Negative Geographies


Negative Geographies

Exploring the Politics of Limits

Edited by David Bissell, Mitch Rose, and Paul Harrison

Cultural Geographies + Rewriting the Earth Series

318 pages
1 chart, index


November 2021


$35.00 Add to Cart

November 2021


$99.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

November 2021


$35.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

November 2021


$35.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Negative Geographies is the first edited collection to chart the political, conceptual, and ethical consequences of how the underexplored problem of the negative might be posed for contemporary cultural geography. Using a variety of case studies and empirical investigations, these chapters consider how the negative, through annihilations, gaps, ruptures, and tears, can work within or against the terms of affirmationism. The collection opens up new avenues through which key problems of cultural geography might be differently posed and points to the ways that it might be possible and desirable to think, theorize, and exemplify negation.

Author Bio

David Bissell is an associate professor of geography at the University of Melbourne. Mitch Rose is a senior lecturer of geography at Aberystwyth University. Paul Harrison is a lecturer of geography at Durham University.


"Carrying forward the 'spatial turn' of 20th-century social thought, this welcome volume tilts critical cultural geography in a direction not yet fully realized. . . . Centering on the question of 'limits' as the site where spaces meet their unpredictable futures, this collection offers a much-needed guide for a new geography, a clear-eyed rewriting of planet Earth that takes into account the suffering of its inhabitants."—B. G. Chang, Choice

“To sit with Negative Geographies is to rest in a rare but welcome space: at once intimate, philosophical, and wrenchingly relevant to our contemporary world. The must-read introduction and each beautifully crafted essay circle the horizon of that which withdraws in its singularity: the unknowable, the unrelatable, the exhausted, and the incapacitated. In its ethical commitment to failure, Negative Geographies succeeds in offering a profound effacement of the drive to knowledge, action, and mastery that pervades geographical thought and practice.”—Anna Secor, professor of human geography at Durham University

“It is difficult to be too positive about Negative Geographies. The volume convenes some of the most exciting and profound thinkers working in cultural geography today. In a rare display of consistent excellence, every contributor delivers a substantive, carefully wrought essay foregrounding a mode of limitation or negativity. The themes and contexts are wide-ranging. But out of this diversity—tuned by fine framing essays from the editors—there emerges a rich, serious, and consistent collective challenge to the highly productive but one-sided ‘affirmationist’ tendency in much recent cultural geography. Negative Geographies is much more than merely a critique. Yet as critique, too, it is a masterwork. This is a group of scholars at the height of their powers, both living out and reporting upon an important, nascent widening of horizons in cultural geography with striking discernment and honesty. Together these scholars have crafted a watershed book that will shape cultural geography for years to come.”—Matthew G. Hannah, professor of cultural geography at the University of Bayreuth

“Not only does this collection speak to a range of prominent currents that animate contemporary cultural geography, but it does so through a range of reflections on the unsettling times we seem to be living through. The assembled cast pursues this with a clarity and lightness that is refreshing. Negative Geographies could come to be viewed as a classic in the vein of many of the edited collections of humanistic and new cultural geography.”—Paul Simpson, associate professor of human geography at the University of Plymouth


“I am impressed by the breadth of scholarship assembled in this volume. The contributions cohere into a readable and scholarly totality. The focus is clearly articulated and emerges forcefully in the assemblage that makes the book a compelling proposition.”—Ulf Strohmayer, professor of geography at the National University of Ireland, Galway

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1. Negative Geographies
Mitch Rose, David Bissell, and Paul Harrison
2. Negativism Again: “Everything . . . Less Than the Universe Is Subject to Suffering”
Chris Philo
3. A Love whereof Non- Shall Speak: Reflections on Naming; of “Non-Representational Theory”
Paul Harrison
4. Ethics for the Unaffirmable: The Hesitant Love of a Cultural Translator
Vickie Zhang
5. The Politics of Volunteering in Loss and at a Loss: Autobiographical Reflections on Grief, Vulnerability, and (In)Action
Avril Maddrell
6. Liminal Geographies of Exhaustion: Exhausted Bodies, Exhausted Places, Exhausted Possibilities
David Bissell
7. “The Little Murmur of Unconsenting Man”: On Time and the Miracle
Jessica Dubow
8. Dislocation: Disorientation: Disappearance: Distance
John Wylie
9. To Wound Life, to Prevent Its Recovery: Enforcing Vulnerability in Gaza
Mikko Joronen
10. Come and See: Witnessing and Negation in the Mobile Killing Units of Nazi Germany
Richard Carter-White
11. Tragic Democracy: The Politics of Submitting to Others
Mitch Rose

Also of Interest