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Security Exchanges

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0020097/00001

Material Information

Title: Security Exchanges The Rise of Systematic Criminal Justice in Gilded Age U.S. Culture
Physical Description: 1 online resource (295 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Reynolds, Patrick T
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2007

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: century, czolgosz, dime, labor, maguires, mollie, nineteenth, novel, pinkerton, pullman
English -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: English thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: This study traces the rise of a system of U.S. criminal justice in response to the growing labor unrest and nascent nationalist imperialism at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century. In particular I look at the stories that working people told themselves, as well as the stories propagated by the interests of industrial capitalism, about what it meant to be considered a citizen in this extraordinarily turbulent era.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Patrick T Reynolds.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2007.
Local: Adviser: Smith, Stephanie A.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2007
System ID: UFE0020097:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0020097/00001

Material Information

Title: Security Exchanges The Rise of Systematic Criminal Justice in Gilded Age U.S. Culture
Physical Description: 1 online resource (295 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Reynolds, Patrick T
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2007

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: century, czolgosz, dime, labor, maguires, mollie, nineteenth, novel, pinkerton, pullman
English -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: English thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: This study traces the rise of a system of U.S. criminal justice in response to the growing labor unrest and nascent nationalist imperialism at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century. In particular I look at the stories that working people told themselves, as well as the stories propagated by the interests of industrial capitalism, about what it meant to be considered a citizen in this extraordinarily turbulent era.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Patrick T Reynolds.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2007.
Local: Adviser: Smith, Stephanie A.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2007
System ID: UFE0020097:00001


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SECURITY EXCHANGES:
THE RISE OF SYSTEMATIC CRIMINAL JUSTICE IN THE GILDED AGE U. S.
IMAGINATION


















By
TODD REYNOLDS











A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2007
































O 2007 Todd Reynolds




































To my mother and my father, just two of the working people--past, present, and future--whose
struggle makes the political challenges offered through public higher education both possible and
necessary.









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

In September 2004, after the graduate student employees had occupied the UF

administration building in protest of not receiving their pay for eight weeks, one letter to the

editor of the Gainesville Sun chastised that local paper for seemingly taking the graduate workers

side "against the University of Florida." This challenge to workers rights would be just one

instance within an ongoing battle for ownership of the University of Florida in particular and

American Higher Education in general. The rallying cry in those days, as it is today, was "the

administration is not the University of Florida; we, the working people, are." Upon the social

body composed of these workers, not just the faculty and the graduate students, but also the local

community of activists, my education has been built; and this social body almost certainly does

not include the central administration of the University of Florida who has periodically attempted

to redefine the university's function as an institution to both generate revenues and further deny

access to whole segments of the population on whose back a public university has itself been

constructed. In this sense, and with the understanding that the discovery of new knowledge--the

work of those employed in the university take as their charge--is itself a social act, not the work

of any one author, but a composite of social life in general, I wish to address that true university

community: I am honored to have been able to labor in your ranks, and I can only hope that this

dissertation can be considered adequate enough to participate in the work it is so vital for us to

undertake.

I would like to single out a few "fellow travelers"--if I may be so bold as to use the

term--within this broad construction of a university community who have been especially vital

to my education. I have been fortunate enough to have shared the last seven years of my

academic life with many of the wonderful graduate students within the English department--

particularly Joel Adams, Sonya Anderson, Doris Bremm, Mindy Cardozo, Franklin Cason, Kate










Casey-Sawiki, Lindsey Collins, Marlo David, Emily Garcia, Ariel Gunn, Lisa Hager, Jaimy

Mann, James McDougall, Patrick McHenry, Melissa Mellon, Marlon Moore, Nishant Shahani,

Aaron Shaheen, Craig Smith, Aaron Talbot, Andrea Wood, and especially Andrew Reynolds.

The faculty and staff of the English department have been incredibly supportive as well--

particularly department chair John Leavey, Roger Beebe, Melissa Davis, Sid Dobrin, Pam

Gilbert, LaMonda Horton-Stallings, Barbara Mennel, John Murchek, Scott Nygren, Jim Paxson,

Mark Reid, Leah Rosenberg, Raul Sanchez, John Seelye, Jodi Schorb, Maureen Turim, Ed

White, Jeri White, Kathy Williams, and especially Phil Wegner, Kathryn Baker, and Kim Emery.

The people composing the different generations of the Marxist Reading Group at UF-

including Wesley Beal, Renuka Bisht, Nicole LaRose, Jessica Livingston, Regina Martin,

Michael Mayne, Derek Merrill, Sherwin Mendoza, Aron Pease, Reagan Ross, Matt Stoddard,

Michael Vastola, and Trish Ventura-offered a sounding board to work through many of Marx' s

texts vital to my proj ect. Gainesville Critical Resistance--composed of English department

scholars such as Amy Ongiri, Angelique Nixon, and Robin Nuzum, and community activists

such as Dan Berger, Jane Ballard, Bret Bostoc, Quintina Crawford, Pat Fitzpatrick, Virginia

Hamner, Jessica Hardy, Amber Kelley, Melissa Lane, Luce Lincoln, Neil Lorenzini, Laurie

Reisman, Melissa Toothman, and Charles Willett--offered a space where one could easily merge

the presupposed divergent fields of academics and activists.

At the recent MRG conference, keynote speaker Cary Nelson mentioned that the most

important development in higher education in the last 20 years has been the graduate labor

movement. The impact my colleagues and collaborators in Graduate Assistants United can

hardly be understated, and in particular I' d like to thank Abubakar Al-Hassan, Robin Collins,

Sophie Croisy, Ali Dashti, Christy Edwards, Frank Goeddeke, Anna Guest-Jelley, Nic Guest-









Jelley, Erika Gubrium, Marcus Harvey, Deeb Kitchen, Karen Kuhl, Steckley Lee, Brian Mann,

Aniruddha Mukhopadhyay, Tim Nevin, Mark Piotrowski, Craig Rinne, Guneeta Singh, Bret

Seferian, Samuel Snyder, James Thompson, Victor Romano and especially Jesse Zeigler and

Candi Churchill.

Finally, I must thank the members of my dissertation committee for being so patient with

the proj ect as it developed. Louise Newman' s perspective as a historian made sure the proj ect

was well-grounded. Kenneth Kidd's seminar on the Disney corporation and its planned company

town in Celebration was the original inspiration for the Pullman chapter. The proj ect itself on the

whole can be traced back to the original prospectus I wrote for Susan Hegeman's class on the

City and the Country. And finally, I owe the most gratitude for my dissertation director,

Stephanie Smith whose determination in shepherding the proj ect from its original moments

through the final stages will never cease to amaze me.











TABLE OF CONTENTS


page

ACKNOWLEDGMENT S .............. ...............4.....

LI ST OF FIGURE S .............. ...............9.....

AB S TRAC T ........._. ............ ..............._ 10...

CHAPTER

1. "IT WAS EVERYWHERE; IT WAS NOWHERE": 1877 AND LABOR INT THE NEW
INDUSTRIA L NATION ................. ...............11.......... ......

The Calculus of Nation Building: Commensurability and History in the Industrial Age ......1 1
Reali sm's proj section: Exporting Consumeri sm, Docility, and Security ............... ... ........._...22
To Be a Criminal .............. ...............29....

2. "THE ROAD FROM THE MINT AND THE PATH TO THE MELTING POT":
"REAL" CURRENCY AND "NATIONAL" CIRCULATION INT HERMAN
MELVELLE' S THE CONFIDENCE M~AN. ....._..__ ..... ... .__ ....__ ..........3

Melville's Exceptional Coin and the Affected Value of Currency ................. ............... ...34
The Social "Myth" of Debt: Desire and the Narrative Currency of Investment ................... .44
"It' s Everywhere You Want to Be": The Money Fetish and the Development of
Imperial Security ................. ...............57........ ......

3. WAS BARTLEBY BLACK?: RACE, WORK, AND "EMINETLY SAFE"
COMMUNITIES INT THE LATE NINETEENTH-CENTURY INDUSTRIAL CITY .........66

"Gentlemanly Cadavers" and Social Deaths .............. ...............66....
Toward the "White City": The Operative Community ........._._.._......_.. ......._.._.......91
A W hited Sepulchre ........._.._... .. ..... ...............108....
Epilogue: The Politics of an Occupation ...._.._.._ .........._ ...............129.

4. POLICE ACTIONS AND WAR ZONES: "THE MAJESTY OF THE LAW" AND
THE GEOPOLITICS OF PROFESSIONAL POLICING ................. ........................138

Walking Softly through New York City: A Domestic Ethic of Nascent Imperialism .........140
Technologies of Detection: From Private to Prosthetic Eyes ................. .......................152
Cleaning the Streets: Traffic Control in the "Circulation revolution" ............._ ...............160
The Color of M oney ................. ...............167._._ .....

5. INT JUST TIME: THE PENITENTIARY AND THE MOTION PICTURE AT THE
TURN OF THE CENTURY............... ...............185

"False Dawn": The Flashpoint of the Buffalo Pan-American Exhibition ................... ......... 185











American Technocracy: "Shock" and Sovereign Control of a World Without Work .........195
City of Fire: The Time of the Commodity and the Regime of Automation ................... ......206
The Penitentiary, the Individual, and the Invention of Productivity ................. ........._.....21 8
Stepping Out of Time: The Mechanical Reproducibility of Life and Death ................... .....23 5
Class and Technology: Popular Mechanics and Participatory Science ............... .... ........._..244

6. GOINGG PUBLIC": ALAN PINKERTON' S NARRATIVE OF "GENDER TERROR"
AND "PEACEFUL SECURITY" ............ ...............254.....


Keeping a Private Eye on the Public Sphere .............. ...............264....
Gender and the Narrative Logic of Public-as-Debt ......____ ........ __ ..........__......269
Financial Time and "Heteropublic" Interest ................. ...............279........... ...

LIST OF REFERENCES ................. ...............283................

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .............. ...............297....











LIST OF FIGURES


Figure page

5-1 Buffalo' s Electric Tower. ........._.__ ..... .___ ...............188..

5-2 Circular Panorama pf Electric Tower. ........._.._ ...._._ ...............192.

5-3 Esplanade at Night. .............. ...............193....

5-4 Final frame, Execution of Czolgosz with Panorama of Auburn Prison. ................... .......196

5-5 Feight train frame, Execution of Czolgosz with Panorama of Auburn Prison. ...............203

5-6 Panorama of Auburn Prison, from Execution of Czolgosz with Panorama of Auburn
Prison .............. ...............204....

5-7 Benj amin Rush' s Tranquilizer Device. ....__. ...._.._.._ ......._.... ...........2

5-8 Execution frame, Execution of Czolgosz with Panorama of Auburn Prison .................. .239

6-1 The Detective Sings, Fights, and Dances Himself into Popularity. .............. .... ............276









Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

SECURITY EXCHANGES: THE RISE OF SYSTEMATIC CRIMINAL JUSTICE IN THE
GILDED AGE U. S. IMAGINATION

By

Todd Reynolds

August 2007

Chair: Stephanie Smith
Major: English

This study traces the rise of a system of U. S. criminal justice in response to the growing

labor unrest and nascent nationalist imperialism at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the

twentieth century. In particular I look at the stories that working people told themselves, as well

as the stories propagated by the interests of industrial capitalism, about what it meant to be

considered a citizen in this extraordinarily turbulent era.









CHAPTER 1.
"IT WAS EVERYWHERE; IT WAS NOWHERE": 1877 AND LABOR INT THE NEW
INDUSTRIAL NATION

The Calculus of Nation Building: Commensurability and History in the Industrial Age

The first task confronting the author in Allan Pinkerton's 1878 memoir Strikers,

Communists, Tramps, and Detectives is the problem of bringing the labor unrest of the 1877

national railroad strike into public consciousness, to grasp this relatively new kind of mass-

discontent in a way that utilizes the political vocabulary available at the time. The vehicle this

detective-turned-author uses to register these events of 1877 is a text that is at once crime story,

corporate advertisement, and history lesson. The text' s first attempt to contain the threat of

general revolution posed by 1877, then, involves a reification of history, abstracting the events of

1877 from their contexts and placing them in some level of commensurate relation with other

abstracted historical events in order to justify new practices to diffuse the threat. Contrasting the

general strike of 1877 against the "Great Rebellion" that began the U.S. Civil War, Pinkerton

wrote

There was something tangible about our great Rebellion. Public expectation was to a certain
degree prepared for it. [...] For some time previous to the beginning of hostilities the two
sections had become more distinct and separate, in all that constitutes mutual respect and
consideration, than two contiguous unfriendly nations. All that was needed to complete the
isolation of each was the border forts and the border patrol. [...] When [the hostilities] came,
their consequences followed naturally and in constant order; and though neither section was
wholly prepared for the rapid culmination of the numberless startling and dramatic events
which crowded into the four years of civil conflict, both were enabled, through this previous
certainty of some sort of peril, to cope with the same with an increasing wisdom and
judgment.

Using the events of the Civil War as the standard, Pinkerton' s text demonstrates that the

ability to locate the forces of contention is in and of itself "settling." Thus, the reified picture of

the Civil War is rendered here in terms as a rather stately conflict; that is, Pinkerton's snapshot

presents this antagonism literally made civil--less shocking, less disquieting, less disturbing to a










general public because the tensions supposedly developed gradually. In the language of mass-

sc ale unre st, the p oliti cs of nati on-buil ding--repre sented here i n the i magi ni ng of c onfli ct as that

not between people per se but between people organized into nation-states-offers the best way

to minimize the damage of social unrest.

When his attention turns to the riots of 1877, Pinkerton's tone changes dramatically.

Anxieties over labor antagonism here cannot be easily framed within a context of inter-national

conflict; rather, such unrest threatens the idea of nation itself:

But how different were we situated when this last great terror came upon us, and how
unusual and startling were its phases and conditions! It was everywhere; it was nowhere. A
condition of sedition which can be located, fixed, or given boundaries, may, by any ordinary
community or government, be subdued. This uprising, in its far-reaching extent, was so
alarmingly sudden that it seemed like the hideous growth of a night. (Pinkerton 13-4)

The panic evident in Pinkerton' s response is telling as to what this new, elusive type of threat

really presents, for as an anomalous "hideous growth of a night" it challenges and defies

illumination and description. Moreover, as Pinkerton develops what he sees as a link between the

riots of the 1877 strike and the Paris commune of 1871, an alternative model materializes that

registers collective consciousness in a way that directly defies the available narratives of mid-

century nationalism. Indeed, what seemed a new global challenge to the assumed "proper social

order" of the nation-state was excitedly beginning to take shape. As Benedict Anderson notes,

the first appearance of the word anarchist as a technical-political term occurred in 1877 amid the

larger global counter to capitalism's arrangement of social life under the nation-state (72).1 In




i Anderson' s description of the social climate in which the term anarchist is coined offers a powerful perspective on
the ways people planned their collective challenges to exploitative modes of production in industrial capitalism, as
well as illuminating how many felt that other modes of resistance to capital were more easily quashed under
apparatuses available to the industrial nation-state of the late nineteenth century. For a good deal of anti-capitalists, a
recognition of the ways in which economic exploitation works through the nation-state became itself a grounds for
political action. "Anarchism' s emphasis on personal liberty and autonomy, its typical suspicion of hierarchical
('bureaucratic') organization, and its penchant for vitriolic rhetoric," Anderson writes, "made its appeal especially
great under political conditions of severe repression by rightwing regimes. Such regimes found it much easier to










addition, certain critical flashpoints of U.S. history--the 1877 "national" railroad strike, the 1886

Haymarket incident, the 1892 Homestead Strike, the 1894 Pullman Strike, and the 1901

assassination of U. S. President William McKinley--were often described as the results of the

political philosophy of anarchism; the word belied a terrifying sense of the desire and inability to

name, frame, and conform to the political narrative of stateliness. In this sense, anarchism as

term filled a general void, the ominous shadow not intelligible by the vocabulary available to the

narrative of the industrial nation-state.2

Locating the source of rebellion is at once simple and difficult, and Pinkerton' s memoir

of 1877 proceeds to reason that refugees from the 1871 Paris commune did more than merely

influence, but directly participated in, the railroad action. Dedicating chapters in this history of

1877 to Paris 1871, Pinkerton's text demonstrates a very palpable fear that this new unrest

escapes what the cultural logic grasps as a materially present idea of managing mass

populations--a nation-state. In other words, because these upheavals has no governments nor

forts from which battle plans could be drawn, the fear emanating from a cultural anxiety over

smash trade unions and political parties than to keep track of, penetrate, and destroy dozens of self-generated
autonomous groupuscles" (72).

