Teaching

The following are summaries and syllabi from a selection of courses taught in the UK, US, Egypt and Palestine, 1997-2005.
Brown University, USA, 1997-1999

The Political Technology of Security

How was the human — the animal being — secured in it’s relation to the world? By what techniques, and under which rationalities, were the permanent parameters of our experience (society, knowledge, subjectivity) established? Such questions are marginal in political science. Most especially in international relations, where so often the complexity of this ‘question of security’ is effaced: reduced to three types of accumulation; the accumulation of territory (realism), the accumulation of laws and regimes (liberalism), or the accumulation of material resources (Marxism). We tend only to think of security between states. But what about the regularization of the human animal? In this unit we will seek to get closer to a true representation of the complexity of security by highlighting a fourth type of accumulation: what Michel Foucault called the “accumulation of men”. With a flickering light we will venture into an alternative archive, listen to lost voices, discover new chambers and caverns, uncover a history forgotten yet central to modernity’s fascination with security. From the waning of the Middle Ages to the Information Revolution, we will chart thresholds in the discourses and practices of this broader political technology of security, and in doing so, look deeper into the birth of our world, and its unsteady, but regular journey toward universal order.
Click to see the full syllabus in .pdf form

Lecture: On the Government of Men
Lecture: Madness
Lecture: The Military Body is Born
Lecture: Power Touches the Imagination
Lecture: Security, Tranquility, Happiness
Lecture: The Rise of Consumption
Lecture: The Dromocratic Revolution
Lecture: The Accident

Prisons, Asylums and Other (Extra)Ordinary Institutions

The History of the World is not intelligible apart from a Government of the World
Wilhem Von Humboldt
Man is made fit for Society not by Nature, but by Discipline
Thomas Hobbes
“Everything is dangerous,” wrote Michel Foucault. We will test this hypothesis by looking closely at the birth of modern society and its various institutions. Through close readings of several of Foucault’s texts (including Madness & Civilization, Discipline and Punish and The History of Sexuality), this course will serve as a radical introduction to the politics of social order. Examining asylums, hospitals, prisons, factories, funfairs, and schools we will uncover the power relations that codify modern existence; the domains of everyday experience around which our lives revolve.
Click to see the full syllabus in .pdf form

Lecture: The Birth of the Prison
Lecture: Security & the Medical Police
Lecture: Satanic Mills

The Politics of Technoculture

I am not afraid. I am only dizzy, I must reduce the distance between me and the enemy. Face him horizontally
René Char
This course is located at the intersection of technology and politics. Its aim is to engage critically with the experience of technology over in the 20thC, and most especially the “Third Wave” revolution of information. Beginning with the early- modern imaginary and concluding with the possibility of the ‘generalized accident’ of global interactivity, we will trace the impact of a “technical world view” upon bodies, upon culture, and populations more broadly. From utopias to dystopias, from war to surveillance, from ecology to the cyborg, we will step back from the ideology and mythology of contemporary hype, and push toward a more reflective understanding of the major political issues we face now, and will in the new millennium.
Click to see the full syllabus in .pdf form

Lecture: Simulation/Hyperreality/Infomatics

American University in Cairo, EGYPT, 2001-2003

Security, Power, Population

How was the human animal secured in it’s relation to the world? By what techniques, by which rationalities, were the permanent parameters of our experience (society, knowledge, subjectivity) established? Such questions often remain marginal; most especially in international relations, where so often the complexity of the problem of security is effaced: reduced to three types of accumulation; the accumulation of territory (realism), the accumulation of laws and regimes (liberalism), or the accumulation of material resources (Marxism). Perhaps we think too much about security between states. What about the regularization of the human animal? In this unit we will seek to get closer to a true representation of the complexity of security by highlighting a fourth type of accumulation: the accumulation of the masses. With Michel Foucault as our guide we will venture into an alternative archive, listen to lost voices, discover new caverns and chambers, uncover an unremarked and yet essential history to modernity’s fascination with security. Charting the emergence of diverse “systems of power” we aim to uncover a more immanent history to globalism and order: the ascent within us of a universal norm.
Click to see the full syllabus in .pdf form

