Author Archives: Jeremy

AAG cfp: “Objects of Security and War: Material Approaches to Violence and Conflict”

Very interesting looking session from Kate Kindervater and Ian Shaw:

CFP AAG San Francisco, March 29 – April 2, 2016

Paper Session: Objects of Security and War: Material Approaches to Violence and Conflict

This session aims to bring together scholars working in the areas of war and security that are attentive to the materialities of contemporary violence and conflict. We are especially interested in work that seeks to place objects of security and war within a wider set of practices, assemblages, bodies, and histories. From drones and documents, to algorithms and atom bombs, the materiality of state power continues to anchor and disrupt the conduct and geography of (international) violence. Topics may include, but are not limited to: contemporary and historical surveillance, policing, humanitarian intervention, drone warfare, air power, occupation and resistance, border control, secrecy, infrastructural violence, as well as state and non-state terrorism.  We hope to include papers that can speak to broader questions of the roles of science, technology, and governance in the production of violence and conflict. Given that much of this work in the social sciences has been spearheaded by geographers recently (Amoore 2009; Dittmer 2013; Meehan et al. 2013; Crampton et al. 2014; Shaw and Akhter 2014; Gregory 2015) this session also seeks to generate a wider set of conversations about the intersections between geography and international relations in critical war and security studies.

Please send titles and abstracts to Ian Shaw ( and Kate Kindervater ( by October 23. We would also be interested to hear from potential discussants.

Plateau Infini: Capitalism & Schizophrenia in the 21st Century


Looks enticing! Wish I could go. Interestingly, it is not free but costs $320.

Originally posted on Larval Subjects .:

I’ll be giving a seminar on Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus through The New Centre beginning October 13th.  Enrollment is open to anyone.  Come join us!  Enrollment information can be found at The New Centre website.

Deleuze and Guattari were exceptional among the French thinkers of 1968: they did not embrace the linguistic turn, correlationism or anti-realism, nor did they champion social constructivism. Rather, they developed a robust realist and materialist naturalism that spoke profoundly to science, ethics, art, and politics. However, the realist singularity of their thought in a setting dominated by anti-realist, linguistic idealism has often been overshadowed by attempts to assimilate their work to postmodernist thought. With the advent of New Materialism and Speculative Realism, it has become possible to read their thought anew through a realist lens. Through a close reading of A Thousand Plateaus, this two-part seminar does just that.

Part 1 is…

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Popular geopolitics of James Bond – ‘The World is not Enough’


Very interesting news from Klaus Dodds about a book he is co-writing with Lisa Funnell on the geopolitics of James Bond. A very rich and certainly problematic topic for sure (and which I hope will include the books as well as the films).

I’ve been a Bond fan since my boyhood in the late 1960s (my first Bond was George Lazenby in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, if for no other reason than we holidayed in Switzerland that year to visit my uncle). It’s always been a problematic relationship, given Bond’s well-known sexism and irrelevance (topics which are often brought up in the films themselves). Looking forward to the book!

Originally posted on rhulgeopolitics:


Now that a new academic year is upon us again, I thought it was a good time to share (for those of you interested) my progress on advancing my interest in the popular geopolitics of James Bond.

Over the summer, a colleague Lisa Funnell (University of Oklahoma) and me have been writing a book with the working title The World is Not Enough, which brings together our interests in gender, geopolitics and film. We have a good working draft now and explore Bond’s relationship to place and space, and the manner in which he is able to improvise, manage, administer, destroy and discipline those sites and spaces he encounters. It is proving great fun to write and we hope by the end to demonstrate how the where is critical to making sense of the why and how of Bond and mission success. We also think the where plays a…

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Foucault 2/13 – recording and materials for Columbia seminar on Penal Theories and Institutions (1971-1972) with Harcourt, Balibar, Ewald and Spivak


Relatedly, Foucault’s lectures “The Punitive Society” 1972-3 is published in English today.

Originally posted on Progressive Geographies:

Etienne Balibar and François Ewald discuss Foucault’s second annual lectures at the Collège de France, Penal Theories and Institutions (1971-1972)…  Please also read the introductory posts presenting the lectures along with the posts by Etienne Balibar and François Ewald, and the framing essays by Velasco and Harcourt. Readings for the seminar here… Check back later this week for additional essays on these 1972 lectures. Welcome to Foucault 2/13!

The link to the ‘live stream‘ now takes you to a recording of the discussion, held yesterday at Columbia University. Thanks to Clare O’Farrell at Foucault News for the link.

