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School of Geography

18th David M Smith Lecture

When: Thursday, December 9, 2021, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Where: Geog.126, Mile End

Speaker: Professor Anoop Nayak, Professor in Social and Cultural Geography at Newcastle U

Blasted Places: Smog, Steel and Stigma in a Post-industrial Region - Professor Anoop Nayak, Professor in Social and Cultural Geography at Newcastle University


The closure of the Redcar steelworks in Teesside, North East England in 2015, brought to an end the 170-year-old history of steel-making in the area. The nearest major urban agglomeration, Middlesbrough, was literally brought-into-being with the discovery of iron ore and subsequent development of heavy engineering and petro-chemical manufacture. Teesside rapidly expanded to become a global player in the manufacture of iron and steel; building iconic bridges, ships, armaments and railways across the world. Steel-manufacture, engineering and industrial labour once provided a stable future for young people in the region. So what happens when an area, spawned from through the material elements of the Anthropocene, is suddenly regarded as a redundant, polluted and blasted place? How might new generations find a place in an area that is routinely stigmatized as a ‘sulpherous zone’ (Wacquant, 2007), tarnished by chemical pollutants, high rates of unemployment, drugs and early teenage pregnancy.  This lecture explores the heavy weight of stigma in Teesside, how it comes to be attached to bodies, houses, neighbourhoods, the natural environment and social life more generally.  More importantly, it considers how new generations and local residents negotiate the exigencies of stigma through collective action and in doing so seek to reclaim, rework and re-script the very places they reside in.

Speaker Biography

Anoop Nayak is Professor in Social and Cultural Geography at Newcastle University, UK. His research interests are in race and ethnic studies, youth culture, social class, gender, masculinities and social change. Anoop has published widely in these areas and is author of Race, Place and Globalization: Youth Cultures in a Changing World (2003 Oxford: Berg). He is co-author with Mary Jane Kehily of a joint monograph Gender, Youth and Culture: Global Masculinities and Femininities (2013 2nd Ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan), and has published a social theory book on spatial relations of power with Alex Jeffrey entitled Geographical Thought (Routledge, 2013). Anoop is currently leading a funded project exploring ‘Young People, Diversity and Belonging in a Post-Brexit Age’ (REA) and an ESRC co-production award, ‘Boys to Men:  Developing New Templates for Masculinities in Primary Schools’.

About the event

This event will begin at 6pm (BST) on Thursday 9 December taking place in person at Queen Mary's Mile End campus in the Geography building, room 1.26. The lecture will be chaired by the School of Geography Head of School, Professor Alastair Owens, and will be followed by a drinks reception.

Booking is essential - book your place at the event today!

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