International Workshop: History, Genealogy, Archaeology

History, Genealogy, Archaeology

Alternative Approaches to Political and International Studies

Kingston University London, 3 November 2017


“Only an iconoclastic philosopher could undertake the long and difficult task of detaching all the suffixes from beauty, of searching behind the obvious images for the hidden ones, of seeking the very roots of this image-making power. In the depths of matter there grows an obscure vegetation; black flowers bloom in matter’s darkness. They already possess a velvety touch, a formula for perfume.”

– Gaston Bachelard, Water and Dreams

The notion of ‘archaeology’ has become popular in the humanities and social sciences thanks to the works of Michel Foucault. However, the difficult positioning of his work – fostered by a rigid academic schematism and by the ‘genealogical turn’ undertaken by Foucault in his later writings – has contributed to the lack of clarity surrounding the epistemological status of critical methods. It becomes crucial, therefore, to reflect on the epistemological foundations of these alternative approaches in order to clarify their explanatory power. For, in what sense can one write a ‘genealogy of the political’, of its savoirs and powers? What are the similarities – and differences – between the genealogical and archaeological methods and critical historiography? What might an ‘archaeology of violence and the political’ look like?

This one-day International Workshop is conceived as an advanced postgraduate training in which senior scholars and MA/PhD students will engage in an in-depth discussion on a range of fundamental epistemological and methodological issues in order to assess the contribution of critical theory to the fields of Political and International Studies.

List of Speakers

  • Claudia Aradau (King’s College), ‘A Genealogy of Otherness: Security in a Digital Age’
  • Antonio Cerella (Kingston University), ‘Towards an Archaeology of Silence: Ontology and History in the Work of Foucault, Schmitt and Heidegger’
  • Mitchell Dean (Copenhagen Business School), ‘The Archè in Political Archaeology’
  • Iwona Janicka (Warwick University), ‘Ethics of Generosity, Gift Economy and Alternative Modes of Existence’
  • Sanja Perovic (King’s College), ‘Mise-en-abîme in Foucault, Schmitt and Live Art: Representing the Recent Past’
  • Scott Wilson (Kingston University), ‘The Day the Conducator Died’: Towards a De-Ontologisation of Politics’



There are a few bursaries available for MA/PhD students, which will be allocated on a competitive basis. If you wish to apply for a bursary, please send an email to Dr Antonio Cerella at:

The workshop is free to anyone who wishes to attend but registration is necessary.

To register, please go to:



States of Exceptions II: The Politics of Life

The Body of War: Drones and Lone Wolves

An International Symposium

Lancaster University, 24–25 November 2016

stealth-wear-burqa2-multi-mdAnti-Drone Burqa by American artist Adam Harvey ©

“The discriminatory concept of the enemy as a criminal and the attendant implication of justa causa run parallel to the intensification of the means of destruction and the disorientation of theaters of war. Intensification of the technical means of destruction opens the abyss of an equally destructive legal and moral discrimination. […] Given the fact that war has been transformed into a police action against troublemakers, criminals, and pests, justification of the methods of this “police bombing” must be intensified. Thus, one is compelled to push the discrimination of the opponent into the abyss.”

Carl Schmitt, The Nomos of the Earth (1950)

13 November 2015: three suicide bombers blew themselves up near the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, Paris, killing themselves and a bystander, and triggering a series of violent actions that caused 130 casualties. 15 November 2015: the President of France, François Hollande, after defying the attacks ‘an act of war’ by the Islamic State, launched a three-month state of emergency and ‘Opération Chammal’, a huge airstrike campaign against ISIL targets in Syria.

These two violent actions design a deformed and limitless theater of war, within which all distinctions and limitations elaborated by International Law seem to disappear. It is not merely the loss of the fundamental distinction between combatants and civilians, that both suicide bombers and airstrike bombings signal. In the current situation, all the fundamental principles that gave birth to the Laws of War seem to collapse: spatial and temporal limitations of hostilities, proportionality of military actions, discrimination of targets, weapons and just methods to use them. In this way, the ‘enemy’, from a juridical concept, is transformed into an ‘ideological object’; his figure, pushed to a climax from both these ‘invisible’ and ‘mobile’ fronts, becomes absolute and dehumanized. Hollande, Cameron and Obama’s unwillingness to use ground troops against the ‘uncivilized’ (Kerry 2015) is mirrored by the ISIL call to intensify suicide missions against the ‘cowards’ (Dābiq, 12: 2015).

But what lies behind the asymmetric confrontation between airstrikes and ‘humanstrikes’, behind the blurring of the distinction between the state of war and state of peace? What notion of humanity are the physical disengagement of the Western powers (with their tele-killing via drones and airstrikes) and the physical engagement of suicide bombers (ready to turn their bodies into a weapon) trying to convey? In other words, how and to what extent is there a connection between the automatization and biopoliticization of war operated by Western powers and the sacrificial nature of the conflict adopted by those who want to fight these powers?

In this second part of the “States of Exception” project, our intention is to explore these questions in order to map the crucial transformations of warfare, of its ethical principles and methods of engagement.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

  • David Cook, Associate Professor in Religious Studies at Rice University and author of Martyrdom in Islam (Cambridge).
  • Derek Gregory, Peter Wall Distinguished Professor of Geography at the University of British Columbia and author of Violent Geographies: Fear, Terror, and Political Violence (Routledge).
  • Adam Harvey, American artist working on surveillance, privacy, and biometrics, winner of the Future Greats Award 2014 for his Anti-Drone project (2013).

The symposium will be held at Lancaster University, November 24-25, 2016. We invite potential participants to submit abstracts of no more than 250 words by August 15th, 2016 drawing upon, but not limited to, such issues as:

  • Theatres of War: The New Spatialities and Temporalities of Warfare
  • Mirror Images? Drones vs. Suicide Bombers
  • Phenomenology of Drones
  • New Perspectives on Ethics, Horror & Terror
  • The Ubiquity of the Enemy: Lone Wolves and Self-Representing Terror
  • The Collapse of International Law: What Enemy? Which Proportionality?
  • The Body as a Weapon: The Immanentization of Martyrdom
  • Phenomenology of Lone Wolves
  • The End of Law: Rethinking Limitation, Proportionality and Discrimination

If accepted, participants are expected to send the full paper by October 15, 2016. Please send abstracts with “States of Exception II” in subject line to

 CRIPT website:

Click here to Download the Symposium Programme