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“A plantation can be a commons”: Re‐Earthing Sapelo Island through Abolition Ecology

May 25, 2020 Comments off

This was a long time in progress and came with all sorts of challenges but happy to have it out in the world.

Heynen, N. (2020). “A plantation can be a commons”: Re‐Earthing Sapelo Island through Abolition Ecology. Antipode.

Abstract
This paper is based on the 2018 Neil Smith Lecture presented at the University of St Andrews. It considers the plantation past/futures of Sapelo Island, Georgia, one of the Sea Islands forming an archipelago along the US Southeastern coast. I work through the abolitionist efforts of the Saltwater Geechee’s who have resided there since at least 1803 to better understand how we can mobilise an emancipatory politics of land and property and to produce commons that work to repair and heal the violence done through enslavement and ongoing displacement. I weave together a series of historical threads to better situate linked ideas of abolition democracy and abolition geography, and to extend the notion of abolition ecology as a strategic notion to connect Eurocentric based political ecologies with the emancipatory tradition of Black geographies.

What Harriet Tubman and John Brown can teach us about abolishing ‘White men’

January 8, 2020 Comments off

Heynen, N. (2020). What Harriet Tubman and John Brown can teach us about abolishing ‘White men’. Dialogues in Human Geography.

Abstract
This commentary argues that one path toward Natalie Oswin’s ‘An Other Geography’ is through abolishing the institution of ‘White men’. Like other oppressive institutions, ‘White men’ have produced epistemic violence that has shaped and structured the discipline of geography in uneven and unjust ways. This essay is an effort to show appreciation and gratitude, and to stand in solidarity, with Oswin’s prophetic vision of ‘an other geography’. I mobilize the linked biographies of Harriet Tubman and John Brown as an entry point given how little we have yet worked to understand abolitionist history for thinking through the many ways we can work to transform geography.

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