“Police power is emergency power, always” – profiling, state power, and drones


Nick Crane on the Bloomington drone conference I recently attended. Some very useful comments.

Originally posted on For Another Critique of the Pyramid:

The title for this post comes from Tyler Wall’s talk at the aforementioned “Reconfiguring Global Space” conference in Bloomington, Indiana. Priya Satia, Tyler Wall, Geoff Boyce, and Mark Neocleous presented in the first session on the first day of the conference. Their papers introduced a theme or line of questions that ran through our discussions in the subsequent days. In what sense are drones distinctive? Are drones better understood as instantiations of a longer running police logic? Wall’s argument – “drone strikes are a genus of police violence” – was most clearly inspired by Neocleous’ publications (e.g., The Fabrication of Social Order). Presenters later in the week would find inspiration elsewhere. For example, Andrea Miller would read Louise Amore’s work on the ontology of association undergirding preemptive governance of the incalculable to put her finger on the “drone logic” of domestic policing.

Across the presentations, I…

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Michael Jacobs on Las Meninas


The writer Michael Jacobs (who died in January 2014) has a piece in today’s Observer about Las Meninas, the famous 1656 painting by Diego Velázquez analyzed by Foucault in The Order of Things. Several very nice details from the painting are reproduced. Apparently this is an extract from his last book.

Update. This link was broken when I initially posted this earlier today, but here Ed Vulliamy talks about finishing the book by Jacobs after he died:

Michael recalls that it had been a book by French philosopher Michel Foucault, The Order of Things, written in 1966, that led him to look again at Las Meninas. Foucault wrote about the “corporeal gaze” of Velázquez himself, which creates “a condition of pure reciprocity” between painting and viewer. He added: “As soon as they place the spectator in the field of their gaze, the painter’s eyes seize hold of him, force him to enter the picture, assign him a place at once privileged and inescapable.” This idea of the “corporeal gaze” sent Michael back to Madrid to see the painting, whereupon he resolved to write the book.

Foucault’s Last Decade Update 25 – resubmission of revised manuscript


Stuart’s latest update on his important new Foucault book. Book is now finalized and resubmitted to the publishers. Full table of contents provided. On Facebook he noted that it is one word shy of the 100,000 word limit. A good length.

Originally posted on Progressive Geographies:

Update 25 - resubmission (compressed)Foucault’s Last Decade is now back with the press, in what I hope is its final form. It is scheduled for publication in spring 2016.

The first update on this book’s writing was made on July 22 2013 –almost exactly two years ago. I didn’t anticipate this book taking nearly so long, since initially I was drawing on a number of pieces I’d written, presented and sometimes published over the past several years – I’d been writing on nearly every one of Foucault’s courses as they were published. The publication of the last Paris lecture course was only earlier this year – it took eighteen years for all thirteen to be published. The earliest text I drew upon was written back in 1999. But this book has become much more than just a sequential arrangement of that material. A lot of archival work helped with the analysis, as well as…

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Shannon Mattern’s great new course on mapping

Shannon Mattern has just placed online the syllabus for her great-looking new course “Maps as Media.”

Here is the course’s opening statement:

Maps reveal, delineate, verify, orient, navigate, anticipate, historicize, conceal, persuade, and, on occasion, even lie. From the earliest maps in cave paintings and on clay tablets, to the predictive climate visualizations and crime maps and mobile cartographic apps of today and tomorrow, maps have offered far more than an objective representation of a stable reality. In this hybrid theory-practice studio we’ll examine the past, present, and future – across myriad geographic and cultural contexts – of our techniques and technologies for mapping space and time. In the process, we’ll address various critical frameworks for analyzing the rhetorics, poetics, politics, and epistemologies of spatial and temporal maps. Throughout the semester we’ll also experiment with a variety of critical mapping tools and methods, from techniques of critical cartography to sensory mapping to time-lining, using both analog and digital approaches.

I must say this looks really fabulous and I wish I could take some if it myself! Some great readings and fascinating images are available at her course website here.

New Sheehan on Heidegger

The headline makes this sound rather like an Onion piece:

Stanford scholar upends interpretation of philosopher Martin Heidegger
After a lifetime of studying the German philosopher’s groundbreaking works, Stanford Religious Studies Professor Thomas Sheehan concludes that Heideggerians’ obsession with Being misses the point.

But the story itself is about Thomas Sheehan’s new book and seems serious enough.

Sheehan argues that the “being paradigm” is a relic of a time when scholars and students had only limited access to Heidegger’s corpus. This emphasis on Being was established “when very few of Heidegger’s works were published – only about a dozen in German, some translated into English and some not. Now there are two library shelves’ worth of his published work, some 90 volumes.”

This is all written in press release style, and readers may prefer to draw their own conclusions about the place of Sheehan’s book.

Computing the human

Nice piece by Sam Kinsley on computing the human, referencing a piece by Kelly Gates at Aeon. There’s a lot of interesting material right now on algorithmic lives, as I call it, and I’ll be speaking about this in a couple of places this summer, including the RGS/IBG and a drone workshop in Neuchatel, Switzerland. Lots to think about.


Speaking of SPQR (see previous post) made famous in many a Roman movie, one of my favorite maps was the one at the front of every Asterix book. This shows the indomitable Gauls holding out against the invading Romans. The latter had their territorial claims represented by a huge flag driven into the ground bearing the SPQR banner. If a true scale was being used it was probably several hundred miles high, something which intrigued me at the time (especially the cracking of the ground around the base).

It’s one of the first maps I remember paying attention to as a child.