Animal Geographies at its Limits Symposium

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course


Limits and Liminality: doing animal geographies at the Korean Demilitarised Zone (DMZ)

This presentation was given as part of an event which moved towards the development of a Special Issue in the Scottish Geographical Journal around Animal Geographies.

Presentation Abstract:

The Korean demilitarised zone (DMZ) has traditionally been understood as an alienated borderland consistent with ideas of no-man’s lands as abandoned and enclosed spaces. However, far from being an empty space or geopolitical vacuum, the withdrawal of human bodies and activity from the DMZ has (inadvertently) established an ecological haven where non-human life thrives. The myriad species which inhabit this space are essentially hidden, obscured by the barbed wire fences and fortifications which surround them and simultaneously overshadowed by the geopolitical tensions which necessitate the division. Positioned within the burgeoning body of work which embraces animals as key agents within geopolitical practices, my proposed contribution would tease out the role that these ‘hidden’ animals play in constructions of the DMZ, as well as within inter-Korean dialogues. Drawing upon my ongoing fieldwork at the zone, I will aim to ‘reveal’ some of those animals which have been neglected in scholarship thus far, whilst also emphasising their importance as they make their marks upon the space of the DMZ. Moreover, through this empirical engagement, I hope to reflect upon the methodological and ethical difficulties of working with these animals, exploring animal geographies as it comes up against other kinds of limits and limitations.
Period23 May 2023
Event typeOther
LocationEdinburgh, United KingdomShow on map