David Allison Memorial at Stony Brook University

David Allison memorial to be held at Stony Brook later this month.


This week there is a memorial for the work and life of David Allison at SBU. I had David as an undergraduate and he was something of a legend with students even as he taught these huge seminar rooms on existentialism: he’d be teaching Camus and, like him, lighting up cigarette after cigarette. In the hallways of Stony Brook, he was always approachable (even if at that time he was still wont to wear an ascot). I took courses with him on Descartes and, of course, Nietzsche, and his Nietzsche was one of the few things I didn’t have to re- or un-learn when a postgraduate. His contributions early on with is his 1972 (that early!) work on Derrida on Husserl to all of his later work on Nietzsche and other figures made an impact on so many. Here is the program if you are in the NY area:


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CFP/Appel: L’œuvre de jeunesse de Michel Foucault : psychopathologie, phénoménologie et anthropologie

Doctoral workshop on the early Foucault

Foucault News

L’œuvre de jeunesse de Michel Foucault : psychopathologie, phénoménologie et anthropologie

Appel à participation à un atelier doctoral sur l’œuvre de Michel Foucault
Université de Lübeck, 12-14.07.2018

PDF of call for Papers. French and German

Cet atelier doctoral sera focalisé sur des textes et manuscrits de jeunesse de Foucault, dans le cadre de ses premiers travaux critiques sur les sciences de l’esprit, dont l’édition est en cours de réalisation. La base de ce projet éditorial est un ensemble de manuscrits, traductions, es-quisses de thèse de doctorat et notes de cours jusqu’ici inédits, que Foucault a rédigés dans la période qui va de la fin de ses études à l’École Normale Supérieure (auprès de Maurice Mer-leau-Ponty, Jean Hyppolite et Louis Althusser) à sa thèse de doctorat (Folie et déraison, 1960). Pour expliciter le contexte, rappelons que Foucault a été recruté comme assistant de psychologie à l’Université de Lille en 1952, et…

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Gastón Gordillo, Terrain as insurgent weapon: An affective geometry of warfare in the mountains of Afghanistan

GordilloGastón Gordillo, “Terrain as insurgent weapon: An affective geometry of warfare in the mountains of Afghanistan“, Political Geography (requires subscription – first page available to preview or click on the image). No abstract, so I’ve taken this summary from Derek Gregory’s Geographical Imaginations site.

My argument…   is that the irreducibility of terrain can be best examined through the bodily experiences, affects, and agency of the human actors engaging it da lens I call an affective geometry. This is not the Euclidian or Cartesian geometry of mathematized grids, coordinates, and straight lines abstracted from bodies and affects. This is the qualitative, non-linear geometry conceptualized by Spinoza (1982), attentive to how bodies affect and are affected by other bodies in a multiplicity of ways, which range from negative ways that may diminish the body’s capacity to act to positive ways that may expand the body’s powers for action.

In analyzing how bodies are affected by and affect terrain, an affective geometry can be seen as a materialist phenomenology that conceives of human bodies in their subjective interiority and dispositions and also as mobile, self-propelling bodies that in situations of combat dand as long as they remain able bodiesd walk, run, climb rocks, duck on the ground, fall in ditches, shoot, feel exhausted hiking a mountain, and feel pain if hit by gunfire.

Gastón and I have been in dialogue for some time about ‘terrain’, and we organised two AAG conference sessions on this a few years ago before he visited Warwick to discuss some of his work with colleagues and PhD researchers. Great to see this piece as a continuation of the conversation.




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Sami Moisio, Geopolitics of the Knowledge-Based Economy – now out with Routledge

9781138821996Sami Moisio, Geopolitics of the Knowledge-Based Economy – now out with Routledge. Only a very expensive hardback or e-book at this stage, unfortunately. If you buy via Routledge, code FLR40 will give a 20% discount (Flyer – Geopolitics of the Knowledge-Based Economy).

We live in the era of the knowledge-based economy, and this has major implications for the ways in which states, cities and even supranational political units are spatially planned, governed and developed. In this book, Sami Moisio delves deeply into the links between the knowledge-based economy and geopolitics, examining a wide range of themes, including city geopolitics and the university as a geopolitical site. Overall, this work shows that knowledge-based “economization” can be understood as a geopolitical process that produces territories of wealth, security, power and belonging.

