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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Geography & Environmental Science Seminar  Seminar

29 April 2021
Via Teams

Event details

Geography & Environmental Science Seminar


Matthew Tillotson – Population, Health and Wellbeing, School of Geography and Environmental Science

Title: White guys in the borderlands: water, whiteness and environmental change in the Nile Valley and at Lake Rudolf/Turkana, 1899-1905

In a few years around 1900 British boundary surveys attempted a technical ‘conquest’ of the Nile Valley as they produced Britain's imperial borders with Ethiopia. Water featured as a principal object of surveying’s measurement-territorialisation complex. But as environmental change manifested in north-east Africa, particularly in 1900-01, water’s fluid materiality presented regular technical challenges for surveyors: rivers and lakes shifted, disappeared or materialised in unexpected places. Surveying practice showed that rivers and lakes were not straightforwardly the objects that boundary surveys assumed. Entanglements between objects and observers (Barad 2007) characterised surveying’s technical practice, and on the Nile states were built into and out of environments (Carroll 2012). But these entanglements are largely written out of surveying’s archives which instead narrate a form of ‘mastery’ (Singh 2018), ideal imperial subjects emerging to dominate environments and human populations alike.

So I will discuss how a specific form of white masculinity was generated in the technical work of boundary surveying, sustained by the archival fiction that white male bodies apprehended space in uniquely capable ways. This supported racialized divisions of technical labour within the survey, centring on the abstract work of surveyors and the more idiographic technical agencies of their South Asian assistants. Given the archival silences of these assistants—and those of Nile valley populations—we can also reflect, after Singh (2018) on the extent to which surveying’s subjugation of environments was entangled with the racist subjugation of peoples within imperial government more broadly.

Dr Julie Vullnetari – Economy, Society and Governance, School of Geography and Environmental Science

Title: Older people as ‘agents of development’? Doing development through carework

The Migration-Development debates have considered the four dimensions through which migration impacts development: remittances, return, diaspora, and the skilled. Moreover, the focus has been on the impact in developing countries of the Global South. This paper extends these arguments by arguing that ‘Care’ is a dimension that not only has excellent potential to help understand the impacts of migration on development, but it does so across the Global South-North divide. Within this dimension, older people play an important role, but which has so far been overlooked by literature. Can they be considered as ‘agents of development’ and if so, how? The presentation draws on my empirical work in the context of Albania, and is informed by recent debates around the role of older people in development. It underscores the valuable contribution that older people make to development, especially through their participation in caregiving within and across borders. The talk will present work in progress that I am undertaking for a conceptual paper, so any constructive feedback would be very welcome.

Speaker Information

Matthew Tillotson - Teaching Fellow in Human Geography within Geography and Environmental Science at the University of Southampton.

Dr Julie Vullnetari - Lecturer in Human Geography within Geography and Environmental Science at the University of Southampton.

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