Gastvortrag und Workshop mit Prof. Stuart Elden, Warwick

Gastvortrag: Geopolitics, Geopower, Geometrics

24. November 2014, 18 bis 20 Uhr, Grosser Hörsaal, Nadelberg 6, Basel

Recently geographers and others have begun to rethink the nature of ‘geopolitics’. Unhappy with the way that geopolitics has effectively become a synonym for global politics, they are beginning to rethink the 'geo’ element of the word, as the earth, land or world. Elizabeth Grosz has recently suggested the idea of geopower as a broader frame within which geopolitics operates. Within a wider rethinking of geopower we can then resituate what we mean by geopolitics, as a politics of the earth. At its best, such a politics of the earth would take into account the power of natural processes or resources; the dynamics of human and environment; the interrelation of objects outside of human intervention; the relation between the biosphere, atmosphere and lithosphere; and the complex interrelations that produce, continually transform and rework the question of territory and state spatial strategies. This geopolitics would sit alongside, rather than replace, the attention given to biopolitics in recent years.

This lecture picks up on these suggestions, adding the particular register of geometrics. Just as with biopower, biometrics and biopolitics, there is a three-way relation between geopower, geometrics and geopolitics. Foucault’s work on biopolitics, governmentality and the politics of calculation can, as I have argued elsewhere, be very helpful in understanding transformations of political space and the concept of territory. How can this be extended to look at the world, the global? Geometrics can be understood both in the traditional sense of the term, a measuring of the earth as geo-metry, but there are also a range of other ways geo-metrics might be thought in terms of the applied sense of land surveying; the measuring of the yields of oil and gas, soil fertility, air quality, emissions, and population density. How might this sense of the term be useful today as we grapple with new metrics, new regimes of calculation, new ways of governing the global?


Workshop: Space, Territory, Literature

25. November, 9-18 Uhr, Biozentrum, Seminarraum 104

This workshop with Prof. Stuart Elden serves as a forum to discuss newest developments in the theorization of space, including reconceptualizations of crucial terms such as “territory,” “earth,” and “geopolitics.” In addition, the workshop will allow participants to present their research projects and to discuss them with Prof. Elden and their peers. The workshop is organized in two parts: while the morning session will focus on the discussion of a selection of theoretical and critical texts, the afternoon session will be devoted to the participants’

To register, please send an email to Places will be allocated on afirst come first served basis.


Stuart Elden is Professor of Political Theory and Geography at the University of Warwick and Monash Warwick Professor, Faculty of Arts at Monash University. He is one of the editors of the journal Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. He is author of five books, including, most recently, The Birth of Territory (University of Chicago Press, 2013), which won the Association of American Geographers Meridian book award for outstanding scholarly work in Geography. He is currently writing a book for Polity Press entitled Foucault’s Last Decade
and runs a blog, Progressive Geographies.