DePOT Summer Institute Call for Proposals  

 The Spatial Politics of Deindustrialization: Belonging, Settler Colonialism, and Migration 

June 21-22, 2023; Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada 


Land Acknowledgement: DePOT’s 2023 Summer Institute will take place in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People. This territory is covered by the Treaties of Peace and Friendship which Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) People first signed with the British Crown in 1725. The treaties did not deal with surrender of lands and resources; they recognized Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik title and established the rules for what was to be an ongoing relationship between nations. The Treaties of Peace and Friendship currently reside in the provincial Nova Scotia Archives, and the original scans and transcripts can be read online: Cape Breton University’s Mi’kmaw Resource Guide, which includes timelines and information on Mi’kmaw history and the impact of Canadian settler colonialism, can be found here: 


Please note that we are only accepting proposals from current DePOT affiliates (students, postdocs, research associates, etc.) at this time.

Abstract: In the fallout of deindustrialization, working-class communities frequently suffer dispersal, creating stresses for those forced to leave and those who remain behind. The tensions between outmigration and sense of place have been a notable aspect of deindustrialization’s history on Cape Breton Island. Connecting with this year’s DePOT conference on “The Politics of Industrial Closure,” the Summer Institute will be focusing on the spatial aspects of deindustrialization. The annual Summer Institute is a space for showcasing graduate student research projects and provides a smaller, collaborative working environment to build transnational relationships. Presentations may take a variety of forms including workshops, screenings, roundtables, as well as traditional research papers. This June, the Glace Bay Miners Museum will graciously host the second DePOT Summer Institute.  

The theme of this year’s Summer Institute is “The Spatial Politics of Deindustrialization: Belonging, Settler Colonialism, and Migration.” Deindustrialization is not simply closure, but also comprises the spatial reorganization of economic, natural, and social life according to the logic of capital accumulation. Dominant ways of framing space are in terms of market mechanisms such as rent, regional wage differences, and transport costs and how they inform the investment and disinvestment decisions that characterize regionally uneven capitalist development. These spatial dimensions are reflected in deindustrialization and exacerbates the geographies of exclusion, dispossession, and colonialism. As these terrains shape the contours of race, class, and gender inequalities, deindustrialization troubles the assumption that capital accumulation can fundamentally remediate these very inequalities. Meanwhile, attachment to place, the cultural value of land, and the needs of healthy ecosystems often defy capitalist logics. Spatiality in the context of deindustrialization surfaces fundamental tensions around well-being and belonging as well as ‘periphery’ vs. ‘core’ in capitalist systems. Deindustrialization as a spatial process might shutter mines and mills in a region, but the afore-mentioned socio-geographic logics continue to operate unimpeded, like settler colonialism which is very relevant in the North American context. As we welcome participants to Cape Breton, we hope to engage the complex relationships between globalized political economic dynamics and local histories.  


To apply: Please submit a title, abstract (300 words), a short CV, and a brief bio (100 words) to that specifies the format of your contribution. Presentations may take a variety of forms including workshops, screenings, roundtables, discussion plenaries, peer review sessions, as well as traditional research paper presentations. We are accepting proposals written in either French or English, but presentations may be given in French, English, German or Italian. If you have any questions, please email The deadline for submissions is February 28th, 2023.  


Logistics: This June, the Glace Bay Miners Museum will graciously host the second DePOT Summer Institute. Transportation from downtown Sydney and Cape Breton University will be provided for participants staying there. Attendees are invited to consult the DePOT Annual Conference info-package for details on transportation, travel, and accommodation.   

The Institute will directly precede the DePOT Project Assembly and the “Politics of Industrial Closure” DePOT annual conference, which participants are encouraged to attend.  


Funding: DePOT affiliates, including students and postdocs, are entitled to receive up to $1,500 CAD in travel funding. To help alleviate the financial burden of booking travel & accommodations, students, postdocs, and precariously employed project members will receive their travel funding in advance of June 2023. If you are not a student or postdoc and need your funding paid out in advance, send an email to Gabrielle ( along with a receipt showing that you have booked a flight or hotel to confirm your presence in Sydney.  


Organizing committee: William Gillies, Eliot Perrin, and Sophia Richter