This is the lecture component of the second of a four-part seminar on Max Haiven's forthcoming book Revenge Capitalism: The Ghosts of Empire, the Demons of Capital, and the Settling of Unpayable Debts (maxhaiven.com/revengecapitalism), published by Pluto Press in May 2020. In it, Haiven offers an overview of the book as well as more detail on two chapters (one on debt, one on money) and two briefer, inter-chapter interludes (one on Merchant of Venice, one on Moby-Dick).
Today, the problem of anxiety among students on university campuses has reached epidemic proportion, gaining the attention and concern not only of university administrators and government officials but the general public as well. What is wrong with the kids these days? In this presentation, Dr. Max Haiven, Canada Research Chair in Culture, Media and Social Justice and co-director of the ReImagining Value Action Lab (RiVAL) explores the link between this "epidemic" and financialization: the transformation of society towards an increasingly anxiety-inducing, cut-throat competitive idiom.
Recorded in Thunder Bay (Canada) in October of 2019, Haiven outlines a new research agenda he is pursuing with Dr. Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou (University College London) to explore the hidden radical potential of the anxiety epidemic. Without discounting the terrible toll it is taking on millions of young people or the challenges it poses to universities and their staff, Haiven and Komporozos-Athanasiou propose that it may represent a rejection of financialized society and hold the seeds for a different vision of the future. They see the university as a crucial site of struggle.
Komporozos-Athanasiou and Haiven's writing on the subject can be found here: https://roarmag.org/essays/from-anxiety-to-revolt-against-the-financialized-university/
In this recording
- PART ONE: Introduction: Financialization and the anxiety epidemic (00:00 - 12:30)
- PART TWO: Three individualizing explanations for a crisis of individualism (12:30 - 23:40)
- PART THREE: Our era of financialization (23:40 - 40:19)
- PART FOUR: The anxious university and the university of anxiety (40:19 - 54:03)
- EPILOGUE: What comes next? (54:03-59:27)
Some of the charts and visuals referred to in the talk:
- Animation of 0.2 seconds of high-frequency stock trading: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_k_elbBz8c
- Comparison between global GDP and financial trades:
- Cartoon illustrating the revolving door between finance and government:
- Workers mocking McDonald's "Financial literacy" campaign: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kltKmJhUgLY
"Tracing Imperial Legacies: Interventions" with the Traces of Nitrate project and the Museum of British Colonialism.
On April 5-6, 2019 RiVAL was among the hosts of a two-day symposium at the University of Sussex on the topic of "Finance Capital and the Ghosts of Empire" which brought together artists, activists and academics. For more information, visit: http://rival.lakeheadu.ca/ghostsofempire/
This second panel brought together two important projects that aim to trace the material, cultural and financial legacies of empire.
The Museum of British Colonialism is a UK / Kenyan collective encouraging a more truthful account of Britain’s colonial past through a wide variety of media interventions. Their first exhibition has focused on Mau-Mau detention centres. museumofbritishcolonialism.org.
Traces of Nitrate: Mining History and Photography Between Britain and Chile explores the histories and legacies of British investment in Chilean nitrate mines and involvement in its global trafficking. Through an examination of sites, artifacts and images, the project traces nitrate’s route from natural mineral state processed in the oficinas of the Atacama desert through transported commodity and stock market exchange value to become, ultimately, part of the material and symbolic inheritances of London mansions and of estates in the capital’s surrounding countryside. It undertakes new photographic documentation of geographically disparate but historically connected landscapes, remote nitrate fields and metropolitan financial districts, accompanied by an analysis of nitrate’s material and visual culture. tracesofnitrate.org