Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin: Public Lecture on "Slavery's Old and New Materialisms" by Seth Rockman

14.01.2020 | 18:00

Public Lecture

Seth Rockman

Slavery's Old and New Materialisms

Seth Rockman was born in Indiana and raised in San Francisco. He received a BA from Columbia University and completed his PhD at UC-Davis. After several years on the faculty of Occidental College in Los Angeles, Rockman joined the Brown History Department in 2004. His 2009 book Scraping By: Wage Labor, Slavery, and Survival in Early Baltimore won the OAH's Merle Curti Prize, the Philip Taft Labor History Book Award, and the H.L. Mitchell Prize from the Southern Historical Association. Rockman and Sven Beckert co-editedSlavery's Capitalism: A New History of American Economic Development (Penn Press, 2016). Rockman spent the 2016-17 year at re:work.Ever since W.E.B Du Bois conceptualized slaves' self-emancipation during the U.S. Civil War as a "General Strike," the language of labor history has informed scholarly understandings of slavery. While the analogy of the plantation to the factory has its obvious limitations, historians have understood slaves and slaveholders as engaged in recognizable struggles over the speed of work, the ownership of time and expertise, and the informal rights and privileges that governed the labor process. However, an older materialist history rooted in Marxist categories has not always succeeded in capturing the dynamics of racial dominance and human commodification at the heart of the American slave system. A "new history of capitalism" has offered one remedy, namely to embed slavery firmly within a capitalist mode of production whose investment in "free" labor was always more rhetorical than real. A different response may now be emerging through what scholars call "the new materialism"—an approach organized around human/non-human entanglements and drawing on recent theoretical work on things, networks, and assemblages. This lecture considers the implications of this "new materialism" for the history of slavery, and by extension, for the field of labor history more generally.

The lecture will be held in English on:

Tuesday, 14 January 2020, 6 p.m.

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

IGK Work and Human Lifecycle in Global History

Georgenstraße 23, 6th Floor, 10117 Berlin

It will be followed by a reception.Please RSVP at your earliest convenience to felicitas.hentschke@asa.hu-berlin.de

For additional information, please refer to https://rework.hu-berlin.de/news.html

Zeit & Ort

14.01.2020 | 18:00

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
IGK Work and Human Lifecycle in Global History Georgenstraße 23, 6th Floor, 10117 Berlin