Geography, Geographers, and the Geographies of Antiracism
This research builds upon contemporary understandings of the roles of race, whiteness, and antiracism within the practice and profession of geography in North America. A Foucauldian approach to intellectual genealogy, Critical Race Theory, and the experiences of geographers of colour are used to trace the development of antiracist thought within dominant approaches in human geography. The biographies, personal narratives, and professional genealogies of antiracist geographers of colour in the United States and Canada reveal the connections between personal experiences of racism and a relentless push for antiracist research and practice. An in-depth analysis of the scholarly contributions of three prominent antiracist geographers of colour further highlights the relationship between identity and personal experiences in the advancement of geographic theory. In identifying geographers as geographic subjects, an emphasis is placed on the hierarchy of racial knowledge and the importance of the location from where, and by whom, geographic knowledges are produced. While efforts to attract more people of colour into the profession of geography have been made since the 1960s, the practice and production of geography in the United States and Canada remains deeply racialized. The consistently small number of geographers of colour in North America geography departments and geography’s limited engagement with critical race research points to the continued power of whiteness in shaping the production of both geographers and geographic knowledge. Despite the more than 50-year age span between the youngest and oldest geographers interviewed, troubling thematic trends of experiences of racism as geography graduate students and as faculty members emerged. Whiteness and racism continue to pervade the discipline of geography in North America and the barriers discouraging the practice and development of antiracist geographies remain strong.