ACME Volume 20(2) "Anarchist Geographies and Epistemologies of the State" is now released! listz

We are pleased to share that ACME’s second issue of 2021, "Anarchist Geographies and Epistemologies of the State," has been released! To access our most recent issue, click here. The full TOC is below.   Introduction

This special issue intends to deepen into the question of and explore epistemic avenues in knowledge production about the state in geography. This issue assembles papers and interventions that drawing on anarchist and anarchist-inspired geographies interrogate and challenge state narratives and effects through empirical and theoretical analysis. The collection situates current debates in this field conveying the potentialities and values of its epistemic tools to attain a nuanced understanding of the state and its intersection with other forms of oppression. The contributions extend the critique and reflection around the state in geography focusing on a state-decentering epistemological move, one that takes seriously the multiplicity of creative force shifting our gaze towards oppressive structure and everyday forms of subjugation. As well, the works explore fruitful cross-pollination between different ways of knowing the state from anti-authoritarian perspectives.


This article provides a rationale for understanding the United States’ war on drugs as a biopolitical enterprise that restricts the states of consciousness humans can avail themselves to. Given the intimate relationship between psychoactive drugs and human cognition, perception, and behavior, the tactics of illegalization, persecution, and misinformation mobilized by the war on drugs have inherently delimited the conscious states available to the population. Drug regulations and prohibitions in contemporary US society have resulted in a biopolitical normalization of consciousness that reinvokes colonial refrains of domination historically mobilized against traditional ritual, healing, and spiritual practices and pharmacopeias. From a decolonial perspective, the biopolitical delimitation of consciousness ensuing from the war on drugs can be understood as a form of epistemic hegemony insofar as the alternate states brought about by certain drugs, in this case psychedelic substances, are delegitimized despite an array of evidence attesting to their epistemological, therapeutic, and philosophical import. By examining contemporary research on classic psychedelics, this article illustrates how psychedelics temporarily suppress the top-down structures which maintain normal waking consciousness, including the perceptual and conceptual boundaries that influence behavior. As such, this article examines how classic psychedelic drugs and experiences can be understood as anarchic agents that can assist in decolonizing the spaces of consciousness wherein unyielding colonial patterns of thought have become concretized.

Thinking through scholarship at the intersections of anarcha-feminism, settler colonialism, and heteropatriarchy, this paper uses the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival (MichFest) as a case study to examine how settler rural imaginaries are mobilized to reify settler and cis hierarchies. The two imaginaries of interest – “safety in the woods” and “Nature is [cis] female” – rely on settler legacies: the first is derived from the emptiness created by settler state violence and Indigenous displacement, and the second is a reproduction of settler sexuality. To understand how these imaginaries surfaced at MichFest, I analyze online media created around the time of MichFest’s closing. Given the blame of MichFest’s closing was often placed on the issue of trans-exclusion, blog posts and opinion pieces around this time serve as a small sample of the trans-exclusionary rhetoric found at MichFest that reproduced these imaginaries. Most of the texts address concerns about trans-inclusion leading to sexual assault, creating an implicit connection between women’s fears and cis fears. The discourse around this time reproduced the wilderness of MichFest as a cis women’s landscape, constructing the land as a cis woman. In using these two imaginaries, women at MichFest are producing a cis women’s landscape that relies on the exclusion of both Indigenous and trans people, reproducing settler and cis dominance.

The State and its governmental institutions have been dignified in the environmentalist mainstream as palliative forces to face and solve the excesses and failures of capitalism and neoliberalism towards a proper environmental management. But this environmental state falls into evident contradictions regards to its formal commitment with environmentalist purposes. In addition, governmental institutions contribute to expand a nihilist attitude in the environmentalist actions of the citizenship. Within the environmentalist strands of anarchism, the matter of State has focused a relevant attention and position. An early green criticism may be found in the nineteenth century anarchists, in which State has no room as a violent and centralized force, and corrupting the goodness of the material, reproductive and spiritual connection of humans with Nature. Most recent eco-anarchist approaches, such as social ecologists, bioregionalists and anarcho-primitivists have analysed how determinant is State as a responsible agent in the global environmental crisis and proposed alternatives to this coercive power. This paper is aiming a) to examine some of the main contributions of the “green” criticism to State from eco-anarchists; and b) to build a consistent and wide critique of the State, helping to promote a non-statist balanced and fair relationship between societies and Nature.


This intervention tries to broaden the theoretical works considered under the framework of anarchist geographies. Currently, scholarship in anarchist geography draws from a limited body of writing for theoretical and practical insights, primarily (but not exclusively) from anarchists who were also geographers. However, people who have self-identified as anarchists, including those from cognate disciplines and those who are not part of academia, have dealt with several concepts of significant interest to geographers. I highlight some of these interventions as a means for suggesting a broader conceptualization of anarchist geography by considering the ways in which various anarchists have grappled with key concepts within geography, mainly focused on the nation and state. Specifically, I argue that further engagement with anarchist scholarship both from within academia and from outside academia’s walls offers a means for understanding the operations of power at play from, within, and beyond the state in human relations.

Geography as a discipline has its foundations in colonialist, imperialist, capitalist and nation-building endeavours. The state has been central to its institutionalisation and has shaped in many ways the epistemic frameworks that continue to dictate how geographical knowledge is produced. This intervention is part of an ongoing project in which the authors seek to decentre the dominance of the state in geographical imaginations and reignite a critical self-examination of anarchist thinking on the state; a gaze the authors term post-statism. We contribute efforts to unpack and disrupt the prevalence of the state as an indisputable, intrinsic human institution that is essential to our contemporary and globalised world. This paper builds on radical and anti-authoritarian perspectives to interrogate how the state could be expounded from multiple purviews. In order to convey the latter, we examine a fundamental moment in the state’s understanding and representation through a counterfactual engagement with statism. We draw on non-academic sources (sci-fi literature) to question what may have happened if we had not invented the state. This point seeks to dislocate statist thought through critiques and imaginaries that question our reality – indeed, the separation of reality and fiction itself – and bring into focus other worlds.