After extraction comes production and then consumption. This seminar studies how the material culture of extractive economies produced global subjects, or subjects across the globe, in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. As quantity production came to dominate cultural consciousness, political regimes allied with industrial growth came to power in the first half of the twentieth century with devastating consequences. A resurgence of similar regimes today—still focused on globally interconnected industrial activity at the expense of human life—has left us dangerously exposed and ill-equipped to care for one another. The seminar will focus, not on the differences between capitalism, socialism, and communism, but rather on what bound together capital and state power across ideological expanses at an earlier moment in time: extraction; production; and consumption. As economic processes denatured of their agents (human, animal, biological), these mandates of industrialization nonetheless entered the consciousness—the very DNA even—of modernity, obliterating ethnic and social diversity along the way. Two centuries later, what sort of people are we, and what have we made of our world(s)?
Class Instruction Mode: Online