Dr Ian Shaw
- Senior Lecturer (School of Geographical & Earth Sciences)
I study political and urban geography, philosophy, war, (in)security, political violence, and economic justice.
1.War and conflict
What does it mean for human beings to exist in an era of robotic state violence? My 2016 book, Predator Empire: Drone Warfare and Full Spectrum Dominance, focuses on U.S. drone warfare and its geopolitical implications. Predator Empire argues that we are witnessing a transition from a labor-intensive “American empire” to a machine-intensive “Predator Empire.” It reveals how changes in military strategy, domestic policing, and state surveillance have come together to enclose our planet in a robotic system of control. See also:
- Ian Shaw. (2016). Robot Wars: US Empire and Geopolitics in the Robotic Age. Security Dialogue 48(5): 451-470.
- Ian Shaw. The Great War of Enclosure: Securing the Skies. Antipode 49(4): 883-906.
- 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 106(3): 688-704.
2. Capitalism and its Discontents
I am interested in the relationship between violence, capitalism, and everyday life. This includes a renewed interest in the philosophical status of worlds and their violent conditions. Underpinning this is a concern for our collective mental and physical health on an alienated planet.
- Ian Shaw. 2019. Worlding Austerity: The Spatial Violence of Poverty and the Right to the World. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. 37(6): 971-989.
- Esther Hitchen and Ian Shaw. Shrinking Worlds: Austerity and Depression: Antipode Intervention.
- Emma Laurie and Ian Shaw. (2018). Violent Conditions: The Injustices of Being. Political Geography 65: 8-16
3. Building New Worlds and Urban Commons
Emerging from my above research is a desire to imagine, build, and resource new worlds in our everyday life. This includes my recent project on designing and constructing school gardens in Glasgow - The International Green Academy. This project is underpinned by a philosophy of ecological justice and stundent empowerment.
In December 2019 my latest book is released with the University of Minnesota Press. Wageless Life: A Manifesto for a Future beyond Capitalism. It has been endorsed by Noam Chomsky, who calls it "a ray of light in dark times."
Shaw, I. G.R. (2016) Predator Empire: Drone Warfare and Full Spectrum Dominance. University of Minnesota Press: Minneapolis, MN. ISBN 9780816694730
Shaw, I. G.R. (2017) Robot Wars: US Empire and geopolitics in the robotic age. Security Dialogue, 48(5), pp. 451-470. (doi:10.1177/0967010617713157)
British Academy Tackling the UK's International Challenges. International Green Academy: School Gardens and Progressive Urban Ecologies. 2019-2021. (£37,604).
A major challenge UK cities face is providing fresh food, green space, and ecological diversity to deprived urban areas. How can new generations of city dwellers thrive in these increasingly stressed urban futures? School gardens embody potential to nurture socially progressive urban ecologies: spaces for experiential education, food production, wildlife, health, wellbeing, and ecological sustainability. Yet there is little geographic research on the contribution of school gardens to social and ecological remediation: can these spaces transform students, and connect to other urban communities, human and non-human? This project will build a garden in a Glasgow secondary school and “twin” it with an established school garden network in Arizona. The Glasgow garden will be designed and evaluated by a team of interdisciplinary researchers. The goal is to empower educators, connect students to their environment, produce innovative curricula, and create transformative ecologies that bridge distinct “urban biomes” in the UK and US.
ESRC Future Research Leader, 2013-2016. "Drone Warfare: Towards a More-than-Human Geopolitics." £153,000. (October 2013 until December 2016)
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.
- 2019-. Laurelle McVicker, School of Geographical and Earth Sciences (co-supervised with Emma Laurie).
- 2017-. Ben Gowland, School of Geographical and Earth Sciences (co-supervised with Lazaros Karaliotas and Dave Featherstone)
- 2014-. Megan Donald, School of Geographical and Earth Sciences (co-supervised with Hayden Lorimer).
- 2013-17 Ning An, School of Geographical and Earth Sciences (co-supervised with Jo Sharp).
- 2012-17 Ross Macgill, School of Geographical and Earth Sciences (co-supervised with Chris Philo).
- 2019-20. Megan Kane, School of Geographical and Earth Sciences.
- 2018-9. Heather Urquhart, School of Geographical and Earth Sciences.
- 2017-8. Rachael Punton, School of Geographical and Earth Sciences.
- 2016-7. Adam Ferguson, School of Geographical and Earth Sciences.
- 2012-3. Stacy Paull, School of Geographical and Earth Sciences. Title:"The Utopian Hive".
- 2012-3. Ross Macgill, School of Geographical and Earth Sciences. Title: "Deconstructing the Call of Duty: The Geopolitics of War Video Games."
Visting Masters Students
- 2019. Zhang Yue. South China Normal University.
- 2018. Meiting Zhao. South China Normal University.
- 2017. Bangxing Liang. South China Normal University.
- 2016. Yi Ouyang. South China Normal University.
I teach across Geography 1, 2, 3, and 4. My option courses--which can be taken in Years 3 and 4--are as follows:
- Political Geographies of War and Security (20 credits, next taught in Spring 2021).