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What I'm Reading: Bryan Sacks

December 12, 2012

Bryan Sacks

Outside of teaching for the Department of English and Philosophy, Drexel adjunct teaching professor Bryan Sacks has an interest in the role of communications media in enabling, constraining, legitimizing and delegitimizing various kinds of political expression.

Sacks is currently reading, The End of Capitalism (As We Know It): A Feminist Critique of Political Economy, by J.K. Gibson-Graham. The "author" here is actually two female authors, writing as one single author—a notion that itself presents a controversial argument for imagining alternative economies.

Why did you choose this book? What is it about?

This book was part of a syllabus of a class in the history of the development of capitalism I had taken. I found this book particularly interesting and wanted to go back for another look. The approach the author takes is highly provocative. It asks us to consider whether the opponents of capitalism and their critiques have paradoxically helped inflate the idea of capitalism to the point where it seems all powerful, inevitably dominant and all-encompassing, and therefore very hard to think about superseding or overcoming.

What is it about this book that you find particularly enjoyable or important?

I enjoy thinking about the relationship between material reality and the discourses we use to describe it. Not only how it’s understood but also that reality gets reproduced and how that reality unfolds, if you will, into the future. So, in thinking about reality it is not simply a matter of mirroring but rather representing— it’s an active process thinking of construction of the world, and that active process of constructing the world in discourse has real and important consequences for how we engage with the future. This book understands that very well.

Has it lived up to your expectations?

Absolutely, I expected it to be challenging, provocative and intellectually stimulating. And it certainly has been. I also expected it to be frustrating because I find myself in agreement with much of what the authors say and yet I also find myself questioning whether or not the central claim that they are making is really only getting at one version of that claim.

Is there a quote or passage that you find particularly enjoyable?

“It is the way capitalism has been “thought” that has made it so difficult for people to imagine its supersession.”