Geopolitical Trajectories: Materialities, Objects, and Bodies

Geopolitical Trajectories: Materialities, Objects, and Bodies

How are the spatial expressions of political power imagined, represented and enacted?  What are the relationships between different forms of human and nonhuman agency in networks of state power? How has feminist theory radicalised the “geo” in geopolitics? What does geopolitics look like from the margins? How are bodies and the spaces of everyday life mobilized across geopolitical sites, discourses, and practices? In what ways is geopolitics materialized and mutated through objects, technologies and assemblages?

In recent years, geopolitics has emerged to become one of the most dynamic and challenging areas of academic inquiry, artistic production and political contestation.  This research group has been at the forefront of debates on the critical role of discourse in geopolitics, as well as the affective, material, and more-than-human landscape through which power is performed and transformed – including the bodies, machines, technologies, and earthly processes of geopolitics. To contest an abstract geopolitics that remains ideologically embedded in government think-tanks and defence ministries, we engage with counter-mappings that pay attention to the enactments of militarism and security in both everyday and exceptional spaces.  Our work in feminist geopolitics has drawn attention to the everyday relationship between the body and (dis)embodied scale of geopolitics, while subaltern and postcolonial inspirations have challenged the western geopolitical gaze.  Recently, a focus on the environmental scale of geopolitics has returned to problematize the impact of climate change, ecological degradation, geophysical activity and even the Earth’s location.  In this sense, we aim to explore what does or should the ‘geo’ in geopolitics do – and how is it complicated by the objects and technologies of (and beyond) state power?  From cyber attacks across computer networks to drone strikes across satellite data links to the touch of zoonoses, the machinic background of the planet both enables and disrupts the shape of geopolitics.  These novel approaches to theorizing the violent, unequal, and gendered nature of global politics demands alternative, innovative, and engaging methodologies – including participatory action research, artistic collaborations, and documentary film-making.