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Book Launch

Book Launch | Michael Ralph’s Forensics of Capital

09/12 Monday | 6pm

NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge invites you to join us for a discussion and reception to celebrate the release of Forensics of Capital by Michael Ralph. The author will be in discussion with Gustav Peebles and Fatoumata Seck.

As one of Africa’s few democracies, Senegal has long been thought of as a leader of moral, political, and economic development on the continent. We tend to assume that any such nation has achieved favorable international standing due to its own merits. In Forensics of Capital, Michael Ralph upends this kind of conventional thinking, showing how Senegal’s diplomatic standing was strategically forged in the colonial and postcolonial eras at key periods of its history and is today entirely contingent on the consensus of wealthy and influential nations and international lending agencies.

Ralph examines Senegal’s crucial and pragmatic decisions related to its development and how they garnered international favor, decisions such as its opposition to Soviet involvement in African liberation—despite itself being a socialist state—or its support for the US-led war on terror—despite its population being predominately Muslim. He shows how such actions have given Senegal an inflated political and economic position and status as a highly credit-worthy nation even as its domestic economy has faltered. Exploring these and many other aspects of Senegal’s political economy and its interface with the international community, Ralph demonstrates that the international reputation of any nation—not just Senegal—is based on deep structural biases.

Michael Ralph is an associate professor in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis and Director of Metropolitan Studies at New York University. He has published in Social Text, Souls, and South Atlantic Quarterly. He is a member of the Social Text Editorial Collective, the Souls Editorial Working Group, and the editorial boards of Transforming Anthropology and Sport in Society.

Gustav Peebles is associate professor of Anthropology at the New School and an expert in economic and monetary policy, history, and theory. He is the author of The Euro and Its Rivals (2011) and numerous other studies appearing in Harpers, Law and Social Inquiry, Public Culture, Africa, and other publications. Dr. Peebles received his PhD from the University of Chicago.

Fatoumata Seck is an assistant professor of French and Francophone Literature at CUNY College of Staten Island. Born in Dakar, Senegal, her research focuses on culture and ecnomics in French-speaking Africa, as well as diaspora studies, Caribbean studies, and postcolonial theory. Dr. Seck holds a PhD from Stanford University and is at work on a book on the influence of postcolonial neoliberal reforms on the Senegalese social fabric though the examination of both cultural production and cultural practice.

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