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Speaker – Professor Paul Routledge

Donald Trump in the White House. Growing inequality worldwide. Forty million people affected by catastrophic flooding in South Asia. The media is full of stories of the rise of authoritarian politics; economic inequality; and the effects of climate change. It can sometimes feel that the world around us is dangerous, unpredictable, and in permanent crisis.

However, beyond the mainstream media’s obsession with ratings, celebrity and spectacle, people around the world are attempting to challenge economic and social injustice and fashion alternatives to the current state of affairs.

The political order determines what is visible and what can be said and heard in political discourse and the places in which this discourse occurs. I argue that protest always poses political interventions in this arrangement. Protests call into question the structuring principles of that order by making visible the inequalities and lack of freedoms (or wrongs) inherent in it.

Being seen and heard through protest involves a keen understanding, and creative use of geography – whether that be through transforming landscapes, using, occupying, defending or abandoning territory or developing solidarity and communication networks In This talk I will draw upon my scholar activism from the past 25 years to show how protestors draw from and deploy a strategic geographical imagination to make sense of the world of protest and build effective campaigns.



Paul Routledge is Professor in Contentious Politics and Social Change, at the School of Geography, University of Leeds. His research interests include critical geopolitics, climate change, social justice,  and social movements. He has long-standing research interests concerning development, environment and the practices of protest movements in the Global South, particularly South Asia and Southeast Asia, and in the Global North. He is author of Space Invaders: radical geographies of protest (Pluto Press, 2017).

Each session starts at 19.30 and finishes at 21.00 – though discussion can continue in the café.

Donation: £3 but no one turned away for lack of funds