Masterclass: Speculation, Financialization and the Re/Presentation of Sovereignty

When and Where

Thursday, September 28, 2023 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
208N, North House
Asian Institute/Centre for South Asian Studies Munk School
1 Devonshire Place


Ritu Birla (Dept of History)
Francis Cody (Dept of Anthropology and Director, Centre for South Asian Studies)


In this session, Prof. Birla will introduce us to interdisciplinary themes in the study of speculation and financialization, and map questions she is posing about challenges to democratic representation in regimes of monetization.  With attention to Global South-sited contexts, we will discuss new approaches to capitalism and sign-value, the speculative subject, and the mediative techniques of financial governmentality.   Prof Cody will respond, followed by a general discussion. Registered participation will be sent links to required reading, newly published article by Prof. Birla, and one short background reading.

As this is a masterclass, attendees must read Ritu Birla, “Short-Circuits and Seizures: Currency and the Coding of the Global” in Public Culture (

We also strongly recommend reading Laura Bear, Ritu Birla and Stine Simonsen Puri, "Speculation and the Futures of Capitalism in India” in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and Middle East for further background (


Britu Birla is an Associate Professor in the Department of History and also directs a research project in Global Governance, Economy and Society in collaboration with the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. She has held positions as the first Richard Charles Lee Director of the Asian Institute at the Munk School, and before that, Director of the Centre for South Asian Studies.  Recognized for bringing the empirical study of economy and empire to current questions in social and political theory, her research has sought to build new conversations in the global study of capitalism and its forms of governing.

Discussant: Francis Cody  is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology and the Asian Institute at the University of Toronto, where he is the Director of the Dr. David Chu Program in Contemporary Asian Studies and the Centre for South Asian Studies. He has been teaching at U of T since 2008. His research focuses on language, politics, and media in southern India.



Asian Institute - Centre for South Asian Studies


1 Devonshire Place