Dr David L Martin

Staff details

PositionLecturer in Visual and International Politics
Email d.martin (@gold.ac.uk)
Phone+44 (0)20 7919 7742
Dr David L Martin

I am a committed interdisciplinary scholar with expertise in the fields of politics, art history, postcolonial theory, cultural geography, medical humanities and the history of religion. Far from distracted wanderings, these interdisciplinary concerns coalesce sharply around questions of politics and vision. In particular I am concerned with the embodied nature of vision in the formation of agency, how art, landscape and the body interact in subject formation, and how, through genealogies of vision, we can arrive at far-reaching critiques of the so-called rationality of Western modernity.

I am particularly interested in the notion of counter-mapping both as a metaphor for decolonizing knowledge formations, as well as literally in terms of new ways of conceiving and representing space which disrupt the normalizing effects of systems of power/knowledge. More than just an effort to put back what the map erases, I am interested in how counter-mapping can be an attempt to reconfigure the political through/against representation, and how this encounters and evolves through processes of the everyday.

Academic qualifications

B.A. (Hons) Politics and Fine Arts, University of Melbourne
Ph.D. (University of Melbourne)



Politics of Other Cultures (1st Year)

The Politics of Vision (2nd Year, Autumn Term)

An/Other IR: Views from the South (2nd Year, Spring Term)

MA in Art & Politics (Group Project)


Areas of supervision

I am keen to supervise in the following areas, and would particularly welcome students engaging with practical dimensions to their study:

  • Art and Politics: Visual politics/discourses of vision; history of vision and subject formation; the politics of representation/Orientalism; the violence of the visual
  • Spatial Politics: Politics of space and place; Counter-Mapping; spatial narrations, walking in the city and theories of the everyday
  • Critical International Studies: Post-colonising the discipline; the politics of rationality, violence, gods and spirits; critical Border Studies, the Aesthetic Turn as ‘practice’
  • Political and Postcolonial Theory: Theories of agency, subjectivity and resistance; training liberal subjects; radical feminist politics; critiques of rationality and Enlightenment; indigenous rationalities


Presentations and exhibitions

Manual Labour: making & making-do

27 August - 1 September 2013

Manual Labour sought to uncover the processes of making and making-do as practitioners demonstrated ways in which ‘labour’, ‘things’ and ‘skill’ come together in useful, creative, obsessive, practical, and just plain odd, curious and interesting ways. In doing so it attempted to highlight that very hard-to-define quality of ‘expertise’ - the attention to detail, the studied application, and the quiet proficiency of labour and thing conjoined – in an age when expertise has become professionalised, not democratised.

Website: http://manual-labour-london.blogspot.co.uk/



Keynote lectures

“Curious Visions: Enchantment and Enlightenment”, opening plenary address, Congress for Curious People, London: The Last Tuesday Society in collaboration with Observatory/Morbid Anatomy NY, September 2012.

"Conjuring the Modern: science, rationality and the practices of enchantment", Crafting Knowledge: Ritual, Art, Thought, Rockwell Symposium, Rice University, Huston Texas, April 2012.



“Turning Blind: the ‘aesthetic turn’ and the methodological promise of dialogue, or “What’s so wrong with mimesis anyway?”, Millennium Conference, London School of Economics, Oct 2010.

 “The Sacred Cut: toward a re-evaluation of the animate nature of early anatomical woodcuts”, The Body on Display Conference, Durham University, July 2010.




Curious Visions of Modernity: Enchantment, Magic, and the Sacred
Martin, David. 2011. Curious Visions of Modernity: Enchantment, Magic, and the Sacred. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ISBN 9780262016063

Book Section

"To prophesy post hoc": the curious afterlives of oddball archives
Martin, David L. 2016. "To prophesy post hoc": the curious afterlives of oddball archives. In: Jonathan P Eburne and Judith Roof, eds. The year's work in the oddball archive. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, pp. 391-408. ISBN 978-0-253-01835-9

"Performing pedagogy: memory and the aesthetic turn"
Martin, David. 2016. "Performing pedagogy: memory and the aesthetic turn". In: Phillip Darby, ed. From International Relations to Relations International: Postcolonial Essays. London: Routledge, pp. 115-127. ISBN 978-1-138-95849-4

“To Prophesize Post Hoc”
Martin, David. 2014. “To Prophesize Post Hoc”. In: Eburne and Roof, eds. Oddball Archives. University of Pennsylvania Press.


“Of Monuments and Masks: historiography in the time of curiosity’s ruin”
Martin, David. 2007. “Of Monuments and Masks: historiography in the time of curiosity’s ruin”. Postcolonial Studies, 10(3), pp. 311-320. ISSN 1368-8790

“A Monument to the Magic of Modernity”
Martin, David. 2007. “A Monument to the Magic of Modernity”. Left Curve, 31,


Political Passion Affective Communities in China and the West
Dutton, Michael; Martin, David and Driver, Adam. 2009. Political Passion Affective Communities in China and the West.