Join us on May 5 and 6 to celebrate the careers of two former GES/ICGC faculty members, Helga Leitner and Eric Sheppard.  The event will take place in the Mississippi Room of Coffman Union.  See the full schedule of events.  

Keynote: Professor Jamie Peck, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia

“In the mirror of practice: ‘analyzing situations,’ extending cases, conjunctural methodologies”

Abstract: In response to Eric Sheppard's and Helga Leitner's provocative careers, I will offer some reflections on "conjunctural analysis" in critical inquiry. Conjunctural analysis is an alluring if enigmatic practice. It is generally observed after the fact and in feats of exemplary execution; it is apparently somewhat resistant to codification; and it is perhaps possibly too cool for methodological rules. Predicated on the analysis of politically salient “situations,” to recall Gramsci’s formulation, conjunctural approaches combine reflexive theorizing with socially engaged inquiry and context-rich, deeply historicized modes of analysis. Exploring the potential of conjunctural analysis for human geography, the presentation will seek to tease out some of the methodological implications of this rather elusive approach. These include, first, attention to complex states of causal codetermination, “in articulation”; second, an orientation to relational and “unbounded” modes of inquiry; third, an emphasis on the stress-testing of received theory claims and conceptual categories, often in anomalous (as opposed to “typical”) situations; and fourth, a commitment to reflexivity, context-engaged analysis, and “thick” theorization. Although conjuncturalism is not methodologically prescriptive, it implies distinctive criteria for problem formulation and research design; for “casing,” case selection, and specification; and for the exposition and (re)construction of contextualized theory claims.