Bernard Stiegler (1952-2020)

Sorry to hear the news of the death of Bernard Stiegler. There is a brief note in Libération. I only met him once, at the Association for Philosophy and Literature/Theory, Culture & Society conference in Klagenfurt, Austria last year. His keynote from that conference can be seen here.

and his dialogue with Achille Mbembe at the same conference here:

France Culture has five lectures here.


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Bradley Garrett, Bunker: Building for the End Times – Allen Lane, August 2020 (and Guardian article)

Now updated with a link to a piece by Garrett in The Guardian –

Progressive Geographies

imageBradley Garrett, Bunker: Building for the End Times – Allen Lane, August 2020

Update: see also this piece in The Guardian

Bunker is an extraordinary achievement; a big-thinking, deep-diving, page-turning study of fear, privilege and apocalypse told through the space of the bunker. Garrett has written a gripping, grim, witty work of geography and ethnography, which he completed – with eerie timeliness – in the first weeks of the COVID pandemic. A book about prepping and prognostication, then, which had already foretold its own future’ Robert MacFarlane

Today, the bunker has become the extreme expression of our greatest fears: from pandemics to climate change and nuclear war. And once you look, it doesn’t take long to start seeing bunkers everywhere.

In Bunker, acclaimed urban explorer and cultural geographer Bradley Garrett explores the global and rapidly growing movement of ‘prepping’ for social and environmental collapse, or ‘Doomsday’. From the…

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Hilary Angelo, How Green Became Good: Urbanized Nature and the Making of Cities and Citizens – University of Chicago Press, February 2021

AngeloHilary Angelo, How Green Became Good: Urbanized Nature and the Making of Cities and Citizens – University of Chicago Press, February 2021

As projects like Manhattan’s High Line, Chicago’s 606, China’s eco-cities, and Ethiopia’s tree-planting efforts show, cities around the world are devoting serious resources to urban greening. Formerly neglected urban spaces and new high-end developments draw huge crowds thanks to the considerable efforts of city governments. But why are greening projects so widely taken up, and what good do they do? In How Green Became Good, Hillary Angelo uncovers the origins and meanings of the enduring appeal of urban green space, showing that city planners have long thought that creating green spaces would lead to social improvement. Turning to Germany’s Ruhr Valley (a region that, despite its ample open space, was “greened” with the addition of official parks and gardens), Angelo shows that greening is as much a social process as a physical one. She examines three moments in the Ruhr Valley’s urban history that inspired the creation of new green spaces: industrialization in the late nineteenth century, postwar democratic ideals of the 1960s, and industrial decline and economic renewal in the early 1990s. Across these distinct historical moments, Angelo shows that the impulse to bring nature into urban life has persistently arisen as a response to a host of social changes, and reveals an enduring conviction that green space will transform us into ideal inhabitants of ideal cities. Ultimately, however, she finds that the creation of urban green space is more about how we imagine social life than about the good it imparts. 

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Books received – Dumézil, Lévi-Strauss, Mountz, Balzac

IMG_3445Some recently published or reprinted books from University of Minnesota Press in recompense for review work, including Alison Mountz, The Death of Asylum: Hidden Geographies of the Enforcement Archipelago and a new translation of Balzac’s Lost Illusions, and some second-hand books, mainly in relation to ongoing work on Foucault in the 1960s. One of these is the French translation of Heliana de Barros Conde Rodrigues, Michel Foucault au Brésil: Présence, effets, résonances – originally published in Portuguese. I was also sent a copy of Matthew Hart, Extraterritorial: A Political Geography of Contemporary Fiction by the publisher.

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Racism in America: A Reader – open access e-book from Harvard University Press

9780674251687-lgRacism in America: A Reader – open access e-book from Harvard University Press

Racism in America has been the subject of serious scholarship for decades. At Harvard University Press, we’ve had the honor of publishing some of the most influential books on the subject. The excerpts in this volume—culled from works of history, law, sociology, medicine, economics, critical theory, philosophy, art, and literature—are an invitation to understand anti-Black racism through the eyes of our most incisive commentators.

Readers will find such classic selections as Toni Morrison’s description of the Africanist presence in the White American literary imagination, Walter Johnson’s depiction of the nation’s largest slave market, and Stuart Hall’s theorization of the relationship between race and nationhood. More recent voices include Khalil Gibran Muhammad on the pernicious myth of Black criminality, Elizabeth Hinton on the link between mass incarceration and 1960s social welfare programs, Anthony Abraham Jack on how elite institutions continue to fail first-generation college students, Mehrsa Baradaran on the racial wealth gap, Nicole Fleetwood on carceral art, and Joshua Bennett on the anti-Black bias implicit in how we talk about animals and the environment.

Because the experiences of non-White people are integral to the history of racism and often bound up in the story of Black Americans, we have included writers who focus on the struggles of Native Americans, Latinos, and Asians as well. Racism in America is for all curious readers, teachers, and students who wish to discover for themselves the complex and rewarding intellectual work that has sustained our national conversation on race and will continue to guide us in future years.

Thanks to dmf for this link.

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Summary and action points from Alpha City

Rowland Atkinson provides a text and audio summary of his recent Verso book, Alpha City: How London Was Captured by the Super-Rich

Alpha City

I thought it would be useful to create a summary of my book Alpha City: How the super-rich captured London. This is a plan language summary of the key ideas and arguments, alongside a set of concrete proposals for how to address the challenges of a city that works against low and middle-income residents in favour of capital investment and the wealthy.

Text version of summary, free to download:

Audio version of the summary can be downloaded here:

Alpha City is best bought direct from Verso or your local, independent bookseller.

