2-3 November 2017, University of Groningen
Annual workshop on Modes of Reasoning of the Chair Group on History and Theory of International Relations
Ricardo Padrón, Associate Professor Univ. Virginia (Author of The Spacious World: Cartography, Literature, and Empire in Early Modern Spain. Currently completing a monograph about the transpacific imagination in sixteenth century Spanish imperialism)
Call for papers
This workshop addresses the problem of how the creation of novel spaces of governance, physical and virtual, relates to imaginaries of connectivity in time.
Whereas the study of international relations has traditionally focused on the role of agency and structure in power relations, the affects, beliefs, attitudes, and practices that intervene in how groups of people connect in given times (their imaginaries of connectivity), have not attracted much scholarly attention. Thus, for example, the political denomination of (maritime) spaces such as the North Sea, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, to name but some; as well as the creation of virtual spaces such as the Internet, social media, and the cyber domain, relate to particular imaginaries of connectivity that are rarely reflected upon. Doing so opens up the possibility of understanding the situatedness of power relations as event.
Inasmuch as new spaces of connectivity are understood as created, they relate also to claims of novelty, as the human ability ‘to introduce absolute beginnings into reality’ (Blumenberg 1985, 169). Similarly, for Arendt, it is action – as a mode of human togetherness – that introduces novelty into the world (Arendt 1998). While the possibility of the new is thus a necessary condition for politics, the human capacity for novelty has also historically produced large-scale destruction of both existing human societies and the planetary environment. On the other hand, novelty as a particularly human capacity has been recently called into question by various non-anthropocentric perspectives (Roudavski and McCormack 2016; Braidotti 2013; Harman 2005). Dislocating the production of novelty from the human subject poses important questions regarding the possibility of governing such novel spaces as well as the possibility of practicing politics in their midst.
This workshop aims to bring together the three interrelated problems of connectivity, novelty, and spatiality to reflect on the creation of spaces of governance in time. It invites papers that address the connections of these problems in any historical moment. The following are suggestions, although not prescriptions, of sites for interrogation.
· Mapping practices and cartographic developments in relation to regimes of governance
· Epistemologies of spatial governance