Early Modern Literary Geographies – 14-15 October 2016

Early Modern Literary Geographies, Huntington library, San Marino, CA, 14-15 October 2016 –  details here or download the programme brochure

The conference is organised around the themes of Body, House, Neighbourhood, and Region. I’ll be speaking in the last of these on “Denmark, Norway, Poland: Regional Geopolitics in Hamlet”. This is part of what I hope will be chapter 2 of my Shakespeare book.

Huntington EMLG Conference Brochure.jpg


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Books received – Marshall, Shakespeare, O’Lear & Dalby, Mitchell, Harvey


Back from holiday, a mix of recently received books. The Routledge ones are in recompense for review work, as is Shakespeare and Space. The others were picked up second-hand for various projects.

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Repo, Jemima 2016 The Biopolitics of Gender, reviewed by Martina Tazzioli

Society and space

Jemima Repo, The Biopolitics of Gender, Oxford University Press, Oxford UK, 2016,232 pages, $49.95 hardback, ISBN 9780190256913.

repo_biopolitics of gender_500_700A genealogical approach to social science’s objects and categories helps in pushing further and partly displacing the very function of critical discourse: as Jemima Repo puts it, building on Foucault, “in a genealogical inquiry it is not enough to simply denaturalize and destabilize discourses […] the central stage of genealogy is to examine the condition of possibility for the emergence, expansion, intensification, transformation and destruction of discourses” (page 9). In The Biopoltics of Gender, Repo fully achieves this goal, retracing the emergence of gender theory and showing its centrality in mechanisms of contemporary biopolitical governmentality. Repo traces back to the 1950s the emergence of gender as a social, political and medical category that has been embedded from the very beginning in “logics of social control that reconfigured the sexual order of things”…

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Angharad Closs Stephens – National Atmospheres and the ‘Brexit’ Revolt

Society and space

Counting the votes cast in Ceredigion constituency in the Euopean Community referendum, at Aberaeron sport hall in the early hours of the morning of the 24th June 2016. In Ceredigion the results were: Leave 45.4% 18,031 votes, Remain 54.6% 21,711 votes, on a turnout of 74.4% Overall in the UK the result was Leave 51.9% (Votes 17,410,742 ), Remain 48.1% (Votes 16,141,241) ©keith morris www.artswebwales.com keith@artx.co.uk 07710 285968 01970 611106 Counting votes following the European Referendum in Ceredigion, Wales, UK. 23/24 June 2016.
Photograph by Keith Morris.

There is no shortage of opinion pieces claiming to know what the Referendum held on 23 June 2016 on the UK’s membership of the European Union represents. Yet in these early months, it is by no means clear what kind of an event this was and what might yet unfold from it. What is clearer is how this political moment has been felt, embodied and sensed, at least among many on the progressive Left. I know that I am not alone in feeling exhausted by emotions as well as by the intensified atmospheres of fear, shame and anger (Orbach, 2016). In this vote, a Right Wing English nationalism that erupts from time to time bloomed in a thousand tiny ways. The heightened nationalist atmosphere led to a marked rise in racist attacks and…

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Seminar: Tool-boxes and rolling marbles: The far-flung applications of Michel Foucault’s work (2016)

Foucault News

Clare O’Farrell, Tool-boxes and rolling marbles: The far-flung applications of Michel Foucault’s work (2016)

Date: Tuesday, 30th August 2016, 11:30am-1:00pm
A Block, Level 3, Conference Room 330
QUT, Kelvin Grove Campus
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Entry is free but please register with Eventbrite by Monday, 29th August 5:00pm

PDF Flyer

This paper was originally delivered as a keynote presentation to the Foucault @ 90 conference at Ayr in Scotland in June 2016.

Foucault famously said he was writing for users, not readers. He wanted his books to function as tooI-boxes to be deployed in the most applied of areas – he specifically names educators, magistrates, wardens, and conscientious objectors for instance. He also imagined his books as ‘rolling marbles’ that could be picked up and then sent elsewhere. Some 40 years after Foucault expressed these sentiments about his work, he has become the most cited theorist in the social sciences…

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Who Wrote Shakespeare? – Martin Wiggins on collaboration at the BBC website

p0451wyzWho Wrote Shakespeare? – Martin Wiggins at the BBC website. The discussion is not of the para-academic debate about whether William Shakespeare wrote the plays that bear his name, but rather about the collaborative nature of some of them – some of which are canonical, and some of which are disputed. Some good introductory discussion, a handy image of the plays and likely authors, and some good video clips of passages from some plays.

