‘Territory without Borders’ – my 2011 piece translated into Turkish by Utku Özmakas

photo-1444594924945-61856795933bTerritory without Borders‘ – my short 2011 piece published in the Harvard International Review has been translated into Turkish by Utku Özmakas. Many thanks to Utku for doing this translation – and for alerting me and the journal that the piece had disappeared. It’s now available again – both pieces open access.

The piece was written while The Birth of Territory was in production, and I try to argue that while borders are crucial – and I give some examples in 2011 that have intensified today – I try to disentangle the relation between territory and borders.

Rather, what I want to do here is to raise the question of whether we can think territory without dependence on borders. This does not mean we should conceive of a territory without borders, an imagined space which has neither limit nor end. Instead, we should stop using a notion of “border,” “boundary,” or “boundedness” as the key element to define territory, as a concept. I want to suggest that the standard definition of territory as a bordered, bounded or defined space is actually an impediment to understandings of geopolitical relations. In short, I think we need a better theory of territory. We should not take the standard definition of territory as a bounded space under the control of a group, perhaps a state, straight-forwardly. As I look back through history to trace the emergence of modern territorial notions, I hope to address two key questions. How did a singular conception of territory emerge out of the divergent systems of organization that have historically characterized global political culture? And how does that definition inform the modern understanding of global political relations?

It’s a short piece, but I give a very brief summary of the history I trace in The Birth of Territory, and connect it up to some contemporary issues.

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Michel Foucault, Binswanger et l’analyse existentielle, edited by Elisabetta Basso – EHESS/Gallimard/Seuil, April 2020

Michel Foucault, Binswanger et l’analyse existentielle, edited by Elisabetta Basso – EHESS/Gallimard/Seuil, forthcoming April 2020. Nothing on the publisher sites yet, but it is listed in online bookstores. More details when available.

This is a substantial text by Foucault which seems to have begun as a course at Lille, but is developed into a more polished manuscript, which may have been intended as a thesis. Foucault published a long introduction to Binswanger’s ‘Dream and Existence’ in 1954, but this manuscript is distinct from that work. This edition is part of a new  series of publications from Foucault’s archive before the Collège de France. It is the second to be published, after the two courses on sexuality that appeared in late 2018. I discuss this text in The Early Foucault, and it will be good to have an edited version of this manuscript available before I complete that book.

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Post-Kantian Philosophy at Warwick – audio and video; conference on 5-6 June 2020

Post-Kantian Philosophy at Warwick – audio and video recordings

Daniele Lorenzini, Simon Critchley, Keith-Ansell Pearson, Stephen Houlgate, Miguel de Beistegui and others.

More details on the Centre here. The Centre’s conference this year is on 5-6 June 2020 – call for abstracts here.

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Andrew Bozio, Thinking Through Place on the Early Modern English Stage – OUP (Early Modern Literary Geographies), 2020

Andrew Bozio, Thinking Through Place on the Early Modern English Stage, OUP, 2020 – part of the Early Modern Literary Geographies series.

Thinking Through Place on the Early Modern English Stage argues that environment and embodied thought continually shaped one another in the performance of early modern English drama. It demonstrates this, first, by establishing how characters think through their surroundings —not only how they orient themselves within unfamiliar or otherwise strange locations, but also how their environs function as the scaffolding for perception, memory, and other forms of embodied thought. It then contends that these moments of thinking through place theorize and thematize the work that playgoers undertook in reimagining the stage as the setting of the dramatic fiction. By tracing the relationship between these two registers of thought in such plays as The Malcontent, Dido Queen of Carthage, Tamburlaine, King Lear, The Knight of the Burning Pestle, and Bartholomew Fair, this book shows that drama makes visible the often invisible means by which embodied subjects acquire a sense of their surroundings. It also reveals how, in doing so, theater altered the way that playgoers perceived, experienced, and imagined place in early modern England.

