The Culture and Politics of Volatility

New School for Social Research: Liberal Studies

Liberal Arts

Graduate Course

Degree Students (with Restrictions)

Culture&Politics of Volatility

Spring 2019

Taught By: Benjamin Lee

Section: B

CRN: 6597

Credits: 3

Where does our current ""politics of volatility"" come from? Has it replaced ""risk society"" and neo-liberalism as the frameworks for understanding the dynamics of contemporary capitalism? The immediate backdrop are the black-swan events of 9/11 and the Great Recession of 2008, which continue to infuse contemporary politics with overtones of risk, uncertainty, and volatility that culminated in the last election with the contrasting images of Trump as the volatile but charismatic deal-maker and Clinton as the prudent risk-manager. These images draw upon a complicated history that we will trace back to the early seventies when changes in the global economy provide the backdrop for the development of derivative finance, the rise of postmodernism, and the onset of neo-liberalism. We will look at how cultural activities as different as postmodern dance, hip-hop, skateboarding, punk music and fashion, the Black-Scholes options pricing formula, and literary deconstructionism access, experiment, and play with volatility and how its social discovery provides the cultural background for neo-liberalism, the social changes of the Great Moderation, and the rise of Trump. Readings will include Marx and the Frankfurt School, especially Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno; affect theory, Lauren Berlant, Sianne Ngai, and Brian Massumi; some technical materials on derivative finance, including Elie Ayache and Emanuel Derman; philosophy, Bergson and Deleuze; and social theorists such as Randy Martin, David Harvey, and Moishe Postone.

College: New School for Social Research (GF)

Department: Liberal Studies (GLIB)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Max Enrollment: 15

Enrollment Status: Open*

*Enrollment status information is updated every five minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 10:10pm 9/22/2018

Meeting Info:

Days: Tuesday

Times: 4:00pm - 5:50pm

Building: TBD

Room: TBD

Date Range: 1/22/2019 - 5/7/2019