I consider myself an epistemologist of order, power, and governance. My intellectual work in general, relates to learning from how we understand, and have come to do so, the problems of order, power, and governance in historical context from within the binary logics enshrined in metaphysical thinking. Moving beyond the container/contained dichotomy in spatial analysis, the private/public understandings of property and economics, the friend/enemy distinction in politics and security, the right/left continuum in political action and thought, and the analogue/digital divide in analysing orders of the real, to name but some, I explore the possibilities of thinking order and power not as transcendental categories of thought but as connectivity effects. Doing so allows for taking into account and giving credence to the pluripotential, heterogeneous, and the invaluable characters of 'life'. I investigate this problem empirically by wondering about how specific orders have been constituted, in time, the forms of power involved, and the practices of governance enabled through them.
My current investigation is organised around two converging areas.
The first seeks to explore the problem of thinking connectivity in relation to space and knowledge. To do so I am working with scholars of various disciplines and producing a trilogy of edited volumes. The first book Imaginaries of Connectivity -the creation of novel spaces of governance, was published in December 2019 with Rowman & Littlefield. The second volume, Mapping, Connectivity, and the Making of European Empires is scheduled for 2021. The final volume, Navigation, Connectivity, and the Invention of Global Spaces, is planned for 2023.
The second area focuses on understanding the historical epistemologiesunderlying Western modern conceptions of globality that can be traced to the early XVI C. These are tightly linked to conceptions of novelty, space, and power emerging out of the process of ‘discovery’ and ‘conquest’ of America and the first circumnavigations of the globe. Through this project I aim to interrogate the conditions of possibility and operability of these ideas in order to demystify their commonplace in contemporary thought. I do so empirically by examining alternative forms of knowledge, bodily, haptic, and material, contained in journals, manuals, cartography, and sailing practices of the time.
This area of research investigates four intellectual transformation spaces. First, the shift in the understanding of ideas of novelty and innovation which break away from classical Horacian and Ciceronian conceptions of discovery. Second, the idea and conception of globe that derives from Magellan/Elcano’s circumnavigation and the Treaty of Zaragoza of 1529 around which the so-called second nomos of the earth has been conceived. Third, the establishment of the trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific trade circuits –Carrera de Indias and Galeon de Manila-, and the creation of the first modern global financial circuit between Seville and Beijing, via Mexico, through silver exchange. And fourth, the emergence of the idea of globality as a connectivity effect that transformed predominantly landed understandings of space based on geopolitical, biopolitical, and economic transformations that exceeded cosmographical knowledge of the time.
My projects have been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (UK), the Leverhulme Trust, the British Academy, the European Research Council, as well as various other European research agencies and the universities where I have worked and visited.
I supervise five doctoral students: The role of decadence and scandal in international politics (Ana Flamind), The EU’s geopolitics of soil (Maarten Meijer), Posthumanism and development in the Anthropocene (Agnese Bellina), Sensing the Limit: Affect, borders, and temporality (Nicolas Gäeckle), and, together with Onno van Nijf –chair of Ancient History at Groningen-, Carving Communities in Stone: inscriptions as medium of early Hellenistic globalisation (Sjouke Kamphorst).