The Cyberflâneur #11: Laleh Khalili

This week, we are thrilled to feature Laleh Khalili, a professor of international relations at Queen Mary University of London. We were huge fans of Laleh’s two previous books and are eagerly awaiting her latest, Sinews of War and Trade, an account of how shipping and maritime transportation have become central to global capitalism, out from Verso later this year. And she is also a wonderful person to follow on Twitter, especially if you are interested in the geopolitics of the Middle East.

Here is a 2016 video of a fascinating talk given by Laleh Khalili at the American University of Beirut.

E.M.


I.

Theorizing the Advent of Weaponized Drones as Techniques of Domestic Paramilitary Policing

Fascinating piece about the militarisation of policing and the movement of battlefield kinetic weapons to city centres to discipline unruly (and often racialised) populations.


II.

Global Flows and Everyday Violence in Urban Space: the Port-City of Buenaventura, Colombia

Logistics is violence. We know this because of the excellent work of Deb Cowen. This article uses the framework of logistics-as-violence to show the interactions of the global and local in world ports.


III.

Precarious in Piraeus: on the Making of Labour Insecurity in a Port Concession

What happens when global transport firms take over ports in long-term concessions often secured in times of economic distress? The first victims are often those work on these ports.


IV.

Hidden Carbon Costs of the “Everywhere War”: Logistics, Geopolitical Ecology, and the Carbon Boot‐Print of the US Military

Connecting my two obsessions, logistics and militaries, this piece shows in rich detail the way the US military’s global reach also has dire repercussions for global environments.


V.

Transport Geography and Geopolitics: Visions, Rules and Militarism in China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Beyond

This article urges us to centre empires and militarism in our understanding of global transport politics and geopolitics.


VI.

New Geographies of Financial Power: Global Islamic Finance and the Gulf

From the always brilliant scholar of political economy in the Gulf, this article shows the ways in which Islamic finance is embedded in global networks of capital and how it consolidates the reach of global capital in all sorts of new ways.


VII.

“Making Coin” and the Networker: Masculine Self‐Making in the Australian Professional Managerial Class

Business masculinities are always fascinating. This ethnography of “networking” shows the role of fantasy, of peer norm-making, and of notions of manliness as being central to the workings of everyday business practices.


VIII.

Politics of Circulation: the Makings of the Berbera Corridor in Somali East Africa

As Foucault showed us security and circulation are always mutually constitutive. This article focuses on the making of state as facilitator of circulation (of goods and capital) in a place, Somaliland, which affords us the opportunity to watch the forging of new state institutions.


IX.

What is We!? Understanding the WeWork IPO

A witty and erudite reading of the WeWork IPO that has the requisite graphs and numbers, but which also highlights the absurdity of the availability of finance for tech companies.


X.

The Money Men Who Enabled Adam Neumann and the WeWork Debacle

In great and astonishing detail, this long investigative piece shows that ultimately there is very little science, or foresight, or experience, or even intelligence driving massive outpouring of finance for unproven ventures, mostly because financiers act like a herd, running after that magic unicorn (I think this obscuring of material social relations in favour of financial magic is called commodity fetishism).


More about our Cyberflâneur series. You can also take a look at the previous versions of the Cyberflâneur: Brian Eno, Hito Steyerl, Adam Tooze, Rana Foroohar, Samuel Moyn, Rem Koolhaas, Paul Mason, Shehla Rashid, Holly Herndon & Matt Dryhurst, Raquel Rolnik.

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