2nd CFP: AAG 2014: Exurban Studies: Methodologically and Theoretically Situating an Emerging Subfield

Exurban Studies:  Methodologically and Theoretically Situating an Emerging Subfield

Session Organizers:
Innisfree McKinnon, University of Oregon
Seth Gustafson, University of Georgia

Despite the hopes of many planners and environmentalists, the 2008 economic crisis does not appear to have produced a long term shift away from sprawling development patterns in historically rural areas.  The 2008 crisis, along with other social and environmental processes has, however, complicated the social, economic, and environmental legacies of decades of urban development in the countryside.  Indeed, recent scholarship has illustrated exurbia as a spatial formation of dramatic upheaval and disjuncture, posing a litany of questions of governance, management, social equity, and environmental degradation.

We are looking to bring together human-, physical-, and techniques-based papers that approach the problems, contradictions, and conflicts of exurban development from a variety of methodological and theoretical perspectives. We are particularly interested in papers that bring new theoretical or methodological approaches to the study of exurbia. How can we, as academics, move beyond describing the dilemmas posed by exurbanization and instead move toward producing research useful to exurban communities, land holders, policymakers, activists, and especially to those paying the inevitable social costs of exurbanization? What seemingly divergent approaches to exurbia can be brought together to produce useful insights?

Potential topics include,  but are not limited to:

  • What are the political discourses of conservation in exurbia and how might they be mobilized differently by scholars and activists?
  • What are the ecological, environmental, and physical landscape implications of exurbanization?
  • How can studies of exurbanization inform broader discussions on climate change, including modeling future land use, the politics of climate change discourses, and adaptation to climate change?
  • How is exurbia racialized and gendered? How do race and gender in exurbia relate to issues of environmental privilege and environmental justice?
  • What is the role of capital investment and disinvestment in exurban development processes?
  • What is exurbia’s place in recent discussions of planetary urbanization?
  • How do global, regional, and national, political ecological processes impact local exurban sites?  Which impacts persist across exurban sites?
  • How are local and scientific knowledges produced in exurbia and through exurbanization processes?
  • How do urban-centric and rural-centric perspectives inform our views of exurbanization processes?  Is there any commensurability or productive tension between these two?
  • What is the value and place of ‘exurban studies’ as a loosely organized body of scholarship and scholars?
  • What is the future potential and current state of cross-cutting, interdisciplinary exurban scholarship?
  • How does exurban growth in the global north compare with exurban growth in the global south?


Please send an abstract of no more than 250 words to Innisfree McKinnon (innisfre@uoregon.edu) and Seth Gustafson (sgus@uga.edu) by Friday, November 8, 2013.
Innisfree Mckinnon
University of Oregon

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