Preparing for academic interviews – a few resources

A very useful roundup of resources for applying for jobs and being interviewed by Charlotte Mathieson.

Dr Charlotte Mathieson

This post is a follow-up of resources for those who attended The Voice of the Academic: Vocal Training for Academic Success at the University of Surrey on 22nd September, although the links may also be helpful to others preparing for academic interviews.

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Sloterdijk reviewed (critically) in NYRB: Some thoughts

Peter Gratton links to John Gray’s critical review of Sloterdijk in the NYRB, and offers a few thoughts in response.


Alas, behind a paywall, but John Gray goes through a tremendous number of his works—if he’s read all listed, he might be one of the few to get through all of those pages. He hits scathing points others have made before: Sloterdijk makes claims that seem thunderous but are on second thought vacuous; his erudition means you get a blizzard of examples that hide relatively simple arguments (e.g., cultures have an interior cohesion–a bubble if you will), if any are to be found; he is a political reactionary whose ideas are both horrible (his views on European refugees) and often silly (we should replace taxes with philanthropy), which then within a few pages turn quite dangerous (liberal democracies are under-raged—an idea that has not aged well). Sloterdijk often just offers warmed over thinking from others: Nietzsche’s ressentiment plays a prominent role in his thinking and his considerations of rage reads…

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cfp AAG 2018: Anxious/Desiring Geographies

Interesting call for papers at the next AAG meeting

Open Geography

Call for Papers: “Anxious/Desiring geographies.”

AAG Annual Conference New Orleans April 10-14, 2018

Organizers: Jeremy W. Crampton (Kentucky, USA), Nick Robinson (RHUL, UK), Mikko Joronen (Tampere, Finland).

At this political moment we seem beset by anxieties from every direction. Automation is identified as an existential threat to jobs. Vulnerabilities from political violence increase anxieties of the subaltern. Climate change and the inauguration of the Anthropocene threaten our wellbeing. Nast (2017) credits the financial crisis with being “psychically traumatic.”

At least since Gregory’s identification of the inadequacy of representation, which he dubbed “cartographic anxiety” (Gregory, 1994), geographers have meaningfully contributed to understandings of the affective politics of anxiety. Attention has been paid to a geopolitics of fear that is experienced on both an everyday and global level (Pain and Smith, 2008), and to sexual desires and identities (Bell and Valentine, 1995). Brown and Knopp (2016) identified a biopolitics of the state’s…

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Rob Weatherill, The Anti-Oedipus Complex Lacan, Critical Theory and Postmodernism

9781138692350Rob Weatherill, The Anti-Oedipus Complex: Lacan, Critical Theory and Postmodernism – now out with Routledge. Thanks to Sebastian Budgen for the link.

The Anti-Oedipus Complex critically explores the post-‘68 dramatic developments in Freudo-Lacanian psychoanalysis and cultural theory. Beginning with the decline of patriarchy and the master, exemplified by Freud’s paean for the Father, the revolutionary path was blown wide open by anti-psychiatry, schizoanalysis and radical politics, the complex antinomies of which are traced here in detail with the help of philosophers such as Nietzsche, Baudrillard, Levinas, Steiner, Žižek, Badiou, Derrida and Girard, as well as theologians, analysts, writers, musicians and film makers.

In this book, Rob Weatherill, starting from the clinic, considers the end of hierarchies, the loss of the Other, new subjectivities, so-called ‘creative destruction’, the power of negative thinking, revolutionary action, divine violence and new forms of extreme control. Where does this leave the psychoanalytic clinic – adrift in postmodern indifference? Does the engagement of the Radical Orthodoxy movement offer some hope? Or should we re-situate psychoanalysis within a ‘genealogy of responsibility’ (Patočka / Derrida) as it emerges out of the sacred demonic, via Plato and Christianity?

The Anti-Oedipus Complex will be of interest to psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, counsellors, social workers and scholars in critical theory, philosophy, cultural theory, literary theory and theology.

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Nick Megoran, Nationalism and Central Asia: A Biography of the Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan Boundary

9780822964421Nick Megoran, Nationalism and Central Asia: A Biography of the Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan Boundary now out from University of Pittsburgh Press.

Nick Megoran explores the process of building independent nation-states in post-Soviet Central Asia through the lens of the disputed border territory between Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. In his rich “biography” of the boundary, he employs a combination of political, cultural, historical, ethnographic, and geographic frames to shed new light on nation-building process in this volatile and geopolitically significant region.

Megoran draws on twenty years of extensive research in the borderlands via interviews, observations, participation, and newspaper analysis. He considers the problems of nationalist discourse versus local vernacular, elite struggles versus borderland solidarities, boundary delimitation versus everyday experience, border control versus resistance, and mass violence in 2010, all of which have exacerbated territorial anxieties. Megoran also revisits theories of causation, such as the loss of Soviet control, poorly defined boundaries, natural resource disputes, and historic ethnic clashes, to show that while these all contribute to heightened tensions, political actors and their agendas have clearly driven territorial aspirations and are the overriding source of conflict. As this compelling case study shows, the boundaries of the The Ferghana Valley put in succinct focus larger global and moral questions of what defines a good border.

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Hameiri, Hughes and Scarpello, International Intervention and Local Politics – now out with CUP

9781108416894Shahar Hameiri, Caroline Hughes, and Fabio Scarpello, International Intervention and Local Politics: Fragmented States and the Politics of Scale, now out with Cambridge University Press.

