Manu Goswami explains how John Maynard Keynes’s work represents a crucial moment in the emergence of the nation-state as the political-economic successor to European and Asian empires.
In this talk, New York University history professor Manu Goswami seeks to re-inscribe Keynes’s major work, General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, within the socio-institutional and regulatory scale of imperial capitalism. Goswami argues that restoring the occluded place of empire in Keynes’s work at once clarifies and amplifies its significance, extending its import beyond the merely ‘economic’ and the restricted Euro-American cartography of dominant histories of economic thought.
Keynes’s General Theory entailed a departure not only from many of the organizing tenets of neoclassical orthodoxy, but the laissez faire order of imperial capitalism. It effected an enduring scalar reconfiguration of economic theory borne out of a pragmatic recognition that saving capitalism required rolling-back empire.
It was, Goswami suggests, a key moment in the mid-twentieth century denouement of decolonization, in the conjunctural (dis)articulation of empire and capital. It provides a crucial, if also unexpected, vantage on the still unresolved question of why the nation form became, in region after region, the political-economic successor to European and Asian empires.
Manu Goswami is Associate Professor in the Department of History at NYU. Her research and teaching center on nationalism and internationalism, political economy and the history of economic thought, social theory and historical methods. Her book, Producing India: From Colonial Economy to National Space was published in 2004 by the University of Chicago. She is currently working on an intellectual and political history of colonial internationalisms during the interwar decades. Her longer-run research interests include the place and status of empire in the work of major classical and neo-classical economists during the nineteenth and twentieth century. She serves on the editorial board of Public Culture.
Spring Quarter Lecture Series
Keynes and Empire’s End
Manu Goswami, New York University
May 4th • 5:30-7 pm
Reception to follow
Classics Building, Room 110
1010 East 59th Street