There are lots of other materials on this site, including preparatory notes from some of the participants. The video of the discussion of the first lecture course, Lectures on the Will to Know, is available here.

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Hull on Vatter on Foucault on Hayek

New post by Gordon Hull:

The other day I read Miguel Vatter’s take on the issue (“Foucault and Hayek: Republican Law and Civil Society,” in Lemm and Vatter, eds., The Government of Life: Foucault, Biopolitics, and Neoliberalism (Fordham UP, 2014).  I haven’t read the whole volume yet, but the essays are by first-rate Foucault scholars, and Vatter is a first-rate political theorist).  Vatter pursues a novel thesis, and it’s one I’m not ready to endorse in its entirety, but it does a very good job of explaining the evidence on the table: that Foucault is, in essence, defending classical republicanism against (neo)liberalism.  Neoliberalism – and here, Vatter follows Hayek’s work closely – stands for the proposition that it is wrong for the state to attempt to move the people (indeed, even to think of a “people” as opposed to a “population”) towards any substantive notion of the good life.  For Hayek, suggests Vatter, there’s really two kinds of law: legislative (which is bad, because it tries to impose some notion of the good life on the polis, and/or tries to move the polis in that direction), and judicial (which is good, because it says the polis can’t do that).

More here.

Recent reading

Twittering Machine (“Die Zwitscher-Maschine”). Paul Klee, 1922.
Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, p. 310.

Here’s what I’ve been reading lately.

Lots of Deleuze and Guattari–for two reasons. One, I needed to learn more about assemblages. I had a very constrained understanding of it, partly influenced by Manuel DeLanda (who calls his position “Deleuze 2.0”, so perhaps not that Deleuzian). There’s no way to quickly read Deleuze in depth of course. Luckily I’d previously read his book on Foucault, chunks of Thousand Plateaus, the allusive references to mapping and deterritorialization, and have now been able to supplement this. I’d recommend Ian Buchanan’s talk here for a great introduction and overview. But second, I’m co-teaching a seminar in the spring on “Big Data Narratives” with my colleague Jeff Peters. This will delve into Deleuze in a number of ways (including his work on cinema and assemblages).

Speaking of videos, this one from Eleanor Longdon, who is active in the hearing voices movement, is striking, unnerving and informative. Hearing voices and schizophrenia were of tremendous interest to D&G. At the recommendation of a colleague last weekend I read The Schreber case by Freud which at a minimum helps with references in Thousand Plateaus, especially bodies-without-organs (Schreber at times believed he was living without internal organs but was healed by rays from God). Schreber is unusual because he was not a patient of Freud’s, but rather the author of an autobiography extensively quoted by Freud. It nevertheless became one of his more famous cases.

But back to the readings. Joe Gerlach’s recent Transactions piece “Editing worlds: participatory mapping and a minor geopolitics” is extremely exciting. What I love about this is that Joe both takes the project of mapping seriously, especially to “ameliorate the sustained disillusionment with ‘aggressive’ mapping” as he puts it, something I’d remarked on myself in my Mapping book, and also is guided by the “minor” theory of D&G and so is very open. “Towards a Minor Theory” would be a contradiction in terms as consolidating and solidifying; rather one can pursue a line of flight, in this case toward an expanded notion of the geopolitical:

it [mapping] is also geopolitical in the way in which it cultivates affects, attitudes, bodily dispositions, collectives, sensibilities, spaces and events that are transformative of the world, but often in a register largely ignored.

Joe here draws on his work on Felix Guattari (he did the index for Schizoanalytic Cartographies by the way) to refocus mapping on the bodily everyday. Since I will I hope to be writing an introduction to some papers on spatial Big Data and the everyday with my colleague Agnieszka Leszczynski, we will have to take up this latter issue (the everyday) as different from the mundane, unimportant, non-productively singular etc.

One of the issues I’d mentioned in a previous post on how data is abstracted from people, is to avoid the classic issue of the liberal self (the one Foucault is supposed to have got rid of at the end of Order of Things). Taking data from individuals, and then building up that data into profiles that are acted upon, presupposes, in some way, a self or at least an individual. This self, it should be remembered though, does not have to be thought as coherent to itself, or even singular and non-contradictory. “I am not feeling like myself,” “I don’t know who I am anymore,” etc. are indications of not being identical to oneself. Even perhaps “I need to get free of myself” of the later Foucault technologies of the self. This certainly needs elaboration, and Sam Kinsley directed me to this paper in TCS by Andrew Lapworth, called “Theorizing Bioart Encounters after Gilbert Simondon.”

