Norman Klein – American Tropics: A Granular History of Neo Feudalism



Lecture date: 2016-10-11

The history of our present crisis began approximately in 1973, as a prologue to a future that has been labeled globalism – a bit of a misnomer, since the effect of globalism has been to localise, regionalise, and sponsor nativist politics throughout the world. As a further contradiction, we in the US, at least, are undergoing the emergence of an urban industrial feudalism: an American Tropics, as Levi-Strauss would have said – about indenture, baronial oligarchs; and internet kinship. Is this a system in metamorphosis, like an early molten planet? Or fifty brands of comic tragedy after the end of a world?

Norman M. Klein is a critic, urban and media historian, and novelist. His books include: The History of Forgetting: Los Angeles and the Erasure of Memory; Seven Minutes: The Life and Death of the American Animated Cartoon; Vatican to Vegas: The History of Special Effects; Freud in Coney Island; the database novel Bleeding Through: Layers of Los Angeles, 1920-86— and in 2016, The Imaginary 20th Century (coauthored with Margo Bistis). His next book, The History of the Present: The Dismantling of the American Psyche is due out in 2017. Klein is a professor at California Institute of the Arts.

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