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Fishing for future legacies? The ‘Opening up’ the Central Arctic Ocean

New blogpost with Klaus Dodds and Berit Kristoffersen on fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean…..out now on the Royal Holloway Geopolitics & Security website.

By Klaus Dodds, Berit Kristoffersen & Phil Steinberg


The Central Nordic Sea (Source: sciencenordic.com)

Last week, an open letter written by a group of scientists from around the world was released urging 10 international actors (five Arctic Ocean coastal states such as Canada, Russia and the United States and five extra-territorial parties including China, the European Union and Japan) to develop and implement an agreement on fisheries management for the Central Arctic Ocean (CAO).

The letter notes their collective hope that after several years of negotiation “a successful agreement, demonstrating their commitment to sound stewardship of the Arctic Ocean and peaceful international cooperation” should be possible. Such a commitment would appear to be the logical next step forward after the 2015 Oslo Declaration wherein the five Arctic Ocean coastal states stated that they would refrain from fishing in the high seas of the CAO. Their rationale was that there was…

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Two new editors at Political Geography

polgeogPolitical Geography has brought on two new associate editors, joining our ever-expanding editorial team.

Today is the first day on the job for Filippo Menga, who is replacing Jo Sharp as associate editor for the Setting-the-Agenda section. Filippo is a lecturer at the University of Reading where his research focuses on the geopolitics of water supply. As editor of the Setting-the-Agenda section, Filippo will be responsible for all non-peer-reviewed content (e.g. review forums, review essays, interventions, guest editorials) as well as online content.

Political Geography is also happy to announce the appointment of Antonis Vradis, who will be replacing Fiona McConnell when she is on maternity leave (January-June 2018). Antonis, who is a Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellow at the University of Loughborough, has expertise in urban and migration issues.

The entire Political Geography editorial team — Tor Benjaminsen, Halvard Buhaug, and Kevin Grove, in addition to Fiona and myself — welcomes Filippo and Antonis, and we look forward to maintaining our standing as the leading international journal in political geography.


Territory beyond Terra….now at the publishers


I’m really happy to announce that my new book, co-edited with Kimberley Peters and Elaine Stratford, is now at the publishers, with publication anticipated early in 2018. The book has its origins in a double-session that Kim and I put together a few years ago, and has grown from there into a comprehensive exploration of what it means to construct territory in places other than the solid, static surfaces of dry land. It’s got the coolest cover of any book I’ve written, and I like to think that readers will find the inside just as thought provoking.

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Political Geography seeking new editor for Setting-the-Agenda section

Political Geography is seeking a new associate editor to manage the ‘Setting-the-Agenda’ section. This is the section where we publish all content other than peer-reviewed full-length articles. So, it’s where you’ll find things like guest editorials, commentaries, intervention sets, review forums, and review essays. Candidates are encouraged to develop other forms of content, as well as develop strategies for online content (web pages, blogs, Twitter feeds, etc.). More information can be found on the journal website. The application deadline is October 18, with a November 1 start-date.

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Kevin Grove joins Political Geography

groveI am delighted to welcome Dr. Kevin Grove as Associate Editor at Political Geography.

An Assistant Professor in the Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies at Florida International University, Kevin received his PhD from Ohio State University in 2011 and came to FIU in 2015, after holding a postdoc at Dartmouth College and teaching for three years at Aberystwyth University. Kevin’s research expertise is in critical security studies, risks & hazards, and biopolitics, particularly in the Caribbean. He has published widely in leading journals including Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Antipode, Conservation & Society, Geoforum, Geography Compass, Geopolitics, Limn, Politics, Resilience, Security Dialogue, and Society & Space. Since 2016, he has been editor of the Political Geography section of Geography Compass, a position from which he is stepping down in order to take up  duties with PG.

Kevin will be joining associate editors Tor Benjaminsen, Halvard Buhaug, and Fiona McConnell (as well as myself) on the ever-expanding PG editorial team. In the meantime, Jo Sharp will begin winding down her tenure as the journal’s associate editor for the ‘Setting the Agenda’ section, as her five-year term comes to an end. Jo will complete the processing of submissions that are presently in her queue, but I will be taking up any subsequent submissions until a replacement for Jo is hired later this year.


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The Contiguous Zone as Ocean Frontier

Packing up my computer to head out the door en route to the ‘Ocean Frontiers’ workshop being held in Toronto later this week, I made one last news check and stumbled upon this piece in The New York Times about a niche group of trans-Mediterranean asylum seekers who travel in style, paying a premium above the usual smuggling charge to travel on relatively well appointed private boats from Turkey to Italy. Although the journalist is careful to note that this is not the usual migrant experience, the article, with its seeming identification of first-class asylum seekers (the modern equivalent of Ronald Reagan’s perjorative ‘welfare queen’?) is politically problematic. But that’s not what piqued my interest.

What caught my eye was that this article has to be one of the few pieces of maritime journalism where the contiguous zone plays a central role:

“To avoid routine checks, the sailors skillfully navigate what is known as the ‘contiguous zone,’ the continuous maritime area extending beyond any country’s territorial waters.”

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Sea Ice Publications….in press and more forthcoming

While sea ice has been an issue in almost all of my Arctic work and it’s at the core of the ICE LAW Project, it’s only now that a series of my pieces specifically on sea ice are finding their way to publication.

Today sees the publication of my first piece in the sea ice series: ’The ice edge is lost…nature moved it’: mapping ice as state practice in the Canadian and Norwegian North. The article, co-authored with Berit Kristoffersen, has just been published early online on the website of Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. It’s also profiled on the associated Geography Directions blog. The Wiley Online website is making the article free access  through 19 May, or, if you use the link embedded above it should be free access forever.  So download it now while you can!

A second sea ice piece is within a day or two of submission. This one – “Edges and flows: exploring legal materialities and biophysical politics at the sea ice edge” — is destined for the book Ocean Legalities: The Law and Life of the Sea, which is being edited by Irus Braverman and Elizabeth Johnson and will be published by Duke University Press. This chapter, which includes Kristen Shake as well as Berit Kristoffersen as co-authors, takes up where the Transactions article leaves off, going deeper into Norwegian ice edge politics as well as the dynamics of sea ice ecologies.

A third piece, on ice islands, is also within a day or two of finalisation. This one, “Placing territory on ice: militarisation, measurement and murder in the high Arctic,” is co-authored with Johanne Bruun and will be appearing in the Territory beyond Terra book that I’m co-editing with Kimberley Peters and Elaine Stratford (to be published by Rowman and Littlefield International). Of course ice islands are not technically sea ice (they’re made from glacial ice), but they’re still big chunks of ice in the ocean…which is close enough.

A final article, with Kristen Shake, Karen Frey, and Deb Martin — “(Un)frozen spaces: exploring the role of sea ice in the marine socio-legal spaces of the Bering and Beaufort Seas” — is working its way through to publication in the Journal of Borderland Studies‘ special issue on the Arctic.

All this gets me in the mood for next week’s ICE LAW Project workshops in Durham and Amsterdam and, following that, an Arctic literature, cinema, and geopolitics seminar in Zurich.

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