Logistical Visions: Blockchains, Supply Chains, and Anthropological Claims in the Anthropocene

Monday, November 27, 2017

A talk by Bill Maurer
Dean, School of Social Sciences
Professor, Anthropology and Law
Director, Institute for Money, Technology, and Financial Inclusion
University of California, Irvine

Monday, November 27, 2017
1:30 - 3:00PM
225 Friedl Building, East Campus

Without using the word, logistics engineers are really worried about the Anthropocene. And they have begun to attract the interest of all sorts of radical thinkers, from regenerative agriculture proponents to technologists embedding smart sensors in pill bottles and fish nets. I report on fieldwork among blockchain supply chain professionals, who, using the technology underlying the Bitcoin, restage certain theoretical cum normative moves about the Anthropocene taking place in anthropology and elsewhere. I argue that they have in common the imagination of the materiality of the planet as the limit of politics, potentially foreclosing the open-ended work of relations in spite of themselves.

Bill Maurer is a cultural anthropologist who conducts research on law, property, money and finance, focusing on the technological infrastructures and social relations of exchange and payment. He has particular expertise in emerging, alternative and experimental forms of money and finance,