This workshop brought together over 20 scholars from Sri Lanka, Europe and the USA.
Panel on Critical Geography at DKG'23, Frankfurt
PGG Postdoc Sven Daniel Wolfe collaborates with a group of critical Ukrainian and Russian scholars to publish a forum article for the flagship journal Geopolitics.
Jasnea Sarma from PGG was invited for a talk based on a forthcoming paper titled “Entangled Exclusions in Frontier Cities: The urban geopolitics of northeast India”.
Jasnea Sarma publishes an intervention set on ‘walking methodologies’ with Olivia Mason and James Sidaway in Political Geography.
PGG organised the “Intimate Politics in South Asia” workshop
Jasnea Sarma's co-authored paper published by Eurasian Geography and Economics with Allesandro Rippa (University of Oslo) and Karin Dean (Tallinn University) documents the relationship between Chinese-funded plantation expansion and refugee life words on the China-Myanmar borders.
PGG postdoctoral fellow Daniel Wolfe has published a new article titled “The Juggernaut Endures: Protest, Potemkinism, and Olympic Reform” in the journal Leisure Studies.
Dr Jasnea Sarma was invited by the Department of Asian Studies at Cornell University to give a talk titled “Living with borders: a trans-Asian ethnography of mobility across Myanmar’s borderlands with India and China.”
The «Author Meets Critics» panel discussed Benedikt Korf’s new book “Schwierigkeiten mit der kritischen Geographie”.
Jasnea Sarma delivered one of the keynote talks for the NIAS (Nordic Institute of Asian Studies) Generation Asian Conference jointly organized by the University Of Iceland and the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) at the University Of Copenhagen.
China’s Belt and Road (BRI) Fact Sheets in collaboration with the Roadworks project (Fribourg)
The workshop “Thinking Futures from Elsewhere” organised by Sidharthan Maunaguru and Benedikt Korf at Collegium Helveticum invited scholars to engage future/s conceptually and ethnographically by bringing temporal and spatial axes along with the notions of vulnerability, fragility, unknown, uncertainty, frontiers, limits and thresholds.
A research article, titled ‘Infrastructures and b/ordering: how Chinese projects are ordering China–Myanmar border spaces’ scrutinises the nexus of bordering practices and infrastructure developments in the borderlands between China’s Yunnan province and Myanmar’s Kachin state. The paper (open-access) is based on long-term ethnography along and across the China–Myanmar border conducted by Karin Dean, Jasnea Sarma (PGG) and Allesandro Rippa between 2000 and 2019.
In this new book «Schwierigkeiten mit der kritischen Geographie» (difficulties with critical geography), Benedikt Korf takes a skeptical look at a practice of critique that works with premature generalizations and moral claims, while exempting itself from (self-critical) scrutiny. Over-confidence in its own judgement lets this form of critique brush over ambivalences, grey zones and antinomies that characterize politics and political struggles.
Sri Lanka is currently undergoing a tremendous economic and political crisis. Fuel scarcity was so severe that people went on the streets to protest against the government. On 9 July, Sri Lanka’s then President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was forced to flee amid a big crowd of protesters entering his residency.
In a new paper, titled, ‘The anatomy of a gold-rush: Politics, uncertainty and the organisation of artisanal mine work and labour in Zimbabwe’, Melusi Nkomo explores how artisanal mining gold rushes are taken as socio-political spaces.
Professor Harshana Rambukwella, Open University of Sri Lanka, and Professor Sidharthan Maunaguru, National University of Singapore (NUS), are visiting the Department of Geography and are hosted by the Political Geography Unit.
A new paper “Sovereign anxiety in Myanmar: An emotional geopolitics of China's Belt and Road Initiative’, co-authored by Shona Loong with Mary Mostafanezhad and Robert Farnan, traces uncertainties over China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Myanmar.
Benedikt Korf recently published an article about The irony of development: Critique, complicity, cynicism at SAGE Journals.
"Kamituga | Digital Gold", is an immersive exhibition based on fieldwork by PGG's Ph.D. candidate Gabriel Kamundala. The exhibition was showcased at the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich from Feb 11th, 2022 - June 6th, 2022.
Der Krieg in der Ukraine lässt viele andere Krisen in der Welt in den Hintergrund rücken. Zum Beispiel die Proteste in Sri Lanka. Benedikt Korf, Politische Geographie, spricht auf Radio SRF 1 zur aktuellen Situation.
