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Series:

Elisabeth Heijmans

In The Agency of Empire: Connections and Strategies in French Expansion (1686-1746) Elisabeth Heijmans places directors and their connections at the centre of the developments and operations of French overseas companies. The focus on directors’ decisions and networks challenges the conception of French overseas companies as highly centralized and controlled by the state.

Through the cases of companies operating in Pondicherry (Coromandel Coast) and Ouidah (Bight of Benin), Elisabeth Heijmans demonstrates the participation of actors not only in Paris but also in provinces, ports and trading posts in the French expansion. The analysis brings to the fore connections across imperial, cultural and religious boundaries in order to diverge from traditional national narratives of the French early modern empire.

Beyond the Legacy of the Missionaries and East Indians

The Impact of the Presbyterian Church in the Caribbean

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Jerome Teelucksingh

In Beyond the Legacy of the Missionaries and East Indians Jerome Teelucksingh intends to establish a revisionist perspective of the role of the Presbyterian Church in Trinidad in the enlightenment of the society, especially the faster rate of social mobility achieved by the Indo-Caribbean diaspora in the post-World War 1 era. Additionally, the Presbyterian Church in the Caribbean provided the vital human and financial resources needed to champion the elevation of Indian women. By simultaneously providing a formal education whilst assisting the poor and oppressed, the Canadian missionaries and locally-trained persons played a pivotal role in the colonial society.

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Wouter Druwé

Based on consilia and decisiones, Wouter Druwé studies the multinormative framework on loans and credit in the Golden Ages of Antwerp and Amsterdam (c. 1500-1680). He analyzes the use of a wide variety of legal financial techniques in the Low Countries, such as money lending and the taking of interest, the constitution of annuities, cession and delegation, bearer bonds, bills of exchange, partnerships, and representation in financial affairs, as well as the consequences of monetary fluctuations. Special attention is paid to how the transregional European system of learned Roman and canon law ( ius commune) was applied in daily ‘learned legal practice’. The study also deals with the prohibition against usury and with the impact of moral theology on legal debates.

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Nanny Kim

The commercialized economy of late imperial China depended on efficient transport, yet transport technologies, transport economics as well as its role in local societies and in interdependencies of environments and human activities are acutely under-researched. Nanny Kim analyses two transports systems into the Southwest of Qing China through the long eighteenth century and up to the mid-nineteenth century civil wars. The case studies explore shipping on the Upper Changjiang in Sichuan and through the Three Gorges into Hubei, and road transport out of the Sichuan Basin across northeastern Yunnan and northwestern Guizhou into central Yunnan. Specific and concrete investigations of a river that presented extreme dangers to navigation and carriage across the crunch zone of the Himalayan Plateau provides a basis for a systematic reconstruction of transport outside the lowland centres and their convenient networks of water transport.

Riches and Reform

Ecclesiastical Wealth in St Andrews, c.1520-1580

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Bess Rhodes

The Scottish Reformation is often presumed to have had little economic impact. Traditionally, scholars maintained that Scotland’s late medieval church gradually secularised its estates, and that the religious changes of 1560 barely disrupted an ongoing trend. In Riches and Reform Bess Rhodes challenges this assumption with a study of church finance in Scotland’s religious capital of St Andrews, a place once regarded as the ‘cheif and mother citie of the Realme’. Drawing on largely unpublished charters, rentals, and account books, Riches and Reform argues that in St Andrews the Reformation triggered a rapid, large-scale, and ultimately ruinous redistribution of ecclesiastical wealth. Communal assets built up over generations were suddenly dispersed through a combination of official policies, individual opportunism, and a crisis in local administration, leading the post-Reformation churches and city of St Andrews into ‘poverte and decay’.

United States in a World in Crisis

The Geopolitics of Precarious Work and Super-Exploitation

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Adrián Sotelo Valencia

This work by the distinguished Mexican theorist Adrián Sotelo Valencia explores new dimensions of super-exploitation in a context of the structural crisis of capitalism and imperialism. Steeped in a new generation of radical dependency theory and informed by the legacy of his own mentor, the famous Brazilian Marxist Ruy Mauro Marini, Sotelo rigorously examines prevailing theoretical debates regarding the expansion of super-exploitation in advanced capitalism. Building upon a Marinist framework, he goes beyond Marini to identify new forms of super-exploitation that shape the growing precarity of work. Sotelo demonstrates the inextricable link between reliance upon fictitious capital and the intensification of super-exploitation. Poignant contrasts are drawn between US capitalism and Mexico that reveal the nefarious new forms of imperialist dependency.

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Edited by Karin Priem and Frederik Herman

Fabricating Modern Societies: Education, Bodies, and Minds in the Age of Steel, edited by Karin Priem and Frederik Herman, offers new interdisciplinary and transnational perspectives on the history of industrialization and societal transformation in early twentieth-century Luxembourg. The individual chapters focus on how industrialists addressed a large array of challenges related to industrialization, borrowing and mixing ideas originating in domains such as corporate identity formation, mediatization, scientification, technological innovation, mechanization, capitalism, mass production, medicalization, educationalization, artistic production, and social utopia, while competing with other interest groups who pursued their own goals. The book looks at different focus areas of modernity, and analyzes how humans created, mediated, and interacted with the technospheres of modern societies. Contributors: Klaus Dittrich, Irma Hadzalic, Frederik Herman, Enric Novella, Ira Plein, Françoise Poos, Karin Priem, and Angelo Van Gorp.

The Falling Rate of Profit and the Great Recession of 2007-2009

A New Approach to Applying Marx’s Value Theory and Its Implications for Socialist Strategy

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Peter Jones

In The Falling Rate of Profit and the Great Recession of 2007-2009, Peter Jones develops a new non-equilibrium interpretation of the labour theory of value Karl Marx builds in Capital. Applying this to US national accounting data, Jones shows that when measured correctly the profit rate falls in the lead up to the Great Recession, and for the main reason Marx identifies: the rising organic composition of capital.
Jones also details a new theory of finance, which shows how cycles in the profit rate relate to stock market booms and slumps, and movements in the interest rate. He discusses the implications of the analysis and Marx and Engels’ work generally for a democratic socialist strategy.

Translating Marx

José Aricó and the New Latin American Marxism

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Martín Cortés

To speak of ‘Latin American Marxism’ is to announce a problem. To what extent can Marxism, a theoretical universe forged from nineteenth-century European experiences, also be productive for grasping other realities? How can we begin to make sense of the historical disconnection between that specific corpus of ideas and Latin America’s popular movements? Martín Cortés addresses these questions by considering the trajectory and works of José Aricó, who sought to rethink and disseminate in Spanish not only the works of Marx himself, but also those of foundational socialist thinkers such as Antonio Gramsci.
Guided by an interest in Marxism’s renovation, Cortés explores Aricó’s vital contributions to key topics in political theory, such as the nation, the state, the political subject, and hegemony.

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John Asimakopoulos

In The Political Economy of the Spectacle and Postmodern Caste, John Asimakopoulos analyzes the political economy of the society of the spectacle, a philosophical concept developed by Guy Debord and Jean Baudrillard. Using the analytical tools of social science, while historicizing, Asimakopoulos reveals that all societies in every epoch have been and continue to be caste systems legitimized by various ideologies. He concludes there is no such thing as capitalism (or socialism)—only a caste system hidden behind capitalist ideology. Key features of the book include its broad interdisciplinary-nonsectarian approach with quantitative and qualitative data. The Political Economy of the Spectacle and Postmodern Caste is well written and clear, making it accessible to the informed reader.