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Talks 2018 –

25-29 June 2018

I will be teaching a short course on ‘Resilience: Governance in an Uncertain World’ as part of the Summer School in Global Politics, Development and Security, Institut Barcelona D’Estudis Internacionals (IBEI), Barcelona, Spain.

Today’s world, of complexity, interdependence and unexpected crises, is often seen to be ungovernable in traditional ‘top-down’ or ‘command-and-control’ ways. This course looks at the emergence of alternative, ‘bottom-up’ or immanent approaches to the problems of global politics, development and security; these new approaches are often grouped together under the rubric of ‘resilience’. In three two-hour sessions, we will explore three ways of rethinking governance in discourses of resilience, relating to how we learn from the past, how we can be more responsive in the present and how we can speculatively enable alternative futures. The first approach understands governance as recursive, governing the effects of previous actions and their unseen or unintended consequences through mapping or tracing relations and path-dependencies. The second approach focuses on the capacity to see or to sense processes in their emergence, aspiring to increasingly real-time responsiveness, preventing crises through enabling effects to be mitigated or modulated, often through the use of new technologies such as Big Data and the Internet of Things. The third approach increasingly recasts problems as opportunities for learning and experimentation, which we need to become attuned to, arguing that we should focus on governing or becoming-with other actors and agencies through practices of speculative engagement, enabling new possibilities to unfold.


Tuesday 2 May 2018

Seminar presentation ‘Big Data: Knowing Differently in the Anthropocene’, Department of Life Sciences, University of Westminster.


Thursday 26 April 2018

‘Peacebuilding and the Crisis of Policy-making’, lecture at the Tampere Peace Research Institute (TAPRI), University of Tampere, Finland.

The idea of peacebuilding seems to have come to its end. Its grounding assumptions that democracy, the rule of law and free markets can be a universal solution to conflict-prone states and societies are considered naive at best, and hubristic and Eurocentric, at worst. But is the end of peacebuilding a cause for celebration? Have we really entered a ‘post-liberal’ era? And what comes after it, if not a mere realist resignation to the world as it appears? David Chandler presents key findings from his new book “Peacebuilding – The Twenty Years’ Crisis 1997-2017”, charting the rise and fall of peacebuilding and revealing the discursive shifts in the self-understanding of the peacebuilding project in policy and academic debate.


Wednesday 25 April 2018

Co-convening with (Hannes Peltonen) the workshop ‘Thinking through Planet Politics: Resilience, Security and Climate Change’, 10.00am – 5.30pm, Pinni A1081, Kanslerinrinne 1, University of Tampere, FinlandDraft programme.


Tuesday 24 April 2018

‘Resilience and the New Governmentalities of the Anthropocene: Mapping, Sensing and Hacking’, Speakers Series lecture, 4.15 – 5.45pm, Pinni B1097, Kanslerinrinne 1, Institute for Advanced Social Research (IASR), University of Tampere, Finland.

In this presentation I explore three ways of rethinking governance in the Anthropocene. The first is autopoietic and recursive; here, the use of ubiquitous data is seen to enable new methods of mapping/tracing relations in time and space. In this paradigm, problems are seen more clearly through an ontology of depth, ‘drilling down’ to context where processes/path dependencies come to light which can be intervened in. The second is responsive, the paradigm of sensing and datafication: seeing relations in real-time, to enable increasingly automated processes of governing emergence. Here, the Internet of Things and cyborg more-than-human assemblages are imagined to govern with rather than over or against potential problems or threats of climate change, disease or socio-economic crises. The goal is that of resilience: the maintenance of the status-quo or homeostatic governance. The third form of adaptation is sympoietic, less goal-directed and therefore more future-orientated, for example, hacking as a project of exploration of the possibilities of relations and processes, detaching and repurposing assemblages creating new possibilities. In all three, the ‘what-is-ness’ of the world is given its due; there are no assumptions of linear, abstract or universal frames of knowledge or governmental capacity. They could also be seen as stages through which understandings of the human relation to the world is transformed, enabling adaptive possibilities and facilitating the building of a home in the post human age of the Anthropocene.


12-13 April 2018

Monsoon Waters symposium, University of Westminster. The second in a series of symposia convened by the Monsoon Assemblages project. It will comprise inter-disciplinary panels, key-note addresses and an exhibition. It will bring together established and young scholars and practitioners from a range of disciplines, knowledge systems and practices to engage in conversations about the ontologies, epistemologies, histories, politics, practices and spatialities of monsoon waters. Draft Programme.