This book will prove enlightening to students, researchers and policymakers in the fields of human geography, urban studies, spatial planning, political science and international relations.

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Territory Beyond Terra – reflections on the Rowman International blog

593b8b09f5ba741adc68db03.jpgTerritory Beyond Terra was published earlier this month. Edited by Kimberley Peters, Philip Steinberg and Elaine Stratford, the book has a series of essays which look at elements, environments and edges to challenge and extend our understanding of territory.

There are a series of reflections on the Rowman International blog from the book’s contributors. I wrote a preface to the book.

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Review essay of Foucault, Les Aveux de la chair in Theory, Culture and Society (open access)

BHI_Foucault_Le_souci_Plat.inddMy review essay of the fourth volume of Foucault’s History of Sexuality, Les aveux de la chair is now available in Theory, Culture and SocietyThe essay will appear in the annual review of the journal later this year, but this version is open access.

Almost thirty-four years after his death, the book Foucault was working on even in hospital is finally published. Histoire de la sexualité 4: Les aveux de la chair, edited by Frédéric Gros, appeared on 8 February 2018 with Gallimard, in the Bibliothèque des Histoires series in which the first three volumes had appeared. The back cover simply has the line of René Char that also appeared on volumes II and III. “The history of men is the long succession of synonyms of the same term [vocable]. To contradict them is a duty”. Can we read this book in straight-forward continuity with those other volumes, completing the sequence of studies? How finished a book was it, and should it have been published despite Foucault’s stipulation of ‘no posthumous publications’? What does the book contain, and how does it help resolve previously unanswered questions about Foucault’s work? How might it be received and discussed? I will try to address these questions in this essay. [continues here]


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Bernard E. Harcourt, “The Barbarism of Alabama’s Botched Execution”

Bernard E. Harcourt, “The Barbarism of Alabama’s Botched Execution” in The New York Review of Books.

A powerful and disturbing piece about the attempted execution of Doyle Lee Hamm earlier this month.

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Hayden White (1928-2018)

A tribute to Hayden White, who died recently

Foucault News

Essay on the death of Hayden White
Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed, March 9, 2018.

The author of Metahistory, one of the most influential books in the humanities over the past four decades, died Monday. Scott McLemee takes him out of the poststructuralist pigeonhole.

Pursuing such a line of thought meant turning to sources outside history as a profession. The usual shorthand here is to say that White’s thinking converged with the work of structuralist and poststructuralist theorists in Europe — and indeed, White published one of the earliest papers on Michel Foucault to appear in an Anglophone journal. But emphasizing the French connection seriously understates the distinctiveness of the conceptual tool kit he put together. To analyze the modes of storytelling historians found themselves using to narrate the past, he borrowed from Northrop Frye’s The Anatomy of Criticism. For insights into historians’ rhetorical patterns, he turned to Kenneth Burke’s…

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LSE Impact Blog – “Six academic writing habits that will boost productivity” (plus other links)

LSE Impact Blog – “Six academic writing habits that will boost productivity

I’m not sure by the notion of ‘productivity’, but there is some good advice here. Here are the headlines:

  1. They “time-block” their writing in advance
  2. They set themselves artificial deadlines
  3. They deliberately seek “flow” (but don’t push themselves if they can’t find it)
  4. They design accountability structures around themselves
  5. They use small steps and short deadlines to tackle large projects
  6. They “write their way” out of their blocks

On the last point, see this useful post at Explorations of Style. Jo van Every continues to provide useful advice. See, for example, Is this Real Writing or procrastination? and Incorporating writing into your workload: The Research Day (an excerpt from her next book).

This Twitter thread also has some useful suggestions:

For an extensive set of links and discussions see the archive of posts from this site on this page.

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Foucault: The Birth of Power reviewed by Audrey Borowski in Politics, Religion & Ideology

Foucault-The-Birth-of-Power-coverMy 2017 book Foucault: The Birth of Power is generously reviewed by Audrey Borowski in Politics, Religion & Ideology (requires subscription).

Links to other reviews and discussions of this book, and its companion Foucault’s Last Decade are archived here.


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