In this conversation, Derek Gregory shares with us a few aspects of his simultaneously broad and precise knowledge of the ways war function. We examine together the current so-called “war on terror” in which the United States and their allies have engaged since 2001. Derek distinguishes three spaces that need to be produced in order for war to operate physically and apparently legitimately. We first consider a drone as an object crystalizing both the paradigm of contemporary war, but also the vessel of all wrongly posed questions that perpetuate the status quo. All disciplines are mobilized for war: geography, technology, architecture, law, anthropology, and medicine are those that we evoke for the purposes of this discussion but many more also apply to this rule — and to some degree can be thought as being produced by war themselves. For Derek, the means of resistance to the mechanisms of war consist in the deconstruction of its imaginary production, that is the definitive and absolute status of otherness applied to the targeted population.
Derek Gregory is a British academic and geographer who is currently Peter Wall Distinguished Professor and Professor of Geography at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He is best known for his book The Colonial Present: Afghanistan, Palestine and Iraq, published in 2004. This book discusses the actions of Israel, the United States of America and the United Kingdom in the Middle East after 9/11. It reflects how the popular discourses found in the media and in political circles indicate a continued Orientalism and colonialism. Earlier works by Gregory have concentrated on political, cultural and historical geography. He has also contributed to theoretical writing on Imagined geographies and David Harvey. A book published in 1994, Geographical Imaginations, explores the relations between social theory and place, space and landscape. He graduated from the University of Cambridge with a Master of Arts and a Doctor of Philosophy in 1981. He has honorary doctorates from the University of Heidelberg and Roskilde University, and he was awarded the Founder’s Medal of the Royal Geographical Society in 2006. His current research is on late modern war and on the cultural/political histories and geographies of bombing.
– Derek Gregory, “From a View to a Kill: Drones and Late Modern War” in Theory, Culture and Society 28 (2011)
– Derek Gregory, “The Biopolitics of Baghdad: Counterinsurgency and the Counter-City” in Human Geography 1 (2008)
– Derek Gregory, Geographical Imaginations, Wiley-Blackwell, 1994.
– Derek Gregory, The Colonial Present: Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq, Wiley-Blackwell, 2004.
– Derek Gregory, Violent Geographies: Fear, Terror and Political Violence, Routledge, 2006.
– Peter Adey and Mark Whitehead and Alison J. Williams (ed), From Above: War, Violence and Verticality (includes a text by Derek Gregory), Hurst, 2013.
– Grégoire Chamayou, La théorie du drone (English translation forthcoming), La Fabrique, 2013.
– David Price, Weaponizing Anthropology: Social Science in Service of the Militarized State, AK Press, 2011.
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