Ten years ago, the decision was taken to close Brunel University's Department of Geography and Earth Sciences and its undergraduate programmes. Since this time, most of the human geographers have remained at Brunel, but now work from beyond the boundaries of conventional academic Geography. In this paper we argue that this situation, which is not uncommon for geographers in the UK and elsewhere, has significant implications for both individuals and the discipline more broadly. Through our everyday experiences of interdisciplinary working, this paper reflects on what it means to be a geographer working outside of ‘Geography’. The paper examines the implications of this at three different yet related scales: the immediately personal scale in terms of identity and individual academic performance, the institutional scale and its organisation that can lead to the presence/absence of academic subject areas, and then finally the disciplinary scale with its attendant spaces of knowledge generation, dissemination and protectionism. Our arguments are framed by neoliberal-led higher education changes and conceptualisations of institutions, (inter)disciplinarity and identity, and point to broader significances for the shape of the discipline.
Wainwright, E., Barker, J., Ansell, N., Buckingham, S., Hemming, P., & Smith, F. (2014). Geographers out of place: institutions, (inter)disciplinarity and identity. Area, 46(4), 410-417. https://doi.org/10.1111/area.12126