Core: Self, Culture and Society
Mark Loeffler received his Ph.D. in History from the University of Chicago in 2011. His dissertation examines contestations of finance capital in Germany and Britain, between the first “Great Depression” of 1873-1896, through the interwar Depression and its aftermath. He treats the formation of critical discourses on finance as transnational phenomena, and his extensive research traverses popular and elite sources. Across these sites, he argues, three dimensions of “anti-financial” discourse emerged to general prominence: the tendency to reduce the axes of modern political-economic exploitation and conflict to binaries of the virtuous “producer” vs. the financial “parasite”; the imputation of economic crises exclusively to finance; and a tendency towards conspiracy theorizing, including anti-Semitism. Mark’s work contributes to economic, cultural and intellectual histories, and it develops social-theoretical perspectives on why such contestations of finance became meaningful and compelling to a wide cast of historical actors. He has taught widely in the College, and is currently revising his manuscript for publication.