Specters of the Atlantic: Finance Capital, Slavery, and the Philosophy of History

Specters of the Atlantic: Finance Capital, Slavery, and the Philosophy of History

Ian Baucom / Sep 22, 2019

Specters of the Atlantic Finance Capital Slavery and the Philosophy of History In September the captain of the British slave ship Zong ordered slaves thrown overboard enabling the ship s owners to file an insurance claim for their lost cargo Accounts of this horrific

  • Title: Specters of the Atlantic: Finance Capital, Slavery, and the Philosophy of History
  • Author: Ian Baucom
  • ISBN: 9780822335962
  • Page: 166
  • Format: Paperback
  • In September 1781, the captain of the British slave ship Zong ordered 133 slaves thrown overboard, enabling the ship s owners to file an insurance claim for their lost cargo Accounts of this horrific event quickly became a staple of abolitionist discourse on both sides of the Atlantic Ian Baucom revisits, in unprecedented detail, the Zong atrocity, the ensuing court caIn September 1781, the captain of the British slave ship Zong ordered 133 slaves thrown overboard, enabling the ship s owners to file an insurance claim for their lost cargo Accounts of this horrific event quickly became a staple of abolitionist discourse on both sides of the Atlantic Ian Baucom revisits, in unprecedented detail, the Zong atrocity, the ensuing court cases, reactions to the event and trials, and the business and social dealings of the Liverpool merchants who owned the ship Drawing on the work of an astonishing array of literary and social theorists, including Walter Benjamin, Giovanni Arrighi, Jacques Derrida, and many others, he argues that the tragedy is central not only to the trans Atlantic slave trade and the political and cultural archives of the black Atlantic but also to the history of modern capital and ethics To apprehend the Zong tragedy, Baucom suggests, is not to come to terms with an isolated atrocity but to encounter a logic of violence key to the unfolding history of Atlantic modernity.Baucom contends that the massacre and the trials that followed it bring to light an Atlantic cycle of capital accumulation based on speculative finance, an economic cycle that has not yet run its course The extraordinarily abstract nature of today s finance capital is the late eighteenth century system intensified Yet, as Baucom highlights, since the late 1700s, this rapacious speculative culture has had detractors He traces the emergence and development of a counter discourse he calls melancholy realism through abolitionist and human rights texts, British romantic poetry, Scottish moral philosophy, and the work of late twentieth century literary theorists In revealing how the Zong tragedy resonates within contemporary financial systems and human rights discourses, Baucom puts forth a deeply compelling, utterly original theory of history one that insists that an eighteenth century atrocity is not past but present within the future we now inhabit.

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    About "Ian Baucom"

      • Ian Baucom

        Ian Baucom Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Specters of the Atlantic: Finance Capital, Slavery, and the Philosophy of History book, this is one of the most wanted Ian Baucom author readers around the world.


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    1. Engrossing, encompassing, inflamed: from the multiple threads of liberal philosophy, contemporary hermeneutics, and new historicism Baucom crafts an elegant telling of two stories: one, a historical narrative about events; and, two, an event which narrates how we tell history. Baucom touches on critical figures such as Adam Smith and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel through to Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Edouard Glissant; his reference points inevitably returning to the Zong atrocity and the que [...]


    2. Where to start. Baucom examines the oscillations between commodity and finance capital systems, but focuses specifically on the "long 20th century" of finance capital that stretches back into the 18th century. He draws on Benjamin to develop a philosophy of history that emphasizes history's presence in the now, what he calls the constellation of past and present. He does this all by drawing upon the trope of the slaveship Zong, and manages to convey that event as both typical of finance capital [...]




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