Abstract: The world is beset by intensely felt spatial crises. Seemingly uncontrollable globalization, transnational terrorism, climate change, information warfare and revanchist geopolitics shadow our world. Feelings of anxiety and insecurity have been translated by populist politics into nostalgia and narrow nationalisms. The growing force of these movements have brought into question institutional structures premised on liberal ideals (and utopias). In this talk I review some examples of the current spatial crisis. I argue for a critical geopolitics that is critical of all imperial cultures yet is empathetic to the dilemmas facing Western statecraft in the contemporary moment.
Bio: Gerard Toal (Gearóid Ó Tuathail) is a Professor in the School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech’s campus in the Washington metropolitan area. A native of Ireland, he holds a PhD in Political Geography from Syracuse University and writes about territorial conflicts, US foreign policy, de facto states, popular culture, media and critical geopolitics. His latest book is Near Abroad: Putin, the West and the Contest for Ukraine and the Caucasus (Oxford University Press, 2017), a study of two Russian invasions of neighboring states, Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014, and the circumstances surrounding these events, including US involvement in both states. As a key figure shaping the school of thought of critical geopolitics, Gerard Toal is one of the leading thinkers of contemporary geopolitics, geopolitical transformations and the relationship between space and power.