October 2010 – May 2011

This research seminar, hosted by CAPPE  is aimed at PhD students and staff interested in contemporary politics, philosophy and critical theory. Every year we focus on a different theorist or topic. For the 2010/11 academic year we read theorists who have attempted to interpret the most recent crisis of capitalism. Each session will have a lecture of one hour followed by a seminar discussion, with a half hour break. The aim of the course is to stimulate discussion between PhD students, and staff across the institution. We will also explore the possibility of completing research bids for further work in this area. The readings listed in the course outline are indicative, but each week there is at least one reading that everyone participating on the course should read. This course does not require that you have economic knowledge at all. Those attending will have to grapple with some of the complexities of finance, but sessions are intended to open up discussion between colleagues who have done some preparation.

Course outline

Topic 1: Introduction to the Financial Crisis

Session 1: What Happened: A Brief Introduction to the Financial Crisis

Wednesday 17th of November 2010

Lanchester, John (2010) Whoops, London: Allen Lane.

Gamble, Andrew (2009) ‘From Boom to Bust’ in The Spectre at the Feast, London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp.13-36.

Stiglitz. Joseph (2009) Freefall: Free Markets and the Sinking of the Global Economy, London: Penguin, pp. 1-57.

Session 2: Neo-liberalism and the Financial Crisis: Competing Approaches
Wednesday the 24th of November 2010

Friedman, Jeffrey (2010) ‘A Crisis of Politics, not Economics: Complexity, Ignorance and Policy Failure’ published in Critical Review, 21 volume 2, pp. 127-183.

Harvey, David (2010) The Enigma of Capital, London: Profile Books, pp. 1-39. Harman, Chris (2009) Zombie Capitalism, London: Bookmark, pp. 277-304.

Lucarelli, Stefano (2010) ‘Financialisation as Biopower’ in Crisis in the Global Economy, Los Angeles: Semiotextes, pp. 119-139.

Protevi, John (2009) ‘What does Foucault think is new about Neo- Liberalism?’ in Pli: Warwick Journal of Philosophy, vol.21 or at website http://www.protevi.com/john/Foucault_28June2009.pdf.

Brown, Wendy (2003) ‘Neo-liberalism and the End of Liberal Democracy’ in Theory and Event, volume 7, Issue 1.

Topic 2: ‘Accounting for Life’ in Capitalist Society

Session 3: The Financialisation of Everyday Life Wednesday 7th of December 2010

Martin, Randy (2007) American War and the Financial Logic of Risk Management, London: Duke University Press.

Li Puma, Edward (2004) Financial Derivatives and the Globalisation of Risk, London: Duke University Press, pp.141-189.

Salecl, Renata (2010) Choice, London: Profile Books, pp. 115-135.

Graham, Cameron and Neu, Dean (2003) ‘Accounting for Globalisation’ in Accounting Forum, volume 27, No 4, pp. 450-471.

Reid, Julian ‘Logistical Life’ in The Biopolitics of the War on Terror’ Manchester University Press, pp. 17-39.

Session 4: The Body as Capital: Bio-economies of Property Wednesday 12th of January 2011

Cooper, Melinda (2008) Life as Surplus: Biotechnologies and Capitalism in the Neoliberal Era, United States: University of Washington Press, pp. 3-50.

Dickenson, Donna (2007) Property in the Body: Feminist Perspectives, Cambridge University Press, pp. 108-120.

Koepsell, David (2009) ‘So Who Owns You? Some Conclusions about Genes, Property, and Personhood’ in Who Owns You?, Chichester: Wiley Blackwell, pp. 155-171.

Boyle, James, (2002) “Fencing off Ideas: Enclosure & the Disappearance of the Public Domain”, Daedalus, 131(2): 13-25.

Vatter, Miguel, (2009) ‘Biopolitics: From Surplus Value to Surplus Life’ in Theory and Event, volume 12, no 2.

Session 5: The Body as Capital: The Politics of Life Itself Wednesday 26th of January

Rajan, Kaushik Sunder (2006) Biocapital: The Constitution of Post-Genomic Life, London: Duke University Press, pp. 138-181.

