MLA Proseminar: Debt: what it is, where it came from and why it’s not always a bad thing
Most of us think that debt is different from the cash we have in our wallets, or the money we have in the bank. But that “cash” may not be as substantial as you think, and the money in the bank is a lot like the things we call debts. This seminar takes a trip though ways we (and other societies) have thought about wealth and its opposite. It’s not an economics class but we will start with technical definitions, and then move on to their cultural & political dimensions. The seminar draws on a rich literature of fiction, art, and history concerned in one way or another with the uses of money as “debit” and “credit”. Among the course materials will be Luther “On Usury”& Dante on the 9th circle of hell; a recent BBC production of Dickens “Little Dorritt” & early and modern artworks concerned with the uses of money. Selected political texts from Smith to Bataille will also be assigned.