Frontiers of Accumulation

International Conference| 13-14 May 2019 | University of Copenhagen

Convened by:
Dr. Ravinder Kaur and Dr. Eli Cook
University of Copenhagen and Haifa University

Stock exchange illustrationFor decades, scholars studying global capitalism often chose “the market” as their central organizing principle and theoretical framework. In the past few years, however, a growing cadre of historians, sociologists, anthropologists and geographers have begun to shift their attention away from “the market” and back towards capital and the social processes through which it is accumulated. In this conference we would like to continue this conversation in an interdisciplinary and global setting. Rather than focus on exchange, we will take a closer look at investment. Rather than emphasize the circulation of money or trade, we will explore the formation of capital and the amassing of wealth. Rather than seek to unpack processes of commodification, we will try to better understand processes of capitalization and financialization in which various elements of life – be they slaves, nature, culture, nation-states or scientific developments - are transformed not only into exchangeable goods but income-generating assets. We hope to examine these issues through detailed empirically grounded studies with strong theoretical focus to examine the concrete and the abstract, the material and the ideological edifice of the global frontiers of accumulation. What is more, we are interested in revealing the contingent and contested nature of such processes of capitalization and investment, the role of the state in their development, and the various forms of resistance and unintended consequences that emerge in its wake. Finally, the conference will try and place a special emphasis on the spatial or territorial aspects of capital investment.

The conference is part of the Emerging Worlds research program funded by the Danish Council for Independent Research – Humanities. It is located at the University of Copenhagen.

The conference is organized jointly by the Centre of Global South Asian Studies, Dept. of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies and Asian Dynamics Initiative