Ross Exo Adams, Circulation and Urbanization – Sage 2018 (Society and Space series)

93182_9781473963313.jpgRoss Exo Adams, Circulation and UrbanizationSage 2018 (Society and Space series)

Circulation and Urbanization is a foundational investigation into the history of the urban. Moving beyond both canonical and empirical portrayals, the book approaches the urban through a genealogy of circulation – a concept central to Western political thought and its modes of spatial planning. Locating architectural knowledge in a wider network of political history, legal theory, geography, sociology and critical theory, and drawing on maritime, territorial and colonial histories, Adams contends that the urban arose in the nineteenth century as an anonymous, parallel project of the emergent liberal nation state. More than a reflection of this state form or the product of the capitalist relations it fostered, the urban is instead a primary instrument for both: at once means and ends.

Combining analytical precision with interdisciplinary insights, this book offers an astonishing new set of propositions for revisiting a familiar, yet increasingly urgent, topic. It is a vital resource for all students and scholars of architecture and urban studies.

This book is part of the Society and Space series, which explores the fascinating relationship between the spatial and the social. These stimulating, provocative books draw on a range of theories to examine key cultural and political issues of our times, including technology, globalisation and migration.

Circulation and Urbanization is a timely and powerful retheorization both of the “urban” and of processes of urbanization, artfully marking out the complex and often elusive historical entanglements of spatial orders, forms of management, technologies of political power, legal frameworks, economic relations, and infrastructures of circulation as they emerged in the 19th century.  Taking as a starting point Ildefonso Cerdá’s Teoría general de la urbanización, Adams brilliantly resituates the epistemic and political legacy of this landmark study, offering at once a prehistory of the contemporary nexus of space, the state, security, and capital, and a conceptual toolbox, even a cartography for understanding how power functions within cities and populations, and upon subjects, through circulation and urbanization.  The book’s ramifications are rich and manifold, for this interdisciplinary study also harbours a cogent diagram for confronting such processes with new political strategies, for opening up new types of political space.

Felicity Scott
Columbia University

Adams shatters conventional urban thought to reveal (and revel in) the circulatory logics at the heart of urbanization. A truly eye-opening book.

Philip Steinberg
Durham University

Urbanists of the world:  rethink your most basic assumptions!  In this path-breaking intervention, Ross Exo Adams reveals that “cities” are only one dimension of the urban problematique.  His wide-ranging explorations radically destabilize contemporary urban ideologies.  They also produce a strikingly original perspective on the historicity and present situation of cities, urbanization, infrastructure, territory and design.  This is essential reading for anyone concerned to understand and shape the worlds of urbanization we have inherited from earlier rounds of capitalist industrial development, state strategy and everyday insurgency.

Neil Brenner
Harvard University

This is the latest book in the Sage Society and Space book series, which I edit.

Previously published titles are

David Beer, The Data Gaze

Dan Bulley, Migration, Ethics and Power: Spaces Of Hospitality In International Politics

Marcus Doel, Geographies of Violence: Killing Space, Killing Time

Francisco Klauser, Surveillance and Space

Forthcoming volumes include (titles provisional)

Martina Tazzioli, The Making of Migration

Shiloh Krupar and Greig Crysler, The Waste Complex: Capital \ Ecology \ Citizenship

Kirsten Simonsen and Lasse Koefoed, Geographies of Embodiment

If you’d like to discuss an idea for the series, please get in contact. While the books are not textbooks, they do need to be suitable for teaching, with a good possibility of adoption. Here’s the series description:

The Society and Space series explores the fascinating relationship between the spatial and the social. Each title draws on a range of modern and historical theories to offer important insights into the key cultural and political topics of our times, including migration, globalisation, race, gender, sexuality and technology. These stimulating and provocative books combine high intellectual standards with contemporary appeal for students of politics, international relations, sociology, philosophy, and human geography.

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The Early Foucault Update 22: Acéphale, Critique, Foucault’s thesis, Uppsala, Sussex

In the second half of term I felt I made little progress, but have done a little reading and research in and around teaching, marking, meetings and other tasks. I did write the Introduction to a translation, which should be out in 2019. More details soon, hopefully.

On the early Foucault work, among other things I’ve been reading the Acéphale journal. Acéphalewas a journal founded and mostly written by Georges Bataille in the late 1930s. I know from his notes that Foucault read the journal, which was largely about Nietzsche in its short life. The British Library has some issues although all are online. But there was a reproduction of all five issues with an introduction that appeared in 1980, which I was able to consult at the Tate Gallery library.