International Studies Association annual convention, San Francisco, 4-7 April 2018

Wednesday 4 April 2018

8:15 AM – 10:00 AM WA38: Environment, Natural Resources, and Peace
Sutro, Parc 55 San Francisco

Chair: Dave Benjamin (University of Bridgeport); Discussant: Florian Krampe (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI))
Papers: Pursuing Peace and Justice: Identifying and Using Correlates of Peace and Peacebuilding, Author: Robert C. Johansen (University of Notre Dame); The Triumph of the Vegetal Is Total, Author: David Chandler (University of Westminster); Using Structured Expert Models to Evaluate the Climate-Migration-Conflict Pathway, Author: Elisabeth Gilmore (Clark University); The Water Taboo: Restraining Use of Water as an Instrument of International Conflict, Author: Charlotte Grech-Madin (Uppsala University); Business for Peace? Applying Complex Systems Theory to Uncover New Insights About the Impacts of Mining on Peacebuilding in Guatemala, Author: Aviva Silburt (University of Waterloo)
Abstract and Keywords: This panel will analyze the interplay between peacebuilding and conflict resolution processes and the environment, including its impacts on natural resources or on the governance of the environment.

Paper abstract: This paper seeks to interrogate the ‘vegetal moment’ in IR. It starts with Michel Houellebecq’s novel ‘The Map and Territory’- a rich exploration of the object-oriented turn as an attempt to, at first, escape and then to come to terms with the perishable and transitory nature of the modernist human project – which ends with the extinction of the human: “Then everything becomes calm… the triumph of vegetation is total”. We know now that, in the Anthropocene, vegetal life is not fragile and passive but rather vibrant and active, aware and sensitive. In IR the tendency is to anthropomorphise and instrumentalise the vegetal: to practice the Deleuzian art of ‘becoming vegetal’ – their being is so ‘resilient’ so ‘sense-able’, so ‘adaptive’, and thus deploying Tsing’s imaginary of salvation, of ‘the vegetal… at the end of the world’. IR and its survivalism: they are co-constitutive. This is not the perspective of Houellebecq’s protagonist: there is no hubristic assumption of knowing the vegetal; there is no posthuman: i.e. there is nothing after ‘the end of the world’, no deus ex machina, no second chance. Whether to resist or to accept? It would appear that the triumph of the vegetal is total.

1:45 PM – 3:30 PM WC57: Resilience and Global Security: European Union and Beyond
Nob Hill 1, Hilton San Francisco Union Square

Chair: Christian Lequesne (CERI Paris); Discussant: David Chandler (University of Westminster)
Papers: A Genealogy of Resilience in World Politics, Author: Philippe Bourbeau (Canada Research Chair, University Laval); Resilience as an Emergent European Project? Author: Jonathan Joseph (University of Sheffield); Author: Ana E. Juncos (University of Bristol); Resilience as EU Governance in the Neighborhood: A Fancy Concept or a Critical Turn?
Author: Elena Korosteleva (University of Kent); Resilience and EU Foreign Policy: The Promise of Justice? Author: Ben Tonra (UCD Dublin); Governing Protracted Crises Through Resilience: Practitioners’ Perspectives Author: Rosanne M. Anholt (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
Abstract and Keywords: Resilience has gained substantial traction in international politics of late. This scholarship has sparked several debates concerning the usefulness of resilience in world politics and how scholars should go about studying it. Are we therefore witnessing a resilience turn – both in scholarly literature and in policy circles? If so, where does resilience come from? By tracing the diverse expressions of resilience in world politics, this panel opens conceptual, empirical, historical, and interdisciplinary questions about the concept of resilience. The papers will (a) argue that an extensive genealogy of resilience is needed to better theorise the relationship between resilience and world politics, (b) study practitioners’ understanding of the concept of resilience, (c) analyse the development of the resilience approach in EU foreign policy to argue that the EU’s resilience approach is emergent out of competing underlying discourses and projects, (d) investigate the EU’s neighborhood policy to contend that in order for resilience-framed governance to gain more traction it musts recognize and engage with ‘the local’ on the outside, (e) and examine EU Global Strategy to argue that resilience may be an opportunity to EU foreign policy few steps forward, notably by thinking about justice as mutual recognition.

4:00 PM meeting

7:00 PM Continental 3, Hilton San Francisco Union Square, Civil Wars, Ethnopolitics, Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding gathering.

Thursday 5 April 2018

4.30 PM meeting

7:00 PM – 11:00 PM Bartlett Hall, 242 O’Farrell Street, Millennium community gathering.

