Professor John Hutnyk will make a case on Marx writing on India, examining his theoretical and journalistic work together, each informed by an emergent anthropology, by historical hermeneutics, by a critique of political economy and by attention to a political contest that mattered more than philosophy. Marx reading history, already against the grain and without being able to make actual alliances, is nevertheless seeking allies in a revolutionary cause. Is it possible to observe Marx coming round to realise, after the shaping experience of the 1848-1852 European uprisings, the possibilities for the many different workers of the world to unite?
In this discussion, Professor John Hutnyk considers the sources Marx finds available, what he reads, and how his writing practice parses critical support as habitual politics, and how far subcontinental events, themes and allegories are a presence in the key moves of his masterwork Capital almost as if India were a refocussed bromide for Europe, just as slavery is for wages.
He will take up four cases:
•the ‘founding’ of Calcutta by Job Charnock (disputed)
•the story of Clive sacking Chandernagor and going on to defeat Suraj-ud-duala at Palashi/Plassey in 1757 in retaliation for the ‘Black Hole’ (did it exist?)
•Disraeli verbosely saying nothing about the so-called Indian ‘mutiny’ 1857 (‘the East as a career’)
•the question of legalizing Opium in China and the advent of Matheson-Jardine Company after the East India Company comes to an end (‘quid pro quo’).
A coda returns us to London and the redevelopment of the old EIC shipyards in Deptford, returning Capital to the capital.
John Hutnyk is Professor of Cultural Studies and Academic Director of the Centre for Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths College University of London. Author of books including The Rumour of Calcutta (Zed 1996), Critique of Exotica (Pluto 2000) and Bad Marxism: Capitalism and Cultural Studies (Pluto 2004) among others, his latest book is the edited volume Beyond Borders (Pavement 2012) and his next book is called Pantomime Terror: Music and Politics (forthcoming January 2014 with Zero books). He blogs at Trinketization – http://hutnyk.wordpress.com.
Friday, 13 December 2013 | 2.00pm
Linkway Meeting Room
John Medley Building
The University of Melbourne
PARKVILLE VIC 3010
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