ANTH 8810: Anthropology of Capitalism will be taught by Professor Karen Ho this fall semester on Tuesdays from 12:00-2:30pm.
Capitalism seems to have triumphed so completely in the past four decades that the question of how to understand, resist, even undermine, "free markets" and capitalist enterprise is particularly crucial. In this graduate seminar, we will explore some of the diverse strategies that compose an anthropological approach to apprehending capitalism: one that centrally questions the dichotomy of society and culture vs. economy, and one that examines the cosmologies, practices, values, techniques, institutions, flows, and social effects of capitalism. This course is equal parts theory, ethnography, history, and methodology; namely, how multiple approaches and skills are crucial to the analyses of capitalism. We will interrogate key concepts in social scientific approaches to capitalism, from the state to neoliberalism, from finance to posindustrialism. We offer particular scholarly methodologies, case studies, and histories to study capitalism in such a way as to interrogate its contingent conditions of possibility, its embodied formations, and its disruptions and undoings. While a majority of the readings will focus on dominant capitalism in the United States (precisely because the histories, cultural practices, and ideologies of American capitalism have globalizing influence), we will also pay attention to world-making practices and ideologies from multiple global sites.