CfP AAG 2023: Emerging Geographies of Biosecurity

Organizers: Mohammed Rafi Arefin, Mollie Holmberg, Carolyn Prouse, Chris Reimer

Critical scholarship on biosecurity has long highlighted how science and governance intersect to (often violently) produce, manage, and enforce hierarchical social difference in the name of protecting lives,
livelihoods, and geographies that the state and capital value. This scholarship is concerned with diverse responses to threats coded as both ‘biological’ and ‘foreign’ by the people and institutions that
coordinate them. How then are current geographies of biosecurity emerging under interlocking and accelerating crises of fascist violence, capitalist extraction, climate change, and disease emergence? Furthermore, how are these geographies shaped by longer histories of colonization and racial capitalism (and resistance to them) that continue in the present?

We invite paper submissions on topics that include but are not limited to:

• New spatializations/materialities/geographies/temporalities of risk and risk governance
o For instance, if/how has COVID reoriented temporal logics of precaution, preemption, and preparedness (Anderson, 2010)? How have new spatial imaginaries of immunity (Hinchliffe et al, 2013; Barker, 2015) and risk (Guthman and Brown, 2016) influenced biosecurity programs?

• Racialized/gendered dimensions of biosecurity
o For instance, how are racial immuno-logics (Benton, 2014) and/or Islamophobia (Raza Kolb, 2020) embedded in biosecurity regimes?

• Structural inequalities, geopolitics and disease
o For instance, how have urban political ecology (Gandy, 2021), political geographies (Collier & Lakoff, 2008), and economic geography (Sparke & Williams, 2022) contributed to understanding the political and material basis for managing disease biopolitics?

• Critical and emerging approaches to biosecurity
o For instance, what can Black studies (surveillance – Browne, 2015; abolition – Benjamin, 2019), Indigenous geographies (genomics – TallBear, 2013; decolonization – Belcourt, 2015; relationality – Todd, 2016; data sovereignty – Kukutai and Taylor, 2016; biosecurity -Lambert & Mark-Shadbolt, 2021), feminist geographies (embodiment – Mansfield, 2012; Patchin, 2020), multispecies geographies (socioecologies – Ahuja, 2016), disability justice (Chen, 2012; Johnk and Khan, 2019), and necropolitics (Puar, 2007) add to canonical conceptualizations of biosecurity, or even depart from them?

The paper session(s) will precede a panel discussion on how the pandemic and concomitant intensification of biosecurity have shaped the practices of critical biosecurity and surveillance scholars. All sessions will be virtual, even if some speakers are attending the AAGs in person.

Please submit your paper abstracts (300 words max) to [email protected] by October 27th. We will have decisions to submitters within one week.


• Ahuja, Neel (2016). Bioinsecurities: Disease Interventions, Empire, and the Government of Species. Duke University Press.
• Anderson, Ben (2010). Preemption, precaution, preparedness: Anticipatory action and future geographies. Progress in Human Geography 34(6): 777-798.
• Barker, Kezia. (2015). Biosecurity: Securing circulations from the microbe to the macrocosm. The Geographical Journal 181(4): 357-365.
• Belcourt, Billy-Ray. (2015). Animal Bodies, Colonial Subjects: (Re)Locating Animality in Decolonial Thought. Societies 5(1): 1-11.
• Benjamin, Ruha. (2019). Introduction: Discriminatory Design, Liberating Imagination. In R Benjamin (Ed) Captivating Technology: Race, Carceral Technoscience, and Liberatory Imagination in Everyday Life (pp. 1-22). Duke University Press
• Benton, Adia (2014). Race and the immune-logics of Ebola response in West Africa. Somatosphere.
• Browne, Simone. (2015). Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness. Durham: Duke University Press.
• Chen, Mel. (2012). Following Mercurial Affect. In Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Matter, and Queer Affect (pp. 189-221). Duke University Press.
• Collier, Stephen and Lakoff, Andrew. (2008). Chapter One: The Problem of Securing Health. In A Lakoff and S Collier (Eds) Biosecurity Interventions: Global Health and Security in Question (pp.
7-32). Columbia University Press.
• Johnk, Lzz and Khan, Sasha A. (2019) “Cripping the Fuck Out:” A Queer Crip Mad Manifesta Against the Medical Industrial Complex. Feral Feminisms 9: 26-38.
• Gandy, Matthew. (2021). The Zoonotic City: Urban Political Ecology and the Pandemic Imaginary. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 46(2): 202-219.
• Guthman, Julie and Brown, Sandy. (2016). Whose Life Counts: Biopolitics and the “Bright Line” of Chloropicrin Mitigation in California’s Strawberry Industry. Science, Technology, and Human
Values 41(3): 461-482.
• Hinchliffe, Steve; Allen, John; Lavau, Stephanie; Bingham, Nick; and Carter, Simon. (2013). Biosecurity and the topologies of infected life: From borderlines to borderlands. Transactions 38:
• Kukutai, Tahu and Taylor, John. (2016). Data sovereignty for indigenous peoples: current practice and future needs. In T Kukutai and J Taylor (Eds) Indigenous Data Sovereignty: Toward an agenda (pp. 1-22). Australian National University Press.
• Lambert, Simon J & Mark-Shadbolt, Melanie. (2021). Indigenous biosecurity: Past, present and future. In K Barker and R Francis (Eds) Routledge Handbook of Biosecurity and Invasive Species
(pp. 55-65). Routledge.
• Mansfield, Becky. (2012). Environmental Health as Biosecurity: “Seafood Choices,” Risk, and the
Pregnant Woman as Threshold. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 102(5): 969-976.
• Patchin, Paige Marie. (2020). Thresholds of empire: Women, biosecurity, and the Zika Chemical Vector Program in Puerto Rico. Annals of the American Association of Geographers 110(4): 967-
• Puar, Jasbir. (2007). Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times. Duke University Press.
• Raza Kolb, Anjuli Fatima. (2020). Epidemics of Empire: Colonialism, Contagion, and Terror, 1817-2020. The University of Chicago Press.
• Sparke, Matthew & Williams, David Owain (2022). Neoliberal disease: COVID-19, copathogenesis and global health insecurities. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space 54(1): 15-32.
• TallBear, Kim. (2013). Native American DNA. University of Minnesota Press.
• Todd, Zoe. (2016). An Indigenous feminist’s take on the ontological turn: ‘Ontology’ is just another word for colonialism. Journal of Historical Sociology 29(1): 4-22.