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Underworlds – Sites and Struggles of Global Dis/Ordering

Underworlds – Sites and Struggles of Global Dis/OrderingEngagement with practices of global ordering is often guided towards specific locations and legacies: the sovereign state, the formal sources and standards of international law, the intricacies of global diplomacy, the historical juncture and its (anti-)heroes, the international palaces of hope in Geneva, New York, or The Hague. These explorations entail ideas of where power resides and where it is to be unmasked or undone – ideas implicitly grounded in modernist geographies, temporalities, and subjectivities. Starting from the limits of these familiar perspectives, this lecture and workshop series traces the multiple ways in which these sites, actors, and events are cabined, crossed, and cut apart by alternative material arteries, lineages, and languages of global dis/ordering.

The series takes as starting point that authority and order are not fixed properties of specific actors or institutions, but the result of ongoing material processes of ordering and world-making. As such, it traces unconventional forms and sites of global dis/ordering – from raw materials to projections of hope – as material, infrastructural, and discursive compositions that shape patterns of power. The encounter between old- and new materialist, Marxist and decolonial methodologies and modes of critique is one of the key objectives of this series. Its aim, however, is not only methodological: it aspires to inspire new ethical and political openings that attend to our inevitable complicity in taking part in these processes, and reveal new modes of resistance and refusal, of struggle and sociality. These interventions are not narrowly targeted at the old nemeses of critique – the state, the truth, the universal – but work from within both entrenched and emergent material sites and practices of dis/ordering: oceans, oil, coal, breath, debt, commons, frontier(s), waste, hope, wild, wild / vessels.

Photo: © Jelena Luise. Sound Fossil, 2022, sound blown glass, unique. © Dominique Koch & Tobias Koch. 

About the Organisers

The series is convened by Marie Petersmann and Dimitri Van Den Meerssche and co-organized by QMUL the Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences and the Centre for Law and Society in a Global Context and the LSE School of Law.

Call for Papers

The co-convenors invite abstracts of papers or projects that take the theme of underworlds onto new terrains and in different directions. 

The abstracts of no more than 500 words should be submitted by 12 January 2024. You will be notified of our decision by 26 January 2024.

Please send your abstracts to and

The authors of selected abstracts will be invited to a workshop / conference / gathering in London on 15-17 May 2024.

Please read the Call for Papers: Underworlds – Sites and Struggles of Global Dis/Ordering [PDF 213KB] for more information.

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