CSAS Scholarly Lecture Series. "Revealing Powers: Money, Morality, and Politics in Bangladesh"
This discussion focuses on the popular preoccupation with money, in the larger context of national politics, that was documented during Nusrat Chowdhury's fieldwork in 2007-2008 in Phulbari, Bangladesh. It focuses on money, which, as a medium of political communication, distilled a set of popular discourses about governmental corruption and the unequal exchange relations that underline a global culture of natural resource extraction. The professor's research aimed at exploring the tense yet mutually illuminating relationship between energy crisis and political crisis. She describes encounters from her field site to theorize what she calls the revealing powers of money and draws out its political, economic, aesthetic, and moral aspects by analyzing various narratives of exchange that were documented. In this scene of crisis, ordinary people appropriated money’s status as a powerful medium of communication to articulate their visions of political authority, morality, and just exchange relations.