International Relations

I wouldn’t want to be a survivor
Jean Mermoz
This course serves as a broad introduction to the field of International Relations. How do states interact? What issues arise from the division of the world into territorial units, legally defined, or into social units like nations, defined by histories and ideologies? Is peace possible when the world is formed in this way? This course examines both a series of contemporary issues facing—and borne from—states, and the ways in which thinkers and scholars have accounted for how things are, why they are, and the direction of world change. First, we will examine the core concepts of international relations practice and theory—security, power, survival—and set these in the context of the clash of opinion at the heart of this sub-discipline of Political Science. From here we will highlight a number of new developments defining the contemporary agenda of world politics: the war on terror, human rights, the impact of information and media, the changing role of the military. We end by asking the broadest questions: are we witnessing the emergence of a new American Empire? How will world politics change in this new century?
Click to see the full syllabus in .pdf form

Introduction to Political Economy

The market’s freedom is the freedom of the stupid to starve
Theodor Adorno
This course serves as a broad introduction to the field of “Political Economy.” Political economy is not just about economics. It is not the poor cousin of business studies. Rather, political economy is a knowledge about, perhaps originally the science of, one of the greatest problems ever to face modern man: the problem of synchronizing populations and resources, bodies and materials. Out of this problem has arisen theories and counter-theories, as well as concepts, values and social relations that continue to color our whole lives. “Capitalism” is not a natural outgrowth of economic activity. It is a political negotiation that goes to the heart of the question of how modern societies have been formed. “Political economy” was—and can still be—a way of understanding, or revealing that bargain; a way of responding that examines the politics at the heart of economic relations—the same relations that dominate so much of our lives. Rather than accept “work”, “production”, “efficiency” and “property” as natural or self-evident, our aim is to pick apart these concepts, review the evolution of modern political economy, and in doing so reveal something profound about the formation of the world around us.
Click to see the full syllabus in .pdf form

Global Political Economy

… neoliberal discourse is not just one discourse among many. Rather, it is a “strong discourse”—the way psychiatric discourse is in an asylum
Pierre Bourdieu
This course serves as a broad introduction to the field of “global political economy.” GPE developed as an outgrowth of international studies, challenging prevalent understandings about the predominance of states as units of political action. By now, however, with the internet revolution, and the finance and production revolutions (deregulation, post-Fordism), GPE—or “international political economy” which preceded it—is established as a firm sub- field of political science, almost eclipsing international studies itself. What are its core concerns? What structures, processes, does it concern itself with? In this course we introduce and examine a number of issues at the heart of both the field and the reality as such of “global political economy”: the internationalization of finance, production and states; the transformations attendant with “globalization”; the evolution of twentieth-century patterns of hegemony and power, expressed through economic and political structures (like the Bretton Woods institutions, the WTO, etc.), and the direction of the world economy—and with it, world politics—at the start of the 21st century.
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History and Theory of Political Economy

Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slave of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back
John Maynard Keynes
This course is about men and their ideas, not equations and graphs. It outlines the general evolution of the practice of Political Economy, and the variations of thought within that field. Political Economy is a thoroughly modern practice—which is to say it is something historically defined, and locatable geographically. It is a form of knowledge that emerged alongside “Western” man (which is not to say that other cultures and civilizations have not been concerned with similar themes). Political Economy as a system of thought and knowledge, holds a particularly dramatic place in the history of the globalization of the West. We will review that history, its vicissitudes, and the general range of understandings attendant to a series of thinkers within that history. From the early struggles around how life is to be defined, through the economic history of Industrial Europe, and the major schools of Political Economy, we pass through to the critique of Political Economy with Marx, and the collapse of nineteenth century civilization presaging the rise of economic management in the twentieth century. We conclude on the meaning of the return to free market models, and the radical critiques once again being mounted as the struggle around this most basic part of our lives — how we get to spend our days, and how we find what we need to survive — continues.
Click to see the full syllabus in .pdf form

