Dr Simon Reid-Henry
Reader in Geography
School of Geography
Queen Mary, University of London
Mile End Road, London E1 4NS
Phone: 020 7882 3153
Fax: 020 7882 7479
Regional cultural economy and the nature of innovation; the relationship between science and politics; socialist and post-socialist development; international history and the Cold War; political theory and the post 9/11 world; the securitisation of development; geographies of justice and care; the role of geography in the public sphere.
Much of my research over the last five years developed out of my doctorate on the historical geography of Cuban biotechnology (2005). Based upon field research in Cuba, the United States and the United Kingdom, my thesis examined the relationship between science and politics and explored the idea of science as both a practical and political rationality. I have since written about Cuban economy, culture and politics in the post-revolutionary period more broadly.
This work has resulted in a series of articles and two monographs. The Cuban Cure: Reason and Resistance in Global Science (2010) develops my thesis to examine how cultures of science and innovation develop in different settings. Through the unique perspective that socialist Cuba offers on the global pharmaceutical industry, the book questions conventional assumptions about how we ‘do’ modern forms of science like biotechnology and in what ways they may be said to be geographically constituted.
Fidel and Che: A Revolutionary Friendship (2009) was a more popular biographical account of the making of the revolution itself. Through the lives of these two contrastive figures, and based on research conducted in Latin America, the United States, Russia and Eastern Europe, the book tries to show how the global politics of the Cold War intersected with the nationalist struggles of small nations such as Cuba, Vietnam and Algeria.
More recently, through both my teaching and research, I have tried to take some of the underlying themes from this earlier research in new directions, within the context of a progressive and broad set of geographical interests.
I remain interested in the geography of power and knowledge, and have explored that more recently by looking at Guantanamo Bay, for example, as a window on to the war on terror more broadly. The historical geography of Guantanamo helps explain how that place played its role as a constitutive component of the war on terror. I am also interested here in the emergence of alternative (what some call ‘non-violent’) forms of global politics, such as philanthropy and humanitarianism, which I am exploring in part with colleagues involved in the Humanitarianism in the 21st Century project at PRIO in Norway.
Second, I am interested in how human lives are valued (and devalued) in different settings: be it because of a lack of access to basic medicines such as anti-retroviral drugs, or through more basic inequalities in geographical rights to life. This work has in part been undertaken with Professor Gerry Kearns (University of Cambridge/SPIA) through the Vital Geographies project, which began as an international ESRC-funded project to bring together a number of global health scholars and practitioners working on different dimensions of the way in which human rights and capacities can be constrained but which I am also exploring through work on political economy more broadly.
Over the last two years I have brought some of these interests together under the umbrella of Queen Mary’s new critical Centre for the Study of Global Security and Development. This is an inter-school collaboration between the School of Geography, the School of Politics and the School of Business Management, which serves as a home for inter-disciplinary research into different aspects of the current security debate. The centre concerns itself with how security politics intersect with development concerns and how they may impact upon different social vulnerabilities, as well as with contributing to a more critical take on a range of ‘human’ and ‘hard’ security issues, from food security to financial security to biosecurity.
These are connections I am currently working on both at Queen Mary, and at the Peace Research Institute, Oslo, where I held a Norwegian Research Council Funded position in early 2010 and where I am currently based part of the time. I am also an associate fellow of the Centre for the Study of Biomedicine and Society at Kings College, London, a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a member of the Spaces of Democracy research network and on the editorial board of Radical Politics Today. I write regularly for the media across the range of these scholarly concerns in the belief that scholarship should be, as Michel Foucault said, both critical and effective.
The Cuban Cure: Reason and Resistance in Global Science, (2010) Chicago: Chicago University Press
Fidel and Che: A Revolutionary Friendship, (2009) London: Hodder & Stoughton
“Immunity to TRIPS? The Cuban biotech sector and vaccine industry in a context of globalization,” in The New Political Economy of Pharmaceuticals in the Global South, (2011) Owain Williams and Hans Lofgren (eds.) (co-authored with Jens Plahte).
“Geographies of Bare Life”, (forthcoming) Geography Compass
“Spaces of Security and Development: Towards a new mapping of the security-development nexus,” Security Dialogue (2011), DOI: 10.1177/0967010610393552
“The Territorial Trap: Fifteen Years On” (2011) Geopolitics, Introduction to special issue, Vol 15(4): pp.752-756
“Vital Geographies: Life, Luck and the Human Condition” (2009), Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol 99 (3): pp.554-574. (co-written with Gerry Kearns)
“Scientific Innovation and Non-Western Regional Economies,” (2008) Environment and Planning A, 40(8) pp.1966 – 1986
“Activism and the Academy: an interview with Daniel Defert,” (2007) Antipode Volume 39, Issue 2, pp. 240-246
“Exceptional Sovereignty? Guantanamo Bay and the Re-colonial present” (2007) Antipode Volume 39, Issue 4, pp. 627-648
“The Contested Spaces of Cuban Development: postsocialism, postcolonialism and development”, (2007) Geoforum special issue, ‘The end of Socialism?…Ten Years On’, Herschel, T. (ed.), Geoforum Volume 38, Issue 3, May 2007, pp. 445-455
Humanitarianism in the Twenty-First Century (Advisor). This is a novel, international and interdisciplinary research agenda at the intersection of peace and security studies, international politics, and social and cultural theory. Funding: PRIO.
Centre for the Study of Global Security and Development (Founding Director). An interdiscplinary research centre for research at the interface of questions of security and developing in a globalizing world. Funding: QMUL.
Vital Geographies Project (Co-director). An interdisciplinary project co-directed with Professor Gerry Kearns, SPIA, Virginia Tech University, examining life as both limit and capacity. Funding: ESRC.
Op Eds and Features
How Big is It Really? New Statesman, September 2010
The Assault on the Humanities, New Statesman, April 2010
Bold Brasilia at 50, The Guardian, April 2010
Obama stops thinking positive, New Statesman, January 2010
The Last Revolutionary, New Statesman, October 2009
Living On: 5 years after Derrida, New Statesman, October 2009
To Brush Aside Torture is to Condone it, Independent on Sunday, May 2009
The Age of Expeditions is Over, The Guardian, May 15, 2009
Active Courses 2010–11
GEG6116: The Geopolitics of Life: War, Security and Economy