I’m finishing writing the lecture I’ll give in Erlangen tomorrow evening. I think I’ve managed to find a balance between a lecture that will work and one that will be sufficiently different for me to find it interesting. One of the issues with this project is that because some of the sections are so specialist, they often need a lot of context to make sense. That context takes time, which takes away from the ability to really forge ahead.
So, tomorrow, I will begin with some background on the project, and the way that I try to understand territory: not as something fixed for which I can offer a better definition, but as something continually transformed for which I think I have some useful ideas to help understand how it has been understood in different times and places. This draws on the conceptual work I’ve done differentiating territory from territoriality, and thinking through its relation to land (as a political-economic relation) and terrain (a political-strategic one). I try to argue for an understanding of territory that is dependent on those, but also takes more seriously the political-legal and political-technical dimensions.
What I then try to do is to trace, very schematically, three strands that I think go to make up the modern sense of territory: the legacy, and in particular the Latin translation, of Greek political thought, especially as it plays out in the struggles over temporal power in the 13th and early 14th century; the rediscovery of Roman law, in particular by the post-glossators of the mid 14th century; and German political practice. I’ve given entire lectures on the first two, so for me at least these are familiar discussions. The third is where I am currently reading, thinking, and writing. In very rough terms, it’s trying to think the relation between the notion of Landeshoheit and jurisdiction, supremacy or sovereignty over territorium. This will be the first outing of the Althusius and Knichen material I’ve posted on a little before. There’s also a little on Leibniz, and I may frame the lecture with a quote and discussion that might serve a similar purpose in the book as a whole.
I dislike giving lectures that are not new. Of course, for the audience, they almost always are, since I travel a lot and would be sure to present something different were there an audience overlap. But I don’t want to be repeating myself even I’m the only person who’s heard it before. Sometimes I try out entirely new material, but more often recently (and especially with the number of research lectures I give) they work in an incremental way, being a bit different each time, with some new material, and over a few outings they develop and coalasce into something different.