Oceans Rise Empires Fall

My current book project is provisionally entitled Oceans Rise, Empires Fall: A Critical Introduction to Geopolitics. The title may change in the process of review. It often does, though I really like this title even if the subtitle is more accurate.

It has been a struggle to write and is still not finished but its getting there. What is it about? Well, it is an introduction to a series of core concepts in the study of geopolitics. The book is thus more theoretical than empirical and contemporary. However, it is inspired by the contemporary conjuncture of cascading and intersecting domains of existential risk: climate change in the geophysical sphere, extinctions and pandemic in the geobiophysical sphere, deepening technoscientific risks in the technosphere and the possibility of a catastrophic war in the domain of great power competition. So, happy stuff!

The book begins with contemporary geopolitical clashes over the South China Sea and transitions to discuss the contested status of ‘geopolitics’ as an object of study between those theorizing the ‘return of Great Power politics’ and those theorizing the rupture of climate change and emergence of the Earth as an active agent in world politics.

It then reviews definitions of geopolitics, then critical geopolitics and then critiques of critical geopolitics before outlining its rationale. That rationale is to seek a set of core concepts for the study of geopolitics as defined in traditional terms. Geopolitics is approached initially from an examination of its ostensible founder in the English language, Halford Mackinder.  I argue that there is a matrix of concepts in Mackinder that can be re-made by critical geopolitics to create a core set of concepts for its study.

These concepts are:

  1. Geopolitical Fields
  2. Geopolitical Cultures
  3. Geospatial Revolutions
  4. Geopolitical Condition

Realistically I don’t see myself completing a draft of the book until the summer of 2021, and even that is contingent on our family members staying healthy and safe. Then it will begin a long review process. So publication in 2022 by Oxford University Press? Let’s see.