Dr Ian Shaw
- Lecturer in Human Geography (School of Geographical and Earth Sciences)
I received a PhD in geography from the University of Arizona in 2011. I became a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Glasgow later that year, before taking up my current post as lecturer in human geography. In 2013 I was awarded an ESRC Future Research Leaders fellowship that will run through September 2016. During that time I'll be exploring the intersection between drone warfare, technology, and geopolitics.
The Political Geographies of Drone Warfare
I am interested in the transformations associated with the rise of drones in U.S. national security strategy and geopolitics. In particular, my approach emphasises why the drone is a political actor - a technology that is slowly but definitively changing social, territorial, and sovereign relations. In this sense, I think through the ways that drones are existential forces that are shaping and securing our globalized world.
I have recently completed a manuscript, "The Predator Empire: Drone Warfare and Full Spectrum Dominance," which will be published in the Fall of 2016 by the University of Minnesota Press.
- Ian Shaw (2016) Scorched Atmospheres: The Violent Geographies of the Vietnam War and the Rise of Drone Warfare, The Annals of the Association of American Geographers, DOI: 10.1080/00045608.2015.1115333
- Ian Shaw (2016) The Urbanization of Drone Warfare: Policing Surplus Populations in the Dronepolis, Geographica Helvetica, Theme Issue: Space and Power in the Drone Age (in press)
- Ian Shaw, (2015) Drone Theory? Antipode.
- Ian Shaw and Majed Akhter (2014) The Dronification of State Violence, Critical Asian Studies, 46(2): 211-234
- Ian Shaw (2013) Predator Empire: The Geopolitics of U.S. Drone Warfare, Geopolitics, 18(3): 536-559.
- Ian Shaw and Majed Akhter (2012) The Unbearable Humanness of Drone Warfare in FATA, Pakistan, Antipode 44(4): 1490–1509
Under a broadly defined "more-than-human" geography I have written on a range of topics, including nature, human-environment relations, politics, and state theory. The point of this research has been to critically investigate why objects and technologies are capable of policing, challenging, and transforming the worlds in which we inhabit. Indicative of this is my paper "Towards an Evental Geography," which sets out a theoretical framework for imagining a type of planetary politics based on the disruptive qualities of the nonhuman. Selected articles:
- Katie Meehan, Ian Shaw, and Sallie Marston (2013) Political Geographies of the Object, Political Geography, 33: 1-10.
- Ian Shaw (2013) Towards an Evental Geography, Progress in Human Geography 36(5): 612–626
- Ian Shaw, Paul Robbins, and John Paul Jones III (2010) A Bug’s Life and the Spatial Ontologies of Mosquito Management, The Annals of the Association of American Geographers 100(2): 373–392
I have long-standing engagements with political philosophy, particularly through the work of Alain Badiou and his theory of the 'event', and Gilles Deleuze's philosophy of life and difference. Finally, I have researched video games as sites of political contestation, with more recent work investigating their subversive qualities. Selected articles:
- Ian Shaw and Joanne Sharp (2013) Playing with the Future: Social Irrealism and the Politics of Aesthetics, Social & Cultural Geography, 14(3): 341-359
- Ian Shaw (2010) Sites, Truths, and the Logics of Worlds: Alain Badiou and Human Geography, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 35(3): 431–442
- Ian Shaw and Barney Warf (2009) Worlds of Affect: Virtual Geographies of Video Games, Environment and Planning A 41(6): 1332–1343
ESRC Future Research Leader, 2013-2016. "Drone Warfare: Towards a More-than-Human Geopolitics." £153,000.
The world has woken up in the middle of a science-fiction present. Military pilots controlling unmanned drones called ‘Predators’ and ‘Reapers’ are now able to track, target and eliminate human beings from thousands of miles away. Multi-million pound technological developments are creating drones capable of flying autonomously and cooperating together in intelligent swarms. In a frank assessment, the U.K.'s Ministry of Defence (2011) warns that 'There is a danger that time is running out – is debate and development of policy even still possible, or is the technological genie already out of the ethical bottle, embarking us all on an incremental and involuntary journey towards a Terminator-like reality?' There is so much at stake in the age of the drone: What are the consequences for international territory and laws of war? What are the ethical and moral implications of robotic killings? How is the public being prepared, consulted, and educated? Why are the traditional assumptions of geopolitics insufficient for understanding the rise of the machine? What is next for human security? This project seeks to answer these pressing questions with a unique research framework that is centred on understanding the complex role of technology in transforming society. Drone warfare has already attracted a storm of debate from human rights lawyers, politicians, journalists, activists, and academics. And yet, this proposal argues that the drone is creating such an unprecedented geopolitical reality that it requires innovative research that investigates the capacities of nonhuman things to police, reshape, and remake the geopolitical world order.
- 2014-. Megan Donald, School of Geographical and Earth Sciences (co-supervised with Hayden Lorimer).
- 2013-. Ning An, School of Geographical and Earth Sciences (co-supervised with Jo Sharp).
- 2012-. Ross Macgill, School of Geographical and Earth Sciences (co-supervised with Chris Philo).
- 2012. Stacy Paull, School of Geographical and Earth Sciences. Title:"The Utopian Hive".
- 2012. Ross Macgill, School of Geographical and Earth Sciences. Title: "Deconstructing the Call of Duty: The Geopolitics of War Video Games."