International peace- and state-building interventions have become ubiquitous in international politics since the 1990s, aiming to tackle the security problems stemming from the instability afflicting many developing states. Their frequent failures have prompted a shift towards analysing how the interaction between interveners and recipients shapes outcomes. This book critically assesses the rapidly growing literature in international relations and development studies on international intervention and local politics. It advances an innovative approach, placing the politics of scale at the core of the conflicts and compromises shaping the outcomes of international intervention. Different scales – local, national, international – privilege different interests, unevenly allocating power, resources and political opportunity structures. Interveners and recipients thus pursue scalar strategies and socio-political alliances that reinforce their power and marginalise rivals. This approach is harnessed towards examining three prominent case studies of international intervention – Aceh, Cambodia and Solomon Islands – with a focus on public administration reform.
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Derek Gregory, ‘War at a Distance: the Modern Battlefield’ (video)

War at a Distance: the Modern Battlefield – Derek Gregory lecture, Radboud University, Nijmegen.

In a modern war the battlefield can be anywhere. Drones and aerial bombing mean that there isn’t a clear frontline anymore. Because of this an even larger number of citizens have become part of the battlefield. Learn from geographer Derek Gregory how aerial violence became and remains a key military strategy.

A longer lecture description and a links to the slides can be found on Derek’s site, Geographical Imaginations. Also on that site, a discussion of some recent literature on a range of topics connected to his work.

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CfP: Political Geologies: Earth Sciences and Subterranean Territorialization (AAG 2018)

CfP: Political Geologies: Earth Sciences and Subterranean Territorialization – Association of American Geographers meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana; April 10-14, 2018

Organizers: Andrea Marston (UC Berkeley); Matt Himley (Illinois State University)

Sponsors: Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group; Political Geography Specialty Group

Session Description:

Recent publications have called for geographers to attend to the “verticality” and “volume” of space, including the air, oceans, and subsoil (Weizman 2007, Elden 2013, Adey 2015, Grundy-Warr et al. 2015, Steinberg and Peters 2015). Much of this work has explored volumetric space from a geopolitical perspective, emphasizing the optical techniques used to render space visible, governable, and in some cases marketable. Although perhaps inattentive to the lived experiences of three-dimensional space (Harris 2014), as a corpus this work directs attention to the scientific and technological practices through which volumetric space is known, secured, and exploited, and thus the role of these practices in the making of territory (Bridge 2013).

In this session, we build on this work with a focus on the technosciences of subterranean territorialization, aiming to encompass the political/governmental, economic/commercial, and social/meaningful aspects of territorial production. While attempting to understand earth’s “deep history” and “inner structure,” geological exploration has long been linked to the production of colonial and capitalist spaces (Stafford 1990, Frederiksen 2013). Capitalist expansion relies on metals and fossil fuels buried in the subsoil, and the production of subterranean resources has gone hand in hand with the inventorying of colonial natures and colonized peoples. These interlinked processes have produced “geological landscapes” and cultivated geological senses of regional and national belonging (Braun 2000, Shen 2014). In conjunction with archeology and paleontology, geology provides earthy depth to national historical narratives, while subsoil engineering transforms such “natural inheritance” into promises of future progress. On (and in) the ground, “geologic subjects” (Yusoff 2013) continue to produce and consume the products of the subsoil, through their daily actions rendering these subterranean resources the literal bedrock of capitalist modernity.

We invite papers that explore the sciences and technologies of subterranean territorialization as they relate to questions of governance, exploitation, and belonging. Potential topics include but are not limited to:

• Politics of subterranean knowledge production
• Earth sciences and imperial expansion
• Relationship between colonial ordering of people and subsoil natures
• Earth sciences and state formation/national territorialization
• Role of earth sciences in territorial conflicts
• “Everyday verticalities” (Harris 2014) of the subsoil

Please submit your abstract of no more than 250 words to Andrea Marston ( and Matt Himley ( by October 9th.

Note: This session will have a discussant. Presenters will be asked to submit a written paper several weeks before the conference.

Full details here


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Rosi Bradotti, ‘Are ‘WE’ in this together?’ video of UCL-IAS lecture

Rosi Bradotti, ‘Are ‘WE’ in this together?’ video of UCL-IAS lecture, 21 September 2017

This lecture explores the re-compositions of a vulnerable sense of pan-humanity (‘WE’) in the context of Anthropocenic climate change discussion (‘this’). It will focus on three main considerations: firstly the convergences around the posthuman turn and the shifting understandings of ‘the human’ in contemporary scholarship. Secondly the complex and internally contradictory effects of economic globalization as bio-political, information-driven system, that capitalizes on all that lives. Thirdly, the necro-political governmentality, that instils managed devastation and extinction, through wars and conflicts and the new forms of discrimination they engender on a planetary scale.



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Russell Brand and David Harvey, ‘Marxism On The Rise – Can It Really Defeat Capitalism?’ Podcast


Also from David Harvey, and if you can cope with Russell Brand…

Russell Brand and David Harvey, ‘Marxism On The Rise – Can It Really Defeat Capitalism?‘ Podcast

Harvey’s new book is Marx, Capital and the Madness of Economic Reason

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