2 One glaring example of the socio-political deployment of the term as a method of identifying and locating the
challenge to the capitalist nation-state can be found in August Spies's comments at his 1887 trial for his alleged
involvement in the Haymarket riots. Spies and the other men held accountable for the throwing of a bomb that had
killed numerous Chicago police officers on May 4, 1886 (despite the fact that evidence shows they had done nothing
more than organize the speeches and protests for that day), only accept the appellation placed upon them as
"anarchists" at this final trial before their execution, as a moment of resistance and defiance. Previous to this point,
these anti-capitalists would have been loathe to call themselves "anarchists." Spies, often quick to point out his
belief in socialism and the struggle of communities of working people to abolish the wage system, declared at his
defense

Grinnell [one of the prosecutors in the case] has intimated to us that Anarchism was on trial. The theory of
Anarchism belongs to the realm of speculative philosophy. There was not a syllable said about Anarchism
at the Haymarket meeting. At that meeting the very popular theme of reducing the hours of toil was
discussed. But "Anarchism is on trial!" foams Mr. Grinnell. If that is the case, your honor, very well: you
may sentence me, for I am an Anarchist. I believe with Buckle, with Paine, Jefferson, Emerson and
Spencer, and many other great thinkers of this century, that the state of castes and classes--the state where
one class dominates over and lives upon the labor of another class, and calls this order--yes, I believe that
this barbaric form of social organization, with its legalized plunder and murder, is doomed to die, and make
room for a free society, voluntary association, or universal brotherhood, if you like. (Spies 14)









conflict was that the conflict superseded an assumed idea of the state--that perhaps nation-state

was itself an overdetermined response to new forms of mass conflict. Pinkerton's reaction is to

append or even develop new practices and modes of social intervention that would better equip

the state to contain and direct mass-scale unrest; the detective memoir he publishes, while

serving as advertisement for his new agency of private, professional investigators, participates in

a much larger proj ect of imagining the social discord and conflict that had been accelerating in

the final years of the nineteenth century, and submerging or channeling this unrest into a

narrative form that reworks social conflict into that between "law-abiding" or "law-

transgressing" citizenship.

The problem I pose here contemplates a collective imaginary attempting to understand

human activity from 1877 and continuing throughout the late nineteenth century and early

twentieth century, with large-scale, general, indeed national labor unrest. My proj ect

demonstrates that from the 1870's through the turn-of-the-century, and via diverse, often new

methods of representation from dime novels to early motion pictures and even World' s Fairs and

planned industrial communities, American cultural production reframed political activity within

a new schema of citizenship in order to both diffuse the social antagonisms forged by the

dynamics of production under the flag of nationalist sovereignty as well as to prepare capital for

a global expanse through that new notion of nationhood. In giving historical significance to 1877

in this particular way, cultural logic recontextualizes upheaval and revolution in a new juridico-

political way. Here I examine how and why the areas of labor, unionism, professionalism, a new

type of imperialism, a new notion of what counts as technology, and even what has cultural value

as public as response to a momentum of privatization, affect the imagination to the point in

which identity becomes a commodity of elaborate social systems--what Stephanie Smith has









identified as an endeavor to collapse complexities in order to render thatht which was at one

time unpalatable or difficult to swallow in the popular perception [...] tasty" (135). Moreover,

this project looks at to what extent an identitarian politics depend upon a management the global

masses that divides them into "law-abiding" at one polar end, "criminal" on another.

According to the logic exhibited by texts like Pinkerton's, the urgency to comprehend

and manage new forms of mass conflict demands that a new idea of nation be recovered within

the context of the new tensions wrought by industrial and investment capital. The modern U.S.

criminal justice system, like the detective/crime novels that were ubiquitous in the era, or more

generally like the movement of literary social realism itself, strives to capture and represent

revolutionary sentiment in a way that never explicitly challenges but indeed tacitly facilitates

modes of production that would further develop the industrialist nation state as it prepared to be

an agent on the stage of global capital. Rather than telling a tale of socio-political antagonisms

based on the modes of production that prevailed in the later portions of the century, the narrative

mantra/new state apparatus frames social life and politics within a larger proj ect to maintain law-

and-order, to assuage any and all threats under the rubric of domestic or nationalist security.

Rather than placing emphasis on the population as a mass of producers, the heightened emphasis

on the dynamics of security--exampled by these artifacts that grant us some access to a general,

broadly social view--depict the creation of a consumerist culture, eviscerating the living-labor

element from the political field. In effect, the social bond upon which any sort of communal

resolution can be built is reconfigured from the shared capacity of all humans to labor and

produce to the shared condition of being completely subj ected to the nation-state as a social

formation intended to maximize surplus production and accumulation.









The cultural logic then privileges and offers as panacea a new way of understanding

human activity, i.e., through specific systems that linked together constitute a technology of

justice and a narrative mechanism that virtually runs on its own, like clockwork. A proj ect that

needed to actively suppress any sort of realization of the population as consisting of

workers/producers must also of course present justice itself as free of any sort of "limited

perspective" of human agency and authorship. A new mechanism of justice as a narrative of

social realism systematically reanimates its characters not based on the prevailing modes of

production, reproduction, and accumulation, but instead based on legal/juridical notions of

criminality and citizenship. And, as Stephanie Smith has shown elsewhere, the developing

perception of authorship as professional producer in this era of the novel of social realism (and

thus a professional working in the field of knowledge production) as specialized and not

alienated worker--distinct from or above "the rabble"--assumes reading and/or interpretation as

subordinate activities and as acts of consumption (109, 1 11). Thus, new systems of justice are de

facto dependent upon whole populations maneuvered into the passive role of consumers in need

of security; all political activity becomes specialized, professionalized, not something for the

masses to participate in or collectively author, but for everyone to passively experience, be

subject to, or consume. The vehicle to this reorganization under specialized politics of the

industrial nation-state is the machine-like narrative of the criminal justice system. It is not for the

masses to write the narrative of justice, but rather for the individual to interpret where she or he

might fit within this master narrative that has been systematically, mechanically reproduced

before them.

I begin my dissertation with the extended quote from this detective memoir to illuminate

the numerous anxieties and slippages that participated in a larger, cultural imagination. Often










using 1877 as a marker for a new era (for it saw the end of reconstruction and the return of white

rule in the South as well as the beginning of mass-scale labor revolt), historians of this period

have presented a wide array of arguments on the late nineteenth century, ranging from calling the

period one of the bitterest explosions of class warfare in American history (such is the argument

posited by Eric Foner, Robert V. Bruce, Lawrence Goodwin, and Nell Irvin Painter) to

emphasizing the level of social unease with technological and mechanical changes shared by

both working and middle-class--an unease that the "iron horse" catalyzes tensions in what

counts culturally as public, and what is becoming increasingly mechanized, unnatural (and by

implication, privatized) space. Leo Marx's The Machine in the Gard'en is not the only example

of this latter view; David O. Stowell's Streets, Railroads, and' the Great Strike of 1877

exemplifies this vein of thinking, de-emphasizing class differences in arguing that in northern

cities like Albany, Buffalo, and Syracuse, "The Great National Strike of 1877" was much more

of a spontaneous uprising of urban peoples from different economic and social stratum in

response to "one of the most direct and damaging ways that they experienced capitalist

industrialization outside of the workplace, namely, the use of the city streets by railroads" (1).

Surely, despite Stowell's explicit de-emphasis of class, a contention over what will constitute

public vs. privatizing urban space can itself be a residual conflict of class practices. And, just as

surely, describing 1877 in terms of class conflict seems to situate class in a very confining, static,

(and perhaps also spatially contained) system, a description that hardly speaks to anxieties over

the complexities of unrest, and deflates an idea of class as a lived, social relation. The problem

exhibited here rather seems to revolve around a paranoia about nation itself which history has

settled; that is, these critical and historical interpretations have already conceded to, if not placed

implicit faith in, an idea of nation that had been exhibited and rhetorically assumed as a starting










point for, and ultimate resolution to, any history expressed in the cultural logic, without

interrogating what nation has historically come to mean. In short, each subscribes to an idea of

history as a system of commensurability, whose telos is nation.

Pinkerton's text is demonstrative of a new anxiety over change that threatens to rupture

what was culturally understood as history--threatens to explode the subj ects of that history, i.e.,

the nation-state. Because revolution is at once "everywhere and nowhere," the avenues for

resolving conflict were simply not yet available. But what is also remarkable is the extent

through which one of the first instances in American culture of a "red scare" is used to reformat

history within the context of the nation-state engulfed in new sorts of class conflicts. This

detective memoir/history blames foreign instigators and refugees from the Paris commune as the

most responsible for 1877, allying the poor and "tramps," who like the revolutionary spirit were

both everywhere and nowhere, as one particular symptom of industry and investment.3 However,

Pinkerton' s use of a red-scare tactic does not use the same warrants of those very same tactics we

are familiar with today, following the McCarthyism of the middle twentieth century that brought

new descriptors of nationalism into the cultural lexicon. The view of those refugees of the Paris

commune as "un-American" is a secondary concern in this nineteenth-century anxiety; instead,

Pinkerton's detective memoir gives also a history of Paris 1871, chronicling the "heinous acts of

those lawless communists," whose "prompt and utter extermination, in this and all other

countries, is the only method of removing a constant menace and peril to government and

society" (67). It would seem that here, Pinkerton' s first concern is the divert of all forms of

active resistance to capitalist exploitation and make those resistances legible as criminal

3 Christian Parenti's critical analysis of the contemporary Prison Industrial Complex, a term used to describe the
systematic use of correctional state apparatuses as a resolution of social and economic conflict, and thus a
perpetuation of post-consumerist capital, notes that the targets of this system, the impoverished and those more
actively seeking social justice, are treated as "social dust" or "social dynamite," and thus are always targeted by any
advance in social suppression.










challenges to the nation-state, a social formation that on the surface appeared to have very little

to do with the production and accumulation of the surpluses that defined industrial capitalism.

It would be an understatement to describe the era following the Civil War as an era of

social, political, and cultural upheaval. Numerous studies have been dedicated to this purpose,

focusing primarily on the new social stratifications as a result of the advance of machine

production (as in Alan Trachtenberg's The Incorporation ofAmerica), as a result of racial re-

ordering after emancipation and rise of Jim Crow and lynching (as in Sandra Gunning' s Race,

Rape, and Lynching and Trudier Harris' s Exorcizing Blackness), or as a result of the discord

between business and labor (as in Alan Dawley's Struggles for Justice). But I am primarily

interested in the new ways that the social sphere in this period remodels itself through a shift in

perception on a juridical level. The cultural imagination relocates conflict into not one of intern-

national relations--foreign versus domestic--per se, but instead intra-national relations--

criminal contra law-abiding social subjects.

Certainly, as Douglas Kellner has shown, such questions would be of central importance

for a burgeoning critical theory that attempted to resolve the increasingly authoritarian position

of the state and the rapidly developing modes of capitalism (Kellner 66). Subtle disagreements

existed between "fellow travelers" of the Frankfurt School as to whether, as Otto Kircheimer

argued, the state marked the organic development from liberal capitalism to organized,

monopoly capitalism or whether as Max Horkheimer argued, the "tattered veil" of capital had

been replaced by the a completely new, techno-political apparatus of the state as absolute

authoritarian regime (44). This study sides with the former and looks at specific developments



4 Patricia Williams uses the term "unowned" rather than "emancipated" to describe the African American former
slaves after the Civil War. "They were also disowned: they were thrust out of the market and into a nowhere land
that was not quite the mainstream labor market, and very much outside the marketplace of rights" (21).










characteristic of what we understand to be the modern state as can only be understood in its

history forged in the tumultuous groundswell of unrest and revolution that was the late-

nineteenth-century U. S. industrial age. This study's conclusion agrees with the view of the

modern state--and its imperial traj ectory-as the development of a capitalist economy and

organization of society meant to maximize efficient productivity and guarantee the production of

surpluses by embedding a diffusion of the antagonisms of production in favor of an emphasis on

securing spaces for a consumerism into the idea of an imperializing nation state.

To this extent, the new technologies of justice emerge to marginalize the contours of

economic and social conflict stemming from industry's advance: what easier way to rationalize

the complexities of social discord in an era of mechanical reproduction than to measure them

with the obj ective, rational, systemic law? The ways in which crime and punishment were

envisioned and then distributed becomes a way of mapping the contradictions, anxieties, and

antagonisms that had been produced by burgeoning capital into a narrative of crime and

punishment. In an era where the machine was the fetish because of its faculties for mass

production, cultural systems also became the choice for resolving social problems. Put another

way, the groundwork was laid in place so that the expression "the system works" could culturally

make sense.

An analysis of the function of a systemized set of laws that manage interactions among

the population as a channeling of social conflict is not really new. Psychoanalytic critic Rene

Girard's Violence and the Sacred demonstrates the key distinction through how civilization (and

for Girard, that means the European West) claims as its definitive feature the incorporation of

some systematized judicial apparatus. Whereas "primitive societies" are subj ect to a vicious

cycle of violence,









for us [civilized as opposed to primitive societies] the cycle has been broken. We owe our
good fortune to one of our social institutions above all: our juridical system, which serves
to deflect the menace of vengeance. This system does not suppress vengeance; rather, it
effectively limits it to a single act of reprisal, enacted by a sovereign authority
specializing in this particular function. The decisions of the judiciary are invariably
presented as the final word on vengeance. (Girard 15)

The civilizing mechanism herein that differentiates the west from Other seems to be the ritual of

the judicial system. But Girard later points out that this ritual is nothing more than a regular

exercise of "good violence" (17), a notion that seems to underlie our entire reliance on a

benevolent notion of justice. This principle introduces the possibility that the whole idea of

justice as an obj ective machine defers our desires for reciprocal revenge and works to suppress

and redirect the conflicts and frictions that emerge as industrial and investment capital develops.

An emphasis on a legalized entity, an identity, emerges as a product of this new vision

that resubjugates the populace. In effect, this activity is a recolonization of the population that

responds to the increases of urbanization, machine production, labor and racial discord by

altering notions of citizenship based on the degree to which the individual subj ects her or himself

to those laws. Such a rubric calls for a new, critical lens with which to view the roles of policing

agents (a role that had been gaining national prominence through the nineteenth century,

culminating in the introduction if a national police force, the FBI, in 1908), the threats posed by

individuals marked as criminals (a specific anxiety that had been associated with the rise of

urban populations, as Karen Halttunen's Confidence Men and Painted Women argues), and other

actions industrializing society takes (such as the rise of the modern criminal justice system and

prison industrial complex) to maintain a sense of a stratified, positivist order. Rather than

reducing the issue to one in which particular factors in the social climate determine these

institutionalized formations, I believe, as Raymond Williams asserts in Marxism and Literature,

that literature stages the process by which these factors dynamically participate in a historical,









material production of a particular mechanism that situates a response to the question of

citizenship within a capitalist-industrialist nation. Using the words of Fredric Jameson, we must

analyze the ideological production of very real structures, an analysis to "explore the multiple

paths that lead to the unmasking of cultural artifacts as socially symbolic acts" (The Political

thiconscious 36). But beyond that, we must explore the cultural practices, literary and otherwise,

that populate a political landscape and set the terms for the imagination of a people who would

remake themselves as citizens of an industrializing, modern, national community.

Realism's projection: Exporting Consumerism, Docility, and Security

If the issue as I have posed it is one of systemically containing into identity a particular

discourse, I propose to look to a period of American history in which controllable, predictable,

mechanized methods of production for mass consumption begin to make headway. In short, I

mark as this period of cultural history a beginning of a particular technology of docility. Amy

Kaplan's argument in what has been continually understood as "American literary realism"

grounds my point:

The renewed interest in history, however, has reconstructed a new social context for
realism as well. Realism is now related primarily to the rise of consumer culture in the
late nineteenth century, in which the process of commodification makes all forms of the
quotidian perform in what Guy Debord has called the "society of the spectacle." In this
context, the novelist' s attempt to represent everyday life is understood either as a way of
staging a series of acts of exhibition for symbolic consumption, or as a means of
engaging in one of the most common activities of modern life: "just looking." (Kaplan 7)

Ontologically structuring human activity on a massive scale to the point that activity is a specific

state or phase in relation to and distinct from "just looking," the cultural logic and master-

narrative envisions human interaction as again a calculus of reciprocity to the point that all

activity can be understood to produce an end--all activity can be now measured commensurate










against others, captured (using the Deleuzian term) for consumption. 5 If the period, as many

literary historians have remarked, does indeed advance this notion of spectacle, of just looking, it

also must be recognized as having a specific role in industrial and capital's advance, managing

mass populations and organizing them into an idea of citizens as consumers.

