Martín Arboleda, Planetary Mine: Territories of Extraction under Late Capitalism – Verso, January 2020

Martín Arboleda, Planetary Mine: Territories of Extraction under Late Capitalism – Verso, January 2020

A clarion call to rethink natural resource extraction beyond the extractive industries

Planetary Mine rethinks the politics and territoriality of resource extraction, especially as the mining industry becomes reorganized in the form of logistical networks, and East Asian economies emerge as the new pivot of the capitalist world-system. Through an exploration of the ways in which mines in the Atacama Desert of Chile—the driest in the world—have become intermingled with an expanding constellation of megacities, ports, banks, and factories across East Asia, the book rethinks uneven geographical development in the era of supply chain capitalism. Arguing that extraction entails much more than the mere spatiality of mine shafts and pits, Planetary Mine points towards the expanding webs of infrastructure, of labor, of finance, and of struggle, that drive resource-based industries in the twenty-first century.

“Martín Arboleda’s Planetary Mine offers a masterful re-theorization of the political economy of territoriality, logistics, state sovereignty, and primary commodity production. This is a powerful exploration of what we might call “actually existing global capitalism.” Theoretically fresh and politically compelling, Planetary Mine is destined to be a classic.”– Christian Parenti, John Jay College CUNY and author of The Means Proper

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Christopher Watkin, Michel Serres: Figures of Thought – Edinburgh University Press, March 2020

Christopher Watkin, Michel Serres: Figures of Thought – Edinburgh University Press, March 2020

Great to see details of this major study, several years in the making.

The first full introduction to Serres, from The System of Leibniz (1968) to his final publications in 2019

  • The first assessment of Serres’ thought as a whole
  • Works from the original French to engage with the broadest range of Serres texts: both his translated works and his major untranslated works
  • Provides a resource for scholars in philosophy, ecology, new materialisms, literature, the history and philosophy of science and the history of ideas
  • Brings Serres into conversation with other major thinkers such as Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault and Jean-Luc Nancy
  • Focuses on the repeated moves that characterise Serres’ thinking, opening up his writing for scholars across disciplines and showing how his ideas can be brought to bear on new areas

Christopher Watkin provides a true overview of Serres’ thinking. Using diagrams to explain Serres’ thought, the first half of the book carefully explores Serres’ ‘global intuition’ – how he understands and engages with the world – and his ‘figures of thought’, the repeated intellectual moves that characterise his unique approach. The second half explores in detail Serres’ revolutionary contributions to the areas of language, objects and ecology.
All told, Watkin shows that Michel Serres has produced a cross-disciplinary body of work that provides a crucial and as yet under-exploited reference for current debates in post-humanism, object oriented ontology, ecological thought and the environmental humanities.

This is an exceptionally lucid, detailed introduction to the disruptive thought of Michel Serres. Gone are the classic themes of subjects and objects, agency and responsibility, and in their place Serres charts the arrival of information technologies, climate catastrophe and the morphing of the human, as radically shifting structures of what Serres calls ‘hominescence’. Christopher Watkin opens his admirable account by outlining Serres’ disagreements with Descartes and Plato, and with Serres’ adaptation of Leibnizian monadology. Rethinking space and time, language, quasi-objects and a new broad scope notion of ecology fill out an intense engagement with Serres’ powerfully enabling legacy. Both general readers and specialists are in Watkin’s debt for thus providing access to the strange new world of Serresian philosophy.

Joanna Hodge, Manchester Metropolitan University

Chris Watkin has written a marvellously lucid and accessible guide to the prodigious work of Michel Serres. Watkin takes account expertly of the whole spread of Serres’s long career and breathtakingly various oeuvre, navigating through it not by text or theme, but by ‘figures of thought’. This is a brilliant device that allows him to pay attention not just to the matter of Serres’s thought but also to its particoloured styles and textures.

