In what I assume is a coincidence, there’ll be two excellent conferences on Arctic themes in Scotland on back-to-back weekends in May-June. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make it to either (it’s a bad time for me term-wise, and I’m working on two major grant proposals that are both due right about then). I suspect that there are only a few people out there besides me who have the combined interest in Arctic law and Arctic cultural studies that would make one want to attend both, but each looks fantastic, and I at least will have a very hard time deciding which one to attend if I can find time to attend one but not both.
I’ve had an inspiring two weeks, first joining my colleague Noam Leshem, two PhD students, and 32 incredibly bright, eager, and engaged undergraduates on a week-long exploration of Territory & Geopolitics in Jerusalem. I came back with a tan, sleep deprivation, fantastic memories, a really tacky falafel refrigerator magnet (thanks for the gift, students), and rumours of a secret video of me dancing at an East Jerusalem shisha bar. After a day off, I dove into a two-day grant-writing marathon at the Royal Geographical Society, working with Kate Coddington and Kim Peters to launch the ‘Ungrounded Territories’ project. Much to our delight, the RGS assigned us to the ‘Oceans’ room. I think we enjoyed ourselves a bit too much — at least that was the message given to us by some of our neighbours, who were wishing that we’d be quieter when editing each other — but it was a wonderfully productive couple of days of camaraderie to cap a week of student-herding.
I’m delighted to announce that Contesting the Arctic: Politics and Imaginaries in the Circumpolar North is now published.
The book was something of a writing experiment for myself and co-authors. Contesting the Arctic not only seeks to understand the Arctic region; it also seeks to bridge the divide between academic and journalistic writing. Relying extensively on quotations from over 150 interviews, the book eschews the usual formal bibliographic references and footnotes, opting instead for a handful of explanatory endnotes and a concluding bibliographic essay. The result (we hope) is an engaging and accessible book that narrates the various ways in which Arctic residents and outsiders are imagining — and producing futures for — the region.
Mike Brown of Waikato University (and co-editor of the terrific new Seascapes collection) has announced a symposium, to be held afloat next February, where speakers will “share research around the theme of living with the sea.” Space is limited due to the boat’s capacity, so contact Mike if you think you might be interested in attending.
The video from the Of Water symposium held in December 2014 at Westminster University has now been posted online. At the symposium, chaired by David Deriu and hosted by the Westminster Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment’s Expanded Territories Research Group, Lorenzo Pezzani, Lindsay Bremner, and I discuss some of the ways in which water can be integrated into architectures of mobility. Lorenzo (from 2:30) presents on the maritime spaces of Mediterranean migrants (and their surveillance); Lindsay (from 39:45) presents on oceanic (in)visibilities, particularly with reference to the search for MH370; and I (from 1:06:15) present from my Wet Ontologies project, focusing in particular on the ontology of the wave. The event concludes with Q&A and discussion (from 1:40:30).
The next seminar in the series — Of Air — is scheduled for 25 March.
Taylor & Francis / Routledge, the publisher of Ocean Development & International Law, has informed me that my article ‘Steering between Scylla and Charybdis: The Northwest Passage as Territorial Sea’ was one of the journal’s three most downloaded articles in 2014 (it probably helped that it was published in the year’s first issue!). To publicise their top articles, T&F is making this article, and the top-three downloads from each of their other journals, open access through June 2015, via the T&F ‘Most Read’ website.
This Thursday, 5 February, I’ll be presenting an expanded version of the ‘Wet Ontologies’ work I’ve been writing on with Kimberley Peters. The talk will be part of the ‘Critical Environments’ lecture series sponsored by Goldsmiths Department of Visual Cultures. The talk is open to the public, and more details can be found at the Visual Cultures website.