Over the next several years I plan to work on three projects.
This book project uses a number of Shakespeare’s plays to think through various aspects of the question of territory. The draft plan looks something like this:
- Divided Territories: The Geo-politics of King Lear
- Corporeal Territories: The Political Bodies of Coriolanus
- Economic Territories: Farming the Realm in Richard II
- Contested Territories: Placing the Histories
- Colonial Territories: Pericles and The Tempest
- Vulnerable Territories: External Powers in Hamlet and Macbeth
- Measuring Territories: The Techniques of Rule
- Outside Territory: The Forest in As You Like It and Titus Andronicus
The argument is that while Shakespeare only uses the words ‘territory’ and ‘territories’ rarely, the concept is not marginal to his work. A number of his plays are structured around related issues of exile, banishment, land politics, spatial division, contestation, conquest and succession. Shakespeare was writing at the end of the sixteenth and beginning of the seventeenth century: a time when the modern conception of sovereign territory was emerging. He therefore helps us understand its variant aspects, tensions, ambiguities and limits. The plays are chosen because they help to exemplify different aspects of the question of territory – conceptually, historically, and politically. In using these plays I hope to illustrate the multi-faceted nature of territory as word, concept and practice, and to shed light on the way we understand territory and territorial disputes today.
An audio recording of a lecture under this title given at the University of Warwick on 3 October 2012 is available here. There is discussion of my wider work on territory, this project, and the bulk of the lecture is a discussion of Hamlet. Other audio recordings of presentations of parts of this project are available here.
Foucault’s Last Decade: A History of the ‘History of Sexuality’
Over the last decade I have done a lot of work for this project, which offers a detailed textual and contextual account of the last decade of the work of Michel Foucault, in order to outline an intellectual history of his final project on the history of sexuality. The unpublished paper I have on Foucault’s 1970-71 course will be part of the introductory chapter of the book. The remaining stages will in part depend on the publication of his lectures in French. The 1979-80 course Du gouvernement des vivants is due for publication in October 2012; the 1980-81 course Subjectivité et verité is planned for 2013. This project will be substantially complicated if the archive of Foucault’s papers becomes publicly available rather than remaining in private hands. Some audio recordings of discussions related to this project can be found here.
The Space of the World
This project tries to rethink the notion of the ‘geo’ in geopolitics, to make this connect to land, earth and the world as an alternative to the globe and globalisation. It builds on earlier work on theorisations of the world in Lefebvre, Axelos, Fink, Sloterdijk, Badiou and Meillassoux. The idea is to put these philosophies of the world into dialogue with empirical concerns. Taking questions or issues—violence, fossils, earth, wound, volume and play—it intends to raise a wide range of philosophical, political and historical issues about how we think of the world, the globe and beyond. It enables a thinking of such diverse themes as religion, relation, ecology, disasters and crises, the air and the subsoil, the pragmatic and the poetic. How do philosophical resources help to make sense of the global forces actively reshaping the world, its constituent states and territories?