Jasnea Sarma from the Political Geography Group publishes ethnographic research that highlights the social, ecological, bureaucratic and ethnic life of a borderland that has become the site for an Indian infrastructural mega-project called the Kaladan Multimodal Road. She highlights the voices of engineers, labourers, local officials, refugees, ethnic minorities and ‘undocumented’ indigenous communities to explore the aspirations, erasures and effects of spectacle-making by large-scale infrastructural frontier projects. Read more on this research here.
In an article, “Urban Development and the Making of Frontiers in/from Addis Ababa/Finfinne, Ethiopia”, Asebe Ragassa from the Political Geography Group (PGG) and his colleague Dr. Teshome Emana Soboka publishes research historicizing frontier-making in Ethiopia linking it to the formation of the modern Ethiopian state in the late-19th century through wars of conquest. Read more about this research here.
Jasnea Sarma from the Political Geography Group (PGG) along with her colleagues Hilary Faxon (University of California, Berkeley) and K.B. Roberts (York University) guest edits and introduces a new special issue, “Remaking and Living with Resource Frontiers in Myanmar.” Their introduction critically examines pre- and post- 2021 Feb military coup, extractive economies and political geographies in Myanmar and its Asian neighbourhood. Read more about the issue here.
Asebe Regassa from the Political Geography Group (PGG) publishes research on extractive mining, dispossession and resistance around the MIDROC Laga-Dambi Gold Mine in southern Ethiopia.
The SNSF Scientific Image Competition 2022 casts an unconventional light on research conducted in Switzerland. One of the winning images is by Stephan Hochleitner, a postdoc in Political Geography.
Die State-Building-Missionen des Westens sind gut gemeint, aber sie scheitern regelmässig an ihrem moralisch überhöhten Anspruch, schreiben Benedikt Korf und Christine Schenk in einem Feuilleton-Artikel in der NZZ.
In collaboration with colleagues Ilaria Ippolito and Mimmo Perrotta, Timothy Raeymaekers launches the edited volume (in Italian) 'Braccia rubate dall’agricoltura: Pratiche di sfruttamento del lavoro migrante'.
In collaboration with Black History Month at NYU, Florence, Timothy Raeymaekers and a collective of scholars launched the edited volume “The Black Mediterranean”.
How can scientific concepts and theories, developed in the Global South, help us understand phenomena in the Global North? This is the main question that guides the four-year research project co-led by Benedikt Korf.
Former master student Mengina Gilli, her supervisors Gretchen Walters and Muriel Côte, co-authored a paper in the journal Land entitled “Gatekeeping access: Shea land formalisation and the distribution of market-based conservation benefits in Ghana’s CREMA”
This forthcoming paper in Political Geography, co-authored by Benedikt Korf and Rory Rowan, discusses what is at stake for a critical geography in appropriating the reactionary thought of thinkers, such as Heidegger or Schmitt.
In the 1980s, a group of geography students rebelled against their teachers at the Department of Geography in Zurich.
On 28 and 30 January, Benedikt Korf gave a lecture in memoriam of Professor Shahul Hasbullah at the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) in Colombo and Kandy respectively.
Muriel Côte started as Senior Lecturer at Department of Geography, Lund University
Congratulations to our Master students that graduated in December 2019 and February 2020!
On 22 January, Timothy Raeymaekers participated in a workshop at Basel University on the infrastructure space and the future of migration management, with a focus on the EU Hotspots in the Mediterranean border space.
On 3 and 4 December 2019, Anne-Laure Amilhat-Szary visited us from Grenoble university to share her research on border art and performance with our staff and Master students.
On 29 October 2019, Sarah Mallet visited us from Oxford University to talk about her research project on the Calais Jungle at La Lande, which has been exhibited at the Pitt Rivers Museum until November 2019.
Der Politische Geograph und GIUZ-Alumnus Michael Hermann pendelt zwischen der öffentlichen Rolle als Politvermesser und seiner unternehmerischen Tätigkeit.
Alice Kern, Konchok Gelek, Christoph Kaufmann, Christoph Vogel, Benedikt Korf, Tim Raeymaekers, Rony Emmeneger, Tobias Hagmann and Muriel Côte will participate to the summer school on "Governance at the Edge of the State", and some will teach at the Master Class, that the Political Geography Unit co-organises with the Department of Food and Agricultural Economics at the University of Copenhagen, DK.
Muriel Côte was invited as a visiting researcher at Leipzig University’s Centre for Spatial Transformations under the Global Condition, and gave a lecture entitled “Making concessions in Burkina Faso: rethinking the “extractive enclave” under a global goldmining frontier” on July 3rd, 2019.
The paper examines how the “politics of belonging” that is expressed through claims of autochthony, relates to citizenship.
The website of the MIC|C project, that Tim Raeymaekers has been working together with over the last five year in Basilicata, Italy, is up.
