Research Seminar Fall 2021: Security, Space, and Power

This year’s seminar explored power relations in relation to space and security.  In many ways, the issue of security seems to stem from recent features of the pandemic: quarantine, isolation, border closings, etc., but also monitoring, reporting, testing, etc.  An entire range of technologies have emerged.  At the same time, biological security, since the very beginning, has been charted in direct relation to economic security.  Economic indices and mortality and infection rates often occupied the same space of analysis in journalism.  And they occupied the same space in political debates throughout 2020.  And yet, at what point in history did biological security and economic security overlap in such as way as to appear naturally related?  This course examines this history through texts in political philosophy, and in this year’s study we continue to examine the archeological and genealogical analysis of power in the work of the French historian and philosopher Michel Foucault. 

The studies consider the space of knowledge and discourse through Foucault’s earlier work, and then literal programmatic and institutional spaces, and finally spaces of analysis and power that work at the level of governmentality, political economy, and biology.  Although a course like this functions on a number of different levels and for different uses, one of its aims is to continue to explore spatial logics beyond the Cartesian or phenomenological, beyond the programmatic and institutional, and beyond the formal and aesthetic and look at the way space, like objects of knowledge, is in fact produced by the interplay of discourses and power-relations.

This year’s research projects

Alexander Creem, Environmental Racism and Climate Change, How Local Community Groups Function in Relation to Resilience

Sophie Wissall, The Halfway House as Heterotopia

Chris Aniftos, Techno Human: Contrasts Between Oxman, P-Orridge, and Preciado: Sex, Gender, and Self in the age of Bio-Technical Intervention

Elliot Hadwin, The Spatial Practices of Archivists: On Subject Headings and Knowledge

Shervin Hashemi, Foucault and the Islamic Revolution of Iran

Yue Shi, An Exploration to the Relationship between Space and Power in the Chinese Covid-19 Quarantine Systems

Gundega Laivina, Refugee Camps and Migrant Settlements in Eastern Europe: Power and Space

Shikha Patel, Global Strategies of Division: Women, Labor, and Economic Security in the South Asia

Paolo Bokobsa, Architecture as Laboratory

Brandon Bruscato, Truth, Race, and Biology