s1323 - Bodies under Capitalism

Thursday, June 1, 2017: 4:00 PM-5:30 PM
SC Theater (Hofstra University)
Marjorie Levine-Clark, University of Colorado Denver
The Value of Enslaved Bodies
Daina Ramey Berry, University of Texas at Austin
Dis/abled Bodies: Capitalism, Gender, and the Meaning of "Work"
Sarah F. Rose, University of Texas at Arlington
Embodying Unemployment: Working-Class Men in 20th-Century Britain
Marjorie Levine-Clark, University of Colorado Denver
Colonial Bodies: The Politics of Welfare and Work in Puerto Rico
Emma Amador, Brown University / Goucher College
Making the Women Worker: Global Labor Standards and the Politics of the Body
Eileen Boris, University of California, Santa Barbara
Sex after NAFTA: Crossing Borders and the Economy of Intimacy
Jennifer Tyburczy, University of California, Santa Barbara
Margot Canaday, Princeton University

Session Abstract

According to Marx, capitalism is fundamentally hostile to workers’ bodies, as the labor required by capitalist means of production alienates workers from their bodies/selves. This lightning session will open up “difficult conversations” concerning the implications of thinking about embodied practices as foundational to capitalism and workers’ experiences of capitalism as embodied phenomena.  The panelists’ contributions go beyond Marx’s focus on the worker’s productive body and address the changing nature of embodied capitalism over time.  The session’s participants bring to the panel diverse chronologies and geographies as the settings for their research, a spectrum of feminist and disciplinary generations that inform their methodologies, and a variety of lenses through which they explore the session theme. The panel’s wide range covers female slaves’ strategies to survive the reduction of their selves to their bodies; the ways disabled bodies have been categorized in terms of work; the new forms of gendered embodiment created by industrial rationalization in post-World War I Germany; how 20th-century working-class British men experienced unemployment through their bodies; the ways struggles over welfare in Puerto Rico largely revolved around the bodies of the working class as they became “clients” of the colonial state; the centrality of the body to the International Labor Organization’s making of the woman worker in the 20th and 21st centuries; and the impact of NAFTA on constructions of intimacy in the United States and Mexico. As a whole, the panel highlights the usefulness of the body as a category for intersectional analysis.

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See more of: Lightning Session