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

The Culture and Politics of Volatility draws together materials on affect theory, classic social science, and digital media to understand the role of volatility in contemporary culture and society. The immediate backdrop is 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. We will trace this complicated history back to the early seventies when changes in the global economy provide the backdrop for the development of derivative finance, postmodernism, and the onset of neo-liberalism. These changes interact with the rise of the internet and digital media, which have their technical roots in the exploration of randomness and information. At the end of the course, we will look at cryptocurrencies as the intersection of several of these developments, including digital media, information theory, finance, and neoliberalism. Readings will be a mix of classical thinkers such as Mauss, Weber, Marx, and Benjamin and contemporary theorists such as Giles Deleuze, Brian Massumi, Lauren Berlant, Vilem Flusser, and Hito Steyerl.

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: 4:40am 11/21/2018

Meeting Info:

Days: Tuesday

Times: 4:00pm - 5:50pm

Building: TBD

Room: TBD

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