Laura Vaughan, Mapping Society: The Spatial Dimensions of Social Cartography – UCL Press, September 2018 (open access pdf/paperback)

Published today – open access pdf or purchase a physical copy

Progressive Geographies

Mapping_Society.jpgLaura Vaughan, Mapping Society: The Spatial Dimensions of Social Cartography – UCL Press, September 2018 (open access)

From a rare map of yellow fever in eighteenth-century New York, to Charles Booth’s famous maps of poverty in nineteenth-century London, an Italian racial zoning map of early twentieth century Asmara, to a map of wealth disparities in the banlieues of twenty-first-century Paris, Mapping Society traces the evolution of social cartography over the past two centuries. In this richly illustrated book, Laura Vaughan examines maps of ethnic or religious difference, poverty, and health inequalities, demonstrating how they not only serve as historical records of social enquiry, but also constitute inscriptions of social patterns that have been etched deeply on the surface of cities.

The book covers themes such as the use of visual rhetoric to change public opinion, the evolution of sociology as an academic practice, changing attitudes to physical disorder, and the…

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Foucault, La sexualité/Le Discours de la sexualité (1964 and 1969 courses) – EHESS/Gallimard/Seuil 2018

140113_couverture_Hres_0Michel Foucault, La Sexualité. Cours donné à l’université de Clermont-Ferrand (1964) suivi de Le Discours de la sexualité. Cours donné à l’université de Vincennes (1969) – EHESS/Gallimard/Seuil 2018

The first volume of Foucault’s pre-Collège de France courses is due for publication in October 2018. I’ve mentioned this before, but the official description is now up at the Seuil site.

Michel Foucault avait engagé le projet d’une histoire de la sexualité dès les années 1960, et lui avait notamment consacré deux cours, jusqu’ici inédits.
Le premier, donné à Clermont-Ferrand en 1964, s’interroge sur les conditions d’apparition, en Occident, d’une conscience problématique et d’une expérience tragique de la sexualité, ainsi que de savoirs qui la prennent pour objet. Partant d’une réflexion sur l’évolution du statut des femmes et du droit du mariage, ce cours aborde l’ensemble des savoirs sur la sexualité, de la biologie ou l’éthologie à la psychanalyse.
Le second, donné à Vincennes en 1969, prolonge en même temps qu’il déplace ces interrogations. Foucault s’y intéresse en détail à l’émergence d’un savoir biologique sur la sexualité et à la manière dont celle-ci a été investie dans un ensemble d’utopies au long des XIXe et XXe siècles : utopies transgressives de Sade à Histoire d’O., utopies intégratives, visant à réconcilier la société et la nature sexuelle de l’Homme, de Fourier à Marcuse. C’est l’occasion pour Foucault d’approfondir sa généalogie critique du double thème de la sexualité naturelle et de la libération sexuelle, engagée dès 1964 mais qui prend d’autant plus de sens après Mai 1968.
Ces cours sont deux jalons essentiels pour une archéologie de la sexualité comme expérience moderne. On y découvre un Foucault qui n’hésite pas à faire jouer les données biologiques sur la sexualité contre une certaine conception étriquée du sujet humain ; un Foucault attentif à maintenir le potentiel transgressif contenu dans l’expérience sexuelle et à analyser les conditions économiques, sociales et épistémologiques de sa constitution récente en objet de savoir et en enjeu politique.


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Friedrich Nietzsche, Unpublished Fragments from the Period of Thus Spoke Zarathustra – Stanford University Press, 2019

pid_7815Friedrich Nietzsche, Unpublished Fragments from the Period of Thus Spoke Zarathustra – Stanford University Press, March 2019

This is the next volume in The Complete Works project. Volume 16, of fragments from 1885-1886, is on some online sites, with a projected date of August 2019, but not yet on the Stanford UP site.

With this latest book in the series, Stanford continues its English-language publication of the famed Colli-Montinari edition of Nietzsche’s complete works, which include the philosopher’s notebooks and early unpublished writings. Scrupulously edited so as to establish a new standard for the field, each volume includes an Afterword that presents and contextualizes the material therein.

This volume provides the first English translation of Nietzsche’s unpublished notebooks from 1882–1884, the period in which he was composing the book that he considered his best and most important work, Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Crucial transitional documents in Nietzsche’s intellectual development, the notebooks mark a shift into what is widely regarded as the philosopher’s mature period. They reveal his long-term design of a fictional tetralogy charting the philosophical, pedagogical, and psychological journeys of his alter-ego, Zarathustra. Here, in nuce, appear Zarathustra’s teaching about the death of God; his discovery that the secret of life is the will to power; and his most profound and most frightening thought—that his own life, human history, and the entire cosmos will eternally return. During this same period, Nietzsche was also composing preparatory notes for his next book, Beyond Good and Evil, and the notebooks are especially significant for the insight they provide into his evolving theory of drives, his critical ideas about the nature and history of morality, and his initial thoughts on one of his best-known concepts, the superhuman (Übermensch).


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An anonymously published text by Foucault on Arcadie – ‘Le départe du prophète’, 1982 (with an interview between Didier Eribon and André Baudry)

Foucault and Eribon 1982 - Le départ du prophète (on André Baudry)

This text was first published in Libération, July 12, 1982, p. 14 (pdf). There it is signed ‘DE’, and follows an interview with Didier Eribon with André Baudry. Readers would assume that ‘DE’ meant Didier Eribon, but in his book Michel Foucault et ses contemporains, Paris: Fayard, 1994, pp. 274-77, Eribon says that it was actually written by Foucault.

