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Durham University

Department of Geography

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Human Geography Seminar: 'The Ends of Life'

27th November 2019, 13:00 to 15:00, W007, Main Geography Building, Dr Paul Harrison, Department of Geography, Durham University

It seems to be a given, an unalloyed good, that life should be loved, that life loves to live, and that we should love this love, be in accord with it, and seek its enhancement. Indeed, today the ‘busyness’ or ‘liveliness’ of relational geography passes almost without comment, being for the most part simply asserted or assumed.

Tracking the motif of ‘liveliness’ in current work in human geography would have to cast a wide net, noting not only ‘busyness’, but also terms such as ‘enchantment’, ‘entanglement’, ‘enacting’, ‘enthusiasm’, ‘enliven’, their centrality to ‘non-representational theory’, to the ‘new materialisms’, and more. It is my belief that the widespread albeit diffuse use of such terms signals an evaluation of some kind. Used quite freely and often only for emphasis, they signal that the discourse in question has already signed-up to a certain evaluation of how things stand with life.

The aim of this seminar is to offer a diagnosis of this moment and evaluation, and to suggest it perhaps time to be done with it, to put an end to life.

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