I’m well aware that much of this is contested, having worked on several of the plays which are thought to be collaborative for my Shakespeare project. But for a wide audience, this is a clear and useful summary.

The ‘Hand D’ manuscript of a addition to Sir Thomas More, believed to be by Shakespeare is currently on display at the British Library, in their superb ‘Shakespeare in Ten Acts‘ exhibition. There is much else of interest in that exhibition, but for me the manuscript was worth it alone. It’s open for about a week more.

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Finishing with Foucault, working on Shakespeare and now a holiday

I’ve now finished work on Foucault: The Birth of Power – the corrections to the proofs have been sent off. In the past several weeks I’ve been working hard on Shakespeare, and have got several chapters into draft state. I’m going to have to take a break from this work in the autumn-winter, with teaching and several talks on different topics, so I’d like to get this manuscript to a point where I can leave it without too many loose ends. This doesn’t mean it’s nearly finished, indeed far from it, but I want it to be at a point where I can put it aside and return, at some point, with fresh eyes and hopefully new energy and ideas.

I’ve put a new page on this site with more information on the Shakespeare project. This supersedes the older page, and more accurately reflects the current shape of it.

Foucault: The Birth of Power is now available to pre-order from Polity’s distributor, Wiley, as well as online bookstores. It is currently projected for February publication. The cover isn’t yet up, but the book’s description is.

Now for a holiday.

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Books and journals received – Shaw, Italiano, Hall, Dixon, Braverman

A pile each of books and journals, recently received. The books are mainly the second instalment of ones in recompense for review work, along with Ian Shaw’s Predator Empire, sent by the publisher.



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David Beer, Metric Power

9781137556486David Beer’s Metric Power is now out. A great shame about Palgrave’s prohibitive price for this – hopefully a paperback will appear at some point, but there is no justification for a £50 e-book.

This book examines the powerful and intensifying role that metrics play in ordering and shaping our everyday lives. Focusing upon the interconnections between measurement, circulation and possibility, the author explores the interwoven relations between power and metrics. He draws upon a wide-range of interdisciplinary resources to place these metrics within their broader historical, political and social contexts. More specifically, he illuminates the various ways that metrics implicate our lives – from our work, to our consumption and our leisure, through to our bodily routines and the financial and organisational structures that surround us. Unravelling the power dynamics that underpin and reside within the so-called big data revolution, he develops the central concept of Metric Power along with a set of conceptual resources for thinking critically about the powerful role played by metrics in the social world today.

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Louise Amoore on ‘Cloud geographies: Computing, data, sovereignty’ in Progress in Human Geography

Louise Amoore on ‘Cloud geographies: Computing, data, sovereignty’ in Progress in Human Geography (requires subscription).

The architecture of cloud computing is becoming ever more closely intertwined with geopolitics – from the sharing of intelligence data, to border controls, immigration decisions, and drone strikes. Developing an analogy with the cloud chamber of early twentieth century particle physics, this paper explores the geography of the cloud in cloud computing. It addresses the geographical character of cloud computing across two distinct paradigms. The first, ‘Cloud I’ or a geography of cloud forms, is concerned with the identification and spatial location of data centres where the cloud is thought to materialize. Here the cloud is understood within a particular history of observation, one where the apparently abstract and obscure world can be brought into vision and rendered intelligible. In the second variant, ‘Cloud II’ or the geography of a cloud analytic, the cloud is a bundle of experimental algorithmic techniques acting upon the threshold of perception itself. Like the cloud chamber of the twentieth century, contemporary cloud computing is concerned with rendering perceptible and actionable that which would otherwise be beyond the threshold of human observation. The paper proposes three elements of correlative cloud reasoning, suggesting their significance for our geopolitical present: condensing traces; discovering patterns; and archiving the future.

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