‘Evacuated to Death’ paper is out. Some ‘Political Atmospherics’ too.

I’m very pleased to say that my new article on evacuation is just out in Annals of the Association of American Geographers, titled ‘Evacuated to Death’.


It continues my wider evacuation mobility work but through a very specific and twisted use of the word, concept and practice (following Elden on Territory). The paper explores how the Nazi’s used evacuation in various ways in the build up to and during the Second World War – from the protective to the most deadly. This means how movements that were called ‘evacuation’ managed to be performed and articulated in various forms that were both pernicious and murderous and, for some, caring  – codified to disguise and confuse and applied to very different peoples unevenly. To do this it follows the parallel mobilities of the Jewish deportations and transports to death camps with civilian air raid precautions, the convolutions of two different high profile trials about the holocaust and holocaust denial which partly hung on the duplicitous meaning of evacuation, and the deeper geopolitical ideologies and practices of the Nazis – very much inspired by work by Claudio Minca and Paolo Giaccaria, Julia Torrie, Simone Gigliotti, Trevor Barnes, Tim Cole and Ian Klinke. My wider book project, The Way We Evacuate, builds on the paper further and is due to be finished for Duke soon.

I was also really keen to start reading another paper I spotted in Annals’ online early articles, Stephen Legg’s, “Political Atmospherics”: The India Round Table Conference’s Atmospheric Environments, Bodies and Representations, London 1930–1932’, which looks absolutely brilliant, and looking at it quickly builds on the work of Ben Anderson, Angharad Closs Stephens, Shanti Sumartojo, and Derek McCormack in a really fascinating and critical way.


Here’s the abstract:

Between 1930 and 1932 the three sessions of the Round Table Conference in London drew more than seventy Indian delegates to the city, for up to three months, to debate India’s constitutional future within the British Empire. This article argues that the atmosphere of the conference was central to its successes and failures and that studying atmospheres can help us think about the co-constitution of place, bodies, and politics more broadly. It approaches atmospheres from three interrelated perspectives. First, the atmospheric environment of the conference is set, in terms of both the physical geography of the weather and the human geography of the conference venue. Second, it traces conference bodies, which endured the weather, used it as metaphor, and attuned their politics to the affective atmosphere. The article concludes with reflections on representing non-representational atmospheres. It argues that the current atmospheres literature is oddly de-raced, while debates about weather and bodies’ reactions to social and political atmospheres are inherently and always racialized. Analysing the reactions of and to diverse Indian delegates in 1930s London gives us insights into an interwar colonial geographical imagination and demonstrates the potential for thinking about meteorological and affective atmospheres together

Peter Adey

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