Leigh Claire La Berge

‘Marx for Cats: A Radical Bestiary’

27 October, 3:30-5pm  (cancelled due to illness - check back for rescheduled date)
Diamond, Lecture Theatre 8

About Marx for Cats

Marx for Cats: A Radical Bestiary argues that the history of Western capitalism can be told through the cat and that doing so reveals a heretofore unrecognised animality at the heart of Marx’s critique and of Western Marxist critique. That feline animality has been present in how Marxists have represented what constitutes the economy and imagined how the economy could be transformed from a site of exploitation into one of equality. From capitalism’s feudal pre-history to its contemporary moment of financialisation, those seeking to maintain economic power as well as those seeking to challenge it have recruited cats into their efforts.

Using a textual and visual archive that spans 800CE through the present, this book details how they did so. In offering a feline narrative of our economic past, it argues that Marxism not only has the potential to be an interspecies project but that it already is one. And in using that knowledge and those histories located in cat-form, the book suggests that we may collectively plot a new future together, one which recognises the work that cats have always done for Marxists and one which wonders: what political commitments can Marxists make to cats?

About Leigh Claire La Begre

Leigh Claire La Berge is a Professor of English at BMCC CUNY and a 2021-2023 Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the Free University of Berlin. She is the author of numerous works of economically oriented criticism, including the books Scandals and Abstraction: Financial Fiction of the Long 1980s (Oxford: 2014) and Wages Against Artwork: Decommodified Labor and the Claims of Socially Engaged Art (Duke, 2019) as well as the co-editor of Reading Capitalist Realism (Iowa, 2014).

Marx for Cats: A Radical Bestiary is forthcoming with Duke University Press in 2023. She is currently working on a book of essays with the provisional title “Occasional Marxism.”