In 1955, Foucault’s book Maladie mentale et personnalité was reviewed in Critique. The book didn’t have much attention at all on first publication, so this is interesting. I had read this review a while ago, but wanted to recheck it in the light of some of the work I’ve been doing recently. The review was by Roland Caillois. Critique was a journal set up by Georges Bataille, which he edited until his death in 1962. Foucault joined the board the following year, as part of the reorganisation when Jean Piel became editor. I think Roland Caillois was the brother of Roger Caillois, who had worked with Bataille in the 1930s. Roland was the editor of the volume of Spinoza’s work in the Pléiade series, but I can’t find much else about him. I have generally been following up on a lot of things in relation to Critique, including the correspondence between Bataille and Eric Weil.

Perhaps the most exciting thing was that I found a book which I’ve been trying to locate for a long time and had almost given up hope of ever locating. The Plon edition of Folie et déraison appeared in 1961, shortly after the thesis defence. That’s the formal first edition, reprinted in 1964. (There are three subsequent French editions, abridged or with a new preface and appendices.) But there was an earlier printing before the thesis defence. Estimates of how many copies were made vary, but it was unquestionably a small print run. A reproduction of its cover appears in one of the collections of documents about Histoire de la folie and its legacy, but I’d never seen a physical copy. Some libraries claim to have a copy of Foucault’s ‘thesis’, but they generally mean the book, which was of course the text of the thesis. Often, they do have the 1961 first edition, although sometimes it’s actually one of the reprints. It’s difficult to know from most catalogues, because both the pre- and post-defence versions have the same title, publisher and year of publication. So, a copy of the actual thesis was very hard to find. But then I chanced upon a listing for a copy for sale. Fortunately, the rare book seller was in London, so I went over to their shop to have a look. They couldn’t find it! I explained the situation, and gave them my Warwick card and they said they’d be in touch if they found it. I imagined I’d never hear from them again. But a couple of hours later they got in touch, and said it was in their other store. I was able to have a look the next day.

I have now confirmed that the text is the same as the first edition, with the same pagination. The differences are just the cover and the inside title page, and the absence of the advertising pages at the end. I’d love to have been able to buy it, but at £4500 it was rather out of my budget…

I have also been working with a Swedish MA student as part of a Warwick research scheme. He’s been providing me with some translations and summaries of texts relating to Foucault’s time in Uppsala which were published in Swedish. This has been really helpful and given me some new leads to follow up on. I did the same last year with a Polish student who provided me with a very helpful summary of a book on Foucault’s time in Warsaw.

I also spoke about the work at the University of Sussex. This was an interesting event for me, as the talk was preceded by a small discussion with staff and students who had been reading Foucault: The Birth of Power. The talk was on the early Foucault, and I talked about sources and approach as much about content and findings.

An audio recording of the talk (not the discussions) is available here.

I have a visit to Paris booked for early in the new year, with a plan to visit IMEC at the end of the trip. In Paris I can do a lot of the work I need to do on this manuscript, though I will need to make trips to Uppsala, Tübingen, and possibly Hamburg to deal with all the remaining things.

Before then, I have a book review and a handbook chapter to write. But first a holiday.

The previous updates on this project are here; and the previous books Foucault’s Last Decade and Foucault: The Birth of Power are both available from Polity. Canguilhem is forthcoming in early 2019, and is discussed a bit more here. Several Foucault research resources such as bibliographies, short translations, textual comparisons and so on are available here.

Posted in Baruch Spinoza, Foucault: The Birth of Power, Friedrich Nietzsche, Georges Bataille, Michel Foucault, The Early Foucault, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My favourite music of 2018

The music I enjoyed the most in 2018:-

Music of 2018.jpeg

  1. A Perfect Circle, Eat the Elephant
  2. Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin, Awase
  3. Big Big Train, Merchants of Light
  4. John Coltrane, Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album
  5. Miles Davis and John Coltrane, The Final Tour 1960: The Bootleg Series Vol 6
  6. Haken, L-1VE
  7. Haken, Vector
  8. Hely, Borderland
  9. Kali, Riot
  10. King Crimson, Live in Vienna
  11. King Crimson, Meltdown: Live in Mexico
  12. Kino, Radio Voltaire
  13. Marillion, Clutching at Straws reissue
  14. The Pineapple Thief, Dissolution
  15. Regal Worm, Pig Views
  16. Joe Satriani, What Happens Next
  17. The Sea Within, The Sea Within
  18. Sonar with David Torn, Vortex
  19. Sonar with David Torn, Live at Moods
  20. Travis and Fripp, Between the Silence

Live, I enjoyed Sons of Apollo, Black Country Communion, Peter Hammill, Steven Wilson, The Aristocrats, The Pineapple Thief, Fish, King Crimson, Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin, and Sonar with David Torn.

