Point, Line, Plane, Volume: Increasing Dimensionality in Geographic Inquiry I & II. AAG SFO 2016.

Please join us for two sessions of action-packed presentations and titillating discussion about vertical territory and volumetric thinking. From oceans to outer space, bodies to nuclear power, the quaking earth and subterranean, we’ll have something for everyone. Hope to see you there!

SESSIONS: Point, Line, Plane, Volume: Increasing Dimensionality in Geographic Inquiry I & II

ORGANIZERS: Katherine Genevieve Sammler. School of Geography & Regional Development, The University of Arizona.

LOCATION: Friday, April 1, 2016, from 8:00 AM – 9:40 AM & 10:00 AM – 11:40 AM in Plaza A, Hilton Hotel, Lobby Level.


8:00 AM   Author(s): Maral Sotoudehnia, PhD Candidate – University of Victoria. Locating ‘My place’ with Makani: Smart geo-addressing and the ‘automatic production’ of Dubai’s toponymic landscape.

8:20 AM   Author(s): John Bronte – Queen’s University Belfast. Philip Boland – Queen’s University Belfast. The Competitive Waterfront in an Era of Neoliberal Urbanism: Who Benefits?

8:40 AM   Author(s): Lindsay Shade, PhD Candidate – University of Kentucky, Dept of Geography. Politics below the surface: A legal-political ecology of systemic opacity in the mining sector in Appalachia and the Andes.


10:00 AM   Author(s): Elizabeth Reddy – University of California at Irvine. Surfacing: Mexican Seismicity Out of the Underground.

10:20 AM   Author(s): Kai A. Bosworth – University of Minnesota – Minneapolis. Keystone XL, hydrogeology, and the verticality of property.

10:40 AM   Author(s): Irma Allen – KTH, Royal Institute of Technology. Wayward volumes, disciplining planes: Constructing the post-nuclear imaginary. 

11:00 AM  Author(s): Katherine Genevieve Sammler – University of Arizona – School of Geography and Development. Common Heritage or Private Commodity: Political Geography of Sea, Air, and Space.

SESSION DESCRIPTION: Improvements in technology along with expanding territories of capital investment make it important to recognize that previous theorizations in geography have largely considered space and territory in two dimensions. Recent scholarship calls for the extension of theoretical and empirical inquiry to include the third spatial dimension of verticality and volumes. Contributions to these efforts include research on oceans (Steinberg and Peters 2015), subterranean spaces (Braun 2000; Weizman 2002; Elden 2013a, 2013b), airspace (Williams 2013), and outer space (MacDonald 2007). These volumes have been considered, respectively, as spaces of fluidity and continual reformation, as the hidden, invisible or imperceptible, as spaces of military power and surveillance, and as the final capitalist frontier. This session seeks to expound on conversations of the material, political, legal and social assemblages that construct these voluminous spaces as three-dimensional terrains of historical, contemporary, and future human activities. This includes how bodies are moved, replaced or stretched – spatially, temporally and technologically – towards different sites, territories, and regimes of governance.

Expanding the conceptualization of territory from areas to volumes and from surfaces to cubes, spheres and columns of height and depth produces a need to rethink the politics of space, in particular the techniques for asserting power over and within volumetric spaces. Thus securing the material and affective dimensions of verticality necessarily forces a reorientation and renegotiation of power relations, property rights regimes, legal apparatuses, financial calculations of transmuting volume into value, cartographic representations, and other technologies of governance (Bridge 2013; Elden 2013a). In this session, we expand the concepts of verticality and volumetric territory beyond the realm of exceptional, securitized, and militarized spaces, previously the predominant focus of this scholarship. We are particularly interested in the applications of and implications for rethinking space and place as vertical and voluminous through the occupation, regulation, and exploitation of bodies, objects, and territories such as via GPS tracking, satellite surveillance, on and off-shore resource extraction, on and off- planet mining, regulation of atmosphere, and privatization of space travel. We welcome conceptual, theoretical, and empirically based papers.

Adey, P. 2013. Securing the volume/volume: Comments on Stuart Elden’s Plenary paper ‘Secure the volume’. Political Geography 34: 52-54.
Braun, B. 2000. Producing vertical territory: Geology and governmentality in late Victorian Canada. Ecumene 7(1): 7-46.
Bridge, G. 2013. Territory, now in 3D! Political Geography 34: 55-57.
Deleuze, G. and F. Guattari. 1987. A thousand plateaus: Capitalism and schizophrenia. University of Minnesota Press: Minneapolis.
Elden, S. 2013a. Secure the volume: Vertical geopolitics and the depth of power. Political Geography 34: 35-51.
Elden, S. 2013b. Bodies, books, beneath: A reply to Adey and Bridge. Political Geography 34: 58-59.
MacDonald, F. 2007. Anti-Astropolitik- outer space and the orbit of geography. Progress in Human Geography 31(5): 592-615.
Scott, H.V. 2008. Colonialism, landscape and the subterranean. Geography Compass 2 (6): 1853-1869.
Steinberg, P. and K. Peters. 2015. Wet ontologies, fluid spaces: Giving depth to volume through oceanic thinking. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 33: 247-264. Weizman, E. 2002. Introduction to the politics of verticality. https://www.opendemocracy.net/ecology-politicsverticality/article_801.jsp
Williams, A.J. 2013. Re-orientating vertical geopolitics. Geopolitics 18: 225-246.