The Rise and Decline of the State

None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free
Johann von Goethe
The State is the most powerful phenomenon on earth. Clausewitz argued that the growth of the modern state was ‘the most significant process in history.’ We live in an age in which the state is said to be declining. Is it? This course has a singular aim: to understand this dream called “the State.” What its violence is. What it was formed for. What its destiny is. We will aim to understand it, in order to understand the nature of the effect it has on our lives. We will chart the evolution of the state from the earliest times through to the modern era. We will review the main ways in which it has been justified in political thought, and the struggles that have sought to place limits upon it.
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The Joyous Philosophy of Michel Foucault

He was a man of passion, and he himself gave the word “passion” a very precise meaning
Gilles Deleuze
Do not think one has to be sad in order to be a militant, even though the thing one is fighting is abominable
Michel Foucault
In this course we will examine the joyful philosophy of Michel Foucault (1926-1984), late professor of “the history of systems of thought” at the Collège de France, Paris. Widely regarded as among the most important thinkers of the 20th century, Michel Foucault has nonetheless been widely misunderstood. His thought is not difficult or obscure, but rather full of passion and wonder. We will examine in Foucault’s work the possibility of overcoming the nihilism of the modern age. We will place Foucault’s work in the milieu of 1960’s France, where it seemed for a moment that the very fundaments of society might be overturned. His experience in activism, his uncovering of relations of power and domination, his laughter—we will explore his formative influences, his philosophy, his fears, his hopes, and his courage.
Click to see the full syllabus in .pdf form
An-Najah National University, Palestine, 2005

Eduardo Galeano: Ethics and Resistance

All the soarings of my mind begin in my blood
Rainer Maria Rilke
Death, which had me in her grip a few times and let me go, often calls me still and I tell her to go to hell
Eduardo Galeano
Leon says mad dogs are beautiful. I believe him
René Char
Israeli oppression of the Palestinians is among the worst injustices of the modern era, performed daily by acts of brutality and impunity. In this course we will read the diary of a legendary figure of political courage—Uruguayan poet, witness and historian, Eduardo Galeano. Days and Nights of Love and War was written during the 1970s in the context of dictatorship and state terrorism across Latin America. Many of Galeano’s friends were killed or disappeared, and he himself was exiled after struggling against military regimes in Uruguay and Argentina. I have picked this text not simply for the resonance between Galeano’s experience and that of the Palestinians, but because the book contains the seeds of profound resistance, political awakening, defiance in the face of fascism, and an ultimate victory.
Click to see the full syllabus in .pdf form

Political Development & Patterns of Change

The disciplining of society in the age of absolutism may perhaps be compared with another great process in the history of the modern state, that of democratization in the Nineteenth century
Gerhard Oestreich
Palestine is on the verge of establishing a state. The question is, what kind of state? Political development and patterns of political change occur within the context of a broader history rarely admitted into the field of political analysis. This broader history is the history of forms of the government of men. By “government” we must understand not simply the specifics of an institutional arrangement (e.g., what kind of parliament or legislation a given country may have), but arrangements of power relations which respond to broad and specific challenges to the “order of things,” as well as the principles by which live populations—rather like livestock— are organized, deployed and made effective. This course will pose deep questions about the nature of the state in historical perspective, in particular attempting to reveal the rationalities upon which “modern states” are founded, in order to reveal the true nature of contemporary political systems, and what probabilities exist with regard to the formation of new states like “Palestine”.
Click to see the full syllabus in .pdf form

Introduction to International Politics

Diplomacy is the police in grand costume
Napoleon Bonaparte
Something has to happen. Perhaps a catastrophe
Ernst Jünger
Above all, we must keep firmly in mind what it means to be a human being
Søren Kierkegaard
This class serves as an introduction to one of the main sub-fields of political science: the study of “international politics”. We will review key aspects of international politics—“power”, key actors and what drives them, causes and forms of war, cooperation and peace-building, the rise of multinational corporations, imperialism and world capitalism, global inequality and forms of exploitation, and the struggle for social justice—and discuss the ways in which different theorists have tried to explain and understand the complexity of world politics.
Click to see the full syllabus in .pdf form
We negate and we must negate because something in us wants to live and affirm — Friedrich Nietzsche