For music from previous years, see the lists from 20172016, 2015, 20142013 and 2012.

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Jenny Edkins and Maja Zehfuss (eds), Global Politics, third edition – Routledge, January 2019

9781138060296Jenny Edkins and Maja Zehfuss (eds), Global Politics, third edition – Routledge, January 2019

The third edition of Global Politics: A New Introduction continues to provide a completely original way of teaching and learning about world politics. The book engages directly with the issues in global politics that students are most interested in, helping them to understand the key questions and theories and also to develop a critical and inquiring perspective.

Completely revised and updated throughout, the third edition offers up-to-date examples engaging with the latest developments in global politics, including the Syrian war and the refugee crisis, fossil fuel divestment, racism and Black Lives Matter, citizen journalism, populism, and drone warfare.

Global Politics:

  • examines the most significant issues in global politics – from war, peacebuilding, terrorism, security, violence, nationalism and authority to poverty, development, postcolonialism, human rights, gender, inequality, ethnicity and what we can do to change the world;
  • offers chapters written to a common structure, which is ideal for teaching and learning, and features a key question, an illustrative example, general responses and broader issues;
  • integrates theory and practice throughout the text, by presenting theoretical ideas and concepts in conjunction with a global range of historical and contemporary case studies.

Drawing on theoretical perspectives from a broad range of disciplines, including international relations, political theory, postcolonial studies, sociology, geography, peace studies and development, this innovative textbook is essential reading for all students of global politics and international relations.

Posted in Jenny Edkins, Maja Zehfuss, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Etienne Balibar, ‘Philosophies of the Transindividual: Spinoza, Marx, Freud’ and commentaries

Publication CoverEtienne Balibar’s essay ‘Philosophies of the Transindividual: Spinoza, Marx, Freud’ is translated in the current issue of Australasian Philosophical Review by Mark Kelly, and is published along with a number of commentaries and a response.

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Marcus Power, Geopolitics and Development – Routledge, 2019

9780415519571Marcus Power, Geopolitics and Development – Routledge, 2019

Unlike many Routledge titles, pleased to see this will be in paperback immediately.

Geopolitics and Development examines the historical emergence of development as a form of governmentality, from the end of empire to the Cold War and the War on Terror. It illustrates the various ways in which the meanings and relations of development as a discourse, an apparatus and an aspiration, have been geopolitically imagined and enframed.

The book traces some of the multiple historical associations between development and diplomacy and seeks to underline the centrality of questions of territory, security, statehood and sovereignty to the pursuit of development, along with its enrolment in various (b)ordering practices. In making a case for greater attention to the evolving nexus between geopolitics and development and with particular reference to Africa, the book explores the historical and contemporary geopolitics of foreign aid, the interconnections between development and counterinsurgency, the role of the state and social movements in (re)imagining development, the rise of (re)emerging donors like China, India and Brazil and the growing significance of South–South flows of investment, trade and development cooperation. Drawing on post-colonial and postdevelopment approaches and on some of the author’s own original empirical research, this is an essential, critical and interdisciplinary analysis of the complex and dynamic political geographies of global development.

Primarily intended for scholars and post-graduate students in the areas of development studies, development geography, political geography/geopolitics and international relations/politics, this book provides an engaging, invaluable and up-to-date resource for making sense of the complex entanglement between geopolitics and development, past and present.

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Shakespearean Territories, University of Chicago Press, 2018 – now available


I’ve had an advance copy of Shakespearean Territories for a few weeks, but now have the warehouse copies, which means the book should be more widely available from usual booksellers in physical or e-book formats.