As law-abiding citizenship becomes the marker through which new forms of

consumption can be mapped and dispersed, such an effort belies the expansive characteristics of

industrial nationalism, a new imperialism that begins in the late nineteenth century for the United

States. By the end of the nineteenth century, the nation would be heavily involved in bringing

freedom to other localities outside the U. S. border, but only after the traj ectory of industrial

nationhood had remade, managed, and made docile its own population. The proj ect of industrial

nationalism can happen only with not just the permission of the population' s imagination, but

also with its willful participation, a process which uses as its key terms measuring the place of

the law-abiding against the role of those who would commit crimes against civilized society.

Both archetypes thus created are still grouped under the genus citizen, not having inherent rights,

but having those rights derived by the industrial nation. If industrial nationalism is an expansive

proj section, any action inefficient to imperial growth is socially deviant, a social illness in need of

a cure.

The product has been given governance over the process, and this shifts over to a de-

emphasis of labor, now governed by consumption. It is in this spirit that Horkheimer and Adorno

note, "[t]he criminal has always been bourgeois--like the retribution which consists in robbing

him of his freedom. [...] Man in prison is the virtual image of the bourgeois type which he still



5 Fredric Jameson' s essay "Reification and Utopia in Mass Culture" recognizes this tendency of instrumentally
reorganizing human activity within a burgeoning system of capitalism as a process of reification. See Jameson, The
Jameson Reader, 124.









has to become in reality" (225-6). What a systematized proj section of justice belies, then, is its

attempt to manage and remake all human labor subj ect to a new type of sovereignty--a radical

reduction of all people as commensurate under the moniker citizen, with codified rights,

responsibilities, freedoms that are granted and taken away at the command of the new sovereign

on a global theater. The emergence of systematized criminal justice in late nineteenth-century

America hinges on consumption as the inscription of citizenship.

The material representations of the cultural imaginary at this juncture exemplify the

precarious theme of justice and social order as inherent in reality -a term I will here use to

describe productions of the public mind, in varying degrees of stability, that make policing a

grounds for narrating and constructing subjectivity, foreground the correctional/ debt repayment

idea of justice/reciprocity for acts marked criminal (for the violator of the law is rendered in

economic terms a negative--owing a debt to the social whole), and deal with a potential for

collective action within the new imperial/industrial-national traj ectory.

The tenor of the strategy of social maintenance on (and into) a national scale is the notion

of realism as a culture of surveillance, but a surveillance intuited by the new Taylorist

automaton, the industrial-national citizen, a citizen of both the nation and the world-as-potential-

marketplace. Critics like Kaplan and Mark Seltzer have applied Foucauldian notions of

surveillance and panopticism to the literary period termed realism as a dynamic relation in which

"the realist participates in the panoptic forces which both control and produce the real world by

seeing it without being seen in turn" (Kaplan 7). The strategy of realism, in order to make an

explanation for these social dissonances or changes in the social fabric, is to make itself as

transparent as possible to immerse itself into the cultural logic. In order to promote a unified

sense of national identity as authentic, realism hides its structure and makes its artistry










disappear--to make itself into documentary, to choose to mask itself in a more epistemological

or scientific approach toward understanding and reasoning human behavior. But in so far as

realism can be described as a conscious movement, a blueprint for representation, the concept of

the realist proj ect presents a distinct paradox: when confronted with the popular, melodramatic,

and sentimental, the professional, disciplined author- the Realist- demonstrates that her or his

work is without authorial embellishment. Invoking the term "realism," thus suggests both

professional authorship and a fundamental absence of authorship. While much of Kaplan and

Seltzer' s analysis is confined to texts commonly categorized as works of American literary

realism, I want to expand the definition of a cultural production that participates in the logic of

an attempt to narrate emergent social antagonisms into collective consciousness, one that defies

the normalized assumptions about authorship that contributes to, indeed advances, social

divisions of labor so as to maximize individualization at the expense of the social whole. Realist

authors recreate themselves as realist authors as professionals, distinct from unskilled labor,

rather than recognizing that those who produce are part of surplus labor. For example, the

popular culture texts of the late nineteenth century--the dime novels and story papers purchased

and read by so many working-class people, the early motion-picture shorts that had been quite

popular in nickelodeons and old vaudeville theaters, or the attractions meant for a general public

like the numerous worlds fairs and exhibitions that wrote technology as the potential utopian

solution to the labor question and social antagonisms--also contribute in significant ways.

Furthermore, I'm not merely asking how did people live their everyday lives in that period and

location, but how a particular way of understanding presented itself as a technology that resulted

in a very real product or commodity-- identity -as it was invested within this new, massive

plan for managing the spaces and relations of production in order to exponentially grow wealth.










However, the literary movement "American literary realism" was itself also intentional in

that is saw itself as an aesthetic (and thus political) response to the technologies that immersed

the literary market with mass-produced texts. At this time, as Nancy Glazener' s work on this

particular literary period Read'ing for Realism notes, professional authorship arises in response

and contradistinction to more popular literature, an effort that seems to parallel a rise in

professionalism in general to distinguish itself from unskilled labor. 6 The aforementioned

paradox of American literary realism thus presents itself with a distinctly political effect:

remaking authorship into a science of observation, the proj ect of realism serves to give the

professional, absolutely distinct from the masses of unskilled labor, privileged access as to what

will count as political. Invoking the term "realism" already links any debate and discussion over

cultural production to the social divisions and political anxieties within and/or against a

proj section of imperial-citizenship, and as Bill Brown remarks in 7lhe Material Unconscious:

"popular culture itself promoted an understanding of its popular potential, envisioning new

modes of affiliation within a new public sphere--and thus prefiguring the desire within the field

of cultural studies, to re-imagine mass culture as genuinely popular" (22-3). It is here where

these high culture narrative proj ects of a realist movement place their stamp on what composes

an official marketplace/nation. Priscilla Wald in Constituting Americans expounds upon the

importance of narrative in this setting: "official stories are narratives that surface in the rhetoric

of nationalist movements and initiatives. [...] Official stories constitute Americans [...because]

they determine the status of an individual in the community" (2). Canonized realism already

intuits the colonizing proj ect of industrial advance by its attempt to dissociate itself from a


6 Burton Bledstein' s work in The Culture of Professionalism analyzes the rise of higher education at particular
Universities across the Midwest as an apparatus to create "professional," distinct from unskilled, general human
labor. See Bledstein, The Culture ofProfessionalism: The Middle Class and the Development of Higher Education
in America, New York: Norton, 1976.










popular production-- professionalism will index all fields of human activity in order to deflect

the question of labor against capital, and thus efficiently secure industrial-national growth.

Further, the anxieties of the period that grappled with the economic and social

antagonisms fragment and compartmentalize the lives of the population. According to Brown,

recreation literally became something deemed necessary to re-create the worker as worker, yet

distinct from what counted as work, and thus in Marxian terms secures the reproduction of the

social relations of production (29). In a similar vein, but on a macro level, the cultural proj ect

compartmentalizes social space, measuring a public space by redrawing its boundaries as

privatizing space advances, the two poles apparently necessary to advance social health and

growth. My proj ect here traverses these spaces and social divisions, high and low culture,

literature versus other manifestations of communal imagination (such as early film and even

planned company towns), work versus amusement, public versus private, as those divisions

come into play in defining what really counts as crime as it is used to bring the population under

one system conducive to commodity culture.

It is no accident that this period sees the rise of what we understand to be the modern

criminal justice system which regulates the spatio-temporal relationship of its subj ects to one

another; the Hield of criminology traces its historical origins to this period as well. The shift in the

legal discourse, as Foucault states in Discipline and Punish, locates both the subj ect-the

individual to whom the laws apply--and justice -the means and grounds for punishment of

offenses--into a spatio-temporal Eixed avatar of the body. Enlightened (i.e., appearing fair and

reciprocal) punishment fits the crime when it enacts its process of establishing a truth of the

transgression upon the body of the offender. The form of power par excellance,~~ll11~~~111~~~ then, according

to Foucault, remains a function of the legislator, and its mode of action, "is of a juridico-









discursive order" (History ofSexuality 83). The body becomes the location through which all

these social divisions contend, the medium through which technical advance is measured, the

field which is targeted for scientific suppression, and in turn becomes as Brown posits, "a

visceral sensation reducing the self to an agentless sensorium" (46). As a result, the discourse of

crime and punishment has both 1) made itself over as one absent of human agency and influence,

as well as 2) allowed a shift in the perspective of citizenship as a function of the spatio-temporal

embodying of the subj ect. Hence, citizenship in imperializing America starts on the micro level,

making the individual human body and its every action the location for compliance with the law,

and the medium through which "debts to society" will be repaid.

That mechanism of systematized justice has been employed to cover the area which has

been debated on what counts as public space. Whether it serves to show the weight of the crime,

to reinitiate and rehabilitate the offender back into the wounded community by making the

society more acutely aware of the offender' s regret and re-education, or serving to deter further

offenses against the community, responses to "crimes against society" and "repaying one's debt

to society"--thus assumed as social violations under an economic vocabulary--have always

occurred on a public stage. But Adam Hirsch points out that in the nineteenth century, "the social

context of rehabilitation was altered subtly: instead of seeking to draw the offender back into the

community, as had the old public punishments, carceral punishments wrenched the offenders out

of a subculture that commentators perceived as inimical to honest society" (45). Michael Welch

argues that earlier in the nineteenth century, during the Jacksonian period, American politics was

characterized by a growing anxiety concerning crime and corruption as a threat to social order

(4). It is this initial anxiety concerning crime and the social order, and what even will count as

public that the country finds itself within as industry developed.









To Be a Criminal

Resulting from this shift in perspective on the relationship between social maintenance

and citizenship, a number of tropes materialize in the cultural public and furnish the social sphere

with a new significance. Gunning points out in her study Race, Rape, and Lynching that this era

saw the rise of the trope of the black rapist, white avenger, white innocent woman, and black

prostitute. But alongside these new codifications (all products of this new imperialism) about

constructions of race, gender, an citizenship lay anxieties of collectivization--of identities

contradistinct from the masses --anxieties about moral turpitude catalyzed by unchecked mob

action and violence. Such representations permeate the texts like Twain's The Adventures of

Huckleberry Finn, Howell s' s The Rise ofSila~s Laphamn and A Hazard of New Fortunes,

Chesnutt's The Marrow of Tradition, Norris' s The Octopus, and Dreiser' s Sister Calrrie. But they

also permeate the texts of other, less well-known authors: Rebecca Harding Davis in Life Among

the Iron M~ills, Mary Wilkins Freeman in The Breadwinners, Allan Pinkerton in his numerous

memoirs of being a "private eye," the nameless house authors of corporate pulp libraries, and

authors like Thomas Edison and George Pullman (in either the technologies they produced or the

company towns they planned.) The texts produced by these authors within the political context

of realism debate what is understood to be public spaces within a setting that increasingly rakes

space as a possible locus for investment and return, accumulation, and privatization.

In the midst of working through his critical analysis of what he would later term both

"some fundamental aspects of the economy" and "the current crisis," Marx wrote to Engels in a

correspondence dated December 18, 1857 the following: "I am writing like a condemned man.

Sometimes until 4 o'clock in the morning." The urgency which goads Marx to work tirelessly is

for Antonio Negri a radical theoretical, and at the same time practico-political, synthesis. The

"work of the condemned," Negri writes, "in the area of theory is an impatient refusal of eclipses










in practice: if this practice is not given [...] analysis must discover it as it occurs, in so far as
analysis brings out the revolutionary subj activity implicated in the crisis" 2.FrNgih


immanent crisis is a crisis for, not of, capital, particularly the "development of communist

subjectivity," and "revolutionary will and organization" (2).

However, the two separate registers in Marx' s description of his critical situation,

between one's work and one's status as condemned, suggest another illumination for politico-

theoretical activity that Marx and others immerse themselves in. Being condemned is, of course,

a juridical situation, and image of the writer condemned is most certainly an apt description for

the relationship between the hyper security state and its constituted radical subj ect. The urgency

of Marx' s work as analyst--a union of practico-political theorist, of writer, of activist--seems

itself a product of an intense awareness of radical subj activity of the self imperiled by the

converging j aws of imperial capitalism (governed by free-market principles, but essentially

indirectly coercing the worker to labor in order to survive) and its various apparatuses (like

coercion through juridical means). For, if these apparatuses work to constitute a new array of

people on the continuum of citizenship-including those who are law-abiding and those who are

marked as deviant criminals, Marx' s insight here recognizes that the proper place of the

analyst--the lived experience of the political-theoretical activist--much more closely resembles

the latter side of that continuum. That is, the critical, radical subj ect is constituted and imperiled

by the very counter-revolutionary structures that have been haunted by collective organization

and radical equality. The critical theoretician, like many of the authors of this study, bears

witness to lived social life within a reactionary wave of intensifying disciplinary structures.

While paying only glancing attention to the "writing of the condemned" may be exceedingly

easy to contemporary audiences, it is the final hope of this proj ect to revisit the histories in which










new structures of justice, citizenship, imperialism, global and local capital, and public versus

private spaces would themselves yield a rich description of radical subj activity within nascent

imperialism and a context for which the notion of "writing as if condemned" makes cultural

sense.









CHAPTER 2.
"THE ROAD FROM THE MINT AND THE PATH TO THE MELTING POT": "REAL"
CURRENCY AND "NATIONAL" CIRCULATION INT HERMAN MELVILLE' S THE
CONFIDENCE M~AN

The different national uniforms worn at home by gold and silver as coins, but takent~~~~ttttt~~~~tttt off again
when they appear on the world market demonstrate the separation between the internal or
national spheres of commodity circulation and its universal sphere, the world market. The
only difference, therefore, between coin and bullion lies in their physical configuration, and
gold can at any time pass fr~om one form to the other. For a coin, the road fr~om the mint is
also the path to the melting pot. [...] The natural and spontaneous tendency of the process of
circulation to transform the coin fr~om its metallic existence as gold into the semblance of
gold, or to transfor~rmt~rt~rt~rt~rt~ the coin into a symbol of its official metallic content, is itself recognized
by the most recent laws on the degree of metal loss which demonetizes a gold coin, i. e.,
renders it incapable of being circulated. (Marx, Capital Vol. 1, 222).


An 1886 installment of one of the more popular detective dime novel serials in the nineteenth

century provokingly titled "Shoving the Queer: Old King Brady on the Scent of the

Counterfeiters" opens in a rural New Jersey tavern frequented by work-gangs engaged in

construction of a new railroad line. The railroad company's paymaster, who also happens to be

the son of the principle investor in the company, seats himself in the tavern for a quick cigar and

respite from the day's cold weather. The tavern's conversation quickly turns to the state of the

community's railroad proj ect, and we learn that the present business troubles of the line arise

from the refusal of a local bank to turn over company bonds. As the day passes, the tavern's

other patrons gossip over the son of the recalcitrant banker, recently released from Sing-Sing

State Prison for passing counterfeit bills. Growing weary of this idle talk the railroad prince

departs, but not before paying the tavern owner by leaving a ten-dollar bill on the bar.

As if on cue, the banker' s prodigal son enters through the tavern door. Berating the

people of this community and the tavemn-owner in particular for their role in his arrest, the

banker' s son shares with this crowd his story since his release: "I have slept in places your dogs

would not sleep in," he states. "I have eaten food your hogs would rej ect, and now in desperation









I have returned among you. This town has caused all my trouble, and of this town I demand

work--no matter how laborious--work to enable me honestly to earn my daily bread" (3). The

barkeeper draws a silver coin from his own pocket in response and places it in the young man's

hand with instructions to leave the tavern and the town. Eyeing the coin and then the barkeep, the

banker' s son indignantly throws the coin back at the bar and storms out of the hotel.

