Critical physical geography is a new field that combines critical attention to relations of social power with deep knowledge of a particular field of biophysical science or technology in the service of social and environmental transformation. The central precept of critical physical geography is that we cannot rely on explanations grounded in physical or critical human geography alone because physical landscapes and social systems are as much the product of unequal power relations, histories of colonialism, and racial and gender disparities as they are of hydrology, ecology, and climate change. Critical physical geography is thus based in the careful integrative work necessary to render these deep interconnections between biophysical and social systems legible.
This growing body of research asks what are the opportunities for a more critical Physical Geography and a more physical Critical Geography? What new research, teaching, and political practices can we build on a foundation of subaltern studies, biogeography, political-economy, geomorphology, social studies of science, and climate science?
To read more about this approach, see:
- Lave, Rebecca. In press. “Engaging Within the Academy: A Call for Critical Physical Geography.” Acme.
- Lave, Rebecca, Matthew W. Wilson, Elizabeth Barron, Christine Biermann, Mark Carey, Martin Doyle, Chris Duvall, Leigh Johnson, Maria Lane, Jamie Lorimer, Nathan McClintock, Darla Munroe, Rachel Pain, James Proctor, Bruce Rhoads, Morgan M. Robertson, Jairus Rossi, Nathan F. Sayre, Gregory Simon, Marc Tadaki, and Christopher Van Dyke. 2014.”Critical physical geography.” The Canadian Geographer 58(1): 1-10.
In addition, there will be a special section of Progress in Physical Geography which will showcase current critical physical geography research published sometime in late 2014.
Finally, there will be organizing a workshop on critical physical geography, funded by Indiana University, as an AAG pre-conference in 2015.
I’m very interested in building up a network of critical physical geography scholars, publication outlets, and reviewers, so if you do this kind of work, please get in touch!