Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

How should we do the history of territory? By Stuart Elden, Professor of Political Geography, Durham University

08 February 2012 | 4:00pm | Seminar

11.14 Social Sciences Building

Foucault did not say very much about territory, and what he does is, at best, misleading. Nonetheless, Foucault is extremely helpful in beginning to think about the history of territory. The basis for these two claims is the purpose of this talk, as Prof. Elden offers some reflections on the work he has been doing over the past decade on the history of territory, culminating in the book The Birth of Territory.

His talk will move through four stages. First, he will discuss what Foucault does say about territory, and indicate why it is misleading. Second, he will show what Foucault might offer to a more adequate history of territory. Third, briefly, he will outline some of the other approaches he has utilised in his work, specifically looking at the German tradition of Begriffsgeschichte and the Cambridge school of contextual history. Finally, he will outline some of the key elements of the account he offers in The Birth of Territory

Stuart Elden is Professor of Political Geography and Academic Director of the International Boundaries Research Unit at Durham University. He is the editor of Environment and Planning D: Society and Space and was one of the founding editors of Foucault Studies.

Stuart Elden's research is at the intersection of politics, philosophy and geography.

His most recent books are Terror and Territory: the Spatial Extent of Sovereignty (University of Minnesota Press, 2009) and Reading Kant’s Geography (edited with Eduardo Mendieta, State University of New York Press, 2011).

In 2011 he was given the Royal Geographical Society Murchison Award for work judged to contribute most to geographical science in preceding years for 'publications in political geography'.

Location Details

11.14 Social Sciences Building

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