Steven Connor, University of Cambridge

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Silvia Bigliazzi (ed), Oedipus at Colonus and King Lear: Classical and Early Modern Intersections – Skenè, 2019 open access book

Silvia Bigliazzi (ed), Oedipus at Colonus and King Lear: Classical and Early Modern Intersections – open access book

The story of King Lear seems to fill in the blank space separating the end of Oedipus Tyrannus and the beginning of Oedipus at Colonus. In both Oedipus at Colonus and the latter part of King Lear we are presented with an old man who was once a King and, following his expulsion from his kingdom on account of a crime or of an error, is turned into a ‘no-thing’. This happens in the time of the division of the kingdom, which is also the time of the genesis of intraspecific conflict and, consequently, of the end of the dynasty. This collection of essays offers a range of perspectives on the many common concerns of these two plays, from the relation between fathers and sons/daughters to madness and wisdom, from sinning and suffering to ‘being’ and ‘non-being’ in human and divine time. It also offers an overarching critical frame that interrogates questions of ‘source’ and ‘reception’, probing into the possible exchangeability of perspectives in a game of mirrors that challenges ideas of origin.

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CFP: Curzonic geographies/Reading ‘Frontiers’ – RGS-IBG conference, September 2020

Call for papers: Curzonic geographies/Reading ‘Frontiers’

RGS-IBG conference, 1-4 September 2020

organised by Richard Schofield (KCL) and Matthew Tillotson (Leicester) – contact Matthew with any queries

As an embodiment of a classic, privileged travel writer George Curzon (1859-1925) documented his Central Asian, Persian and Far Eastern sojourns. Later, as the last Victorian viceroy of India (1899-1905), Curzon was the architect of both a ‘brilliantly organized famine’ (Davis 2017: 174) and Britain’s ‘Oriental’ borderlands. And with his 1907 Romanes lecture on ‘Frontiers’ in Oxford, Curzon articulated a ‘science’ on boundaries as an academic and intellectual project vital to British imperial interests.

Curzon the viceroy was heir to, and the advocate of utilitarian, Benthamite experiments in biopower. British liberals had long channelled Malthusian, social Darwinist and evangelical thought to justify the deaths of millions in the colonised world. Imperial wars and the retrenchments of free market ideology obscured genocidal imperial policy and framed famine relief as an obscene, inefficient response to overpopulation in India. But it was not only free market economics (in the tradition of Haileybury and the East India Company) that Curzon prized and he regarded geography as ‘one of the first and foremost of the sciences’ (Curzon 1915), vital for a period in which the imperial scramble for supposedly ‘vacant’ spaces would conclude.

Frontier policy would therefore provide ‘incessant employment for the keenest intellects and the most virile energies of the Anglo-Saxon race’ (Curzon 1907: 5). In ‘Frontiers’ and on foreign policy and territorial questions, Curzon’s thought was characterised by an environmental determinism that is qualified and never absolute: although preferring facts over generalisations still he sought to explain ‘the action of great natural forces’ (Curzon 1915: 156) over imperial policy, commerce and the distribution of settler colonial populations. Further, Curzon espoused a ‘pedagogical view of empire’ (Said 2003: 213). With the Orient recognised as Britain’sobligation, imperial space was interpreted as a political, historical and social fact. Not only was a perpetual British presence required overseas – the empire had continually to be studied.

At this session we invite panellists to discuss the troubling legacies of ‘Curzonic’ geographies: the biopolitics of hunger and famine, the interface between geographical knowledge and the projection of imperial power, and critical interpretations of ‘Frontiers’. We interpret ‘Curzonic’ broadly and welcome contributions that touch on these (and other) themes over and above Curzon’s life and times.

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Society and Space – new magazine style website

Society and Space has a new digital magazine style website at 

A free digital magazine and subscription based journal that helps people stay informed on interdisciplinary debates related to pressing social, political, and environmental issues.

