Taught by Dr. Kee Yong
**There are no exams for this course. Only two essays, four one-page summaries and your participation. All reading materials, including weekly lecture notes are accessible on Avenue to Learn.
This course is a story about returns, an attempt to invoke the notion of The Gift into history, geography, economy, and culture. We are talking about the passage of time and the apparent passing of the gift economy – from the European colonial encounter to the Cold War, and now into the neoliberal free market. The stories to follow is about the price countless countries have to pay (and the impossibility to repay) for being included in the global gift economy. In this course we will critically evaluate the price of the gift – what one might call “the neoliberal economy of history” – and how it is ultimately an economics of storytelling by which a peculiar economic is plotted on the linear passing of history expressed with the equation “trade replaces violence.” We will ask: What are the immense violence underneath the gift of development loans, aid grants, military aids, machine guns, rifles, tanks, artillery, helicopters, advisors, counter-insurgency expertise, psychological warfare tactics, even anthropologists? In turn, how do nation-states talk about itself – nonviolently – about the triumph of peaceful trade and reason over barbarism? Indeed, how have “late capitalist” economies accumulated a great deficit in its balancing of historical accounts? These are some of the questions we will be attempting to address in this course, however incomplete they might be when there is an immense debt hanging over the new world, a violent history replicated but hidden in the cleanliness of the historical present.
Note: The instructors will consider waiving the prerequisites for these courses, so please reach out if these are of interest and you face any issues enrolling.