Debjani Ganguly, This Thing Called the World: The Contemporary Novel as Global Form.
In This Thing Called the World Debjani Ganguly theorizes the contemporary global novel and the social and historical conditions that shaped it. Ganguly contends that global literature coalesced into its current form in 1989, an event marked by the convergence of three major trends: the consolidation of the information age, the arrival of a perpetual state of global war, and the expanding focus on humanitarianism. Ganguly analyzes a trove of novels from authors including Salman Rushdie, Don DeLillo, Michael Ondaatje, and Art Spiegelman, who address wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka, the Palestinian and Kashmiri crises, the Rwandan genocide, and post9/11 terrorism. These novels exist in a context in which suffering’s presence in everyday life is mediated through digital images and where authors integrate visual forms into their storytelling. In showing how the evolution of the contemporary global novel is analogous to the European novel’s emergence in the eighteenth century, when society and the development of capitalism faced similar monumental ruptures, Ganguly provides both a theory of the contemporary moment and a reminder of the novel’s power.
Recently out with MIT Press – Felicity D. Scott, Outlaw Territories:Environments of Insecurity/Architectures of Counterinsurgency.
In Outlaw Territories, Felicity Scott traces the relation of architecture and urbanism to human unsettlement and territorial insecurity during the 1960s and 1970s. Investigating a set of responses to the growing urban unrest in the developed and developing worlds, Scott revisits an era when the discipline of architecture staked out a role in global environmental governance and the biopolitical management of populations. She describes architecture’s response to the displacement of persons brought on by migration, urbanization, environmental catastrophe, and warfare, and she traces architecture’s relationship to the material, environmental, psychological, and geopolitical transformations brought on by postindustrial technologies and neoliberal capitalism after World War II.
At the height of the U.S.-led war in Vietnam and Cambodia, with ongoing decolonization struggles in many parts of the world, architecture not only emerged as a target of political agitation because of its inherent normativity but also became heavily enmeshed with military, legal, and humanitarian apparatuses, participating in scientific and technological research dedicated to questions of international management and security. Once architecture became aligned with a global matrix of forces concerned with the environment, economic development, migration, genocide, and war, its role shifted at times toward providing strategic expertise for institutions born of neoliberal capitalism. Scott investigates this nexus and questions how and to what ends architecture and the environment came to be intimately connected to the expanded exercise of power within the shifting geopolitical frameworks at this time.
I was very sorry to hear the news of the death of Chris Rumford, Professor of Politics at Royal Holloway, University of London. I didn’t know Chris well, but I knew his work on borders, Europe, globalisation and cosmopolitanism. He invited me to Royal Holloway in 2009 for the Global Studies conference, and we had a good conversation on a range of things, including a shared love of cricket. There is a tribute on the Royal Holloway site. My condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.
I’ve updated the list of forthcoming publications and provided links to some preprints.
For published work, see separate pages for articles and chapters, (some)books, interviews, and audio and video.
Interview with Jean-Luc Nancy: “There Is No West Anymore”. Thanks to dmfant for the link.
My next visiting talk – and my first overseas talk in over a year – will be at ‘Critical Histories of the Present‘, the 35th Spindel conference, University of Memphis, 16-17 September 2016.
My talk is under the title of ‘Foucault and Shakespeare: Ceremony, Theatre, Politics’. A very early version was given in London last year. I’ll also be presenting this work to the Political Thought and Intellectual History seminar, University of Cambridge on 7 November 2016. Papers from Memphis will be published in the Southern Journal of Philosophy.
Most discussions of Foucault and Shakespeare are around the theme of madness, which appears in several plays and which Foucault discusses in a number of places. Late in his life he also reads King Lear on the theme of parrēsia. These are all interesting discussions, and in the (current) written form I work through these references carefully. But my focus is elsewhere, on the scattered thoughts about ceremony and political theatre which Foucault takes from Shakespeare.
The paper begins with an archived page of Foucault’s notes, and discusses the different references to Shakespeare found in Foucault’s lecture courses, where the themes of deposition and ceremony are crucial. It then reads a number of Shakespeare’s plays around the theme of ceremony, and ends with a discussion of Foucault’s 1971-72 lecture course Théories et institutions pénales.
Time, Temporality and Global Politics – an open access E-IR Edited Collection. Now on sale in all good book stores, and also available via free e-book download from the E-International Relations website.
Find out more here
International Relations scholars have traditionally expressed little direct interest in addressing time and temporality. Yet, assumptions about temporality are at the core of many theories of world politics and time is a crucial component of our social reality. Today, a small but emerging strand of literature has emerged to meet questions concerning time and temporality and its relationship to International Relations head on. This edited collection provides a platform to continue this work.
Andrew Hom, Christopher McIntosh, Alasdair McKay and Liam Stockdale
Shahzad Bashir, Kevin K. Birth, Valerie Bryson, Kathryn Marie Fisher, Robert Hassan, Caroline Holmqvist, Kimberly Hutchings, Tim Luecke, Tom Lundborg, Tim Stevens and Ty Solomon.
Neil Smith’s essay, “The Concepts of Devaluation, Valorization and Depreciation in Marx: Towards a Clarification”, is published in Human Geography. Don Mitchell provides a great introduction, discussing why the piece was never published in Smith’s lifetime. You can download the paper, open access, here; but do read Don’s intro first.