The highly prestigious Swiss Network for International Studies (SNIS) Award for the best thesis in international relations was attributed to Christoph Vogel’s PhD Thesis on conflict minerals.
Die Anschläge auf Kirchen und Hotels am Ostersonntag haben Sri Lanka erschüttert. Die Radikalisierung der islamistischen Attentäter hat weniger mit dem globalen Dschihad zu tun als vielmehr mit der Identitätspolitik des Landes, schreiben Benedikt Korf und Christine Schenk in der FAZ.
Gold mining in Colombia is deeply entangled with decades of internal armed conflict. Various interests clash. PhD student Christoph Kaufmann is researching sustainable solutions.
On the occasion of the devastating bomb attacks in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday 2019, Wiley Publisher has made the paper available free access that S.H. Hasbullah and Benedikt Korf wrote on Muslim politics, inter-Muslim violence and Islamization in Kattankudy.
Thamali Thenne Gedara presented a paper on ‘Beyond Hybridity: Identity through Language’ at the British Association for South Asian Studies (BASAS) held in the Durham University from 3rd to 5th April 2019.
Timothy Raeymaekers just published a chapter in a the new Handbook on Critical Geographies of Migration, edited by Katharyne Mitchell, Reece Jones and Jennifer Fluri.
Muriel Côte gave an input on her research on goldmining in Burkina Faso as a concrete case to fuel discussions, alongside a presentation of the KOVI by the committee.
On February 12th the project "Security and fragile states", coordinated by Muriel Côte, and funded mainly by the North-South Cooperation of the University of Zürich, came to a close in a public seminar at the University of Ouagadougou I, Burkina Faso.
On 17 January, 2019 Timothy Raeymaekers gave an invited lecture at the Geography Department in Bologna, on the 'Deep Border and the Mediterranean Crisis', attended by Faculty and geography teachers.
The summer school "Gender and Space" - co-organised by several GIUZ members - gathered 100 students and lecturers around a number of activities and themes for taking stock of the trajectories and directions of feminist geographies. One of the activities inspired a blogpost on gender and space in the neoliberal academy.
On December 1, 2018, Sven Daniel Wolfe organized a panel to conclude the Human Geographies day of sessions at the Swiss Geosciences Meeting.
Between 11 and 17 November 2018, the Zürich team of the European Geography Association (EGEA), the Geographisch-Ethnologische Gesellschaft Zürich (GEGZ) and the GeoTeam (Fachverein Geographie & ESS) organized a series of events around the "Geography Awareness Week".
Muriel Côte together with Ross Purves and Flurina Wartmann coordinated a special issue in the open access journal Geographica Helvetica around the politics of defining and valuing forest.
Daniel Wolfe will be giving a workshop at the Center for Eastern European Studies on November 28th entitled “A world class party… but for whom? – Material developments, social inequalities and the 2018 football World Cup in Russia".
On October 26-27, Muriel Côte presented a paper entitled “Koglweogo legitimation: navigating the twilight of state-making and state-breaking in Burkina Faso” at the Swiss Research Africa Days organized by the Swiss Society for African Studies.
On the occasion of the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Congolese gynecological surgeon Dr. Denis Mukwege, Political Geography’s Christoph Vogel was invited to participate in RFI’s ‘Decryptage’ programme and discuss the dynamics of continued violence in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Together with Sara Geenen, Kristof Titeca and Josaphat Musamba, Christoph Vogel wrote an article for "Africa Is A Country". Titled “The Ethics of Political Art”, the piece is a critical review of Swiss theatre director Milo Rau’s multi-media project, "Congo Tribunal," about the violence in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Timothy Raeymaekers participated in the closing panel of the international workshop "Black Mediterranean: ReSignifications".
On 26th September, Muriel Côte and Dr Zakaria Soré, both researchers on the project “Spaces of vigilante legitimacy in Burkina Faso” funded by the UZH North South Cooperation, will be part of an event coordinated by Dr Heidi Bøjsen at the University of Copenhagen.
Christoph Vogel and Jason Stearns just published ‘Kivu’s Intractable Security Conundrum, revisited' in African Affairs.
Based on her master thesis research, Mengina Gilli published a post on blog of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) entitled “Decisions have consequences: Contrasting stories of shea butter and community conservation in Ghana".
On July 9-12 Dr Sylvie Capitant (Université Paris ! Panthéon-Sorbonne) and Muriel Côte co-organised a double panel entitled “Imaginaires et Désenchantement du Développement par l’extraction minière en Afrique” at the 5th Rencontre des Etudes Africaines Françaises a Marseille.
