in non-traditional formats (for example video or visual submissions) that explore themes including but not limited to:

  • The relation between hope and resistance
  • The performativity of hope and the variations that occur between subjects and temporalities
  • The temporalities that a focus on hope may open up
  • Hopeful subjectivities: beyond the ‘hopeful migrant’
  • Possible/realised consequences of hoping or engendering hope
  • Hope and the more than human
  • The affectual politics of hope
  • Researcher encounters with hope ‘in the field’
  • The communication of hope and sort of publics that hope may gather
  • Forms of hope engendered through organised action
  • The role of academics in providing a productive form of despair

Please send abstracts of 200 words to Sarah Hughes ( and Daniel Fisher ( by midnight on the 1st February 2019.