This is my last day of work in 2017. Tomorrow we head to Tenerife for ten days holiday, hoping for sunshine and lots of cycling.
The last major work task I completed today was the copyediting queries for Shakespearean Territories. The book was submitted in early 2017, had two very thoughtful reports, and was resubmitted in the summer. University of Chicago Press employ really brilliant copyeditors. Several small mistakes were caught, references were tidied up, and a few unclear sentences were highlighted for me to rework. But it was not an invasive edit, and the text that it going to the printer is very much the one I submitted. The book is scheduled for publication in October 2018.
Politically 2017 was bleak, so I’m going to focus on other things here. 2017 began for me with the publication of Foucault: The Birth of Power, the second of my Foucault books for Polity. I spent much of the year writing the third Foucault book, The Early Foucault, which has been progressing well (see my sequence of updates here); and I also did a lot of preparatory work for a book on Georges Canguilhem for Polity’s Key Contemporary Thinkers series (a little more here). Lots of that work was informed by visits to the archives in Paris, which I plan to revisit in 2018. I anticipate Canguilhem will appear in early 2019, and The Early Foucault sometime after that, depending on publication plans of early lecture courses.
One of my most popular posts this year was about why I prioritise writing books over articles, even in an era of research assessment. But I did publish two articles in 2017 – ‘Legal Terrain: The Political Materiality of Territory’; ‘Foucault and Shakespeare: Ceremony, Theatre, Politics’ (both links are open access). An archive discussion which I edited appeared in Theory, Culture & Society – “Danger, Crime and Rights: A 1983 conversation between Michel Foucault and Jonathan Simon”.
The Birth of Territory appeared in Chinese translation, which is the first book of mine (as opposed to articles or chapters) to appear in another language. Two more Chinese translations and three in Korean are under contract. The Lefebvre rural writing translation project with Adam David Morton is progressing, albeit slowly. A lot of work this year was logistical – funding, dealing with publishers, rights, etc. Hopefully next year will see some more intellectual labour on this.
My Foucault books got some generous praise and engagement. There are reviews of Foucault’s Last Decade by Kurt Borg in Foucault Studies and in Manchester Review of Books. There is one of Foucault: the Birth of Power at the LSE Review of Books by Syamala Roberts. A review of both books can be found in The Nation by Bruce Robbins and in 3am Magazine by Peter Gratton (along with Foucault’s The Punitive Society). There is a discussion with Dave O’Brien about Foucault: The Birth of Power at New Books in Critical Theory. All the reviews and interviews are linked here.
I had a very productive visit to ACCESS Europe at the University of Amsterdam between April and June 2017, and gave lectures or seminars there, at the British Library, University of Durham, SOAS, University of Oslo, the Bartlett School at UCL, the Institute of Historical Research, at the Rose Theatre Kingston, Maynooth University, the Royal Irish Academy and the Nordic Geographers meeting at the University of Stockholm. Many thanks to all who invited me or attended talks.
I examined two excellent PhD theses this year – Yvonne Rinkart at Aberystwyth and Rachael Squire at Royal Holloway. Two of my own PhD students, Mara Duer and Lorenzo Vianelli, defended their own theses and passed subject to revisions. Congratulations to them all. I taught the Geopolitics Today class to our MA students, and hope to teach some political theory again in 2018.
Biggest disappointment was to be shortlisted for a major research professorship, but not to get it. To be clear, this was not a post outside Warwick, but a national competition that would have bought out my time. I was encouraged to rework it for another research fellowship scheme, but decided to wait: I need to decide if that is really the next big project for me.
I’ve already shared the academic books and music I liked the most in 2017. I’m hoping to read a few more novels before the end of the year, so am holding back on that list. Cycling was good this year, averaging over 100 miles a week, with Mont Ventoux, Lanzarote, Brecon Beacons and the Cotswolds all highlights. I’m looking forward to Tenerife for a bit more before the year is done.
Thank you all for reading this blog this year, and more in 2018.