Just back from the ISA in San Diego. The event was staged in a big hotel complex and my friend Ryan Bishop joked that I’d stayed in Biosphere 2. This wasn’t far from the truth, but weirdly I’d been thinking biospheres throughout the conference. First I gave my paper security atmospheres on Debbie Lisle’s panel on Mobilities. The panel had great papers by Debbie, Ben Muller, Jef Huysman’s, and Mark Salter, not to mention Matt Patterson as discussant. Some really good questions and discussion around mobilities and security, and particularly the value of thinking circulations (in Foucault’s terms) came up. How IR is engaging with the ‘new mobilities turn’ or paradigm is interesting to see.
I then attended a panel organised by Francois Debrix which looked at the intellectual relationship between critical geopolitics and IR. This was also great, with John Agnew, Simon Dalby, Matthew Coleman, Cindy Weber and Timothy Luke (hence the Biosphere 2 connection – he wrote a great paper on this in the 90’s), and Simon was talking big biospheric changes as we start to engineer our world. I hadn’t seen any of these speakers talk before and the relation between both fields are really prescient. The panel was somewhere between the reflections of leading figures and some sense of where the debates may or may not be moving. Given the planetary themes, I’ve just seen that Stuart Elden has blogged Neil Brenner’s lectures on planetary urbanism.
Finally, I also saw an excellent panel session on the city and enjoyed papers from Angharad Closs Stephens, Delacey Tedesco, Jennifer Bagelman and Geoffrey Whiteman with Michael Shapiro as discussant.