Money, Value, and the Production of Human Nature

Authors: Neil Agarwal*, University of California, Davis
Topics: Historical Geography, Geographic Thought
Keywords: racial capitalism, early modern
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 2:40 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Galerie 5, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper considers the circulation of local paper currencies in eighteenth-century South Carolina alongside provincial exchange practices that were peripheral to the circuits of capital accumulation in the Atlantic economy. I demonstrate how attention to these practices counters dominant conceptions of indigenous social formations as static, premodern, or closed, to reveal traditions that are inventive, adaptive and vital---forged out of what Katherine McKittrick calls the "difficult interrelatedness" of a "collective history of encounter" (McKittrick 2011). In this setting, creole elites took to the money form to represent skill, industry, and enterprise in a medium that could facilitate the expropriation of indigenous knowledge systems while denying their motive force as so much ignorance of the unskilled, unwaged, and underemployed.

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