Call for Papers AAG 2017: Contested Urban Territories. Decentering conceptual and methodological approaches in comparative urban research

American Association of Geographers 2017 Annual Meeting
Boston, April 5-9, 2017

Session organizers: Monika Streule (ETH Zürich) and Anke Schwarz (Leipzig)
Discussants: Rogério Haesbaert (Universidade Federal Fluminense) and Christian Schmid (ETH Zürich)

Territories are produced when people struggle over practices, meanings and tenures of urban space. As such, territory is both the site and stake of everyday social struggle. Amidst contestations over urban space on a global scale, and in the wake of comparative perspectives in urban research (Robinson 2016), it seems particularly promising to re-think established conceptual and methodological approaches. Taking the Latin American debate on de- and re-territorialization (Santos 1994 and 2000, Echeverría & Rincón 2000, Zibechi 2012, amongst others) as a starting point, this session is interested in putting a broad range of perspectives into conversation over a decolonized concept of territory. Shifting the attention from state strategies to the urban scale (Schwarz & Streule forthcoming), it will explore the social production of territory, with a special emphasis on socio-territorial movements.

The session will focus on the following questions: To what extent can the analytical concept of territory be of value for decentering urban studies? How does it nourish and complement an analysis of the social production of space? In this context, contributions should seek to adopt a critical perspective on territory, reflecting on power relations in the production of both knowledge and urban space. We particularly welcome contributions that position themselves in the theoretical debate between established notions of territory and decentralized approaches and also draw upon empirical research.

If you are interested in contributing to this session, please send a presentation title and an abstract of 250 words to the session organizers by October 23, 2016. Decisions will be communicated by October 25, 2016. Please note that upon acceptance you will need to complete your registration for AAG 2017 and submit your abstract through the AAG’s website by October 27, 2016.


Echeverría, M. & Rincón, A. (2000): Ciudad de Territorialidades. Polémicas de Medellín. Medellín: Centro de Estudios del Hábitat Popular; Universidad Nacional de Colombia.
Robinson, J. (2016): Thinking cities through elsewhere: Comparative tactics for a more global urban studies. In: Progress in Human Geography 40 (1), 3-29.
Santos, M. (1994): O retorno do território. In: Santos, de Souza & Silveira (Eds.): Território. Globalização e fragmentação. São Paulo: HUCITEC-ANPUR.
Santos, M. (2000): El Territorio. Un agregado de espacios banales. In: Boletin de Estudios Geográficos 96, 87-96.
Schwarz, A. & Streule, M. (forthcoming): A Transposition of Territory. Decolonized Perspectives in Current Urban Research. In: International Journal of Urban and Regional Research.
Zibechi, R. (2012): Territories in resistance. A cartography of Latin American social movements. Oakland: AK Press.