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In the Trenches of History – an ARTE/rbb documentary on Ernst Jünger from 2019, German with English subtitles

In the Trenches of History – an ARTE/rbb documentary on Ernst Jünger from 2019, German with English subtitles

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Books received – Pelluchon, Eddé, Alarm Phone, Farrell Krell, Hoffmann, Miller, Jullien, Dumézil


Books received – Corine Pelluchon, Nourishment: A Philosophy of the Political BodyDominique Eddé, Edward Said: His Thought as a Novel; 5 Years of Alarm Phone (also available as a free download); David Farrell Krell, The Sea: A Philosophical Encounter; Marcelo Hoffmann, Militant Acts: The Role of Investigations in Radical Political Struggles; Todd Miller, Empire of Borders: The Expansion of the US Border around the World; François Jullien, From Being to Living: A Euro-Chinese Lexicon of Thought; Georges Dumézil, The Destiny of a King.

Corine and Marcelo kindly sent copies of their books, and 5 Years of Alarm Phone was a gift from my colleague Maurice Stierl; Jullien’s book was sent by Sage. The rest were bought from the Verso sale or second-hand.

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The North American Arctic: Themes in Regional Security, edited by Dwayne Ryan Menezes and Heather N. Nicol, UCL Press, 2019 (free download)

The North American Arctic: Themes in Regional Security, edited by Dwayne Ryan Menezes and Heather N. Nicol, UCL Press, 2019 (free download)

The North American Arctic addresses the emergence of a new security relationship within the North American North. It focuses on current and emerging security issues that confront the North American Arctic and that shape relationships between and with neighbouring states (Alaska in the US; Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut in Canada; Greenland and Russia).

Identifying the degree to which ‘domain awareness’ has redefined the traditional military focus, while a new human rights discourse undercuts traditional ways of managing sovereignty and territory, the volume’s contributors question normative security arrangements. Although security itself is not an obsolete concept, our understanding of what constitutes real human-centred security has become outdated. The contributors argue that there are new regionally specific threats originating from a wide range of events and possibilities, and very different subjectivities that can be brought to understand the shape of Arctic security and security relationships in the twenty-first century.

The North American Arctic provides a framework or lens through which many new developments are assessed in order to understand their impact on a changing circumpolar region at different scales – from the level of community to the broader national and regional scale.

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The Early Foucault Update 29 – Paris, Tübingen and a book on the 1960s

Since the last update on the writing of this book a couple of months ago, I’ve been continuing work on this manuscript. Some of this was following up on things that I discovered when in Switzerland in November, especially relating to Roland Kuhn, who Foucault knew in the mid-1950s. Foucault’s links to psychology in this period are important, and not just because of the work on Ludwig Binswanger. Kuhn is a significant figure, as is the clinical work Foucault did with Georges and Jacqueline Verdeaux. There are some important indications of these links in the biographies, but I think a bit more can be done exploring them.

I had a few days in Paris in December, when I worked at the Bibliothèque nationale on some of the early papers deposited by Foucault’s nephew, which are filed separately from the main Foucault fonds. The boxes I’ve looked at so far mainly contain materials relating to his early publications from the mid 1950s – drafts and typescripts. There are quite a lot of boxes in this fonds for me to work through still, and so I’ll be back in Paris next week to continue with them. I also had a morning at the École normale supérieure to look at the Jean Hyppolite archive, which has a copy of Foucault’s secondary thesis on Kant along with a few other things.

Melissa Pawelski has also been doing some research work for this project, including finding some archival sources in Hamburg. These have been comprehensively explored by the historian Rainer Nicolaysen, and Melissa has made a translation of his important article on Foucault’s time there between 1959-60. More news when that translation is available. Following up on some of the sources that Nicolaysen identified has been helpful for my work.

Back in the UK, as well as a few days at the British Library, I also made trips to two of my favourite London libraries to work in – the Warburg Institute which has the Ernst Cassirer edition of Kant that Foucault used alongside the Akademie Ausgabe; and the Wellcome library for some texts relating to von Weizsäcker. I then took a real break over Christmas and the New Year.

