Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

The Politics of Life and Death: A One Day Workshop

Sunday, October 22nd, 2017

Call for Abstracts

The Politics of Life and Death: A One Day Workshop

December 13th

The University of Manchester

Deadline for Abstracts: 31st October

In recent years, a number of concepts have been developed in International Politics and beyond to think through the relationship between various forms of power (sovereignty, capital, and so on) and life: disposability, abandonment and expulsion to name only a few. The concepts of biopolitics and necropolitics in particular have become fundamental for understanding the contemporary political management of bodies and populations in a variety of contexts, from Guantanamo Bay to refugee camps, from (post)colonial contexts to areas of resource extraction.

This event makes a space to reflect on this proliferation of concepts by staging a fundamental encounter between the politics of life and death. Its aim is to explore new interactions between sovereignty and modern technologies of power for the management of life and death that work through terror, ecological destruction and social disposability. It also hopes to interrogate new possibilities of governance that question the hegemonic relationship between subjectivity, power and death, patriarchal, imperial-colonial reasoning and violence so as to collectively consider new ways of living.

We welcome all abstracts broadly relating to the theme. Topics may include but at not limited to:

  • The politics of migration
  • Logics of disposability, expulsion and abandonment
  • Investigations of new terrains of biopolitical governance or struggle
  • Political struggles against necropolitical apparatuses and logics of disposability
  • Theoretical interrogations of the turn to life and death in International Politics
  • New expositions of theorists central to discussions of life and death in International Politics.

Abstracts should be no longer than 250 words and should be sent to: and for consideration.

Thank you,

Sabrina Villenave and Kai Heron, University of Manchester

Durham Geography Charlie Hebdo Event

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

Today I spoke at a Durham Geography workshop on Charlie Hebdo organised by Angharad Closs Stephens

Here’s a summary of what I said:

1. The January attacks on Paris are representative of a form of violence that is urbanised. A form of urban insurgency that is increasingly common in cities around the world – Mumbai, Madrid, London, Boston, Nairobi. It exploits urban technologies/infrastructures – cars, rails, roads – and urban morphology – enclosed spaces, crowded spaces – for maximum effect. It is not new, but it’s effective. Military doctrine has warned of the complexity of urban space for a while, but this urban insurgency demonstrates a lack of effective response – partly because, as I will discuss in a minute, the proposed responses erode the core attributes of the urban environment that we value – freedom, plurality and so on. (more…)

Critical War/Military Studies: A Workshop

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

I am pleased to be able to announce details of a workshop I have organised to take place later this month – 29th May – at Newcastle University. The workshop highlights the important agenda of critical war and critical military studies. The workshop will highlight some of the excellent work being conducted in this growing field of study. Participants will discuss what it means to study to study war and the military critically and the issues and problems this entails. Email me ( if you would like to attend.

The program for the workshop is as follows:


James Ash: Commodifying Affect

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Creative Commons License photo credit: baboon™

I’ve been busy for the last month or so, so have fallen behind with a few things. One of the things I wanted to publicise before Christmas was James Ash‘s New Voices seminar at Newcastle Politics on November 17th 2010. James gave a paper entitled ‘Commodifying Affect: Videogames and the Technics of Affective Amplification‘. James discussed the manner in which videogames modulate affective states in order to draw the player further into their diegetic world. He effectively used Modern Warfare 2’s Second Sun sequence as an example of how affect is modulated through the interplay of scripted an unscripted events. Overall the thing I found most interesting was the way in which he suggests affect is modulated in order to make gameplay absorbing – that is to make it an experience that occupies attention to the detriment of reflection. This helps to explain the lack of attunement to moral judgement that occurs in games where players are asked to kill and maim in ways that outside the games diegetic space they may find unpalatable.

The event was podcast – you can download it here.

The Political Life of Things: Podcasts

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Nagra SNST Recorder
Creative Commons License photo credit: Matt Blaze

As I mentioned in a previous post, on 3rd December the BISA poststructural politics working group and the BISA/PSA Art and politics working group organised a one-day conference entitled ‘The Political Life of Things’ at the Imperial War Museum. The event was a success despite snow disrupting travel plans. Many thanks to all of the speakers for a provocative set of presentations. A final program for the event can be found below.

This event sought to explore questions of materiality, politics and artistic practice within the context of the Imperial War museum. The Keynote was given by Jane Bennett (Johns Hopkins).

Sound recordings of the presentations at the event are now on-line. You can access them here:; Many thanks to backdoorbroadcasting for recording and posting this archive.