Shakespearean Territories cover - Copy

Shakespeare was an astute observer of contemporary life, culture, and politics. The emerging practice of territory as a political concept and technology did not elude his attention. In Shakespearean Territories, Stuart Elden reveals just how much Shakespeare’s unique historical position and political understanding can teach us about territory. Shakespeare dramatized a world of technological advances in measuring, navigation, cartography, and surveying, and his plays open up important ways of thinking about strategy, economy, the law, and colonialism, providing critical insight into a significant juncture in history. Shakespeare’s plays explore many territorial themes: from the division of the kingdom in King Lear, to the relations among Denmark, Norway, and Poland in Hamlet,  to questions of disputed land and the politics of banishment in Richard II. Elden traces how Shakespeare developed a nuanced understanding of the complicated concept and practice of territory and, more broadly, the political-geographical relations between people, power, and place. A meticulously researched study of over a dozen classic plays, Shakespearean Territories will provide new insights for geographers, political theorists, and Shakespearean scholars alike.

Jeff Malpas, University of Tasmania
“Shakespearean Territories is a truly groundbreaking volume that enriches our reading of Shakespeare at the same time as it illuminates our understanding of the nature and history of territory. An insightful and engrossing work, Shakespearean Territories demonstrates Elden’s unquestionable position as the most significant thinker of territory and the geographic working today—and in relation to the literary and dramatic no less than the political.”

Alexander Murphy, University of Oregon
“A work of meticulous scholarship, Shakespearean Territories teases out and explains a wide range of geographical themes present in Shakespeare’s plays with finesse and profound interpretation. Beyond the specific insights he offers on territory and geography as refracted through Shakespeare’s plays, Elden displays the substantial value of bridging literary and historical-geographical analysis.”

Garrett Sullivan, Penn State University
“Shakespearean Territories offers illuminating analyses of Shakespeare’s works that are immersed in relevant scholarship on the colonial, geophysical, and corporeal aspects of territory. This is a fascinating textual analysis that builds upon the concept of territory with Elden’s characteristic nuance and depth.”

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Marie-Laure Massot, Arianna Sforzini and Vincent Ventresque, ‘Transcribing Foucault’s Handwriting with Transkribus’ – open access piece on Foucault’s archives

Marie-Laure Massot, Arianna Sforzini and Vincent Ventresque, ‘Transcribing Foucault’s Handwriting with Transkribus‘ (open access) – a fascinating report on the work being done with Foucault’s papers.


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Design Agency within Earth Systems (Part 3) – Neil Brenner lecture and Stuart Elden commentary

Design Agency within Earth Systems (Part 3) – Neil Brenner lecture and Stuart Elden commentary. A discussion around the relation between the urban and territory.

Posted in Neil Brenner, terrain, Territory, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Marcelo Hoffman, Militant Acts: The Role of Investigations in Radical Political Struggles – SUNY Press, Jan 2019

63478_covMarcelo Hoffman, Militant Acts: The Role of Investigations in Radical Political Struggles – SUNY Press, January 2019

Offers a history of the role of investigations in radical political struggles from the nineteenth century forward.

Militant Acts presents a broad history of the concept and practice of investigations in radical political struggles from the nineteenth century to the present. Radicals launched investigations into the conditions and struggles of the oppressed and exploited to stimulate their political mobilization and organization. These investigations assumed a variety of methodological forms in a wide range of geographical and institutional contexts, and they also drew support from the participation of intellectuals such as Marx, Lenin, Mao, Dunayevskaya, Foucault, and Badiou. Marcelo Hoffman analyzes newspapers, pamphlets, reports, and other source materials, which reveal the diverse histories, underappreciated difficulties, and theoretical import of investigations in radical political struggles. In so doing, he challenges readers to rethink the supposed failure of these investigations and concludes that the value of investigations in radical political struggles ultimately resides in the possibility of producing a new political “we.”

“The kind of archival and synthetic work on investigations that this book evinces has been accomplished nowhere else. Hoffman’s survey provides the reader with an understanding of how investigations fit into the theoretical practice of many important Marxist thinkers, along with an argument for their utility. Further, original insights into these thinkers, which enhance or even contradict our available understandings with better historical evidence, are offered.” — William S. Lewis, author of Louis Althusser and the Traditions of French Marxism

“Hoffman focuses on a distinctive, yet little recognized practice of resistance and shows how it impacts and is impacted by the theories of ideology and power in which it was employed. The scholarship is not only sound, but truly pathbreaking in its treatment of various traditions, languages, and even its usage of extremely diverse source materials.” — Kevin Thompson, DePaul University

Posted in Alain Badiou, Karl Marx, Michel Foucault, Uncategorized | Leave a comment