Eribon reproduces Foucault’s text on pp. 280-81 of his book, and the interview with Baudry which it accompanied, on pp. 278-79. But I was curious to see the text in its original form, and thought others might be too. As Eribon notes, there is a difference between the original and published text. It’s a minor contribution to an understanding of Foucault’s political views in the 1980s – Arcadie was a journal and organisation campaigning for gay rights.

There are several other uncollected notes, lectures and interviews by Foucault here. An attempt at a comprehensive bibliography of ‘The Uncollected Foucault‘ appeared in Foucault Studies in 2015.


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2018 Antipode lectures – videos online of Derek Gregory, Glen Coulthard and Silvia Federici

Previous years are here – an extraordinary archive

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Books received – Dodds, McCormack, Derrida, Basso, Rekret, Brighenti and Kärrholm


Klaus Dodds, Ice: Nature and Culture; Derek McCormack, Atmospheric Things: On the Allure of Elemental EnvelopmentJacques Derrida, The Ear of the Other; Elisabetta Basso, Michel Foucault et la Daseinsanalyse; The Derrida Reader edited by Julian Wolfreys; Paul Rekret, Derrida and Foucault, Andrea Mubi Brighenti and Mattias Kärrholm (eds.), Urban Walls: Political and Cultural Meanings of Vertical Structures and Surfaces.

Klaus kindly gave me copy of his new book, and Derek’s book and the Urban Walls collection were sent by the publishers – I wrote an endorsement for the latter. The Rekret book is horribly expensive, but was sent in recompense for review work.


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Natalie Koch, The Geopolitics of Spectacle (Cornell University Press, 2018) – reviewed at LSE review of Books by Kristin Eggeling

Koch.jpgNatalie Koch, The Geopolitics of Spectacle: Space, Synedoche and the New Capitals of Asia (Cornell University Press, 2018) – reviewed at LSE Review of Books by Kristin Eggeling

Why do autocrats build spectacular new capital cities? In The Geopolitics of Spectacle, Natalie Koch considers how autocratic rulers use “spectacular” projects to shape state-society relations, but rather than focus on the standard approach—on the project itself—she considers the unspectacular “others.” The contrasting views of those from the poorest regions toward these new national capitals help her develop a geographic approach to spectacle.

Koch uses Astana in Kazakhstan to exemplify her argument, comparing that spectacular city with others from resource-rich, nondemocratic nations in central Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, and Southeast Asia. The Geopolitics of Spectacle draws new political-geographic lessons and shows that these spectacles can be understood only from multiple viewpoints, sites, and temporalities. Koch explicitly theorizes spectacle geographically and in so doing extends the analysis of governmentality into new empirical and theoretical terrain.

With cases ranging from Azerbaijan to Qatar and Myanmar, and an intriguing account of reactions to the new capital of Astana from the poverty-stricken Aral Sea region of Kazakhstan, Koch’s book provides food for thought for readers in human geography, anthropology, sociology, urban studies, political science, international affairs, and post-Soviet and central Asian studies.

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Miguel de Beistegui, The Government of Desire: A Genealogy of the Liberal Subject  – reviewed by John Protevi at NDPR

9780226547374.jpgMiguel de Beistegui, The Government of Desire: A Genealogy of the Liberal Subject (University of Chicago Press, 2018) – reviewed by John Protevi at NDPR. Here’s the press’s description of the book:

Liberalism, Miguel de Beistegui argues in The Government of Desire, is best described as a technique of government directed towards the self, with desire as its central mechanism.  Whether as economic interest, sexual drive, or the basic longing for recognition, desire is accepted as a core component of our modern self-identities, and something we ought to cultivate. But this has not been true in all times and all places. For centuries, as far back as late antiquity and early Christianity, philosophers believed that desire was an impulse that needed to be suppressed in order for the good life, whether personal or collective, ethical or political, to flourish.  Though we now take it for granted, desire as a constitutive dimension of human nature and a positive force required a radical transformation, which coincided with the emergence of liberalism.

By critically exploring Foucault’s claim that Western civilization is a civilization of desire, de Beistegui crafts a provocative and original genealogy of this shift in thinking. He shows how the relationship between identity, desire, and government has been harnessed and transformed in the modern world, shaping our relations with others and ourselves, and establishing desire as an essential driving force for the constitution of a new and better social order. But is it? The Government of Desire argues that this is precisely what a contemporary politics of resistance must seek to overcome. By questioning the supposed universality of a politics based on recognition and the economic satisfaction of desire, de Beistegui raises the crucial question of how we can manage to be less governed today, and explores contemporary forms of counter-conduct.

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Paul Virilio (1932-2018) – obituary at France Culture and at Frieze by McKenzie Wark

Virilio_rdax_562x388Paul Virilio (1932-2018) – obituary at France Culture and at Frieze by McKenzie Wark

Virilio was one of the last representatives of a hugely influential generation of French theorists. Personally I found his early work most of interest – from Bunker Archaeology to his own architectural practice in The Function of the Oblique and the still untranslated L’insecurité du territoire. I draw on some of his ideas in my work on territory, especially when thinking about it in relation to volume and terrain. Of course, Virilio went on to do many other things, of which Speed and Politics is perhaps the most famous.


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Bruno Latour, Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime – reviewed at LARB

LatourThe book I mentioned yesterday – Bruno Latour, Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime – is reviewed, in its French edition, in the Los Angeles Review of Books by James Delbourgo.

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