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Warwick Graduate Conference in Political and Legal Theory, 15th February 2020

Warwick Graduate Conference in Political and Legal Theory, Saturday 15th February 2020

The keynote lectures are being given by Clare Chambers (Cambridge) and Elizabeth Cripps (Edinburgh). All queries to



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Thomas Nail, “The Climate-Migration-Industrial Complex” at Public Seminar

Thomas Nail, “The Climate-Migration-Industrial Complex” at Public Seminar

Thirty years ago there were fifteen border walls around the world. Now there are seventy walls and over one billion national and international migrants. International migrants alone may even double in the next forty years due to global warming. It is not surprising that over the past two decades, we have also seen the rise of an increasingly powerful global climate-security market designed to profit from (and help sustain) these crises. The construction of walls and fences to block rising sea levels and incoming people has become one of the world’s fastest growing industries, alongside the detention and deportation of migrants, and is projected to reach $742 billion by 2023. I believe we are witnessing the emergence of what we might call a “climate-migration-industrial complex.”

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Etienne Balibar – Being Communist, Becoming Other (audio)

Etienne Balibar – Being Communist, Becoming Other (audio)

Etienne Balibar will reflect on his relationship to reading Marx, starting with Reading Capital, his early work co-written with Louis Althusser. He will seek to reconstruct his relation to Marx’s thought, communism, and engage the question of communism for the present and future.

Etienne Balibar teaches at Columbia every Fall semester. He is Professor Emeritus of moral and political philosophy at Université de Paris X – Nanterre and Professor Emeritus of Humanities at the University of California, Irvine. He also holds a part-time Anniversary Chair in Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University, London. He has published widely in the areas of epistemology, Marxist philosophy, and moral and political philosophy in general. His works include Lire le Capital (with Louis Althusser, Pierre Macherey, Jacques Rancière, Roger Establet) (1965); The Philosophy of Marx (1995); Spinoza and politics (1998); Politics and the Other Scene (2002); We, the People of Europe? (2003) ; Equaliberty (2014); Violence and Civility. On the Limits of Political Philosophy (2015); Citizen Subject. Foundations for Philosophical Anthropology (2017); Secularism and Cosmopolitanism (2018).

This event is co-sponsored by the Program in Critical Theory and the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

thanks to dmf for this link

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Sasha Davis, Islands and Oceans: Reimagining Sovereignty and Social Change – University of Georgia Press, April 2020

9780820357355Sasha Davis, Islands and Oceans: Reimagining Sovereignty and Social Change, University of Georgia Press, April 2020 – in the Geographies of Justice and Social Transformation series.


Sovereignty is a term used by stateless people seeking decolonization as well as by dominant social groups struggling to reassert their socially privileged positions. All sorts of political actors, it seems, are interested in sovereignty. It is less clear, however, just what the term means, and whether calls for sovereignty promote a politically progressive or conservative agenda. Examining how sovereignty functions allows us to better understand the dangers, promise, and limitations of relying on it as a political strategy.

Islands and Oceans explores how struggles for decolonization, self- determination, and political rights permeate conceptualizations of how sovereignty operates. To support his theoretical claims, Sasha Davis works through a series of case studies, drawing on research that he conducted between 2013 and 2017 in Korea, Guam, Yap, Palau, the Northern Marianas, Hawai’i, and Honshu and Okinawa in Japan. Because of the hybridized and contested arrangements of sovereignty in these territories, these places are excellent sites to tease out some of the differences between official regimes of sovereignty and the actual control of social processes on the ground. In addition, analysis of the tensions and acute debates over sovereignty in these regions lays bare how sovereignty works as a process. Davis’s study of these political cases within the Asia-Pacific region advances our understanding the nature of sovereignty more generally.

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Stuart Hall’s documentary on Marx and Marxism

Stuart Hall’s documentary on Marx and Marxism

This has been circulating on social media – I got it from Jussi Parikka.

Update: looks like it’s been removed from vimeo. Here’s a youtube link:

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