Foucault, Subjectivity and Truth course now scheduled for June/July 2017

9781403986641The long delayed translation of Foucault’s Subjectivity and Truth course is now scheduled for June/July 2017. Thanks to Chathan Vemuri for the update. The price has also come down to something comparable to previous volumes in the series. This is the penultimate course from the Collège de France series to appear in English.

It’s a fascinating course, in many ways a draft of much of the material to appear in the History of Sexuality Volume III, and to a lesser extent Volume II. My lecture on this course from a few years ago is available online. There is a long discussion of the course in Foucault’s Last Decade, Chapter 6.


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Resurrecting the Forgotten Bike Highways of 1930s Britain in Atlas Obscura

Sarah Laskow, Resurrecting the Forgotten Bike Highways of 1930s Britain in Atlas Obscura

In the 1930s, Britain’s Ministry of Transport built an extensive network of bike highways around the country—at least 280 miles of paved, protected infrastructure dedicated to cyclists alone. For decades, it was entirely forgotten—overgrown and overlooked—so much so that no one seems to remember that these lanes had existed at all. [continues here]

An interesting piece which shows how Britain had similar ideas to what I’m finding here in the Netherlands – segregated bike lanes not just in cities, but between them.


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Monstrous, Duplicated, Potent: On Donna Haraway in n+1

Monstrous, Duplicated, Potent: On Donna Haraway in n+1 by Alyssa Battistoni

Nominally a review of Donna Haraway. Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene (Duke, 2016), it’s mainly a fascinating discussion of her work as a whole.

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Clarence Glacken, Traces on the Rhodian Shore fifty years on at the RGS-IBG meeting

9780520032163There is an interesting session coming up at the RGS-IBG meeting in London later this year: Clarence Glacken’s ‘Traces on the Rhodian Shore’ at 50: Nature, Culture and ‘Western Thought’ (1 September, 2.40pm)

Organised by Philip Conway, it will be a discussion involving Innes Keighren, David Livingstone and Georgina Endfield. The book is a classic of geography and the history of ideas, and still in print. I was supposed to be part of the discussion too, but though we asked the organisers to schedule it any day but Friday, that’s the day it ended up. Due to other speakers’ commitments, this can’t be changed. I have an unmoveable commitment on the 1st. 

As well as the book being celebrated, this would also have been a chance to engage with the publication of Genealogies of Environmentalism: The Lost Works of Clarence Glacken – due out any day.

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Farge and Foucault, Disorderly Families reviewed in the TLS

imageArlette Farge and Michel Foucault, Disorderly Families: Infamous letters from the Bastille archives (edited by Nancy Luxon, translated by Thomas Scott-Railton) reviewed in the TLS: ‘Would you mind imprisoning my wife?‘ by Biancamaria Fontana.

As I’ve mentioned here before, there is a companion book of essays edited by Nancy Luxon, forthcoming from University of Minnesota Press. I have a piece in that collection (on urban spaces), and Nancy and I will be speaking about this work at the Institute of Historical Studies in London on June 16. More details when available.

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Simondon on Technics: On the Mode of Existence of Technical Objects – audio recordings

image_miniThanks to dmf for pointing me to this – audio recordings of a recent event at Kingston:

Simondon on Technics: On the Mode of Existence of Technical Objects

Speakers: Andrea Bardin (Brunel University), Giovanni Carrozzini (CIDES, MSH Paris-Nord), Xavier Guchet (Paris 1 Sorbonne), Cécile Malaspina (translator), Simon Mills (De Monfort University), Pablo Rodriguez (University of Buenos Aires)

The 2016 English translation of Gilbert Simondon’s 1958 On the Mode of Existence of Technical Objects finally introduces the Anglophone reader to a complete version of the French philosopher’s great work: a complex crossover between ontology, epistemology, psycho-sociology and the philosophy of technology. With the participation of international specialists on Simondon’s writings, this workshop aims to explore the main themes of Simondon’s philosophy of technology, connecting them to the relational ontology of communication processes outlined in Individuation in the Light of the Notions of Form and Information.

