Teaching, teaching, teaching… and a panel on Marginality in Perth (Australia)

Hi there,

I’ve been really pleased with the response to this blog. It’s been great speaking with people who have similar interests. If you are interested in these areas/topics, please do get in touch: brian.cook [at] unimelb.edu.au

Things have been incredibly manic with my current teaching load. I’m coordinating more than 300 students, and am responsible for all of Geog 30019: Sustainable Development, and Geog 10001: The Geography of Scarcity. It’s been great, and the students are (for the most part) very good.

Fortunately, a few research projects have managed to move forward.

Institute of Australian Geographers: 2013 Conference (July 1-4)

JC Gaillard (The University of Auckland) and I are organising a panel on the topic of Marginality. It will build on a similar effort for the AAG conference in LA earlier in the year. If you’d like to be involved get in touch, because I am also drafting a related paper and would like to engage with peopel as part of that effort. So if Marginality, Marginalisation, Marginal lands, or Marginality are your thing, send me a note.

Marginality and Human Development in the Context of Environmental Vulnerability

IAG 2013 – following from AAG 2013 Panel

As opposed to an individual’s state or characteristic, vulnerability to natural and technological hazards is increasingly understood in terms of dynamic pressures and/or root causes. This interpretation requires a shift away from an emphasis on vulnerability and towards the processes that allow vulnerability to persist. In this session(s), we will explore ‘marginality’ as a way of conceptualising and analysing this production of vulnerability.

Marginality has multiple connotations, each a way of interpreting dynamic, multi-scalar forces. For example, it is the condition of poor access to political and policy decision making. It is exclusion from the social and natural capital required of livelihoods. Simultaneously, people that are marginalised are often relegated to more hazardous locations. The marginalised lack access to many services (both social and natural) enjoyed by most members of society, including the savings needed to resist disaster impacts and to quickly recover. Linking each of these processes of marginality are disadvantages that accrue to certain individuals and groups, normally to the benefit of others.

Analyses of marginality must be about understanding the diverse pressures and relations that affect segments of the population and push some individuals and groups to the margins of society and space.

In this session our aim is to examine marginality. We will emphasise the relations, processes, and pressures that make marginalisation so difficult to overcome or escape. This call is particularly oriented to scholars able to: 1) speak to successful countermeasures and 2) for those able to explain the direct and indirect forces that allow marginality to persist. In order to provide a boundary to this expansive topic, we ask that emphasis be placed on rights and human development in the Asia-Pacific region.

Questions may include but are not limited to:

  • How is marginalization experienced?
  • Can examples of marginalization or marginality be compared?
  • What approaches have successfully or unsuccessfully engaged marginalization?
  • What allows marginalisation to persist?


Brian Cook, The University of Melbourne, Department of Resource Management and Geography

JC Gaillard, University of Auckland, New Zealand, School of Environment

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