South Seminar: Chris Krupa in conversation with Partha Chatterjee
Talk title: Fields of Dreams: Some More Secrets of Primitive Accumulation (in the South) Christopher Krupa (Toronto) in conversation with Partha Chatterjee (Columbia)
This talk builds on Marx’s claim that capitalist expansion unfolds upon a secret, with dissimulation confounding efforts to trace its origins, and mythical “nursery tales” substituting for brutal history. Through a study of highland Ecuador’s new cut-flower sector, built on the ashes of its centuries-old hacienda system, and the problem of accounting for its emergence, this talk returns to the ironies and nuances in Marx’s analysis of primitive accumulation to consider the ways we might pose ‘the arising of capital’ as an object of ethnographic inquiry today, particularly in the Global South. I follow two leads here: first, an exploration of the intersections between the reterritorialization of intensive commodity manufacture and the expansion of global finance; and, second, the forms of postcolonial knowledge informing neoliberal transition narratives and the plantation labor systems they endorse.