Narrative Atlas


pumpkinsDennis Wood, Jack-O’-Lanterns

I been reading two books “MapHead” by Ken Jennings and “Everything Sings: Maps for a Narrative Atlas” by Denis Wood. According to Jennings he has been a map geek since he was six years old and is completely obsessed with all aspects of cartography, geography and mapping. While I wouldn’t consider myself a ‘map geek’ or do I think my interest in maps is obsessive, I did find many of his chapters insightful and introduced me to some perspectives that I had not considered. For instance his observation of map shapes that he refers to as ‘separated at birth’ is thought provoking.

separated at birthKen Jennings, Separated at Birth

 I still think this book is relevant even with “paper maps” on the extinction list replaced by Google and GPS maps. My interest with maps, especially historical maps, was the presence of the human hand and especially with medieval maps…

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Spatial Fixes, Temporal Fixes, and Spatio-Temporal Fixes

Bob Jessop

This on-line version is the pre-copyedited, preprint version. The published version can be found here:

‘Spatial fixes, temporal fixes, and spatio-temporal fixes’, in N. Castree and D. Gregory, eds, David Harvey: a Critical Reader, Oxford: Blackwell, 142-66, 2006.


It is especially productive to probe major thinkers on issues central to their work and widely regarded as their strong points. Accordingly, my contribution reviews Harvey’s concern with the spatialities and temporalities of capitalism and capitalist social formations. Harvey is famous for stressing the importance of spatiality for an adequate historical materialism. If one phrase symbolizes this, it is surely ‘spatial fix’. He has also shown how capitalism rests on a political economy of time and has explored the dynamics of time-space compression in both modern and post-modern societies. More recently, he has introduced the term ‘spatio-temporal fix’ to decipher the dynamics of capitalist imperialism and its grounding in the…

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Foucault’s Boomerang: the New Military Urbanism (2013)

Foucault News

Stephen Graham, Foucault’s Boomerang: the New Military Urbanism

This article was originally published on OpenDemocracy on 14 February 2013. Republished International Relations Security Network, 24 January 2014.

According to Stephen Graham, a new set of ‘Foucauldian boomerang effects’ are shaping how states apply ‘tactics of control’ over everyday urban life. Today, he traces the emergence of what he calls a new military urbanism, which applies to cities both in the Global North and South.

On 4 February 1976, Michel Foucault, the eminent French social theorist, stepped gingerly down to the podium in a packed lecture at the Collège de France in the Latin Quarter on Paris’s South Bank. Delivering the fifth in a series of 11 lectures under the title ‘Il faut défendre la société’ (‘Society must be defended’), for once Foucault focused his attention on the relationships between western societies and those elsewhere in the world. Moving beyond his…

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The Mellon Fellowship Programme at LSE in Cities and the Humanities

This just in from Tessa Norton (Communications Manager, LSE Cities):

LSE Cities

The Mellon Fellowship Programme at LSE in Cities and the Humanities

£32,794 – £39,669 pa incl.

9-month term, commencing 1st October 2014 (date flexible)

With the continued generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the London School of Economics is looking to appoint a Mellon Fellow as part of its innovative four-year programme that engages the humanities with the social and spatial dynamics of cities. We are seeking dynamic and engaged scholars and practitioners who are currently developing their careers in the arts, culture, literature, philosophy or other related humanities disciplines to contribute to the interdisciplinary work of LSE Cities, an international research centre that explores the interactions between space and society. We are now inviting applications for the fellowship in 2014/15.

The intellectual objective of the Fellowship is to provide those working in the humanities with a meaningful way of connecting with the study of urban life, and to open up new avenues for practical collaboration and intellectual exchange between the humanities and urbanism. Spending nine months at LSE Cities, the Mellon Fellow will develop his/her own research in the context of the work on the urban environment carried out by the centre, working with postgraduate students in an ‘urban design studio’ setting and collaborating with academic colleagues across the LSE and other institutions, promoting the opportunities for cross disciplinarity that their own field of expertise can contribute.

Fellows will be selected on the basis of original contributions to the field including interdisciplinary approaches to the analysis of the past, present and future cultures of the city – through writing, curating, public engagement or other narrative means. As well as post-qualification experience extending beyond academia, they should be able to demonstrate evidence of a portfolio of work that applies humanities/arts scholarship to an understanding of the everyday experience of the contemporary city. They should display their interest in interacting critically with diverse disciplines – and within experimental contexts – as well as their desire to develop new modes of public engagement. They should also provide evidence of excellent communication and presentation skills. They should hold a completed or nearly completed PhD or equivalent experience in a humanities discipline, which may include (but is not restricted to) literature, history, ethnography, philosophy, cultural studies, religion or the arts.

The other criteria that will be used when shortlisting for this post can be found on the person specification which is attached to this vacancy on the LSE’s online recruitment system.

The Mellon Fellowship at LSE in Cities and the Humanities includes a generous contribution towards research and travel expenses, and accommodation if required. The Mellon Fellowship programme will be integrated with the establishment of an international Urban Research Network programme connecting the LSE with other research centres in rapidly urbanising regions of the world.

For full details, see:


Impressions from a visit to Google HQ. There’s a larger project in the works, a book on the impact of the tech sector on urban form. More ijn due course.



I recently spent a morning at Google headquarters (‘the Googleplex’) in Mountain View, Califonia, at the northern end of Silicon Valley. It was a Sunday, so eerily quiet. I had half a dozen leads from Edinburgh, itself a minor tech pole, and I’d written to all of them requesting a visit. As it turned out, so ineffable is the company, and its campus, I might as well have been requesting an audience with God. So I just went alone and unannounced.

The place was certainly a physical reality. As Wired journalist Andrew Blum points out in an entertaining new book, the internet is a material thing as much as an idea. Internet companies love you to believe in their insubstantiality, in their cloud-ness – but all that data has to be stored somewhere, and the work of managing it likewise.

It was an easy enough trip from SF…

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