Waldby and Mitchell, (2006) Tissue Economies: Blood Organs and Cell Lines in Late Capitalism, London: Duke University Press, pp. 131-159.

Rose, Nikolas (2007) ‘Biopolitics in the Twenty-First Century’ in The Politics of Life Itself, pp. 1-40)
Barkan, Joshua (2009) ‘Use beyond Value: Giorgio Agamben and a Critique of Capitalism’ in Rethinking Marxism, volume 21, issue 2, pp. 243-259.

Neilson, Brett (2004) ‘Potenza Nuda? Sovereignty, Biopolitics, Capitalism’ in Contretemps, volume 5, December 2oo4, pp. 63- 78 at web address: http://www.usyd.edu.au/contretemps/5december2004/neilson.pdf

Sarah Blacker, ‘Corporeal Capital: Theorizing the Division of Body Parts under Global Capitalism’ at website: http://www.politicsandculture.org/2009/10/02/sarah-blacker- corporeal-capital-theorizing-the-division-of-body-parts-under- global-capitalism/

Marx, Capital Volume 1 Chapter 16/17 and 23/24. pp 711-761.

Topic 3: The Global Geography(ies) of Capitalism

Session 6: Outsourcing after Colonialism: Assessing the New Imperialism Thesis
Wednesday the 9th of February 2011

Harman, Chris (2009) ‘Global Capital in the New Age’ in Zombie Capitalism, pp. 255-277.

Harvey, David (2003) The New Imperialism, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Ashman, Sam and Alex Callinicos. 2006. “Capital Accumulation and the State System: Assessing David Harvey’s The New Imperialism” in Historical Materialism, 14 (4): 107-131.

Brenner, Robert 2006, “What Is, and What Is Not, Imperialism?” Historical Materialism, 14 (4): 79–105.

Stokes, Doug (2005) ‘The Heart of Empire: Theorising US Empire in an era of Transnational Capitalism’ in Third World Quarterly, vol.26, no. 2, pp.217-236 at website: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/964/1/yp99bj5nkhqn01la.pdf.

Marx, Capital Volume 1 Chapter 25 pp 762-870

Session 7: Capitalism and Warfare: Iraq, Afghanistan, Private Contractors and the War on Terror
Wednesday 23rd of February 2011

Kiersey, Nicholas (2010) ‘Scale, Security and Political Economy:Debating the Biopolitics of the Global War on Terror’ in New Political Science, Volume 31, no.1, pp. 27-47.
Klein, Naomi (2007) ‘Part 6 and Part 7’ in The Shock Doctrine, London: Allen Lane, pp. 323-423.

Singer, P.W. (2008) ‘Part 1: The Rise’ in Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatised Military Industry, Cornell University Press, pp. 3-73.

Session 8: Post-Colonialism and Capitalism Wednesday 9th of March 2011

Mbembe, A. (2001) On the Postcolony, Berkeley, University of California Press.

Mbembe, A. (2003) ‘ Necropolitics ‘ in Public Culture 15(1), pp. 11-40. Montag, W. (2005) ‘Necro-Economics’ in Radical Philosophy 134, pp. 7-17.

Renton et al (2007) ‘Speculators and Thieves’ in The Congo: Plunder and Resistance, London: Zed Books, pp. 172-206.

International Peace Information Service (IPIS). (2002) Supporting the War Economy in the DRC: European companies and the Coltan trade, Brussels. (available online)

Session 9: Land Grab and Primitive Accumulation Wednesday 23rd of March 2011

Andreasson, Stefan, 2006 “Stand and Deliver: Private Property and the Politics of Global Dispossession” in Political Studies, 54 (1): 3–22 Basu, Pranab K, 2007 “Political Economy of Land Grab” Economic and Political Weekly, 42 (14): 1281–87.

Li, Tania Murray (2009) ‘To Make Live or Let Die?’ in Antipode, volume 31, no. 1, pp.66-93.
Sassen, Saskia (2010) ‘A Savage Sorting of Winners and Losers: Contemporary Versions of Primitive Accumulation’ in Globalizations, 7: 1, pp.23-50.

Topic 4: Resistance to Capitalism

Session 10: Waiting for the Revolution? Exploring the Limits of Marxist Accounts of Political Change Wednesday 27th of April 2011

Fisher, Mark (2009) Capitalist Realism, London: Zero Books.