Following this scene one of the patrons of this tavern, a stranger whom none had

recognized as being from the community, rises to ask the barkeeper for change for a twenty-

dollar bill. When the barkeeper offers him the ten given him by the railroad's young paymaster,

along with a five and five ones, the stranger refuses the change on the basis that the paymaster' s

bills are all counterfeit. Exasperated, the barkeeper empties his till with the money given him by

the line' s employees for work of the of the day, only to learn that every one of these bills, the pay

of a day's work for the laborers of this new railroad line, are all bad. The stranger announces

himself as the New York detective Old King Brady, and begins his investigation that will form

the principle plot of the rest of this popular dime novel.

What is the nature of the crisis that occasions this particular detective narrative, of

currency entering and leaving the regime of a public sphere defined by economic valuation? The

astonishment of those within the tavern--those day-laborers huddled around the stove after their

working-day is done--emphasizes the impact of this type of crime that has been perpetrated: as

if by magic, the mere presence of a potential counterfeiter conjures a destabilization of the

economic basis of the community of railroad workers by mysteriously transforming the entire

currency into fake money.

But even more, this scene reveals the chilling portrait--the uncanny negative--of

exchange that arises from the contradiction of money-as-sovereign-measurement for all values.










Our dime novel here first operates within the parameters of agency legible in a market economy:

day-laborer (animated/politicized by a "demand for work"), barkeeper, paymaster and potential

counterfeiter/criminal (the latter two are within the narrative the heirs of capital)--any sort of

human activity registers through a clear sense of where these entities fall in the fable of

exchange. Just as the scene presents a challenge to the legitimacy of the company itself through

the possibility that false bills have been exchanged for real value-creating labor, so too does the

scene comment on the system itself which derives subj ects/agents. In one sense, the detective

novel here illuminates the extent to which "subj activity" is a negation, an abstraction from a

larger, social whole. For while the banker' s-son-as-potential-counterfeiter' s appearance

correlates to the poi soning-of-the-well of economic circulation, the effect of thi s di sease-like

spread of counterfeit bills is that the system which makes legible this negation--market

circulation--breaks down to mere speculation. Everyone's pay in the entire tavern, indeed the

people within this local community, are all now suspect, and any attempt to assert a material

presence--a function of the logic of immediacy within exchange relations--by passing these

bills becomes the means to the unraveling of the evaluative conditions and presuppositions

necessary for exchange in the first place; or, in Marx's wording, the road from the mint becomes

the path to the melting pot.2


SThis fragmentation of a self as deriving from a larger social whole is a key argument in Henri Leferbre's Critique
of Everyday Life, vohane 1, although Lefebvre would locate this effect more within the regimes of production than
the regime of market exchange. Lefebvre writes [T]he fragmentation of labour provides only a negative foundation
for individuality: in this world of production, individuals have an effective self-consciousness, but of a kind which
makes them lead inward-looking lives, centered upon their particular skill and specialization. As regards to the rest
of social and human life, they are conscious of it only in so far as they reject it, despise or transpose it to a level of
unreality. They tend towards individualism" (149).

2 Marx is, of course, referring to the deterioration and oxidation of precious metals in this phrase, a subject to which
he devotes much energy in the Grundrisse. The indissoluble contradiction of money as facilitator of exchange can
be traced to this corruptibility of the material of which money is made. For money to work as the sign of value,
according to Marx, it needs to be emptied of all its physical properties, have no use-value inherent to its material.
Still, its presence must be apparent, it must exist in reality for the purposes of reciprocity. Hence, the very
characteristic of money as facilitator of exchange also catalyzes money's collapse as a sign of value.










The appearance, then, of a potential counterfeiter--a harbinger for what is becoming

economic disease--demands narrative, explanation, detection to solve the crisis. The social

mythos of money has opened up a new realm of critical possibility, a new way to read and

question the emerging basis for establishing communal order. In this sense passing spurious

money is the primary crime committable in a community that bases itself on the dynamics of

investment capitalism.3 Put another way, the potentially criminal act of passing spurious

money--"shoving the queer" in nineteenth-century colloquial terms--defines the limits and the

contours of a legal fiction of citizenship based upon capitalist principles of actors within

exchange.

It is within these parameters that we may be able to view Herman Melville's challenging

final novel, The Confidence-Man: His M~asquerade (1857) as a "failed" detective narrative--a

text which will, like the detective narratives so ubiquitous at the time depend upon an

epistemological promise of repayment, only to confound the assumed reciprocity involved in the

economics of exchange. And Melville's failed detective novel does this by offering us currency

directly as text to be read and decoded.4 Melville's character the Black Guinea instantiates a

production of "common-sense" that capitalism' s market invests into the fibers of everyday life,


3 MOst fitting, then, is the role of counterfeit currency in establishing modern policing apparatuses. Midway through
the nineteenth century, in one small rural community just north of Chicago, a young Scottish immigrant switched his
trade from that of a cooper for Chicago's meet packing industry to seeking out counterfeit banknotes that had been
ubiquitous in the region. Allan Pinkerton soon formed his cadre of professional detectives to detect and then
eliminate these spurious promissory notes (Momn 20-1).

4 One famous scene which starkly depicts this power of money occurs in the exchange between Charlie Noble and
Frank Goodman, spanning chapters 30 through 32. After discussing friendship and geniality, Frank breaks the mood
between the two "friends" by asking Charlie for a loan. Charlie's indignant response-- "Beggar, impostor!--never so
deceived in a man in my life--" is countered by Frank removing ten gold pieces from his coat, "stooped down, and
laid them, one by one, in a circle round [Charlie]; and, retiring a pace waved his long tasseled pipe with the air of a
necromancer, an air heightened by his costume, accompanying each wave with a solemn murmur if cabalistic words.
[... ] 'Reappear, reappear, reappear, oh my former friend! Replace this hideous apparition with thy blest shape, and
be the token of thy return of the words, "My dear Frank" '" (241). Charlie's genial attitude towards Frank returns
with the incantation, and Mitchell points out that it is Charlie's attention paid to these gold coins that reconjures his
former self (60).










only to plant the seeds that such a logic cannot wholly contain and might not even be an

accurate, "realistic" depiction of the social landscape. Thus Melville acutely calls into question

the multiple regimes of value upon which capitalism will establish, develop and secure

sovereignty, order, and the nation-state as global subj ect, all through the hint of a counterfeit

coin. By extending the meditation on the implication of market exchange and the supernatural

power of money in an imperializing economy of speculation, The Confidence-Man as detective

novel (and itself a decidedly "queer" text) is finally a novel about security in an age of the

commodity sign.

Melville's Exceptional Coin and the Affected Value of Currency

As market forces developed their haste to stage an ever-increasing amount of products of

labor (and indeed the humans whose labor power was the source of these obj ects) for the

purposes of exchange, so too did the import of what Marx terms the "general equivalent"--an

obj ect excepted from normal circulation that would serve as the token of universal value and thus

facilitator of all potential exchange. Briefly, in his analysis of exchange Marx demonstrates how

the market-as-the-site for social exchange engineers a relationship in which elements meet and

weigh-in against each other in a judgment of value or worth. This act of commensurability-the

very notion that disparate elements can even be made comparable in a calculus of value--adds a

new dimension to those obj ects: to some degree all commodities contain a common element of

negotiable magnitude. A "supersensuous," transcendent element beyond that obj ect' s own

material features now becomes fundamental to that obj ect' s own "being," and the obj ect-as-

commodity has been apparently abstracted, alienated, from its origins in living human labor

(Capital 144). Within this deterritorialization and recoding of material obj ects into elements and

components of the market, currency or money seems to hold special privilege. If two disparate

obj ects share an element in common and can be made commensurate with each other, then a sign










of that equivalence can be constructed, replacing the material presence of the commodity, in

order to facilitate and develop exchange (Capital 127).

Marx' s philosophy of the commodity fetish offers an explanation for all human

interaction through market dynamics: only as owners of these obj ects-for-the-market do humans

express their will, express themselves as transcendent beings (Capital 178-9). But further, a

general equivalent form manifests this abstracted value as "will" and takes the stage to govern

and facilitate the actions that demarcate this entity we know as "the market." The social quality

of labor, fragmented, effaced from the immediate "presence" (prescience) of the commodity at

the event of the exchange, can best be traced in the form of the money commodity.'

In their difficulties our commodity-owners think like Faust: "In the beginning was the
deed." They have therefore already acted before thinking. The natural laws of the
commodity have manifested themselves in the natural instinct of the owners of
commodities. They can only bring their commodities into relation as values, and
therefore as commodities, by bringing them into an opposing relation with some one
other commodity, which serves as the universal equivalent. [...]The social action of all
other commodities, therefore, sets apart the particular commodity in which they all
represent their values. The natural form of this commodity thereby becomes the socially
recognized equivalent form. Through the agency of the social process it becomes the
specific social function of the commodity which had been set apart to be the universal
equivalent. It thus becomes--money. (Capital 180-1)

The commodity as both the elemental obj ect that defines capitalistic exchange and as the

determinant and governor of all social relations is, of course, the basis upon which Georg Lukacs

builds his critique of reification.6 Yet Lukacs's description of reification gives only passing





5 Ernest Mandel writes "Under conditions of generalized commodity production, social labour cannot be
immediately recognized otherwise than through its exchange against money" (74).

6 LukaCS writes "at this stage in the history of mankind there is not problem that does not ultimately lead back to that
question [of the fundamental nature of a capitalist society] and there is no solution that could not be found in the
solution to the riddle of commodity-structure. [...] That is to say, the problem of commodities must not be
considered in isolation or even regarded as the central problem in economics, but as the central, structural problem
of capitalist society in all its aspects" (83).










reference to the import of money within commodity culture.' Still, it would seem that, as the

passage from Marx hints, the money commodity would hold special place within the reified

social conditions of the nineteenth century: what we understand as money is only identifiable as

such as the commodity itself ascends out of circulation and loses all of its own definitive features

that might possibly give it value-in-itself, and yet this special commodity would seem to hold the

mirror to read social codes under capital development. As Jean-Joseph Goux has noted, money

ascends to sovereign commodity and facilitates and governs the circulatory momentum defining

the market only insofar as it is excepted from the circulation of all other commodities.8 It would

seem that this excepted status from the regime of the commodity in circulation offers special

insight into the concept of reifieation that governs social life.

The difficulty in explaining the phenomenon and function of money within the market is

thus also based on the concept of value as an exception, extracted from value-creating living

human labor, to the point that the market can apparently be self-sufficient and generate value

through the money commodity. This is the criticism lobbied by Lukacs towards certain

"bourgeois economists," who "divine these empty manifestations from their real capitalist

foundation and make them independent and permanent by regarding them as timeless models of


SLukaCS quotes volume 3 of Marx's Capital to describe the reification process as a way that the bourgeois
economists measure the creation of value, or money as the measurement that bourgeois economists use to illustrate
the ways in which capital apparently reproduces itself. Luk~cs brings us to this quote in Marx in particular: "While
interest is only a portion of the profit, i.e. of the surplus value, which the functioning capitalist squeezes out of the
laborer, it appears now, on the contrary, as though interest were the typical product of capital, the primary matter,
and profit, in the shape of profit of enterprise, were a mere accessory and by-product of the process of reproduction.
Thus we get a fetish form of capital, and the conception of fetish capital. In M-M' we have the meaningless form of
capital, the perversion and objectification of production relations in their highest degree, the interest-bearing form,
the simple form of capital, in which it antecedes its own process of reproduction" (Marx, Capital Vol. 3, 384-5:
Luk~cs 94).

SGoux writes "Whether the accession to power is by conquest or by election, it is accompanied by an
excommunication. The sovereign element, as universal equivalent, itself has no equivalent: it is out of the ordinary,
placed for this reason outside the community it governs. It is cut out, substituted, withdrawn. It legislates as an
exception. [...] What becomes the site of law itself [...] is thus what is by nature into the bargain; more than
bargained for, excessive, transcendent" (31, emphasis in the original).










human relations in general. [...] But they do not go further than a description and their

'deepening' of the problem runs in circles around the eternal manifestations of reification" (94-

5). Money, by bringing unlike material entities into relation at the same time, produces a

mystifying characteristic beyond the material by which value is to be judged. Reinserted from

outside into the systems of exchange, the excepted commodity, the universal equivalent, money,

bears the will of the sovereign market and the enforcement of an alien--i.e. external--law on the

contours of everyday life. In this sense, currency excepted from the level of commodities on

exchange not only serves to facilitate that exchange, but also to govern the social body. Money

thus is a strikingly imposing, evident example of what Giorgio Agamben recognized as the

authority of legal and juridical apparatuses because it bears witness to the activity of exception

that defines modern sovereignty itself.9

One of the most exceptional characters on a ship brimming with them -a steamer that

Melville describes as market-like in its "dashing," "fusing" and "pouring along, helter-skelter" of

disparate entities in "the all-fusing spirit of the west," yet also like the reified social stage in that

production has been submerged- is The Confidence Man' s "Black Guinea," a crippled African

American fellow who makes his living by catching with his mouth coins thrown at him by the

passengers of the Fidele. 10 Note, however, the subtlety of Melville's transformation of the Black



9 MOre precisely, Agamben identifies the definitive characteristic of sovereignty as exception that can be more
properly viewed as a type of exclusion but still bearing relation to the rule, a type of suspension of the rule: "The
exception is a kind of exclusion. What is excluded from the general rule is an individual case. But the most proper
characteristic of the exception is that what is excluded in it is not, on account of being excluded, absolutely without
relation to the rule. On the contrary, what is excluded in the exception maintains itself in relation to the rule in the
form of the rule's suspension. The rule applies to the exception in no longer applying, in ,th.? > ,1I ,,-; from it" (17-8,
emphasis in the original).

'o The particulars of this image of the Black Guinea presented by Melville probably resonated strongly with his
nineteenth century audience, for the actions of this character conform in strict detail to the legendary origins of the
entertainment associated with blackface minstrelsy. In Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the 4merican
Working Class, Eric Lott cites a 1867 4tlantic Monthly article, appearing ten years after the publication of The
Confidence-Man, about T.D. Rice's "first" famous performance almost 40 years earlier in Pittsburgh:










Guinea from obj ect of charity to facilitator of economic flow that is itself marked by an excess,

an oversignification:

Thus far not very many pennies had been given him, and, used at last to his strange body
looks, the less polite passengers of those in that part of the boat began to get their fill of
him as a curious obj ect; when suddenly the negro more than revived their first interest by
an expedient which, whether by chance or design, was a singular temptation at once to
diversion [emphasis in the original] and to charity, though, even more than his crippled
limbs, it put him on a canine footing. [...] Still shuffling among the crowd, now and then
he would pause, throwing back his head and opening his mouth like an elephant for
tossed apples at a menagerie, when making a space before him, people would have a bout
at a strange sort of pitch-penny game, the cripple' s mouth being at once target and purse.
(11-2)

The Black Guinea' s activity here revives the failing moneyed interests of the Faustian passengers

and draws all signs of value to him. The Black Guinea as centerpiece of this enterprising vessel,

this ship carrying "merchants on stock exchange" (to which Melville had likened the Fiddle on

page 7), ascends to the point of convergence and synthesis for all the values; part of what defines

the "dashing" and "all-fusing" quality of the steamer is the extent to which passengers have one

and all been induced into participation in Black Guinea' s--money's--game of a market that

generates its own value. Furthermore the Black Guinea' s actions can be recognized through the



There was a negro in attendance at Griffith's Hotel, on Wood Street, named Cuff,-an exquisite specimen
of his sort,-who won a precarious subsistence by letting his open mouth as a mark for boys to pitch
pennies into, at three paces, and by carrying the trunks of passengers from the steamboats to the hotels.
Cuff was precisely the subject of Rice's purpose. Slight persuasion induced him to accompany the actor to
the theatre, where he was lead through the private entrance, and quietly ensconced behind the scenes. ..
Rice, having shaded his own countenance to the "contraband" hue, ordered Cuff to disrobe, and proceeded
to invest himself in the cast-off apparel. .. [Onstage] the extraordinary apparition produced an instant
effect. .. The effect was electric. .. (cited in Lott 18).

The Atlantic Monthly goes on to describe how this "Cuff," who, like Melville's Black Guinea, works aboard a steam
ship as baggage-carrier for passengers, hears the just-arrived vessel signal at the Monongahela Wharf. Anxious to
return to the wharf to eamn his daily wage, Cuff interrupts Rice in his performance, imploring the performer return
Cuff's dress. According to the Atlantic Monthly, Cuff's interruption of Rice's act "was the touch, in the mirthful
experience of that night, that passed endurance" (cited in Lott 19).

