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Animals at Work Under Capitalism
Wed, April 19, 2023 @ 12:00 PM - 1:30 PMFree – $90
A discussion and reading group, moderated by Terike Haapoja, on the central role of human and nonhuman animal labor in the capitalist economy, both historically and today. The class is a sequel to the MEP’s 2022 “Animals and Capitalism” sessions, this time with a specific focus on labor. What are the anthropocentric premises underlying mainstream understandings of labor in Marxist theory? How might we expand our thinking to include the multiple forms of nonhuman labor necessary for capitalism? What kinds of labor do nonhuman animals provide in production, and on what cultural, ideological and economic bases is work divided among people, nonhuman animals and machines? What new forms of animal labor are emerging (emotional, reproductive, entertainment…)? How do nonhuman animals rebel against their exploitation, and how might a revolutionary multispecies labor movement take shape?
The class will discuss readings on the work of nonhuman animals in the history of capitalism, Marxism and theories of labor, and related topics. We will explore how exploitation of animal bodies of all species is bound up in the overall development of capitalism. (Participation in the 2022 class is not required.)
Terike Haapoja is a visual artist based in New York. Her interdisciplinary practice includes installations, videos, writings and collaborative projects that explore our relationship with the more-than-human world; mechanisms of exclusion and inclusion; and the possibility of political multispecies alliances. She is an adjunct professor at Parsons Fine Arts and New York University.