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October 24, 2005

'States of War' symposium set for October 29

By Scott Rappaport

The UCSC Center for Cultural Studies will present "States of War: A Symposium on the Geopolitical Logic of Contemporary Capitalism" on Saturday, October 29, from 1 to 5:30 p.m. at Oakes College, Room 105. Admission is free and open to the public.

Participants in the event will include:

 • Iain Boal, T. J. Clark, Joseph Matthews, and Michael Watts--four members of the Bay Area political collective RETORT and authors of the book Afflicted Powers: Capital and Spectacle in a New Age of War (Verso, 2005)

• Gopal Balakrishnan, New Left Review editor and a Rockefeller Fellow at UCSC's Center for Cultural Studies

• Robert Brenner, UCLA historian, political economist, and frequent contributor to New Left Review and Against the Current

• Jennifer Whitney, activist/organizer and an editor of the book We are Everywhere: The Irresistible Rise of Global Anticapitalism (Verso, 2003)

UCSC associate professor of literature Christopher Connery described the focus of the symposium. "In the 1990s, there was an idea on the left, and elsewhere, that the era of nation states was passing into the era of global capitalism--that the common interests of global capitalism had now trumped national interests," he said. "But after September 11, the unilateral efforts by the United States to shape the world according to its particular self-interest have suggested that this globalist judgment was premature. So we have invited the authors of Afflicted Powers to talk about what is happening now in the world, how to characterize it, and what an analysis of the current era suggests about the future of globalization and capitalism.”

"A number of people have found in Afflicted Powers an original and useful account of the post-9/11 world, and of U.S. policy motivations," Connery added. "It is also a book that calls for new modes of resistance. This is an event that wants to engage that book seriously, to see what a discussion and critique produces."

The symposium is the first of three quarterly events in 2005-06 that are part of the Center for Cultural Studies' three-year "Other Globalizations" project, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. It includes the participation of Rockefeller Fellow Gopal Balakrishnan, a visiting scholar in the humanities at UCSC this year. Balakrishnan's project for his Rockefeller Fellowship, "Future Wars," examines the role that military power will play in shaping the international law and world market conventions of the 21st century.

The Center for Cultural Studies at UCSC was founded in 1988 as a part of the University of California President's Humanities Initiative. It is now in its 18th year. Through an ensemble of research clusters, conferences, workshops, visiting scholars, publications, film series, and a Resident Scholars Program, the center has encouraged a broad range of research in the rapidly evolving field of cultural studies.


Copies of Afflicted Powersare available at a discount at the Literary Guillotine, 204 Locust St., Santa Cruz, (831) 457-1195. Audience members are encouraged to read the book before the symposium. For more information, contact the UCSC Center for Cultural Studies at (831) 459-4899 or


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