Friday 6 April 2018

8:15 AM – 10:00 AM FA27: The Politics of the Anthropocene: Politics, Biopolitics, and Ontopolitics
Union Square 22, Hilton San Francisco Union Square

Chair: Charlotte Heath-Kelly (University of Warwick); Discussant: Claudia E. Aradau (King’s College London)
Papers: “I” Am Uncertain, but “We” Are Not: The Anthropocene’s Politics of Technological Identity, Author: Scott Hamilton (Balsillie School of International Affairs); Theorizing Beyond Life: Subjectivity in the Anthropocene, Author: Stefanie R. Fishel (University of Alabama); Life in the Anthropocene: Humanism, Vitality, and Critique, Author: Garnet Kindervater (University of Minnesota), The Anthropocene Ontopolitics of Indistinction,
Author: David Chandler (University of Westminster); Here Be Moderns! The Anthropocene and Comparative Political Cosmology, Author: Jairus V. Grove (University of Hawaii at Manoa)

Abstract and Keywords: Does the Anthropocene have a politics? What sort of politics does it call forth? For some commentators the Anthropocene extends liberal or cosmopolitan visions of the global, for others it disrupts shared visions and aspirations, clarifying the divisive histories that shape the inequalities and hierarchies of the present. Other commentators argue that the Anthropocene can also be understood and analyzed in the framework of the biopolitical. If so, what sort of life is being governed and how does the Anthropocene disrupt or enable our understandings of the biopolitical? There is also the possibility that the politics of the Anthropocene exceed the biopolitical, that there is no separation between life and its governance: that the politics of the Anthropocene are best grasped as ontopolitics. What, if anything, do conceptions of the ontopolitical do and how do they operate? This panel hosts papers which focus on the politics, biopolitics or the ontopolitics of the Anthropocene and which seek to explore their potential interconnections.

Paper abstract: In International Relations we are increasingly aware that the key distinctions of the discipline seem to have less analytical purchase – these include conceptions of sovereignty/anarchy, peace/conflict, combatant/non-combatant, sick/healthy, development/underdevelopment, referent/threat, human/nature, knowledge/ignorance etc. This paper addresses the rise of indistinction and its implications for International Relations (both as an area of academic thinking and of policy-making) and links this to our understanding of the Anthropocene as our contemporary condition. I argue that in the Anthropocene, the cuts and separations necessary for the instrumental and regulatory imaginaries of both political and biopolitical forms of rule are no longer possible. I conclude with suggesting some new ontopolitical imaginaries of governance in the Anthropocene. The key argument is that the shift away from reductionist or linear frameworks towards more processual and relational understandings engenders a focus on non-causal approaches. This policy push towards real-time responsiveness is driven by new technologically enhanced forms of ‘seeing’ the emergence of events – driven by ubiquitous computing, the connectivity of the Internet of Things and the new correlational epistemologies of Big Data. The paper provides examples of these approaches, applied to environmental disasters, conflict management and disease outbreaks.

Saturday 7 April

1:45 PM – 3:30 PM 7SC15: The Vegetal Moment in Global Politics? Vegetal Ontologies of Presence and Resistance in the Anthropocene
Yosemite A, Hilton San Francisco Union Square

Convenors: Charlotte Heath-Kelly (University of Warwick); David Chandler (University of Westminster)
Chair: Antonia Szabari (University of Southern California); Discussant: Antonia Szabari (University of Southern California )
Papers: Appropriating the Vegetal in Post-Terrorist Design: The Conflated Ontologies of Memorial Trees, Author: Charlotte Heath-Kelly (University of Warwick); Automation, Settlement, and Agency in Vegetal Worlds, Author: Dan Bousfield (University of Western Ontario); Forest and the City: Urban Resilience as a Form of Vegetal Hacktivism, Author: Delf Rothe (University of Hamburg); Pirates or Protectors: The Politics of Plant Conservation in the Anthropocene, Author: Xan Chacko (UC Davis); Of Plants and Their Statements – or How to Sense Alternative Ontologies, Author: Doerthe Rosenow (Oxford Brookes University)
Abstract and Keywords: Of what status are trees and plants in global politics? How are they deployed against security threats, and within disaster recovery? And how can vegetal ontologies advance our conceptualisation of the Anthropocene? Questions of vegetal significance are not new. In Heidegger’s text ‘What is Called Thinking?’, his phenomenology was articulated through an encounter with an apple tree. The tree faces Heidegger’s protagonist, defying standard phenomenology, in an account of the vibrant presence of the vegetal. Similarly, Michael Marder has uncovered the place of the plant within Western philosophical trajectories (2014) and together with Luce Irigaray (2016) has articulated the feminist necessity to embrace vegetal ontologies within the Anthropocene. This panel contains papers which theoretically and empirically explore the place of the vegetal in contexts varying from colonial botany to the neoliberal security state. It explores the deployment of the vegetal in urban regeneration projects, memorial symbolism and environmental activism, as well as offering papers which explore the importance of vegetal ontologies for the Anthropocene. Finally the overlap between securitisation agendas and vegetal life is laid bare in the exploration of biodiversity protection schemes and the mobilisation of plants and trees as objects with which to protect the human subject.