11 Salazar associates the sense of "strangeness" aboard the Fiddle to "late antebellum society that made 'confidence'
between strangers an increasingly necessary, yet precarious, condition of economic and social exchange" (55).










principles of exchange particular to capitalism's accumulation of surplus value--adding

"diversion" to charity, becoming at the same time target and purse.

Written alongside this character as the certificate of socio-economic interaction is the

possibility that the Black Guinea is counterfeit; his "wordy" (worthy) character floods the market

of value so as to hasten its collapse. 12 The scene offers as axiom the notion that the excepted

commodity's transcendence into the general equivalent is based on some social, unstable

contract; "real value" is far from intrinsic feature of the excepted commodity. To a certain extent,

the functionality of equivalent exchange and the possibility of the creation of capital surplus

depends upon this confidence game: Guinea's affected role, affected value as centerpiece for

circulation, "more than revives" dying interest and induces excessive participation in a system of

reciprocal exchange which belies the incongruity that would govern market principles

themselves. The hint of something "excessive" in exchange provides a whisper of surplus-value:

something exchanged has been more than what has been bargained for. 13

Unexamined by the orthodox principles of reification, then, is the question as to how

money in this sense induces participation without direct, coercive force. The charges brought by

the former custom-house officer that the Black Guinea is some "decoy" meant to ensnare the



'2 Reader of this novel have traditionally noted the correlation between an economy of words and the governing
context of finance capital in which the novel is set. Dominique Margais is quick to point out Melville's play on
n\ oldsi-n... .,' III.., ri, I -inI this description of the Black Guinea: "Black Guinea, punning on worthy/wordy, calls
attention to himself as 'dis poor ole darky, well wordy of all you kind gentlemen" in a context where 'a good word'
is opposed to 'valuable papers,' hinting at the primacy of oral discourse over the written word" (187). The
abundance of words here seem to play a vital role in the obfuscation of "true value" at this point in the novel, and as
is discussed later offer an endless string of payments deferred rather than realized in the event of exchange. For
critics such as Clark Davis, the correlation between money and words in this texts demarcates "a growing concern
with the transformation of human values into commodities" (43).

13 Wai-chee Dimock's assessment of the novel draws a somewhat similar conclusion, although Dimock does not
locate any "excess" in exchange through the Black Guinea. "[C]onfidence in the crudest sense [...] seems to sigmify
money. Money is what changes hands as confidence changes hands. [...] And yet something less tangible, harder to
account for, seems to have changed hands as well. [...] The loss somehow seems greater, not so easy to calculate"
(191).










(white) passengers on the ship offers as subtext the question "from where does legitimacy of

value come? Who is its guarantor?" Even more, in what sense does the minted coin also bear the

will, the desire, the constructed need of a multitude reconstituted as actors for the market?

Consider "Billy Budd, Sailor," for example (yet another in the Melville cannon described by

critics as being a decisively "queer" text), in which Melville dabbles in the introduction of the

money commodity as it relates to notions of politicized unrest and channels people into a

confidence in market relations marked by a sense of security. As Barbara Johnson and Eve

Kosofsky Sedgwick have noted elsewhere, the axis around which the reader is called to interpret

and judge the events aboard the Bellipotent is based upon the relation between two of the

principal characters-B~illy Budd and John Claggart-- and what each supposedly signifies; for

Johnson, "Billy seemingly represents the perfectly motivated sign; that is, his inner self (the

signified) is considered transparently readable from the beauty of his outer self (the signifier)"

(236-7). Claggart, as Sedgwick, has shown, is defined as the negative of Budd, "depraved

because he is, in his desires, a pervert, of a sort that by 1891 had names in several taxonomic

systems although scarcely yet, in English, the name 'homosexual'" (219). The narrative space of

the ship is abuzz, then, with what circulates between these two key, polarized figures, each of

whom cannot seem to get the other out of his respective thoughts (Budd for the life of him

cannot figure out why "Jemmy Legs is down on him," while Claggart for his part is obsessed

with "getting" Billy); circulating aboard this ship, then, is an economy of desire, a play between

two figures whose motives lie in the relation between the (sexualized) links between signifier

and signified.

But while these critical views point to character motive and desire based on a primarily

linguistic level (the "motivation" between the signifier and what is signified), what we must not










forget are they ways in which the narrative also deploys a material economics of detection to

establish the tempo for an economics of desire. Budd, the "uncommonly handsome," young

sailor impressed into duty aboard the Bellipotent in Melville's novella, catches the eye, and thus

the antipathetic passion, of the master-at-arms of the warship and the chief security officer,

Claggart. Much of the officer' s information concerning the sentiments of the common sailor

come from his corporal, "Squeak," "so nick-named by the sailors on account of his squeaky

voice and sharp visage ferreting about the dark corners of the lower decks after interlopers,

satirically suggesting to them the idea of a rat in a cellar" (40). At once in this passage a mouse, a

weasel and a rat, Squeak is the junction of both information and an "implicit tool" for the

security chief in "laying little traps" to snare the targets of Claggart' s envy. The success of

Claggart as security chief depends ultimately on this agent circulating among the population that

is to be policed.

Awakened in the next chapter by an unknown figure, Billy is invited by this otherworldly

voice to sneak away while his ship-mates sleep to the lee forerchains, "for there is something in

the wind." The voice attempts to gain Billy's sympathies by pointing out that he, like Budd, had

been impressed into duty aboard the Bellipotent. But we learn also of a confederation of

impressed sailors aboard this ship who may need Billy's "help--at a pinch" (42). To secure

Billy's sympathies, the mysterious figure offers Billy "two small obj ects faintly twinkling in the

starlight" (42). Although we never learn the identity of this conspirator, we, along with Billy,

wonder in the next chapter how anyone would be able to obtain two guineas at sea. Whatever the

case, the warship seems to be overseen by some external "martial law"; that is, the occurrences

aboard this ship are not an organic, autonomous outgrowth of the vessel's own society left to

develop itself but are a product of some "outside" source just out of sight, both in economy and










justice. The guineas here are employed in an economy of detection in "Billy Budd," and we

suspect they are offered to him by Claggart' s deputy in order to gage, isolate for the purposes of

measurement and control, monitor, and discipline the ship's population. In this scene from

Melville's novella (telling subtitled "An Inside Narrative"), currency here appears

surreptitiously, attempting to seduce Billy into participation in a plot "in a pinch." Through the

two sparkling guineas in the moonlight, security itself becomes something exchangeable, a

commodity for-the-market like all others, and thus subj ected to the marketing practices systemic

to these methods of exchange. Money thus also, as the market sovereign, bears the seal of a

carefully and intricately constructed system of social desire that has been synchronized, and in

this case, bears the seal of the social desire for security; all desires and motive circulating aboard

this ship are now re-written, redirected within an economics of security. The phrase that

repeatedly haunts Billy, "Jemmy Legs is down on you," ripples with the cross-cutting meanings

that seem to channel all desires--economic (down on Billy as if he were a public stock),

disciplinary ("Jemmy Legs" being the colloquial term for the policeman's baton used to subdue

rioting masses), and sexual (implying the attraction Claggart holds for Billy)--into one that will

lay the foundation for the social bond of the public sphere in which the population will find its

subjectivity under the imperializing nation-state. This is to say that the social order and laws

codified to guarantee it confront the subj ect/citizen in a very similar way as do commodities--as

an alien force emanating from some extra-human origin. For a political system nominally based

in principles of democracy, in which the laws and codes governing daily life are generated and

developed by the equal participation of those who compose the community, the commodity and

the general equivalent that is money threatens to rupture this fable of political autonomy.









It would seem in both of these Melville texts, the Guinea participates in a new function of

the general equivalent--a textualization of the opacity of social relations, or what Jean

Baudrillard in 7he Political Economy of the Sign understood as the sum total of all social

relations--of production and "the reality of the division of labor" (65). In both examples, the

Guinea appears on the stage of the market from a place not legible within the contours of

normalized everyday circulation. Nothing explicit to the logic of reciprocity, commensurability

and exchange should allow for an excess of value to be written into the act itself; yet this

phenomenon--to contain more than signified value common to the market in which it

circulates--is precisely what gives money a special quality. Money moves from being facilitator

of exchange to obj ect of accumulation, and marks a transformation of market relations from

participation underwritten from the centered subj ect of investment capitalism from a complex of

needs to an array of desires engendered to assure no one would willingly want to leave its grasp.

With the emergence of the sovereign coin, the link between social relations and the histories in

which they had been born and crafted has become opaque. Social relations forged out of the try-

works of a living human history that has been deeply submerged, return to make an uncanny

appearance on the stage of collective consciousness through money, but in altered form that now

whispers "you are most yourself when you give yourself over to the market and participate in

capitalist exchange."

The accelerated process of exchange catalyzed by currency effaces the status of human

agency in this system; market, currency, and sovereign power seem a "natural development" of

human history. Human agency has only been readmitted into this system to confirm market

sovereignty, i.e. as a means to securing a naturally ordained "reality." As a concept that acts as

guarantor of new social relations of exchange, security itself circulates on the market, has its use










value superseded by its exchange value, becomes commodity, and has attached to its newfound

existence properties that have become a target of newly engineered shibboleths of need and

desire. By the final chapter, the confidence man and the old man consider one such embodiment

of security commodified--the Counterfeit Detector the two discuss was a common periodical

publication that offered patrons insight as to how real money might be discerned from false

specie. These desires, as have been demonstrated numerous times elsewhere, materialize and

become conscious through some form of narrativization; but just as easily both counterfeit coin

and narrative may act as textualized countercurrency and through material history made legible

ground a now vibrant opportunity to criticism. 14

The Social "Myth" of Debt: Desire and the Narrative Currency of Investment

".Smllthling queer about this dddddddddddddddddarke, depend upon it. (The Confidence-Man 19)

Conductive to the proper function of money, then, is that the general equivalent chosen

from all other commodities must be emptied of all features that are "its own," or characteristics

particular to itself. This is partially behind Marx's obsession with money and the oxidation rates

of various precious metals found in the drafts of the Grundrisse: as metals decay, they falter in

their ability to be representative of an abstract value, of the supersensuous characteristic that

measures and evaluates all commodities.'" In fact, the Guinea coin historically marked a

significant moment in the metallurgical production money as the first coin to be mechanically

reproduced and thus "more perfect," more uniform, and less susceptible to shavings, ragged



14 Fredric Jameson's The Political Unconscious presents this most directly:

We would therefore propose the following revised formulation: that history is not a text, not a narrative,
master or otherwise, but that, as an absent cause, it is inaccessible to us except in textual form, and that our
approach to it and the Real itself necessarily passes through its prior textualiztion, its narrativization in the
political unconscious. (35)

1s See especially Notebook from The Grundrisse's chapter on money, pages 174-86.










edges (as Melville in "Billy Budd" would later describe narratives that strived to present "tr-uth

uncompromisingly told"), and other corruptions common to coins made of precious metals.

Melville's Black Guinea, a commodity without origin, without a readily available history, a "dog

without a master," has had his own features suspended, if not completely emptied: "whatever his

own emotions, he swallowed them" (12). The image is subtle, yet profound in its precision:

Guinea suppresses anything that would be his own or particular to his character in the very same

act in which he becomes the center of circulation. Yet as living reference to an artifact that itself

was a mechanism meant to guarantee economic security, he makes splashes among the waves of

the "confident and cosmopolitan tide" when the possibility that he is himself is counterfeit has

been introduced by the suspecting discharged customhouse officer. It is an authority of judgment

once again coming from outside the parameters of the desiring "community" (read: market) that

is shared by the detective-as-stranger from our nineteenth-century dime novel:

While this game of charity was yet at its height, a limping, gimlet-eyed, sour-faced
person--it may be some discharged custom-house officer, [...] after sundry sorry
observations of the negro, began to croak out something about his deformity being a
sham, got up for financial purposes, which immediately threw a damp upon the frolic
benignities pf the pitch-penny players. (12)

Both prophet and profit in these two different scenes--the custom-house officer represented here

in terms antithetical to the geniality of the pitch-penny game and the Black Guinea in Melville' s

text, and the detective-stranger and the counterfeit ten dollar-bill in our dime novel--speak their

words defining the contours of real versus feigned currency from unperceived locations, out of

the sight but not from outside of shouting distance to those participating in the business-as-usual

activities of the community of exchange. 16



16 As Dimock has observed, speech imposes itself upon, rather than is uttered by, the characters in this novel, but
does not tie this observation directly into the fetishes proposed by and inherent to investment capital. "From the first
scene till the last," Dimock writes, "disembodied voices are made to deliver oblique comments on the actions of the
story. All in all, we have the eerie sense that speech imposes itself on a character--rather than issuing from him-










The effect is one shared with our earlier, disease-like dime novel and reflects the new,

urbanizing cultural logic of paranoia emerging in the middle of the nineteenth century. In many

cases, the Eigure of the confidence man was portrayed in early antebellum America as a benign

trickster whose ubiquitous presence on the urbanizing landscape offered acumen into human

social relations changed by the expanse of the market (Mitchell 53). As the urban centers grew

larger, so too did the implications for social life. As historian Karen Halttunen has noted the

trope of the confidence man that was abundant during this period developed from a specific fear

of contagion: that young people, usually young men, re-locating to urban centers that facilitate

market circulation at a higher rate, would not only be susceptible to swindlers themselves, but

through exposure to such practices, might themselves forget the values taught them in their rural

upbringings and become swindlers of others (5). Fears of disease and contagion--the new poles

of signifieation made legible by the development of human social contact and exchange--are

hereby foundational moments for new apparatuses of security. 1

Against these registers of meaning and value dictated by the logic of accumulation,

Melville's work seems a decidedly "queer" text. This final novel, written by one who ten years

later himself was employed by the city of New York as a customs officer, circulates within the

literary marketplace much the same way as does the Black Guinea aboard this favored steamer;

or put differently the text illuminates the extent to which the cultural activity of reading has

and that in the long run, it makes little difference who this character is. Characters are interchangeable. They are no
more than the medium in which words circulate" (208).

17 As Michael Rogin notes "The problematic identity of the confidence man spreads to the other characters. Just as
Bartleby's language infects the lawyer and his employees, all the characters on the Fidele wear costumes; none has a
self. "A modest man thrust out naked into the street, would he not be abashed? Take him in and clothe him: would
not his confidence be restored?" the cosmopolitan asks the barber (239). He is defending clothing in the name of the
authenticity of wigs, to assuage the barber' s anxiety that men are not what they seem. Men are not what they seem
on the Fidele, but that is not because they have true selves hidden under their clothing. There are only the costumes
with no one inside. Clothes have lost their connection to a self, even to a hidden one revealed by the clues there
provide. Once clothing is cut loose from its moorings in the self, the unembodied interior dissolves. Pierre and
Bartleby imagined a split between exterior and interior. There is only an absent self on the Fidele" (243).










collapsed to mirror the speculative games of traders on the stock exchange. One early review of

the novel from the New York Dispatch dated April 5, 1857 describes his disappointment in

revealing metaphor:

When we meet with a book written by Herman Melville, the fascinations of Omoo and
Typee recur to us, and we take up the work with as much confidence in its worth, as we
should feel in the possession of a checque drawn by a well-known capitalist. So much
greater is the disappointment, therefore, when we find the book does not come up to our
mark.

This traj ectory mapped out by narrative expectations work within the established auspices of an

economy of investment seems itself a nineteenth-century proj ect that weds aspects of the literary

to the specifications of investment capital. Other reviews of the text looked on with suspicion,

sensing the immediate act of reading left something unfulfilled in the exchange between author

and audience. Consider the review from the London Literary Gazette dated April 11, 1857:

It is, of course, very possible that there may be method in all this madness, and that the
author may have a plan, which must needs be a very deep one indeed. Certainly we can
obtain no inkling of it. It may be that he has chosen to act the part of a medieval jester,
conveying weighty truths under a semblance antic and ludicrous; if so, we can only
recommend him for the future not to jingle his bells so loud. There is no catching the
accents of wisdom amid all this clattering exuberance of folly. Those who wish to teach
should not begin by assuming a mask so grotesque as to keep listeners on the laugh, or
frighten them away. Whether Mr. Melville really does mean to teach anything is, we are
aware, a matter of considerable uncertainty. [. .] [T]his caldron, so thick and slab with
nonsense, often bursts into the bright, brief bubbles of fancy and wit. The greater the pity
to see these good things so thrown away.

