Current Book Projects:
Claiming Value, Claiming Values: Negotiating Priority in a More-Than Material World
This book explores claims to, of, and about value, the history of commercial activities from which they draw, and the imaginations of citizenship they underpin. I identify and mobilize a tension in value discourses between material and aspirational life, arguing that erasing this tension can entrench existing configurations of power and privilege, and that acknowledging the tension is a vital part of democratic practice. I use genealogical, conceptual-historical, and interpretive approaches, drawing from such diverse sources as Aristotle, Anna Julia Cooper, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Michael Warner, and Jacques Rancière, to argue that the abstractions of value discourse in both economic theory and moral philosophy have been complicit in devaluing female, queer, and black life. I look at this history of value discourse as a means of contextualizing some of the ways that the language of value is used today to naturalize market processes and infuse them with particular moral meanings. I show, for instance, how value discourse can make “economic anxiety” appear to be a different problem from racial animosity. However, I further argue that value claims nonetheless hold democratic potential as a means of asserting and defining priorities—ones that center the role of political economy in citizenship.
Drowning in Desire: Political-Economic Insights on Toxic Masculinity
In a second book project, I have begun to further investigate the role of ideas about race, sex, and gender in theories of markets and exchange. The fall of Harvey Weinstein, the #MeToo movement, and the national prominence of figures like Donald Trump and Jordan Peterson have provoked renewed attention to aspects or enactments of masculinity viewed as “toxic.” In this book I analyze the relationship between political economy and certain cultures of masculinity associated with boundary transgression, and often described as “toxic.” I trace the figure of the autonomous male in political economic discourse to explore the tensions at work in denials of material interdependence as they appear even in texts that argue for market expansion. My concern is to provide a more nuanced political theoretical account of these cultures by elaborating the relevant toxicity and the presumptions about economic systems that underpin it.
Peer Reviewed Publications:
“An Uncounted Army: Forging Consensus in a Fractured Age.” Counterpunch 23, no. 6 (November 2016).