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‘U Can’t Talk to Ur Professor Like This’ – academic etiquette in the New York Times

‘U Can’t Talk to Ur Professor Like This‘ – interesting piece on academic etiquette in the New York Times. Here’s the beginning of the piece:

Chapel Hill, N.C. — At the start of my teaching career, when I was fresh out of graduate school, I briefly considered trying to pass myself off as a cool professor. Luckily, I soon came to my senses and embraced my true identity as a young fogey.

After one too many students called me by my first name and sent me email that resembled a drunken late-night Facebook post, I took a very fogeyish step. I began attaching a page on etiquette to every syllabus: basic rules for how to address teachers and write polite, grammatically correct emails. [continues here]

There are cultural and generational norms here, and I certainly don’t want to push for deference, but above all I think these problems come from a lack of politeness. I think this guide – linked in the piece – is much too prescriptive. I think that the first line of the author’s own guide is almost enough on its own: “When in doubt about how you should speak, write, or act, always err on the side of formality. You will never offend or annoy someone by being overly formal and polite”.

I’m fine with ‘Stuart’ but not with ‘Stu’; I begin messages to people I don’t know with ‘Dear’ and not ‘Hi’ or ‘Yo’; and if you use a title, get it right. On that last point I’m continually surprised by the ‘Dear Mr Elden’ messages, especially – and these seems really puzzling – from potential PhD students…

The other one: if you want someone to do something for you, ask. 



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China Miéville, October: The Story of the Russian Revolution from Verso (currently 50% off with bundled e-book)

9781784782771-max_221-2f04eecf9c16cd7391cc2bda7e1c7899China Miéville, October: The Story of the Russian Revolution from Verso (currently 50% off with bundled e-book)

On the centenary of the Russian Revolution, China Miéville tells the extraordinary story of this pivotal moment in history.

In February of 1917 Russia was a backwards, autocratic monarchy, mired in an unpopular war; by October, after not one but two revolutions, it had become the world’s first workers’ state, straining to be at the vanguard of global revolution. How did this unimaginable transformation take place?

In a panoramic sweep, stretching from St Petersburg and Moscow to the remotest villages of a sprawling empire, Miéville uncovers the catastrophes, intrigues and inspirations of 1917, in all their passion, drama and strangeness. Intervening in long-standing historical debates, but told with the reader new to the topic especially in mind, here is a breathtaking story of humanity at its greatest and most desperate; of a turning point for civilisation that still resonates loudly today.

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Foucault, Oeuvres I and II reviewed in the TLS by Duncan Kelly

aff. Foucault.inddFoucault, Oeuvres I and II reviewed in the TLS by Duncan Kelly

In 1970, after various appointments in France, Germany, Poland, Sweden and Tunisia, the French philosopher and epistemologist Michel Foucault took a Chair at the Collège de France in Paris. His job title was Professor of the History of Systems of Thought, and his inaugural lecture offered a retrospect and prospect of what that meant to him. Yet only by the end of the 1970s, in a recap of a course given on the birth of modern “biopolitics”, published in English as “History of Systems of Thought” (1979), did Foucault explain what this meant more explicitly. Asking how, from the eighteenth century onwards, governmental practices had sought to rationalize the attention they paid to their subjects and citizens, he considered the range of policies and systems of thought that justified them, targeting the practical problems of governing a population (health, hygiene, care and welfare, births, deaths, diseases, etc). These were forms of “gov­ernmentality” and, he continued, they were “inseparable” as systems of thought from the dominant form of “political rationality” that overlay them, namely, modern “liberalism”. The history of systems of thought, it turns out, covers it all. [continues here]

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Three steps for the UK general election – register, read, vote (with links)

Now updated with links to more manifestos. Remember to register by end of Monday 22nd May.

Progressive Geographies

Three steps for the UK general election –

1. Register to vote

Simple to do, but crucial to do soon. Must be done by 22 May to vote on 8 June 2017. The official registration site is here. For students, you can register in both your term time and home address, and then vote in just one. If you want to know where you will make the most difference, take a look at this site.

2. Read the manifestos

Don’t just read what the newspapers say about them; read them.

  • Labour Party manifesto here
  • Conservative Party here.
  • Liberal Democrat here.
  • The Green Party manifesto page is here (signup to receive when launched).
  • Plaid Cymru here
  • SNP not yet available.

3. Vote

You can’t do this without being registered; and you shouldn’t do it without being informed.

There is a good discussion of tactical voting here; and…

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