Some academic thoughts on the trip to Erlangen.
The lecture seemed to go well. A good size audience in a nice modern lecture room in the castle – now part of the University. Though I knew it was being recorded I thought that was just audio, but it was for video. A professional looking job – three cameras and some very hot stage lights. I’m not sure when it will be available online.
I discovered when I arrived that the Erlangen Cultural Geography lecture was not a long running series, but that this was the first. Derek Gregory is due to give the next one, in 2011.
There was no formal discussion after the lecture, but informal conversations over a buffet, which went on for some time. Then there was formal discussion in a more seminar like setting over three hours the next morning. I enjoyed this and there were some good questions. The discussion ranged widely over my work on territory, from the conceptual to the historical and the contemporary. The lecture was linked to a summer school organised by the department in Erlangen, which had been on discourse-analysis, so there was some helpful discussion, at least to me, about the relation between different approaches to texts, etc. I found the comments on Begriffsgeschichte particularly useful. There was also a workshop looking at Foucault and space which followed, so a lot of activities from a very active department.
The material on Althusius, Knichen and Leibniz seemed to be well received, perhaps unsurprisingly given the context, and while I need to continue to work on this for the book, I think I’m onto something there. (Btw, the smart money seems to be on Knichen as Ker-Nick-En, not Ker-Nitch-En.) The Rousseau quote worked, and my academic reading on the trip was to go through two volumes of his political writings in the Cambridge history of political thought series. Even though I’d taught quite a lot of this, still some surprises. The Social Contract and the Discourses were most of interest, but there were a couple of texts entirely new to me.