Earlier this week I was in Tübingen for a few days at the University library which holds the Ludwig Binswanger archive. There I looked at the correspondence between him and Foucault as well as the much more extensive files of letters and postcards with Jacqueline and Georges Verdeaux. I also took a look at the correspondence he had with Heidegger and Kuhn. I’ve realised that a lot of the story of Foucault’s relation to Binswanger is in need of emendation, especially around dates, and so I’ve got quite a long discussion of this. Obsessing over a very small detail led me to send off a speculative request, and a very helpful reply which has opened up a little window on the past. It is remarkable how generous some people can be if you ask politely.

The Bonatzbau of the University of Tübingen, which houses the Binswanger archive

The big news is that I have a contract with Polity to write the final book in this series, covering the 1960s from Birth of the Clinic to The Archaeology of Knowledge. The working title is The Archaeology of Foucault. There is a lot of archival material that I plan to treat in this book – lectures, courses, and drafts of The Archaeology of Knowledge, among other things. Some of this material is due to be published over the next few years.

I’ve been working on the manuscript of The Early Foucault, on and off, for over three years now. The first post about the project was made on 2 December 2016. One of the reasons for the slower progress is that I put the manuscript aside to write the book on Canguilhem, and to complete the revisions for Shakespearean Territories, but the other is the huge amount of new material that is being made available either in published form or in archives. All this meant that 2019 was the first year in quite a few when I didn’t complete a book manuscript. My hope is that I can complete this book in the spring, in about three-months’ time – after some more archival work in France, Sweden and the USA. But I will also be doing some preliminary work for the book on the 1960s on those trips. Korean, Chinese and Serbian translations of some of the earlier Foucault books are also in process.

I didn’t do a ‘year in review’ post for 2019, partly because I didn’t feel I had much to say, partly because some people seem to hate them, but also because there isn’t much in the production pipeline as, at the moment, all the focus is on the Foucault work. There is another important, slow, editing project in process; I’m co-editing a journal special issue; and I have ideas for a couple of things further beyond. The Foucault work feels like a significant thing to be bringing toward a conclusion (on the basis that the third of four books is not far from being done, and the fourth has parts sketched out). It’s certainly not there yet, but I can imagine the end. And so alongside all this work I’m beginning to think about what the next big thing after this might be. It might be the terrain work, maybe not. I have one slightly crazy idea that I keep being drawn back towards. I am looking towards the 2021/22 year, which I hope to take as a sabbatical, to begin working on the next major project.

But for now, and I expect for most of the next 18 months, I’ll keep chipping away at the Foucault material.

The previous updates on this project are here; and the previous books Foucault’s Last Decade and Foucault: The Birth of Power available from Polity. The related book Canguilhem came out in 2019, and is discussed a bit more here. Several Foucault research resources such as bibliographies, short translations, textual comparisons and so on, produced while doing the work for these books, are available here.

Posted in Books, Canguilhem (book), Ludwig Binswanger, Michel Foucault, Publishing, Shakespearean Territories, terrain, The Archaeology of Foucault, The Early Foucault | 2 Comments

‘Writing Nomos Otherwise? Appropriation in the Anthropocene’, 3 Feb 2020, University of Westminster

‘Writing Nomos Otherwise? Appropriation in the Anthropocene’, 3 Feb 2020, University of Westminster. Tickets and details here.

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Marxist Summer School, Kasos, Greece, June 28-July 11 2020

Marxist Summer School, Kasos, Greece, June 28-July 11 2020 – further details here

The Institute for the Radical Imagination is pleased to announce the creation of the Marxist Summer School, to be held yearly. For 2020, the Summer School will take place from June 28th through July 11th on the Greek island of Kasos. The Marxist Summer School is designed to enable those who are new to historical materialism as well as more advanced participants to address fundamental questions, concepts, and texts in an intensive way and in an inclusive, non-sectarian, and congenial setting. There will be two daily seminar sessions (held in the Kasos municipal library) where participants will collaborate on close readings of texts and address some of the core political problems of our times: from ecological devastation, the transformation of desire and subjectivity, and the politics of economic austerity to the new forms of technocratic capitalism and the ever-increasing tendency toward authoritarian rule.

The Marxist Summer School is open to everyone with intellectual drive and revolutionary zeal and does not require any previous preparation. Students can register on the Institute website.

Marx_Surfing

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