Crisis is everywhere: in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and the Congo; in housing markets, money markets, financial systems, state budgets, and sovereign currencies. In Anti-Crisis, Janet Roitman steps back from the cycle of crisis production to ask not why we declare so many crises but also what sort of analytical work the concept of crisis enables. What, she asks, are the stakes of crisis? Taking responses to the so-called subprime mortgage crisis of 2007-2008 as her case in point, Roitman engages with the work of thinkers ranging from Reinhart Koselleck to Michael Lewis, and from Thomas Hobbes to Robert Shiller. In the process, she questions the bases for claims to crisis and shows how crisis functions as a narrative device, or how the invocation of crisis in contemporary accounts of the financial meltdown enables particlar narratives, raising certain questions while foreclosing others.
Janet Roitman will take part in a crisis/anti-crisis workshop, which features talks by Professor Roitman and Professor Benjamin Robinson, to be followed by a Roundtable discussion involving, in addition to Roitman and Robinson, Professors Johannes Türk and Ilana Gershon. There will be ample time allowed after each talk and the roundtable for extended questions and general discussion.