In the hint of the unreadable (a reviewer from the April 25th edition of The London Illustrated

Times describes it as "indigestible"), wasteful, excessive, affected, inscrutable, inexchangeable,

counterfeit novel, the possible excess that has been psychologically, socially feared defines the

reading experience.

Jacques Derrida' s analysis of another narrative of false currency, Baudelaire' s short story

"Counterfeit Money," illuminates this tendency of dominant business practices to dictate the










literary lexicon. Baudelaire's narrator in this short text seems scandalized when his companion

reveals to him that he intentionally has passed a counterfeit coin to a common beggar; Derrida

posits this exchange between narrator and friend is something that itself creates a feeling within

the narrator--the possibility of (counterfeit) exchange is the source of the "realistic" narrative. I

The narrator/narration "in the age of value as monetary sign" becomes an infinite game, a source

of whimsical fancy which can easily slip into the same bourgeois uncritical awe as the power of

"real" money; currency, counterfeit or no, can produce real capital all by itself, without the aid of

living labor behind it (124). As a result of this literary co-opting of the money-fetish, narratives

such as these introduce an aleatory, incalculable consequence-speculation-of counterfeit

currency.

What takes shape here is the infinity or rather the indefiniteness of the "bad infinite" that
characterizes the monetary thing (tr-ue or counterfeit money) and everything it touches,
everything it contaminates (that is by definition, everything). What takes shape here is the
quasi-automaticity of its accumulation and thus of the desire it calls forth or engenders.
(158)

The Black Guinea' s presence rather early in this novel demonstrates the level to which humans

in this age of value as a monetary sign have been lost in the economic infinite. The possibility of

feigned value in the symbol against real, value-creating labor, creates the speculation that will

generate and advance the narrative. "Reading a novel" becomes a monolithic approach that

presumes the novel itself produces, as Frederic Jameson has noted in the development of realistic

prose, the world, the cadences, and the animations of commodity life a~s reality (152).

Whether or not speculation can in and of itself fuel a "novel" or even be sufficient

evidence to judge a text as a whole, unified entity "text," "novel," "work/product of an author,"



1s "That which happens here is not the content of a story, those events that a narrative relation generally reports,"
Derrida writes. What happens happens to the narration, to the elements of the narration itself, beginning with the
fiction of its supposed subject" (121).










etc., is also at least suspect, as Peggy Kamuf has argued about The Confidence-Man. 19 Precisely

this uncertainty, this infinite open-ended possibility of The Confidence-Man, serves as the power

by which Melville illuminates the tenuous social cohesion and the confidence that holds together

the Fidele's "cosmopolitan and confident tide."20 Kamuf s assessment is that Melville's "work"

does much to lead towards the expectation of a "resolution" as some promise of payment

infinitely deferred. "What is important, indeed imperative, to acknowledge is that this effect of

suspension is no less calculated than the other effect of doubt sustained concerning the probity of

certain characters who may be the masquerades adopted by just one character" (170). This

calculated incalculable opens up in this text, for Kamuf, a potent literary horizon, that which

confounds the insistency fostered by a market synchronized by the event of instantaneous

exchange and instead resides in the aleatory future. For Kamuf, this narrative temporality

deploys a resolution always anticipated but never made present, in infinite deferment in which

literature and the novel dwell, running counter to, counterfeiting, the cadences of a real defined

by immediacy, present, exacting payment. 21





19 Beginning her analysis with the difficulty editors have had in introducing critical editions of the text, Kamuf states
"the possibility opens up that the editors have described not the object 'itself' which they concede remains itself in
question as precisely an 'itself'; rather they have described but a belief concerning that object and shared by certain
mainstream of Melville scholars, the belief that The Confidence-Man is held together by the notion of a self who is
selfsame" (169).

20 For at least one reader, the text's complete denial of absolute knowledge and extreme skepticism is itself a new
source of community bound together by charityv" or "faithfulness." Gustav Van Cromphout argues that the novel
"demonstrates that knowledge of the other is so highly problematic that it cannot serve as a valid determinant of
one's relationship to them. What is needed is a more satisfactory mode of being in the world with others. The
proposed alternative is charity, urged emphatically in chapter 1" (48). Charity, then, for Van Cromphout will
provide the moral axis upon which the rest of the novel revolves (49). Of course, this highly problematic reading of
the novel denies any possible subtext that would even hint at "charity," "credit," or any other feelings describing a
new social relation drawing actors to exchange as exploitative.

21 Kamuf uses the critical language difference, located here specifically in terms of capitalist principles of exchange.
"The Confidence-Man, in this sense, comes to us, if it comes at all, from the future. Its temporality is that of an
always-yet-to-come, and it issues what may be called literature's unlimited credit card" (171).










This view of Melville' s text implicitly relies upon an assumption of the literary artifact--

the "novel"--as a bourgeois institution, fulfilling a specific expectation that accepts, indeed

flourishes under a particular economic philosophy of payment, exchange, value, and capital.

Along these lines, the introduction of the possibility of feigned or affected value, suggested by

the discharged custom-house officer of The Confidence-Man, entrenches the presumed veracity

of value vital to the market' s function not within a system of immediate reciprocity or payment

but instead in a seemingly endless possibility of credit in which exchange can be deferred for a

time. The rupture in this continuum becomes an extraordinary site in which much of workings of

investment capital, and narratives employed in its service, begin to engineer the subj ectivities--

Wai-chee Dimock identifies this phenomenon in Melville's novel as an emerging "economy of

the self' (186, 196)--necessary for surplus accumulation to develop more rapidly. In The Gold

Standarddddd~~~~~~ddddd and the Logic ofl~aturalism, Walter Benn Michaels notes that a new concept of

bourgeois desire as the proper feature of subj activity on the market stage--a new desiring

character--is involved in reassuring the confidence of the economy of investment capital: a

desire to conflate, or at least de-emphasize the two regimes of value, use versus exchange value,

into one value remakes people not into workers but consumers The definition of value

according to this economic ideology, that obj ects have a synchronic, apparent, present value, as

well as a proj ected, exchange value, creates a schizophrenic effect with respect to the obj ect, for

the possibility exists that the obj ect as commodity is nothing more that what it appears to be at

that moment, a feeling that always haunts the constitution of that obj ect as commodity. What if,





22In the novel of naturalism, according to Michaels: "the desire to live up to the look on your face (to become what
is written on your face) is the desire to be equal to oneself," to unify both the use-value and exchange-value which,
"in the logic of the gold standard, is the desire to make yourself equal to your face value, to become, gold" (20)










after all, Michaels reminds us, that dollar bill in your hand is really a "worthless piece of

paper?"23

Not coincidently, stringing together a procession of elements linked together into a line of

extended payment is also precisely a key role money plays in an economic continuum according

to Gerog Simmel: "Every act of consumption initially breaches the continuity of the line of

development. [...] Into this stream, which pervades the strictly separated obj ects and controls

their value significance, money now enters in order to compensate for the threatened

interruption" (124). Money intervenes at this moment to facilitate exchange as narrative--not

only to represent value, but direct the desires of exchange as the social cohesion keeping this

particular social relation together. But to return to our exceptional character, the Black Guinea;

through the offering of an infinite procession of possible payments, of those who could

potentially ouch for his real value, the Black Guinea lays out the sequential pathway to serve a

monetary purpose that will also str-ucture our narrative. When pressed to find someone to ouch

for him, the Black Guinea will name in succession the characters who will embody the persona

of the title character in the novel's following episodes.

"But is there not someone who can speak a good word for you?" [...]
"Oh yes, oh yes, ge'mmen. [...] Der is aboard here a werry nice good ge'mmen wid a
weed, and a ge'mmen in a grey coat and white tie. Oh, find 'em, find 'em" he earnestly
added, "and let 'em come quick, and show you all, ge'mmen, dat dis poor ole darkie is
werry well wordy of all you kind ge'mmen's kind confidence." (14-5)




23The naturalist novel produces an attempt to raise into consciousness capitalism's hand in projecting subjectivity,
for, according to Michaels, in these novels
it becomes, of course, impossible to keep capitalism out--not only because capitalism provides the objects of
fear and desire but because it provides the subjects as well. For every commodity created (on, say, the Chicago
future's market), a desire can be created (in advertising, by art): for every worthless bit of paper that can be
transformed into an object of desire (greenbacks) some impersonal entity can be transformed into the subject
that desires it (corporations). Indeed, one must go a step further and say that the logic of capitalism produces
objects of desire only insofar as it produces subjects, since what makes the objects desirable is only the
constitutive trace of subjectivity those objects bear. (20)










The veracity of exchange lies both in Black Guinea' s presence but also upon his absence, as if

his real value is abstracted, infinitely elsewhere, never to be materialized in the immediate event

of payment upon which the systemic rule of reciprocity has been founded. This seemingly

limitless procession of people who will ouch for him dictates the tempo by which the

proceeding pages will turn, seeking (re)payment in the event of reading and thus fulfilling the

promise governing social exchange.

But what Melville's text offers us here is an illumination to the racialized markers that

had increasingly been a part of the new logic of exchange and development. As Susan Ryan has

demonstrated, the search for a verification of Black Guinea' s identity closely mirrors strategies

employed by other mid- to late-century texts that relied on white-authored prefaces as

testimonials to the truthfulness of individual slave narratives. In this context, white speech "is

less alarming--and perhaps more trustworthy-than black flesh" (699). This formulation

expressly correlates flesh with the mechanical reproduction of the surface of the coin/general

equivalent, and makes legible a formulation for racilaized identities that cannot be extracted from

diachronic, expansive, animated economic logics of "realism," "credit," and U. S.-style

colonialism.

Kamuf s assessment of an indefinitely deferred future through which the act of reading

hopes to exact payment removes "the moment of payment" from the immediate, or at least

independent of time, event of exchange now infinitely deferred. Of course, Marx' s analysis of the

money-form identifies this as a peculiarity and potential problem within the system of capitalist

exchange; money serves here both as the instigator of an exchange that needs to be instantaneous

(for commodities change and alter values--i.e. "age" through time, but money is by its

definition, not subject to such material corrosions, i.e. timeless) and itself a fulfillment of the










promise of repayment. Marx' s initial foray into an analysis of circulation--of commodities

exchanged for money so that a different commodity with a different use-value may be acquired

(C-M-C)--itself illuminates a contradictory foundation for money: money also may be utilized

in a process not just to exchange different commodities (and thus as a mere placeholder for

value), but is vital to a process of exchange in which a surplus of value may be created through

the exchange itself (M-C-M', or money exchanged for a commodity, to be exchanged later for a

higher cost, to buy in order to sell more dear--money has thus been used to increase its own

quantity). The general equivalent, supposed as a squaring-of-the-account, a synchronization of

time remade by the dynamics of exchange value, has also in its own being a sequence, a

narrative of surplus accumulation. Money thus becomes the consummate text of U. S. Literary

Realism, a form emerging in this particular era of American investment capitalism.

Time, of course, holds particular import for Marxian notions of value as the measure of

the amount of human labor socially necessary in commodity production. But for other attempts

to explain the peculiarity of money, time is at the behest of money as an instrument of payment,

as a means to fulfill desires created by certain barriers. Simmel writes in his Philosophy of

Money, "the opportunity of choice which money as an abstract instr-ument provides applies not

only to the goods offered at any one time, but also to the date when it can be used" (213).

Simmel's notion of money as a type of technology depends on the view of value as the extent to

which obj ects resist human possession and consumption.24 Temporal differences become just

one barrier established that measures a commodity's resistance to be consumed, and as such

measures its value; enj oyment and consumption are themselves immediate moments for


24 Simmel writes "We desire objects only if they are not immediately given to us for our enjoyment; that is, to the
extent tat they resist our desire. The content of our desire becomes an object as soon as it is opposed to us, not only
in the sense of being impervious to us, but also in terms of its distance as something not-yet enjoyed, the subjective
aspect of this condition being desire" (66).










Simmel.25 The economic system, consisting of obj ects bound together through an

exchangeability expressed in money, becomes a complex negotiation of acquisition and sacrifice

of values (Simmel 84, 120). Under this view of money and the economy, the engine that drives a

system of exchange that is the market is human desire. "Obj ects are not difficult to acquire

because they are valuable," Simmel writes, "but we call those obj ects valuable that resist our

desire to possess them" (66). Of course, such a view ignores the extent to which notions of need

and desire are themselves products of a systemic method of exchange that mediates, moderates,

and governs all social modes of production and reproduction--as if need and desire are elements

anterior to modes of capitalist accumulation and the creation of surplus value.26 Lukacs's critique

of Simmel's Philosophy of2~oney seems especially useful in discussing this Melville text:

Simmel's analysis of the money commodity is no more than description, rewording the spectral

phenomena that is the effect of money in a commodity society rather than attempting to get at its

root (94-5).

Further still, it would seem that Kamuf s analysis of The Confidence-Man may be

susceptible to a similar critique that itself sheds light on a reified process of reading for an end-

the fulfillment of some social contract for reading "realistic texts" as a return on an investment.

Kamuf s likening to this infinite deferment of payment to a sort of "literary credit card" is a

revealing metaphor, not just for the ways in which it conjures an image of payment disassociated

2 The moment of enjoyment itself, when the opposition between subject and object is effaced, consumes the value.
Value is only reinstated as a contrast, as an object separated by the subject" (Simmel 66).

26 Ellen Meiksins Wood, for example, defines the distinction between precapitalist and capitalist modes of
production as the effective isolation of human workers from property, from the means of production, and even from
the means of their own labor by appropriators for the express purpose of creating surplus labor. By legally
constituting these producers as "free" as opposed to those held in chattel slavery, appropriators who control these
means of production can compel producers to exchange their labor-power for a wage without using means of direct
coercion. The market governs all social relations, "not only a simple mechanism of exchange or distribution but the
principle determinant and regulator of social reproduction." Market forces, according to this view, intervene and
influence the elements of social reproduction creating needs and desires that will guarantee, develop, and expand the
level of human participation in a system geared towards unlimited accumulation (96-7).









from the event of exchange, but for an element which Kamuf ignores in her analysis--the desire

to further immerse oneself in the social situation of the market and its correlative in

accumulation of debt. To say that the cultural practice of composing and reading fiction in this

period resembles the now dominant mode of capital in the later portions of the nineteenth

century is not enough; the economic primacy of investment instead here seems to be the basis for

new cultural practices like reading fiction as a "realist" with an implicit understanding of the

deeply buried yet still volatile conflicts and antagonisms that act as a subtext for the limited

perspective granted citizenship. Kamuf s assessment of Melville' s text as a deployment of a

"literary credit card" thus immerses any activity of reading as a matter of class privilege, for

while the infinite procession of obj ects meant to satisfy the desire for equal exchange defines the

writing process, this economy (of signs) imposes itself on the exploited of the market,

particularly on those who rely on the "marketing" of their own living labor. (We will encounter a

strong example of this at Pullman in chapter 2.) A definition of literature as a system of credit all

too easily masks its counterpart--a system of debt, one which will even assure against the

autonomy for the worker, guaranteeing she or he cannot leave this system by which surplus is

accumulated the more she has been alienated from her own efforts.

The infinite procession of obj ects of "payment" offered by the Black Guinea points to a

fundamentally new paradigm and approach to "reading" the "novel" as artifact, for "reading"

now relies on an essentially bourgeois notion of value: a series of signs placed in sequence is

enough in itself to generate the promise of payment, the fulfillment and successful transmission

of a coherent idea. For it is precisely this procession of commodities introduced by the Guinea--

the gentleman with the weed, the gentleman with a grey coat and white tie, etc.--which unite the

text temporally into a "novel" by compelling the turning of the pages, drawing readers into what










Baudrillard identified as a "series of more complex motivations."27 And this rhetoric of this

procession and offering of future payment serves as invitation to piece disparate obj ects together

which Baudrillard suggests to us will inflate a sense of need and desire in the human remade into

consumer, all in order maximize the purchasing impulse:

It is evident that obj ects are never offered for consumption in absolute disorder. They
may, in certain cases, initiate disorder the better to seduce, but they are always arranged
to mark out directive paths to orientate the purchasing impulse towards networks of
obj ects in order to captivate that impulse and bring it, in keeping with its own logic, to
the highest degree of commitment, to the limit of its economic potential. Clothing,
machines and toiletries thus constitute obj ect pathways, which establish inertial
constraints in the consumer: he will move logically from one obj ect to another. He will be
caught up in a calculus of obj ects. (Consumer Society 27).

