Collegiate Assistant Professor, Social Sciences
Core: Self, Culture and Society
Co-Chair, Society of Fellows
Stacie Kent received her PhD in International History from the University of Chicago in 2015. She works on the political history of capitalism. Her current book project,“Colonial Capital” focuses on the relationship between Euroamerican colonialism and globalizing capitalism in the Late Qing Empire. A central argument of this book is that as a historically specific form of trade, modern capitalist global commerce transformed internal and external political relationships, the work of everyday governance, and territoriality. In offering this argument, the book makes contributions to the fields of colonial governmentality, globalization studies, and modern Chinese history.
"Colonial Capital” offers several interventions. First, it uses Qing and anglophone archives to historicize the progress of modern "rational" bureaucracy relative to the development of modern capitalism, bridging the gap between studies of the globalizing economy and studies of the modern state. Second, its examination of capital as a colonizing force makes a case for how China fits into the landscape of Euroamerican global expansion and political domination. Although foreign territorial footholds in China were geographically minuscule, foreign trade and the work of regulating commerce insinuated an alien administrative apparatus, under British tutelage, that produced profound changes in the Qing Empire’s internal social, political, and economic configurations and the Empire’s external relations with a globalizing world. The apparatus introduced novel entities to the work of government, challenged the legitimacy of prevailing strategies and tactics of governance, and constructed new relationships between administrators, the state, its subjects and global commercial capital; it enabled China to participate in developing global norms of institutional practice and knowledge production. Ultimately, Colonial Capital demonstrates how reengineering states helped to make “the global” and how global capital ruptured existing forms of political order.
Her future research plans include examining the ontological foundations of governance and charting how the metaphor of machinery evolved in dialogue with histories of science, engineering and capitalism as a way to envision proper governance across a wide variety of state formations.