Max Haiven

Dec 8, 2022

Palm Oil

The Grease of Empire

Pluto Press 2022

Palm oil is a commodity like no other. Found in half of supermarket products, from food to cosmetics to plastics, it has shaped the world in which we live.

In Palm Oil: The Grease of Empire (Pluto Press, 2022), Max Haiven tells a sweeping story that touches on everything from empire to art, from war to food, and from climate change to racial capitalism. By tracing the global history of this ubiquitous elixir we see how capitalism creates surplus populations: people made dependent on capitalist wages but denied the opportunity to earn them - a proportion of humanity that is growing in our age of racialized and neo-colonial dispossession.

Inspired by revolutionary writers like Eduardo Galeano, Saidiya Hartman, C.L.R. James and Rebecca Solnit, this kaleidoscopic and experimental book seeks to weave a story of the past in the present and the present in the past.

Max Haiven is Canada Research Chair in Culture, Media and Social Justice at Lakehead University in Northwest Ontario and director of the Reimagining Value Action Lab (RiVAL). He writes articles for both academic and general audiences and is the author of the books Crises of Imagination, Crises of Power: Capitalism, Creativity and the Commons, The Radical Imagination: Social Movement Research in the Age of Austerity (with Alex Khasnabish) and Cultures of Financialization: Fictitious Capital in Popular Culture and Everyday Life. He is currently working on a book titled Art after Money, Money after Art: Creative Strategies Against Financialization.

Morteza Hajizadeh is a Ph.D. graduate in English from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. His research interests are Cultural Studies; Critical Theory; Environmental History; Medieval (Intellectual) History; Gothic Studies; 18th and 19th Century British Literature. YouTube Channel. Twitter.

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Morteza Hajizadeh

Morteza Hajizadeh is a Ph.D. graduate in English from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. His research interests are Cultural Studies; Critical Theory; Environmental History; Medieval (Intellectual) History; Gothic Studies; 18th and 19th Century British Literature.

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