Economy, Technology, and the Anthropocene
65 4th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217
“Goldman Sachs doesn’t care if you raise chickens,” Jodi Dean once quipped. One could add: the earth doesn’t care either. Are we at the beginning of a “post-capitalist” age of abundance and automation, beyond romantic notions of resistance or escape, in which long-delayed dreams of human emancipation are finally possible? Or is this really the final, irreversible collapse, as human life as we know it becomes an increasingly untenable proposition? Are these two ideas indeed diametrically opposed?
This class considers two recent theoretical trends that address these questions. First, we will survey some “accelerationist” and “post-capitalist” writings about economics, technology, and society. Might contemporary transformations in technology and engagements with new social and infrastructural forms unravel some of the most vexing questions of social, economic, and political practice? Second, we will examine recent writing on the “Anthropocene.” This term, originally coined by chemist Paul Crutzen and biologist Eugene Stoermer to denote the contemporary geologic age as one in which the dominant mode of global ecological transformation is human-made, has been taken up and transformed in a vast array of scientific, social scientific, philosophical, and interdisciplinary work. How can we attend to these distinct but interrelated sets of ideas, while thinking through new forms of economic organization, technological transformation, and climate-driven mass migration, catastrophe, and resource conflict? In this class, we will explore these new literatures, in conversation with some of the “old,” “historical,” and “new” materialisms they rely on. Readings will include selections from Andreas Malm’s Fossil Capital, Nick Srinicek’s and Alex William’s Inventing the Future, McKenzie Wark’s Molecular Red, Jason W. Moore’s Capitalism in the Web of Life, Kathi Week’s The Problem With Work, Tim Mitchell’s Carbon Democracy, as well as brief foundational excerpts from Epicurus, Baruch Spinoza, Karl Marx, Donna Haraway, Shulamith Firestone, and others.
Course ScheduleThursday, 6:30-9:30pm
January 25 — February 15, 2018
Please email us to be placed on the waiting list.
- New York/General
- New Jersey
- Brooklyn Institute for Social Research
247 W 37th St, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10018
Visit by appointment only