The History of Disruption


LAC Burkhardt




For residence at the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University during the academic year 2021-2022


"The History of Disruption" is an investigation of disruptive social struggle in the Atlantic world since the 1700s. The project traces the eighteenth-century maturation of a European "economy of movement" predicated on expanding the flow of goods, credit, and bodies across the transatlantic world. It then examines the 300-year resistance to this economy, corralling such disparate social struggles as English and French food riots, Caribbean maroon societies, piracy, European and American syndicalism, the New Left, Black Power, radical feminism, and environmentalism into a history of politics as disruption. In doing so, it questions why we have come to understand social struggle through the category of movement and the consequences and costs of this understanding for humanistic inquiry.