American Association of Geographers’ Annual Meeting

April 3-7, 2019

Washington, DC


CfP: Querying ‘the future of work’: Feminist Economic Geography interventions

Organizers: Emily Reid-Musson (University of Waterloo), Daniel Cockayne 
(University of Waterloo), Lia Frederiksen (University of Toronto), Nancy Worth 
(University of Waterloo)

This CfP builds on a strong set of sessions at the Feminist Geography 
conference hosted by the Université de Montréal, 2018. At that meeting, papers 
addressed economic justice, precarious work, and social reproduction. Kinship 
and debt in the organization of work and workers’ lives emerged as a central 
theme in these sessions, which included case studies on the London rental 
housing market; agrarian labour in Bengal and Tamil Nadu; ‘death care’ as work; 
automated elder care work in Japan; craft bloggers’ labour; and women bus 
conductors’ mobile workplaces in Delhi. The purpose of sessions at the AAG2019 
is to further facilitate interventions from feminist economic geography to 
query the ‘future of work’.

In the decade since the onset of the global financial crisis, a wave of rapid 
automation touted as the “fourth industrial revolution” (Schwab, 2016) is 
occurring in the midst of a global migration crisis and rising right-wing 
nationalism. Among many other political and economic struggles, these processes 
prompt troubling questions about the reorganization of work, workers’ lives, 
and labour markets. Our focus draws inspiration from Linda McDowell’s arguments 
that economic theories of epochal change rest on a false and unstable premise 
that economic and labour market changes are gender-neutral (McDowell & Dyson, 
2011; McDowell, 1991, 2015).


We particularly welcome papers that explore the ‘future of work’ in ways that 
interrogate omissions and elisions in feminist economic geography debates, 
while also troubling some of the accepted conventions and assumptions that may 
define feminist economic geography.

Possible questions include:

·         What struggles, spaces, and subjects have been critically neglected 
in scholarly debates about the ‘future of work’, and in economic geography more 
broadly (Bonds, 2013)?

·         What theoretical and conceptual insights can feminist economic 
geography contribute to interrogating these exclusions (Werner et al., 2017)?

·         How are the subjects of the ‘future of work’ celebrated, maligned, 
feared, or constructed through their ‘difference’?

·         How do these subjects reshape the spaces, policies, and politics of 
work as economic and political agents?

·         How are social and labour movements responding to critical challenges 
that confront workers in the present moment of crisis and transformation?

·         How is the ‘future of work’ framed, as automotive and digital, and in 
particular as a dystopia or utopia (Bissell & Del Casino, 2017; Richardson, 
2018)?

·         What historical continuities and changes make it difficult to 
dismantle the conceptual separation between productive and reproductive work?

·         In what ways, and with what effects, are race, sexuality, and 
dis/ability implicated in the allocation of reproductive labour?

We encourage submissions that cut across the widest range of possible themes, 
regions, theoretical positions, and methodologies. Topics might include:

·         Innovation, automation, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, tech

·         Digital, on-demand, and other forms of precarious and informal 
‘sharing economy’ work

·         Human/nonhuman/machine interfaces, assemblages, and relations

·         Re/productive labour divisions, relations, and platforms

·         Migrant work arrangements, within and outside of detention and 
immigration systems

·         Unfree, carceral, or forced labour

·         Unions, labour movements, social movements and the ‘future of work’

·         Environmental, ecological, and climate justice-labour alliances or 
tensions

·         Job classification issues and struggles

·         The politics of social and labour policy and regulation

Please send a paper title and 250-word abstract to daniel.cocka...@uwaterloo.ca 
and nancy.wo...@uwaterloo.ca by Thursday 11th October 2018.



Works Cited

Bissell, D., & Del Casino, V. J. (2017). Whither labor geography and the rise 
of the robots? Social & Cultural Geography, 18(3), 435–442.

Bonds, A. (2013). Racing Economic Geography: The place of race in Economic 
Geography. Geography Compass, 76(10).

McDowell, L. (1991). Life without father and Ford: the new gender order of 
post-Fordism. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 16(4), 
400–419.

McDowell, L. (2015). The lives of others: Body work, the production of 
difference and labor geographies. Economic Geography, 91(1), 1–23.

McDowell, L., & Dyson, J. (2011). The other side of the knowledge economy: 
“Reproductive” employment and affective labours in Oxford. Environment and 
Planning A, 43, 2186–2202.

Richardson, L. (2018). Feminist geographies of digital work. Progress in Human 
Geography, 42(2), 244-263.

Schwab, K. (2016). The Fourth Industrial Revolution: What it means and how to 
respond. World Economic Forum, 1–7.
Werner, M., Strauss, K., Parker, B., Orzeck, R., Derickson, K., & Bonds, A. 
(2017). Feminist political economy in geography: Why now, what is different, 
and what for? Geoforum, 79, 1–4.

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