Territory from Shakespeare to Geo-politics
10th March, 4pm, School of Humanities and Languages, University of New South Wales
This lecture will introduce the work I have been doing on the question of territory over the past several years, leading to two books on the subject – Terror and Territory: The Spatial Extent of Sovereignty (2009) and The Birth of Territory (2013). It will try to outline the different registers of the question of territory which are examined in those works – while it is an obviously political and geographical question, it has multiple aspects: economic, strategic, legal and technical. This talk will illustrate those different registers with examples from a range of Shakespeare’s plays. In this way the lecture will relate to an ongoing project on how Shakespeare’s work can help elucidate the question of territory. But it will also introduce another register that I have perhaps been guilty of underplaying in the past – the physical, material. Here, drawing on the famous map scene in Henry IV, Part I, I will talk of rivers, dams and land, of geo-engineering and dynamic territories. This is the basis for another future project, thinking about the question of terrain, the geophysics of geopolitics. In thinking about territory historically through Shakespeare, and about the ‘geo’ element of geopolitics, it provides both an overview of my work generally and introduces the themes of the seminar to be held on the 11th March.