Malcolm HarrisJul 10, 2023
A Conversation with Malcolm Harris
New Books Network 2023
This is the second Peoples & Things episode featuring a guest host. In this case, it is M. R. “Mols” Sauter, an assistant professor of information studies at the University of Maryland. Sauter and Lee Vinsel interview writer Malcolm Harris about his recent book, Palo Alto: A History of California, Capitalism, and the World. Palo Alto (Little, Brown, and Company, 2023) is a BIG history of a single US city, how it developed, and how it fits into larger trend and processes of capitalist production and change. Harris, who grew up in the area, finds Palo Alto to be a place haunted by its many dark legacies, and the book’s conclusion raises large questions about the future of capitalism, justice, and the fate of the planet. This interview was recorded as a live stream as a part of Red May, “a month-long spree of red arts, red theory, and red politics based in Seattle, Washington” that “plots ways forward to a world beyond capitalism.” We are very grateful to all the Red May organizers for asking Peoples & Things to take part in the event and for allowing us to re-publish the recording as this episode.
Lee Vinsel is an associate professor in the Department of Science, Technology and Society at Virginia Tech. He studies human life with technology, with particular focus on the relationship between government, business, and technological change. His first book, Moving Violations: Automobiles, Experts, and Regulations in the United States, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in July 2019.