On this "favored steamer," and in reading this novel, the expected approach of reading that the

surface parallels simple commodity exchange--commodity sold for money, money purchasing a

different commodity, or C-M-C, gives way to the hint, made even more palpable by the Black

Guinea that the exchange actually generated unrequited, uncompensated value at the expense of

the reader-made-consumer, or M-C-M'. Thus, workers who first come to this system with the

only commodity they have at their disposal will always lose in this valuation process--the same

processes which reworks their agency into that of mere purchasing power--i.e. that of a

consumer, obfuscates the fact that it is value generated by their own living labor which creates

the potential for this surplus in the first place. The quest for equal exchange is itself the system

which draws those even further into debt.






2 Baudrillard writes that the human, through the infinite procession of commodities, "no longer relates to a particular
object in its specific utility, but to a set of objects in its total signification. [...] The shop-window, the advertisement,
the manufacturer and the brand name, which here plays a crucial role, impose a coherent, collective vision, as
though they were an almost indissociable totality, a series. This is, then, no longer a sequence of mere objects, but a
chain of si~-,,I;, a in so far as all of these signify one another reciprocally as part of a more complex super-object,
drawing the consumer into a series of more complex motivations" (Baudrillard, Consumer Society 27).









"It's Everywhere You Want to Be": The Money Fetish and the Development of Imperial
Security

What then is the extent to which we may say narrative represents this inertia to the

market? Of course, the enthusiasm to which the people of the ship defend the guinea reaches an

apex when a Methodist minister threatens the doubting custom-house officer--referred to

unflatteringly as a "Canada thistle" (16)--with violence. From the very beginning of Melville' s

novel, the parameters of a system of exchange through which humans will be engaged has been

established. The first act aboard this ship sees a post offering a reward that will lead to the

capture of some "mysterious impostor." "As if it had been a theater-bill, crowds were gathered

about the announcement, and among them certain chevaliers, whose eyes, it was plain, were on

the capitals, or, at least earnestly seeking sight of them from behind intervening coats; but as for

their fingers, they were enveloped in some myth" (2). Passages such as these are full of multiple

traj ectories; the word capitals a conduit for those directions, referring both to the draw of the

theater advertisement and the draw of money; and it is here in which the novel begins to carve

out a description of what we now recognize as the cite of the contradiction of the development of

exchange, namely the money fetish. The descriptive language Melville deploys to describe a

particular situation- "earnestly seeking sight of the capitals from behind intervening coats,"

"fingers enveloped in some myth"-presents the subtlety of social relations remade under

developed circulation, an ominous countertext offered against positivist exchange in a very real

yet shadowy "myth." The pickpocket (chevalier/gentleman) here is the paradigmatic subj ect of

this ship of "merchants on 'change"-the desire to accumulate the capital embodied in the

money fetish. The "myth" that operates parallel to the masterplot of development is the money

fetish--the sense that money is more than symbol and facilitator of exchange, but the most

powerful and desirable commodity on the market because of its privileged position as governor










and overseer of all commodities. In the rise of "realism" as a literary demand that accents what

Jameson recognizes as the limited perspective of "centered subjectivity," a corresponding

collective logic brings a new social power of "unrealistic omnipotence" into view. Finally money

emerges as the gateway to reality--because if all perspective is limited, or more precisely, the

reliance on perspective is precisely what defines real narrative, money thus is perspectiveless,

and has the air of omnipotence. Imagining a negative is part of the creation of a centered subj ect,

an unrealistic omnipotence met with a realistic perspective. Realism here is situated by a limited,

but centered subj ect. 28 Melville' s scene here oscillates between an emphasis on realistic

perspective--the chevalier eyes seeking the capitals from behind intervening coats--and

transcendent omnipotence--the "myth" which can be revealed through the grasping of that

capital. Desire thus constructed is what names this newly constituted subj ect of the real--a

definitive, finite position within the whole social fabric, to the porthole of social power that is the

money commodity.

The reified identities of actors on the market--with capital as the fulfillment of their

subj ective desires becomes, then, the grounds for the establishment of the newest safeguards.

"[D]uring a chance interval, one of these chevaliers somewhat showed his hand in purchasing

from another chevalier, ex-ofjicio a peddler of money belts, one of his popular safeguards" (2).

The money-belt peddler is both typical and atypical "chevalier," threatening the "myth' s"

collapse by producing a guard against such other chevalierss"; and even suggesting certain

safeguards against the draw of the money fetish necessarily "shows his hand." The narrative


2 (Symbolic texts' entertain a far more difficult and implacable conception of the fully realized fantasy: one
which is not to be satisfied by the easy solutions of an "unrealistic" omnipotence or the immediacy of a gratification
that then needs no narrative trajectory in the first place, but which on the contrary seeks to endow itself with the
utmost representable density and to posit the most elaborate and systematic difficulties and obstacles, in order the
more surely to overcome them, just as a philosopher imagines in advance the objections his triumphant
argumentation will be summoned up to confute" (Jameson 183).










offered by these apparatuses of security whispers that myth across this faithful Mississippi

steamer.

The next peddler in Melville's line of gentlemen "hawks" a different type of safeguard--

narrative tales of various thieves, bandits, crooks who achieved popular icon (read: mythical)

status.

Creatures, with others of the sort, one and all exterminated at the time, and for the most
part, like the hunted generations of wolves in the same regions, leaving comparatively
few successors; which would seem cause for unalloyed gratulation, and is such to all
except those who think that in new countries, where the wolves are killed off, the foxes
increase. (2)

These narratives as commodities of security also indulge in the mythical, or something beyond

the everyday of the real market, to explain human activity transgressing the social order. A sort

of exceptional state--the popular myth--becomes one proper realm of narration. Note that the

limits of subj activities these famed criminals have--fame through their traversal of the borders

of citizenship granted through capitalism--is represented as a penultimate horizon, a dying

practice that is itself becoming legendary rebelliousness recorded as spectacle, emptied of its

politically threatening potential. Crime as spectacle is at once both outside of circulation and in

the process of being included into circulation. And yet this mythical notion of "foxes" contriving

to short-circuit the laws of the market begins our narrative; narrative becomes the direction to

which these deferments will be settled, and the gap or irreconcilable payment, of excessive value

that was itself a product of exchange develops.

The endless procession of obj ects made for exchange establishes a new system of living

social life as ifby proxy: rather than humans in direct social interaction with each other, humans

interact with each other indirectly, filtered through the tranquilized, secure social contract of the










commodity form.29 And this indirect connection with what is "really behind" the Black

Guinea--the endless procession of characters that represents security-as-certainty contingent

upon a distance from realized value--will offer us the vehicle that carries us from the beginning

of this novel, with the advertisement warning of overzealous pickpockets with their eyes on

capitals, through the final pages that culminate in the discourse on Counterfeit Detectors and

Money Belts. The Confidence-Man finally is a novel about security in an age of the commodity-

sign.

This futurity, this expansive traj ectory evinced by characters like the Black Guinea, is

now, for Dimock, the axis around which revolves a notion of selfhood and citizenship in the

world in which investment provides have become normative practice. Dimock writes "The

incorporation of time into the self is crucial for the logic of penalty, we can now see, for what

results is a self 'accountable' not only for wrongdoings already accomplished but also for

wrongdoings he can be counted on to commit" (200). Dimock notes that infused into the logic of

the self and character, as demonstrated by this novel, is the idea of accountability, and is this

notion of accountability--that somehow value within the market can be exacted through the

human material that composes it--which defines the legal fiction of those subjectivities of the

new economic relation. Of course, this idea of credit/debt mapped on to a notion of security

illuminates the privilege granted to some within the legal apparatus that exacts payment through

a calculation of value based on these traj ectories.30 What the character the Black Guinea



29 "([S]igns are sources of security," Baudrillard writes. "A miraculous reality: when we look at the images of this
world, who can distinguish this brief irruption of reality from the profound pleasure of not being there? The image,
the sign, the message--all these things we 'consume'--represent our tranquility consecrated by the distance from
the world, a distance more comforted by the allusion to the real" (34).

30 According to Lukics's definition of the law under reification, "It requires no further explanation to realize that the
need to systematize and abandon empiricism, tradition and material dependence was the need for exact calculation.
However, this same need requires that the legal system should confront the individual events of social existence as
something permanently established and exactly defined, i.e. as a rigid system" (97). For Lukics, this sets up a










textualizes in the money commodity is the tendency to manipulate and compel bourgeois

participation in these exchanges, conceptualizing needs and desires on an individualistic level;

under one logic presented here, security becomes a defining feature of the human remade

consumer, an end to the means.31 Yet the indissoluble antimonies of class struggle present

themselves here: too easily does this animation of social life continue to extract value from its

participants, while further saddling them with ever-accumulating debts. If Mitchell is correct in

his assessment of the text, that The Conjidence-Man "explodes reified subj ectivity--as

represented by the rational static self--through a type of irrational behavior centered in the

body" (54), we need only to consider various classed-challenges to legal structures (the altered

mug-shot from the Rogue's Gallery is just one glaring example) to see how the body becomes a

site of class struggle, recorded within a discourse of legality/criminality, in the nineteenth century.

The corollary of the Black Guinea, his logical development, as the novel implies, is the

cosmopolitan, the Eigure who dominates the Einal half of Melville' s work. This "true citizen of

the world," who is never stranger in any one place where capital has already cut a path. In this

novel, we have moved from a character named after a mechanically produced coin first minted

by the British Empire in 1663 to commemorate the commencement of colonial trade with Africa

(and which also becomes the colonizer' s term for an entire continent-as-raw-material for

imperialism),32 to a model for what can only be described as citizens for a world paved for a


possible conflict between the law and the continuous revolution wrought by capital: yet the synthesis is able to adapt
the law to fit its own ends, all of which reveals the extent the development of the law is based on changing power
relations between classes (Luk~cs 101).

31 Baudrillard posits that needs and desires "are better defined as a function induced (in the individual) by the
internal logic of the system: more precisely, not as a consununate force liberated by the affluent society, but as a
productive force required by the functioning of the system itself, by its process of reproduction and survival. In other
words, they are only needs because the system needs them" (Political Economy of the Sign 82).

32As William Pietz points out in his essay titled "The Problem of the Fetish," guinea was the term becoming
evoking specific spaces/poles along the circulation of the slave/triangle trade. "Guinea," Pietz writes, "was the word
used to designate black Africa--a non-European, nonmonotheist land not covered by the histories and cultural codes










return on investments. Of course, the figure of the cosmopolitan is not without its own rich social

history as John Bryant' s read of The Confidence-Man illuminates: attitudes toward

cosmopolitanism, particularly as it had been decoded as a consumer of "cultures" differentiated

by racial markers, had dramatically shifted between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Whereas the eighteenth century viewed cosmopolitanism as the potential for "political,

economic, and spiritual communion of all races and nations," the nineteenth century cast a

distinctly suspicious eye on the figure. "In Melville's America," Bryant continues, "the character

type was invariably aligned with international merchants, speculators, opportunists and other

such 'operators'" (21). The difference seems to be one of intense suspicion attached to modes of

capital, now with the rest of the world subj ected to the false sincerity that was inevitably linked

to speculation and the creation of surplus value.

Our cosmopolitan--the narrative descendent of our Black Guinea--is represented at the

very first by Melville to be a "taster of races," and presents a different view of race than that

which had been dominant during the apex of chattel slavery in the United States. Rather than

depending upon a synchronous determination, race latches on to the diachronic, "logical

sequence" of narrative realism and a credit/investment economy, more proper fitting for nascent

imperialism in which, as Salazar has argued "character replaces racial identity" (72). In Marx's

descriptive precision of the differences between global versus national markets, gold as the

of old Europe or classical antiquity" (205). The Guinea itself as a text alludes to a host of significant historical
events, evoking colonialist histories and technologies of security as the first currency manufactured by the means of
mechanical reproduction, and therefore especially resilient against debasement by clippings, shaving about the
edges, or other defilements that would render the mental incapable of performing its monetary service. This
mechanized currency, "perfect" in that it would be a uniform general equivalent that would have its own material
uniqueness erased by necessity, would be replaced in 1817 by the sovereign.

Pietz argues that this double meaning of the coin is a "psychogeographical fusion of the term and thus into
consciousness: an interference, dialectic of meaning that locates, literally, the power of the money-form, and its
ontological effect on those who wield it. "It is almost as if between these two psychogeographical poles of the
distant strange land and the new mysteriously monetized Europe, all natural objects with commodity value appear in
a new, exotic light, almost a new field of consciousness" (205-6).









universally recognizable money commodity "can at any time pass from one form to the other."

The dual quality of money, depending upon the sphere in which it circulates, is exactly the

situation of Empire: an imperialism that invests an omnipotence into "global money" while

retaining its hegemonic--in this case white--center of dominance. For while all desiring

individuals have their subj activity defined by and contained within the market, money is by

definition boundless, and under global literary realism, omnipotent when placed against the

limited capitalist subj ect. If human agency can only be made legible as it has been staged

through action-on-the-market, with the minting of the currency that animates human interactions

the nation-state explicitly remakes those within its borders into economic subj ects of it sovereign

power. Through the minting of money, an idea of modern citizenship within U. S. Empire begins

to sediment into its more familiar form. And yet, at the same time, through the contradiction of

money as both place-holder and epitome of abstract value, the coin's possible counternarrative

provides an intense criticism of and a material history for that nascent pattern of global order.33

The body of the Black Guinea at last becomes the Einal mirror for a form of exploitation

that can best be described as a type of ventriloquism. When asked by a curious onlooker "who is

your master, Guinea' s rej oinder "what ge'men want to own dese here legs?" destabilizes the

logic of ownership in a free market: for both under the logic of American slavery and the logic of

American capitalism, ownership of bodily labor is the demarcating principle in operation and

essentially dehumanizes the person into a laboring conglomerate of moveable parts. As a dog

with no master, Black Guinea is still in position where the activity of his legs, his bodily labor,

still needs to be understood via a rhetoric of ownership. Marx reminds us that, under market

capitalism, the only commodity a worker can offer is labor-power; such labor power as a

33 Marx points out that in the money form, we have encountered a technology that at once exerts a global economic
taxonomy, yet at the same time through its means of circulation, erodes that difference. See Capital, 235-6.









commodity can also not escape the rhetoric of ownership. Under both paradigms, the body of

Black Guinea is subj ected to ownership by privileged whites. The logic of capitalism, with its

requirement of free labor, offers no definite alternative to the logic of chattel slavery. Guinea as

currency is something owned by the entire system of global investment capital that turns a profit

on human flesh; the limbs that in part compose his being are merely satellites or obj ects

themselves that can be "owned," or more descriptive of the situation of nineteenth-century

security: of living "reality" via proxy/colonized.









CHAPTER 3.
WAS BARTLEBY BLACK?: RACE, WORK, AND "EMINETLY SAFE" COMMUNITIES IN
THE LATE NINETEENTH-CENTURY INDUSTRIAL CITY

"Gentlemanly Cadavers" and Social Deaths

"Dead letters! does it not sound like dead men? "

The opening to Herman Melville' s "Bartleby, the Scrivener" offers, like many of the

works by that author, a questionable, if not affected, narrative voice. Three paragraphs spent

chiseling out the narrator' s persona of "efficiency," founded on the "profound conviction that the

easiest way of life is the best," do little to quell the conspicuousness of a narrator who by his own

words, "an eminently safe man," is noteworthy for being un-noteworthy. One could easily turn to

the well-rehearsed axioms of formalist criticism that comment on the interpolation of narrative

with these odd, seemingly contradictory, declarations; that the opening paragraphs call both

narrator and the narrative walls of Wall Street into existence, diagetically cordoning off the

spaces of investment and circulation as the eminent domain of nineteenth-century safety. Yet the

narrative voice of eminent safety hardly suppresses, indeed is conspicuous in its suppression of,

an alternative inertia that threatens these diagetic walls of Wall Street; that is, reader and author

alike cannot bury an ambiguous "something else" that roams Wall Street, that haunts the political

proj ect of a narrative of investment capital in circulation.

