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Tithi Bhattacharya (Purdue University)
While capitalism strives to lower the value of labor power in order to increase surplus value, what this means concretely for the working class is what we might call the manufacture of abjection. This mechanism goes beyond the economic act of lowering wages. Indeed, wages are mostly effectively lowered when capital can successfully lower the parameters of social reproduction of life and labor power. Social oppressions such as race, gender and caste are some of the key drivers of differential social reproduction of sections of the working class, while prisons and borders encode their operational logic. In this paper I explore how national borders generate a specific model of lifemaking allied to a specific production of bounded space within which such lifemaking is sought to be contained.
About the speaker
Tithi Bhattacharya is a professor of South Asian History and the Director of Global Studies at Purdue University. She is the author of The Sentinels of Culture: Class, Education, and the Colonial Intellectual in Bengal (Oxford University Press, 2005) and the editor of the now classic study, Social Reproduction Theory: Remapping Class, Recentering Oppression (Pluto Press, 2017). Her recent coauthored book includes the popular Feminism for the 99%: A Manifesto (Verso, 2019) which has been translated in over 25 languages. She writes extensively on Marxist theory, gender, and the politics of Islamophobia. Her work has been published in the Journal of Asian Studies, South Asia Research, Electronic Intifada, Jacobin, Salon.com, The Nation, and the New Left Review. She is on the editorial board of Studies on Asia and Spectre.
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