Laclau and Mouffe, (1985) chapter 2 of Hegemony and Socialist Strategy, London, Verso.
Dean, Jodi (2009) ‘Free Trade’ in Democracy and other Neoliberal Fantasies, London: Duke University Press, pp. 49-75.

Harvey, David (2010) ‘What is to be Done? And who is going to do it?’ The Enigma of Capital, London: Profile Books, pp. 215-260.

Gibson-Graham, J.K and David Ruccio 2001. “After” Development: Re- imagining Economy and Class” In Re/Presenting Class: Essays in Postmodern Marxism, ed. J.K.Gibson-Graham, Stephen

A. Resnick and Richard D. Wolff, 158-181. Durham: Duke University Press.

Session 11: The Politics of the Event: Zizek and Badiou on politics Wednesday 4th of May 2011

Zizek, Slavoj (2008) part III ‘What is to be Done?’ in In Defence of Lost Causes, London: Verso, pp. 337-463.

Badiou, Alain (2007) ‘Politics as Truth Procedure’ in Metapolitics, London: Verso, pp. 141-153.

Badiou, Alain (2007) Conditions, London: Verso.

Session 12: Hardt and Negri on the Multitude Wednesday 11th of May 2011

Reid, Julian ‘Biopolitical Life: the ‘war against war’ of the Multitude’ in The Biopolitics of the War on Terror’ Manchester University Press, pp. 102-144. Hardt, Michael (1999) ‘Affective Labour’ in Boundary 2, volume 26, no. 2, pp.89-100.

Hardt and Negri (2009) part 5 and part 6 in Commonwealth, Cambridge, Massuchussets: Harvard University Press, pp.263-387.

Session 13: Aesthetics of Resistance or Art for Capital? Wednesday 8th of June 2011

Bishop, Claire (2004) ‘Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics’ in October. Volume 1o, pp. 51-79.
Böhm, S. and C. Land (2009) ‘No measure for culture: value in the new economy’ in Capital & Class, vol. 97: pp. 75-98

Scott, Felicity (2002) ‘On Architecture under Capitalism’ in Grey Room, no. 6, pp.44-65.
Boltanski and Ciapello (2005) ‘The Test of the Artistic Critique’ from The New Spirit of Capitalism, London: Verso, pp. 419-483.

Ranciere, Jacques (2004) The Politics of Aesthetics, London: Continuum.

Graduate Conference: Critical Theorists on Capitalism and the Financial Crisis

This one day conference emerges from a year long research seminar series entitled Critical Theorists on Capitalism and the Financial Crisis hosted by the Centre for Applied Philosophy, Politics and Ethics (CAPPE) and the Faculty of Arts at the University of Brighton.Drawing on critical theoretical resources past and present, CAPPE’s seminar series is designed to articulate the economic, political, cultural and ideological makeup and implications of contemporary capitalism in crisis. The series asks:

  • What does the financial crisis tell us about the nature of contemporary capitalism?
  • How adequate or inadequate are existing theoretical tools that can be brought to bear on understanding the crisis?
  • How should we conceptualise the power relations and structural forces that delineate the experience and possibilities of life under contemporary capitalism?
  • What is the significance of this moment of change and transformation?
  • How might these analyses contribute to answering the question of ‘what is to be done’?

The conference marks both the culmination of the seminar series and the initiation of a broader research project that aims at a critical appraisal of the changing nature of capitalism against the backdrop of today’s crisis. The transformative character of the current historical moment gives rise to an urgent need to radically re-examine and recast our theoretical and political understandings of contemporary life under late capitalism. By bringing together an interdisciplinary panel of world-class writers and a critically engaged academic community we hope that the conference will encourage and facilitate such crucial reappraisals and in so doing make a modest contribution to a sharper account of the financial crisis and its implications.

The conference is structured around three workshops which will consist of a lecture by a key speaker followed by debate and discussion.The objective is to provide an interactive and interdisciplinary forum where diverse but complementary perspectives can be brought together in order to stimulate critical dialogue. We aim to create a lively environment that welcomes robust challenges to all preconceptions.

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