Johannesburg, South Africa, 21-27 June 2015

The fifth Institute for the Geographies of Justice (IGJ) took place in Johannesburg, South Africa from 21 to 27 June 2015.

We met in the City of Johannesburg, a city built on gold, labor, power, struggle, and a cosmopolitan energy that points to a variety of futures for the continent and the world. Johannesburg is a rich site of excavation of geographies of injustice as well as of intellectual, political, and artistic creativity. The meeting was framed around engagements including: dis/possession and occupation; difference/differentiation; desire, affect, materiality; value, values, waste; space, territoriality and nature; urban formations and spatial justice; knowledge, discourse and power, and the praxis of radical geography. It involved facilitated discussions, public panels and lectures, as well as space for participants to shape collective discussion, writing and collaborative exchanges, walks, art and music performances, and engagements with all aspects of our praxis as radical educators, activists, thinkers, and writers. The program attempted to make space for engagements with musicians, artists, and activists in the city, as well as guided explorations of the City of Johannesburg and Soweto.


Erin Araujo, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Rini Astuti, Victoria University of Wellington
Melanie Barron, University of Tennessee
Asha Best, Rutgers University-Newark
Dhiren Borisa, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
Kai Bosworth, University of Minnesota
Morgan Buck, CUNY
Jennifer Casolo, Universidad Rafael Lándivar, Guatemala
Danford Chibvongodze, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Andrea Choi, Queen’s University
Gradon Diprose, Open Polytechnic, New Zealand
Audra El Vilaly, University of Arizona
Claudia Gastrow, University of the Witwatersrand
Sarah Godsell, University of the Witwatersrand
Billy Hall, Florida International University
Malav Kanuga, CUNY
Nerve Macaspac, University of California, Los Angeles
Tyler McCreary, University of British Columbia
Maegan Miller, University of California, Los Angeles
Emma Monama, University of the Witwatersrand
Victor Munnik, University of the Witwatersrand
Ernestina Nkooe, University of South Africa
Mbuso Nkosi, University of the Witwatersrand
Magie Ramírez, University of Washington
Azita Ranjbar, Pennsylvania State University
Seonyoung Seo, National University of Singapore
Natasha Vally, University of the Witwatersrand

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A highlight of the week was a series of public lectures and panels:

Ruth Wilson Gilmore (Professor of Geography, City University of New York) presented “Extraction: Abolition Geography and the Problem of Innocence”, with an introduction from Ruth Hopkins (Senior Journalist, Wits Justice Project);

Edgar Pieterse (African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town) participated in a discussion on “The Contemporary African City: Crises, Potentials, and Limits” with Alex Wafer and Prishani Naidoo (Wits University);

Gillian Hart (Professor of Geography and Development Studies at UC Berkeley) and Françoise Vergès (Chair in the Global South at the Collège d’études mondiales) participated in a discussion on “Capital, Disposability, Occupations” with Sharad Chari and Melanie Samson (Wits University);

And Ananya Roy (Professor of City and Regional Planning, UC Berkeley) presented “City’s End: Making the ‘People’s Territory’”, with an introduction from Achille Mbembe (Professor at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research).

You can see videos of these online here.