This paper analyzes Althusser’s proposal for an aleatory materialism through his engagement with historical materialism, and particularly with Marx on “primitive accumulation.” It identifies two different legacies of Marx’s reflections on the origins of capitalism and discusses how Althusser attempted to rework Marx to reach a non-teleological conception of history. At the same time, taking both thinkers to task on their approach to colonialism, and especially settler colonialism, the paper moves toward decolonizing the aleatory materialist imaginary.
Banu Bargu is associate professor of History of Consciousness at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is a political theorist, with a focus on modern and contemporary political thought and critical theory. Bargu is the author of Starve and Immolate: The Politics of Human Weapons (Columbia UP, 2014), which received APSA’s First Book Prize given by the Foundations of Political Theory section and was named an Outstanding Academic Title by Choice. She is the editor of Turkey’s Necropolitical Laboratory: Democracy, Violence, and Resistance (Edinburgh UP, forthcoming in 2019) and co-editor of Feminism, Capitalism, and Critique (Palgrave, 2017). Her next book, Friends of the Earth: Althusser and the Critique of Teleological Reason, is forthcoming from Columbia University Press in 2020.
May 8, 2019 | 12:00 PM
Free and open to the public
Humanities Building 1, Room 210
University of California, Santa Cruz