Tag Archives: political conflict

Adaptation on the Roof of the World

At 11,500 ft, between the Himalayas and the Karakoram, the city of Leh is Ladakhʼs commercial and government hub and home to more than 30,000 people (about a quarter of the regionʼs total) who trace their ancestry through the Silk Route. The high-altitude desert landscape is also home to a unique ecosystem, with 13 animal species indigenous to the region including the rare Ladakh Urial and the endangered Snow Leopard. Both human and natural systems are in the front line of rapid environmental and socioeconomic change. Continue reading

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On Geoscapes and the Google Caliphate: Reflections on the Mumbai Attacks

When advanced technologies of globalization that are closely associated with secular cosmopolitics are opportunistically employed by fundamentalist politico-theologies for their own particular purposes, an essential irresolution of territory, jurisdiction and programmatic projection is revealed. Where some may wish to identify an ideal correspondence between a global political sphere into which multiple differences might be adjudicated and the visual, geographic representation of a single planetary space, this conjunction is dubious and highly conditional. Instead multiple territorial projections and competing claims on space are also generative of the very qualities of the spatial as a political medium altogether. For example, the well-publicized use of satellite-based mapping and telecommunications tools, such as Google Earth, by the terrorist group that attacked Mumbai in November 2008, raises several knotty and important questions about how contrary comprehensive images of the world can make use of one another in ways that undermine the ‘unitotality’ of global territory. It is not that Google and Jihad are ‘equivalent’ or even ‘translatable’, but rather because they are not, they are in practice interoperable. Instead links between urbanism, cosmography, and the socialization of planetary software networks demonstrate the centrality of design to the ongoing fashioning of the territory of territories, the geoscape. Continue reading

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