On 6 July, Christoph Vogel was invited for a talk and a roundtable discussion on the occasion of Medecins Sans Frontieres’ (MSF) annual meeting regarding humanitarian situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The event was held in Amsterdam at MSF’s Dutch section.
On 5 July, Christoph Vogel presented a paper on transnational conflict dynamics between Burundi and eastern Congo at a conference on ‘Governance, Peace and Development in Burundi’ at the University of Antwerp.
On 28 and 29 June, Timothy Raeymaekers and Christoph Vogel held a workshop in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Titled ‘Governing Conflict Minerals in eastern Congo’, the workshop convened 40 participants including Congolese miners, researchers and state representatives.
From June 7 to 9, 2018, Rony Emmenegger participated at a conference on “Violence, Space and the Political” Conference organised by the School of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway, presenting a paper on “State Sedimentation: Materialising Law and Violence in the Ethiopian Somali Frontier”.
Timothy Raeymaekers participated in an international workshop on 'The State, Anthropology, and the South' bringing different networks and research traditions into dialogue in Mainz, Germany, on 18-19 May 2018.
On June 23rd in Bern, Sarah Schilliger hosted a half day workshop on “Bitteres Gemüse” as part of the SNIS-funded project entitled “New Plantations: migrant mobility, “illegality” and racialization in European agricultural labour.
On 14-16 May the Institut de Géographie et Durabilité at the University of Lausanne organises a 3-day doctoral seminar on “Political ecology of forest”. Muriel Côte will be guest lecturer on the course, and will give a lecture entitled “Tropical forest from the edge: finding and governing forest in Burkina Faso”. The course is sponsored by the IGS and CUSO.
Rory Rowan will give a public lecture at Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) on Monday May 14, 18:00, entitled ‘Enclosing the Cosmos: Neoliberalism, Extraction & Colonization in the Age of 'NewSpace’.
Muriel Côte and Denis Gautier published a paper entitled “Fuelwood territorialities: Chantier d’Aménagement Forestier and the reproduction of “political forests” in Burkina Faso”. The paper analyses the endurance of the national sustainable fuelwood production policy despite its shortcomings.
On 26 and 27 April, Christoph Vogel participated in the bi-annual Congo Research Network conference at St. Anthony’s College where he convened a two-session panel on "rebel governmentalities" with Judith Verweijen from Ghent University, and presented a paper on the "ethics and positionalities of doing research in the eastern Congo”.
Daniel Wolfe organized a three-panels session entitled “Flattened Scale Beyond the Second World” at the American Association of Geographers annual meeting (New Orleans, 10-15 April). Within this session he presented a paper entitled “Post-Olympic Sochi: legacies of uneven development in an aspiring consumption paradise”.
Muriel Côte presented a paper entitled “At the double edge of the state: formalisation producing “hyperprecarity” on the goldmining frontier in Burkina Faso” as part of a session entitled “Frontiers in the Contemporary Moment” at the American Association of Geographers annual meeting (New Orleans, 10-15 April).
Benedikt Korf will give an input on Michael Dear’s talk in the “Sessions on Territory: Urbanism Beyond Neoliberalism” organised by the ETH Zurich D-ARCH on Mai 14, 2018.
Rony Emmenegger and Rory Rowan et al. have published an article on “Ontology and Integrative Global Change Science”. The article provides some leading questions that integrative research initiatives can use to guide self-reflexive research practices.
Members of the political geography unit met on April 17th to discuss and debate the strengths and weaknesses of the various “ontological turns” across a variety of disciplines.
Rory Rowan will be giving a lecture entitled “Beyond Colonial Futurism: Portugal’s Atlantic Spaceport and the Neoliberalization of Outer Space”.
Timothy Raeymaekers presented the paperback version of his book "Violent Capitalism and Hybrid Identity in the Eastern Congo" at the Sorbonne in Paris to the ERC project team "Social Dynamics of Civil Wars", on 15 March, 2018
Giuseppe Grimaldi, who was a visiting student at our unit in 2017, defended his PhD thesis at the University of Milano-Bicocca on 14 March, 2018 with a thesis on the Ethiopian and Eritrean diaspora titled "In search of Italianness: an ethnography of the second-generation condition in a mobility perspective".
New paper by Christoph Vogel
New paper by Daniel Wolfe and Martin Müller
Thiruni Kelegama will give a talk at the Centre for South Asian Studies of the University of Edinburgh on February 8, 2018.
In the special issue on military and politics, the D+C magazine interviewed Christoph Vogel on the conflict dynamics in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Interview with Christoph Vogel in the magazine "Spiegel" on the current dynamics of conflict in eastern Congo, where a week before, over a dozen UN peacekeeping troops have been killed in an assault.