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Judith Butler: on COVID-19, the politics of non-violence, necropolitics, and social inequality – and in conversation with Amia Srinivasan

Judith Butler: on COVID-19, the politics of non-violence, necropolitics, and social inequality – and in conversation with Amia Srinivasan (via Verso blog)

In this event (hosted by the Whitechapel Gallery and British Library, on the occasion of Verso’s 50th anniversary), Judith Butler presents a lecture taking in all the complexities of the global pandemic, followed by a live Q&A chaired by Amia Srinivasan.

The pandemic is a crisis in itself but also one that exacerbates pre-existing crises of capital, care, race, and climate. If we seek to repair the world or the planet then it must be unshackled from the market economy that profits from its distribution of life and death. The state directed imperative to open the economy mid-pandemic, comes at the cost of human lives, and those lives are generally Black and Brown lives working in service economies. In short, the global pandemic has revealed “the death drive at the heart of the capitalist machine”.

“If Foucault thought there was a difference between taking another’s life and letting another die, we see that police violence works in tandem with health systems that let people die. It is systemic racism that links the two forms of power.” – Butler

Watch the event in full, here:

My page of links to reading and some video/audio is here.

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What matters isn’t your writing software, it’s your file structures (sorry!)

Some interesting reflections on organisation for a large writing project.

Research Degree Insiders

Thanks to Anuja Cabraal who asked this question! It’s about 2,500 words of answer, so this is absolutely a Definitive Guide. A few of the technical details here I also discuss in my earlier blog, ‘Three secrets in MSWord that will supercharge your productivity‘, but this is a lot more comprehensive!

People often ask me about my writing software, and it’s an ever-popular question for new and long-term researchers. When we spend so much time writing and editing, it’s essential that we use tools that support us to be effective. What’s more, so many programs now make jobs quick and easy that used to take hours of focussed labour: from finding secondary literature, accessing archives, formatting references, finding themes in NVivo, making graphs, editing images, running complex equations, formatting documents, finding spelling and grammar issues… surely there’s a software that basically writes the thesis for you? Sadly…

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John Agnew ed. The Confines of Territory – Routledge, November 2020

9780367560706John Agnew ed. The Confines of Territory – Routledge, November 2020

A collection of papers from Territory, Politics, Governance, edited by John Agnew, the former editor of the journal. Pleased to have one of my articles in here (original available here). Only an expensive hardback at present, unfortunately.

The word ‘territory’ has taken on renewed significance in a world where its close association with state sovereignty has made a serious comeback, invoked alike by proponents of Brexit in the UK, ‘Making America Great Again’ in the USA, and myriad populists from India to Brazil by way of Italy and Hungary. The word has had a contentious history in social science and political theory. In its first seven years, the journal Territory, Politics, Governance has published numerous articles examining the ways in which territory figures into contemporary political debates and its limits as a concept when applied to a world in which sovereignty never has simply pooled up within self-evidently distinctive blocs of space named as ‘territories.’ Among other things, the limits of territory are apparent in terms of the history of a global capitalism that always bursts beyond established boundaries, the fact that some states are much more powerful and exercise much more spatial reach than do others, and that the political uses of territory in its current usage date back predominantly to seventeenth century Europe rather than being historically transcendental or worldwide.

The articles in this book are selected from Territory, Politics, Governance to survey many of the dilemmas and questions that haunt the concept of territory even as its current efflorescence in political discourse ignores them.

Table of Contents
1. Introduction

John Agnew

Section 1: Territorial Perspectives

2. The territorialization of property in land: space, power and practice

Nicholas Blomley

3. Territory, Scale and Why Capitalism Matters

Kevin R. Cox

4. Territory, Politics, Governance and Multispatial Metagovernance

Bob Jessop

5. On the ecological blindspot in the territorial rights debate

Omar Dahbour

Section 2: Interrogating Territory

6. When Territory Deborders Territoriality

Saskia Sassen

7. Taking back control? The myth of territorial sovereignty and the Brexit fiasco

John Agnew

8. How Should We Do the History of Territory?

Stuart Elden

Section 3: Confines of Territory

9. Revisiting politicide: state annihilation in Israel/Palestine

Merav Amir

10. The intertwined geopolitics and geoeconomics of hopes/fears: China’s triple economic bubbles and the ‘One Belt One Road’ imaginary

Ngai-Ling Sum

11. Territories in contestation: relational power in Latin America

Nick Clare, Victoria Habermehl and Liz Mason-Deese

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Verso Book Club launched – subscription service to receive print and e-books

Book_Club_July-Verso Book Club launched – three levels of subscription, from e-book access to e-book and some physical copies a month, to e-book and more physical copies a month. A good way to support this press at this difficult time for publishing. All levels give a 50% discount for all Verso books.

In our 50th year, we are excited to announce the Verso Book Club! Join now and get every new ebook that we publish, as well as one or more new books in the mail if you choose a print subscription. All Book Club members will also get 50% off everything on our website, for as long as you are a subscriber. To celebrate our 50th year of radical publishing and the launch of our book club, each member tier is 50% off for the first three months.

You can choose between three options: the Verso Reader digital subscription, Verso Subscriber for print and digital, and Verso Comrade to receive even more books in the mail (including one new work of politics or theory every month, as well as the occasional classic from Verso’s backlist). Learn more about the different member options here.

Every month we’ll offer a carefully curated selection of our best new titles, across a wide range of topics and subject areas, to bring you books that everyone at Verso regards as essential reading. In mid-July, we’ll email all members with more details about the August book club selection—including a letter from the editor—so that you can choose which one you want to receive, any time before the end of the month.

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