I have been getting into a good writing rhythm since I got back from Amsterdam, with a dedicated two hour slot each day when I write with no distractions, followed by the rest of the day on editorial work, other projects, correspondence and reading. The lecture for Berkeley and Arizona entitled ‘How should we do the history of territory?’ is over half done already, although one of the two sections left to write requires the most work. I’m actually writing this as a planned book chapter, and plan to cut it down/turn it into something more appropriate for a presentation a little later. This is my standard practice – write a text, and then script a presentation from it. Even if I speak to notes or a powerpoint instead of a read a text there is usually one behind it. Planning it directly as a presentation often means it ends up as nothing more than that.
On the reading, I’ve been going in quite a few different directions, and much of what I’ve read is stuff I’m unlikely to write about. I find summer is quite a good time for less focussed background reading, or clearing the shelves of books that have piled up unread, or recent classics that I’d not previously got round to.
So recently – before as well as since the break – I’ve been reading things like Aihwa Ong, Neoliberalism as Exception; Jamie Peck, Constructions of Neoliberal Reason; Agamben et. al., Democracy in What State? (I thought this looked really interesting, but found it very disappointing, actually), Fredric Jameson’s The Hegel Variations and Representing Capital; John Protevi’s Political Affects; Edward Soja’s Seeking Spatial Justice; J.-K. Gibson-Graham’s Postcapitalist Politics, and some others I’m sure I’ve forgotten.
I’ve also just finished reading Susan Buck-Morss’s remarkable Hegel, Haiti, and Universal History. I’d read some of her work before, but hadn’t read the Critical Inquiry piece that forms the basis of this book. More on that in a separate post.