On 7 December 2017, the Kivu Security Tracker was launched. Political Geography’s Christoph Vogel contributed to the project with a co-authored report as well as in leading the project’s components focusing on the mapping and the histories of over 120 non-state armed groups currently active in eastern Congo.
Timothy Raeymaekers presided the closing event of the New Plantations project in Bologna on 9 December and in Brussels on 14 December, 2018.
On December 2, 2017, Christoph Vogel will participate in a roundtable on the occasion of a the launch of “Bogoro”, a book around the the recent and ongoing trials regarding the Democratic Republic of the Congo at the International Criminal Court. The roundtable will take place at the Quai Branly museum in Paris and will be attended by the authors of “Bogoro” as well as former ICC lawyers and researchers. For more information here
Vogel, Christoph & Musamba, Josaphat (2017): Brokers of crisis: the everyday uncertainty of Eastern Congo's mineral négociants. Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol. 55, No. 4, pp. 567-592. More information and download here
Rory Rowan will give a guest keynote lecture at the The Westminster Law and Theory Lab at Law School of the University of Westminster, London on December 1st. The talk, 'A Neo-Colonial Nomos of the Earth?' will form part of a series of seminars and workshops on nomos, postcoloniality and spatial justice funded by the British Academy Newton Advanced Fellowship Scheme.
Sven Daniel Wolfe has been invited to give a lecture at the University of Oslo’s Department of Sociology and Human Geography on December 15, 2017, as part of their Christmas seminar. His talk was entitled “A world-class Party… but for whom? Material developments, social inequalities, and the 2018 Football World Cup in Russia.”
Timothy Raeymaekers and Domenico Perrotta will be hosting a panel on informal labour brokers and contemporary capitalist economies at the next ethnography and qualitative research conference in Bergamo, Italy, on 6-9 June 2018. More information here: http://www.etnografiaricercaqualitativa.it/?p=1039
On 14 December Timothy raeymaekers will direct the closing event of the New Plantations project. For the last two years an international research team from Switzerland, Belgium and Italy has analyzed migrant work conditions in Europe, focusing on dynamics of illegalization, racialization and labour exploitation in the contintent’s agricultural sector. All interested in participating can send an email to Timothy Raeymaekers by November 18th. More information on time, place and logistics of the event can be found in the attached flyer.
Christoph Vogel, Christoph Kaufmann and Muriel Côte will present individual papers at the international mining conference entitled “Mining in comparative perspective: trends, transformations and theories” taking place in Ghent, Belgium, 13-14 December 2017.
Rory Rowan spoke at University College London's Institute of Advanced Studies as part of the 'Towards an Anthropology of Space: Orientating Cosmological Futures' symposium on Monday September 18th. His talk was titled 'Owning the Final Frontier?: The Emerging Geographies of Extra-Planetary Extraction'. More information about the event are available via the link.
The research project entitled “Security and Fragile States - The Space of Vigilante Legitimacy in Burkina Faso” funded by the North-South Cooperation, started on July 1st and will run until October 2018. It is coordinated by Muriel Côte, and undertaken in collaboration between the Political Geography unit, UZH and the Laboratoire de Recherche Pluridisciplinaire en Science Sociale, University of Ouagadougou I. The project aims to generate knowledge about the emergence of “kogl weogo” vigilante groups in Burkina Faso, and better understand the sources of vigilante everyday legitimacy.
Adrian Lahoud from the School of Architecture at the Royal College of Art, London, will join PGG for a reading seminar on Tuesday May 30th. Lahoud will also give a guest lecture as part of the GEO423, the MA seminar in Political Geography, where he will discuss his project on the 'New Mediterranean.'
On June 2nd, Rory Rowan will be an invited keynote speaker at the "Governance and Planetary Crises: Challenges and Agendas for Human Ecology" symposium at the University of Kent, School of Anthropology and Conservation on Friday
On 25 March, the research team New Plantations, financed by the Swiss network of International Studies, organized its second intermediary meeting in Bologna, under the coordination of Timothy Raeymaekers. The meeting discussed the working conditions of migrant labourers in Southern Italy, producing different maps of this contemporary agricultural frontier.
Rory Rowan will give a Invited guest lecture at the New School's Center
for Transformative Media in New York on Tuesday April 11th, 2017, entitled
Privatizing the Cosmos: Property, Sovereignty and Frontier Extractivism in the Second Space Age.
Land, Access, and Resistance at the Virunga National Park by Stephan Hochleithner