Thursday 15 March 2018

‘Death: A Reappraisal’ presentation for ‘Death’, Crossings – interfaculty research seminar series, 5.00-6.30, Fyvie Hall, 309 Regent Street, University of Westminster.



Speaking at the ‘Resilient Data’ event, Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies, University of Warwick.


27 February – 1 March 2018

I will be teaching a short intensive course, ‘Securing the Anthropocene: Discourses, Knowledge(s) and Techniques’, Charles University, Prague.

Course programme.

The Anthropocene captures more than a debate over how to address the problems of climate change and global warming. Increasingly, it is seen to signify the end of the modern condition itself and potentially to open up a new era of political possibilities. The focus on a raft of new security problems and new ways of approaching policy-making coincides with a growing array of scientific and technological advances, including algorithmic computation, Big Data and the Internet of Things. Spread over three consecutive days, this intensive course focuses on what security might mean in the Anthropocene. It is divided into three sections, discourses (various ways in which the Anthropocene is understood and discussed), knowledge(s) (how and why new ways of knowing are being advocated) and techniques (new practices and ways of being which seek to go beyond the limits of traditional ways of problem-solving).

The course is run by Professor David Chandler, University of Westminster (UK) who edits the journal Resilience: International Policies, Practices and Discourses and is the author of a number of books on contemporary approaches to international policy governance and new security regimes. His personal webpages can be found here: www.davidchandler.org.


Thursday 15 February 2018

Speaking at the book launch and roundtable for my new book Ontopolitics in the Anthropocene: An Introduction to Mapping, Sensing and Hacking, with Rowan Lear (School of Film, Media and Design, University of West London) Harshavardhan Bhat (The Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, University of Westminster), Alan Gillingwater (illustrator) and Paulina Tambakaki (Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Westminster), Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Westminster.

The Anthropocene captures more than a debate over how to address the problems of climate change and global warming. Increasingly, it is seen to signify the end of the modern condition itself and potentially to open up a new era of political possibilities. This is the first book to look at the new forms of governance emerging in the epoch of the Anthropocene.


Wednesday 7 February 2018

Conference keynote address, ‘Challenges of State-building and State-consolidation in the Contemporary World’, Sandhurst Trends in International Conflict Symposium 2, ‘Fragile States: Challenges and Responses’, Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. Draft programme.


Monday 5 February 2018

Staff and student seminar presentation, ‘Resilience in the Anthropocene: Governing through Mapping, Sensing and Hacking’, Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience, University of Durham.

The rise of resilience as a governance discourse is intimately connected to the perceived failings of traditional, liberal or modernist forms of politics, which assumed that governance could be centrally directed on the basis of ‘command-and-control’ understandings. Confidence in this framework has gradually eroded, with an appreciation that the world is much more globalised, interconnected and relationally entangled than ‘top-down’ forms of governance assume. Resilience approaches appear to have arisen to fill the gap between traditional framings of governance and the need to respond and adapt to contingent and unexpected events and shocks. The new geological epoch of the Anthropocene appears to further bring to a close subject-centred or anthropocentric understandings of power and governmental agency. The three modes of resilience governance analysed in this lecture all depart from a modernist framing and seek to govern adaptively or responsively in ways which increasingly appear to become at home in the Anthropocene condition.


18-19 January 2018

‘Resilience and the Strange Death of Neoliberalism: New Policy Discourses of Affirmation and Alterity’, presentation at the ‘Resilience, Hegemony and Resistance’ workshop, Centre for Global Cooperation Research, University of Duisburg-EssenDraft programme.


Saturday 13 January 2018

‘Resilience, Governance and Ethics’, American Society for Cybernetics webinar (7 AM PST, 3 PM GMT). Video available.


8-9 January 2018

Co-convening an author’s workshop (with Pol Bargues-Pedreny and Elena Simon) for the Routledge book Mapping and Politics in the Digital Age, at the Centre for Global Cooperation Research, University of Duisburg-EssenDraft programme.