While I can’t say I understand much of it, its sensibility is in line with writers such as Julie Cohen on privacy. The article is incredibly dense, and packed with tough concepts (no fault of the author, these are hard issues). Cohen’s similar concept is the “networked self”; historically contingent, emergent (becoming instead of being, which is resonant with a long line of thinkers including Heidegger and Deleuze, and to some extent Plato’s chora), maybe immanent, and creating a horizon of possibilities for “what we may yet become” (Lapworth p. 2, so-called “ontogenetic capacities”). Privacy “shelters” this emergent/emerging self; a “postliberal privacy” (my words) to match a neoliberal age.

What’s also an ongoing issue here, for cartography as well, is the question of the inside and outside, text and context, nurture and nature, and so on. This was already highlighted by both Brian Harley and Denis Wood in various pieces with regard to the “internal” and “external” aspects of maps, later extended by Wood into “paramap” and so on–I don’t find this useful, and mistrust it. Admittedly the distinction between the internal and external aspects of mapping are not problematized by either Harley nor Wood, and yet their concern with them is quite pertinent.

Here’s Deleuze’s famous diagram in Foucault of the fold (pli):

I’d also link this “minor,” “emergent” self to that amateur public intellectual discussed by Edward Said in Representations of the Intellectual, his 1993 Reith Lectures. As Andy Merrifield recently reminded us in a great talk here at UKY, the amateur has a lot going for it, not least because you can get out of the grooves of established thought, to paraphrase Guattari. Denis Wood is perhaps a good example of this, and his enforced independence due to sex “corruption” charges and imprisonment [no secret, it’s on his website and his book about it will appear next year], has only made him more productive, and one of the few geographers to have had a documentary made about them.

Said (and Merrifield) appeal to the amateur who resists specialization (in favor of “connections across lines and barriers,”) as well as the “cult of the expert,” “power and authority” (Said particularly notes distorting effects by national security), and funding. (Quotes from Representations of the Intellectual, chapter IV, Professionals and Amateurs.) Thanks Andy for bringing back the excitement of listening to those lectures on the radio!

Where can tell me who I am

If in the past we could find ourselves if lost, or in a strange location, by asking of those nearby directly or indirectly (eg through social media apps) “who can tell me where I am?” then the condition now is “where can tell me who I am.”

The algorithms that parse and analyze our data shadows to control our horizon of possibilities now depend increasingly on spatial Big Data. As Dan Bouk points out in his recent history of data, the point here is not just to know; to track and to surveill where people go. Additionally algorithms are calculating machines–machinic assemblages–and what they calculate is value, derived not from you, but from your identity as given in the data.

First we are separated from our data in multiple ways, fractionated, scattered (Williams, 2005). “Separated” because we are in an asymmetrical relationship to our data; we do not have the same access to it that algorithms have. Nor the same rights: we are not “customers” of Facebook, but “users.” We do not engage in a point of sale (POS) but rather are the commodities ourselves.

Second as with identity theft what matters is not what you have done, but what your data say you have done. (I’ve received calls from credit collection agencies about “my” spending, and had credit cards charged for visits to hotels I’ve never been to.) These data are then reassembled as dividuals, as Deleuze pointed out some time ago.

Problems with the above: (A) it appears to usher back in an originary individual from whom all else (or at least all data) springs. (B) Talk of rights is suspect:

Do not demand of politics that it restore the “rights” of the individual, as philosophy has defined them. The individual is the product of power. What is needed is to “de-individualize ” by means of multiplication and displacement, diverse combinations. The group must not be the organic bond uniting hierarchized individuals , but a constant generator of de-individualization.
Foucault, Preface to Anti-Oedipus

But that “originary” individual can be multiple too, and in relations of power. The insight of the dividual is that it is a derivative that gets traded down the line (Amoore). Its value is purely notional and can undergo crisis, whence the possibility of counter-memory. The assemblage/desiring-machine is not mechanical (it doesn’t “work” in that sense). But there are “regimes of veridiction” that constitute it and as Foucault points out the market is one such site (Foucault, 17 Jan 1979). So our task might consist in part of elucidating the market that is the site for the intersection of value, spatial Big Data, and the spatial algorithm.

[First thoughts toward an intro for Spatial Big Data and Everyday Life for Big Data & Society]