The Political Theory Colloquium is proud to present Professor A. Kiarina Kordela of the Department of German Studies at Macalaster College at 1:30pm on December 16 in Social Sciences 1314. Professor Kordela will present her paper "Crisis and (Im)Mortality" as part of the continuing series "Capital and Crisis".
In this paper I attempt to reconceptualize bios (life and the body) and theories of biopolitics by reading Marx's analysis of political economy as a basis for an ontological theory and a theory of temporality, and by drawing on Spinozian monism and Lacanian psychoanalytic theory. My conclusion regarding biopolitics is that its object is the administration not of the biological body but of the relation of humans in secular capitalist modernity to the metaphysics that are operative in this historical era, and especially potentiality and infinity, as categories that enable the secular (illusions of the) immortality of the body. On the basis of this new theory of biopolitics, I then engage in dialogue with Richard Dienst's recent book The Bonds of Debt (2011), to examine the biopolitical function of both surplus-value and debt (the two modes of capital in periods of prosperity and economic crisis, respectively), as an attempt to reconfigure the possibilities of a Left politics in the era of global capital.