By the conclusion of this narrative, this business-professional narrator, frustrated by his

former employee's unresponsive behavior, desperately takes refuge in the rumor-made-epilogue

he creates through a philosophical treatise on the relation between life and labor, between

(in)action and occupation. Upon visiting the title character for the second time in "The Tombs,"

New York City's infamous jail, the narrator poses this question in a way that would seem an

exoneration of both narrator and reader from any culpability in the employee's fate.










Unsurprisingly, critical response has attempted to grapple with that possibility for exoneration.

In its asking, the eminently safe narrator poses circulation as the norm for everyday social life;

that human death--Bartleby's death--should be now grasped and understood via a set of "rles

of engagement" for capitalist exchange. For many of these critics, the narrator' s comparison of

Bartleby to "dead letters" would then offer a vexing moment where capital appears astute in its

recognition of its own flaws--a moment of rare perceptiveness for a dim narrator whom is

characterized up until this point by his lack of perception, particularly when reading the class

divi sions of New York. 2

The c onclu si on of the story of Wall Stre et i n whi ch the narrator-b ecom e- soci al -criti c

displays a curious sense of sympathy toward Bartleby evades the difficult, intensely political and

historically specific, and most importantly unasked, questions behind the presumptions about

Bartleby-at-rest: Why has Bartleby been imprisoned? What offense, what state-sanctioned crime

has Bartleby committed? Rather than close this narrative with a critical inquiry into sovereign



SMichael Gilmore's argument concerning the legibility of class antagonism seems particularly astute, and an
accurate description of the "knowledge" of the narrator. According to Gilmore's argument, this epilogue is more
evidence of an increasing opaqueness between classes. "Confinement in the Tombs seems but the logical conclusion
to an economic revolution which segregates and walls off from view the impoverished worker of the citv" (141).

Gillian Brown further articulates an absolute inability for the narrator to make Bartleby comprehendiblee" in the
language of circulation and desire that are available to him. Brown reads the epilogue as this final moment of class
illegibilityv" in which Bartleby has removed himself from the rigors of circulation (and desire) fostered by the world
of Wall Street. Or, more precisely to Brown's point, Bartleby represents an "anorexic" tendency to "wall
off"/protect a notion of the self from the radical commoditization of the human that has been made possible by
mass-scale exchange. "These are the anorexic politics of Bartleby's radical employment of immobility. Stringently
restricting the agoraphobic imagination to its ethic of immobility, Bartleby elaborates death as the best method of
self-preservation. He leaves the world in order to keep himself' (148). The narrator then misunderstands Bartleby,
or, more precisely cannot fathom a removal from the contours of circulation: thus, the closing paragraphs of the
narrative attempt to recuperate Bartleby within circulation: Bartleby's condition seems to the narrator an intensified
experience of human mortality. He therefore commemorates Bartleby's passage as a testament of the human
tragedy, joining the man and the crowd in his closing lament" (148).

2 For example, Naomi C. Reed argues that "Bartleby's sad fate is another lesson in capitalism, one Bartleby himself
never learns. If the seemingly equal exchanges of circulation conceal injustices, we cannot respond to these
injustices by attempting to get out of circulation. Bartleby's fate makes his critique of circulation all the more
pressing, for the story reminds us that a response to the capitalist logic of the lawyer lies not beyond circulation but
within it" (259-60).









rule of law with regard to the new urban order of property rights, labor, and distinctions between

workspace and "home"--distinctions which themselves must also be markers for social divisions

of labor in the imaginary space of Melville' s New York, for those who do not appropriately

participate in those divisions are now officially comprehended as homeless [the German

unheimlich]--this narrator voices a resolution that suppresses those questions by aesthetically

rendering Bartleby within a tragedy of circulation. Bartleby's fate is here, then, a regrettable, but

apolitical, withdrawal from the social sphere, akin to and resulting in "social death."

Conceive a man by nature and misfortune prone to pallid hopelessness, can any business
seem more fitted to heighten it than that of continually handling these dead letters, and
asserting them for the flames? For by the cartload they are annually burned. Sometimes
from out of the folded paper the pale clerk takes a ring--the finger it was meant for,
perhaps, molders in the grave; a bank note sent in swiftest charity--he whom it would
relieve nor eats nor hungers anymore; pardon for those who died despairing; hope for
those who died unhoping; good tidings for those who died stifled by unrelieved
calamities. On errands of life, these letters speed to death. (143)

The sequel explanation leaves us with a narrator contemplating information flows on a mass-

scale bracketed within a discussion of tragic death. Articulated by examples of uncompensated

exchanges, the narrator imagines the "occupation" of Bartleby--that of an employee who works

for an organization that facilitates such exchanges and indeed makes such exchanges on this

massive scale even possible, but who actually works when circulation fails--actually hastens the

scrivener' withdrawal.

Thi s Story of Wall Street" marks an expansive traj ectory of B artl eby-as- soci al -

metonymy (we know, after all, that Bartleby is "not particular") to the point that his story has

meaning on a much broader, collective level; that is, Bartleby has been recast as the tragic hero

of this Wall Street vision of New York, the unfortunate victim of the logical extension of general

business investment practices. The parting grandiloquence "Ah, Bartleby! Ah, humanity!"

synthesizes labor, poverty, property, and human interactions in a market and investment










economy into an apparently coherent narrative of professionalism, vagrancy, crime, and

communal living modeled on efficient, "functional" social relations.3 Forty-one years after the

publication of "Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street," the normalization of social life

as circulation, the associative spectacle of "dead letters sounding like dead men," would

uncannily warrant new practices of state intervention in the struggle between capital and labor.

In this story, written in 1853, Bartleby has been arrested for inactivity, immobility made

discernible as a deviation from normative behavior by the actions of those around him which

have been proscribed as properly participating within, and directed toward, a specific mode of

production. Ralph James Savarese has likened this "standstill" inactivity of Bartleby as

symptomatic evidence of the traumas associated to the stresses of industrialization (20), a

symptom that is made even more peculiar when located directly at the heart of where unending

progress seemed most likely in the promise of capital--namely Wall Street (21).4 In this light,

we must importantly note that the story of Wall Street is located, as Barbara Foley has described,

within a period of intense labor antagonism in New York, which "suggest that Melville' s

imaginative process in 'Bartleby' required him to blend events from the early 1840s with events


SReed's argument, then, counters the positions of Georgio Agamben or Gilles Deleuze. While Agamben argues that
Bartleby's abandonment of work emphasizes a human potential beyond the constrains of capital exchange and
circulation, Deleuze takes a similar approach that Bartleby's formulaic resonances ("I prefer not to" and its
complementary "I am not particular") il\ nuesi all speech acts" and creates a vacuum, an empty space that cannot be
comprehended under the aegis and logic of capital's epistemological identifiers: "Bartleby is the man without
references, without possessions, without properties, without qualities, without particularities: he is too smooth for
anyone to be able to hang any particularity on him. Without past or future, he is instantaneous" (74). While I tend to
think this resolution of Bartleby is dangerous--to assign Bartleby a positionality outside the confines of fathomable
human history will of course not satisfactorily challenge, indeed even gives license to, the actions culminating in the
sovereign reign of capital--I'm not satisfied in Reed's argument that capitalism offers its own contradiction and
thus the tools by which such structures could be dismantled.

SSavarese writes "Bartleby seems uncannily to perform Benjamin's idea of a traumatic [dialectical] standstill, and
he seems to do so at the very center of what Marx called 'value in motion': namely, Wall Street" (21). While
Savarese's argument looks at medicine, then, as it developed alongside industrial modes of production in the
nineteenth century as a way to mollify workers for the new modes of capitalist production, I am more interested in
what this text presses even further--namely, an escalation of matters to assure participation in the modes of
production that have an implicit understanding of what counts as productive work in the mid to late nineteenth
century.










occurring later in the decade and perhaps into the 1850s" (89). Likewise, David Kuebrich has

attempted to place the narrative within the transformative years of the middle Nineteenth

Century.' Looking at this text as an artifact of a moment animating these new modes of human

interactions allow Foley and Kuebrich the opportunity to discuss the underlying ideological

assumptions of property rights, an emerging sense of public space apart from private space, and

new cultural logics of living in rapidly expanding urban centers of capital production.6

However, as much as this narrative should be viewed within the historically significant

events of Astor Place and other intensified class antagonisms of the middle century metropolis,

so should it also be located within the social logic manifested in celebrations of technologies and

ideologies that forge a unidirectional communal order by sanctioning "official" action,

movement, and expansion at this time; this is to say that if we are to take this as a "Story of Wall

Street" we must also take into account the traj ectories that will mark the shorthand realism" of

spatial and temporal investment, expanse, growth, hauntingly prone to being read in reverse.

Precisely the same logic underlying technological developments of circulation and investment of

the period--most notably the telegraph of 1844 and its descendent the stock ticker of 1867--

register Bartleby's presence as Wall Street worker a "gentlemanly cadaver" (the narrator's own

term for Bartleby), an uncanny specter of industrial and investment capital, a "social death" for a

character that is industrially tone-deaf. If Michael Gilmore' s final assessment of this narrative is

correct--if the inability to read across class lines is the determining feature of living in this new

5 The story's primary concern is not to explore underlying economic structures, mirror the mid-century New York
workplace, or advance a particular ideology. Rather, Melville practices what might be termed a "short-hand realism"
that assumes or merely intimates the existence of certain economic conditions so that he can concentrate on his chief
interest, which is to disclose the underlying ideological assumptions (that is, the largely unconscious modes of
thought and behavior) that new conditions engender" (Kuebrich 389).

6 "Bartleby's conduct becomes less freakish and idiosyncratic, more plausible and historically significant, I would
argue, when seen in the full context of contemporaneous struggle and discourses over property rights" (Foley 96);
"Underlying all these ideological themes is the more fundamental assumption of the primacy of the rights of private
property--the right to unlimited acquisition of property and its unregulated use" (Kuebrich 398).










city --then not only is a this story about the particular cadences of industrial progress and

efficient advancement into one coherent social whole, but it is also a narrative haunted in its

"reality" by the negative presence of its title character, the invisibility of lower and working

classes, the homeless, unheimlich, uncanny unsuccessfully repressed in the social space of the

urban nineteenth century." Bartleby, understood by this logic has been deemed inactive,

unprogressive, and conscribed to "social death"; the walls of Wall Street may be littered with

ticker tape, but not enough to bury the traj ectories of the counternarrative of investment capital.

Thus, inasmuch as it is a narrative of the alienation of one worker on Wall Street,

"Bartleby, the Scrivener" is also a study of the work of narrative to submerge important political

and historical questions of community into the synthesizing proj ect understood as Nineteenth-

Century Modernity.9 But how can this novella help us comprehend those Nineteenth-Century

urban industrial locales for capital production? More to the point, how can this narrative

encapsulate the changing relations between humans that mark the spaces of social "life" through

its negative, a social withdrawal? In what ways do the introductory words of our eminently safe

narrator delimit a new conceptualization of urban social space, teeming with a life struggling

against the endeavor to remake it according to the contours of circulation? Or, to echo Kristin

7 Melville's tale is concerned, then, with the invisibility of one class to another. [...] One even gets the impression
from the story that this invisibility extends into the structure of the city: in other words that the marketplace has
imposed its 'rationality' on the disposition of urban space" (Gilmore 140).

SThe German term unheimlich refers of course to Freud's description of the uncanny, but my intents are also partly
to link it to Freudian interpretations of urban anxiety, most notably found in Civilization and its Discontents.
Whereas Freud argues that urban social relations direct desires in a way acceptable to "civilization," my attempt to
describe an urban malaise follows more closely Marxian definitions of alienation--that is humans alienated from
their own labor. Such a concept may be built into Freud's description of the uncanny as a "vague notion of
automatic-mechanical-processes that may lie hidden behind the familiar image of a living person" (135), or the
haunting uncertainty of the distinction between the inanimate and the animate that confounds any attempts at
suppression (138).

9 MarXiSt interpretations of this narrative originally focused on this allegorical quality of the narrative to depict
individual worker alienation. "Defined only by his job and becoming increasingly dissociated with it, Bartleby sums
up the worker's plight. Given systems committed to profits the only alternative to working under such dehumanizing
conditions is death" (Barrett 379).










Ross' s words in the description of the events of the Paris Commune, in what ways can we

conceive of urban space as revolutionary space (4)?

In an analysis of human interaction and responses to the stimuli fostered by the new

urban experience, Georg Simmel writes of how the nineteenth century began to change the

parameters for what a concept of "social death" would mean. According to Simmel in "The

Metropolis and Mental Life," while the eighteenth century cultivated freedom from the social

ties of politics, religion, morality, and economics, the nineteenth century promoted not just

individual freedom, but furthered the concept of individuality, a complex outgrowth ultimately

connected to a division of labor and of qualities "which make him unique and indispensable but

which at the same time make him so much more dependent on the complimentary activity of

others" (30). The creation of a "metropolitan type"-discernible as a "calm rationality"

mediating the discrete shocks on the consciousness offered by the street that brings multifarious

elements into relation with each other--results from a reaction to the pace of new urban stimuli

characteristic of market relations. 10 The "purely obj ective," calm, rational, efficient sentiment

necessitated by the money economy parallels, and is advanced by, the ways in which the city

engineers a "community" by forging new social interactions and relationships. But while this

correlation of market to community seemingly ignored relations of production, Simmel quickly

asserts a very Marxian point about commodities in circulation: the modern city-as-market

remakes social space by bringing the products of work into contact with unknown producers.

Social discourse is mediated not through subj ective interactions between people directly, but

through the "obj activity" of the products of labor disembodied from their origins in human living

O" The metropolis has always been the seat of the money economy because the many-sidedness and concentration
of commercial activity have given the medium of exchange an importance which it could not have acquired in the
commercial aspects of rural life. But the money economy and the domination of the intellect stand in the closest
relationship to one another. They have in common a purely matter-of-fact attitude in the treatment of persons and
things in which formal justice is often combined with an unrelenting hardness" (Simmel 32).









labor, reassembled as commodities via the tendency of the market to weigh commensurate those

disparate phenomena. Furthermore, the industrial urban centers ground a new politics, a social

struggle in which "seller must seek to produce in the person to whom he wishes to sell ever new

and unique ends," a remaking of the agency of urban citizenship as dependent upon this

circulation (41-2). This new social complex is staged in the urban locales which will bring scores

of people into new contact with each other and will thus for Simmel become the ground for the

"resistance of the individual to being leveled, swallowed-up in the social-technological

mechanism" (30).

But must we recognize the only possibility for community through an increasingly

repeatable, systematized, commodified set of behaviors? Jean-Luc Nancy in The Inoperative

Conanunity offers another possibility by which community can be comprehended and realized.

Nancy's axiom, that community is dependent upon people "producing in essence their own

essence as their work, and furthermore producing precisely this essence as conanunity" would

seem to point to a recognition of what Marx would call a realization of the social quality of

humans bound together by the nature of their capacity to labor. Community here would depend

upon a willingness recognize human inananence as a social quality, and would thus be dependent

upon a reaffirmation (not an alienation) of labor to the human (Nancy 2-3).

The antagonism of social life/social death that is expended in the dialectic between

"eminently safe" narrator and his "gentlemanly cadaver" would seem to exemplify a struggle in

forging community. Efficiency governs the lawyer-narrator' s worldview to the point that we see

a transformation of the day into the "working day," run like clockwork. Not only does the lawyer

recognize the actions of his two operatives Turkey and Nippers based on the circadian

increments of the working day--"l2 o'clock meridian" repeated so insidiously as is the more










familiar "prefer"--but the narrator/manager is able to coordinate the efforts of these two workers

that will become the basis for that working day: "Their fits relieved each other like guards. When

Nippers was on, Turkey was off; and vice versa" (112). When describing the work activities of

those in his employ, the eminently safe narrator is exceedingly proud, almost giddy, of the

systematized, mechanical, demeanor of Turkey and Nippers. The narrator gleefully celebrates his

technical innovation of social engineering--his own law copyist office; in other words, the

workshop as his own creation is a wonderful invention for the ways it recedes his employees as

operatives. The makeover extends beyond the workshop and into the contours of daily life to

portend a social innovation of an entire operative community--a "working day" that renders a

"day" subordinate to industrial work. This celebrated project of social engineering in the

reterritorialization of public space would be an ideological endeavor particular to many other

cultural proj ects of late Nineteenth-Century America.

The concluding paragraph of dead men recognized as such by being excised from social

life remade as living-for-circulation, then, would seem to draw attention to a contemplation of

the meaning of community solidified by such processes. What strikes through this epilogue is not

Bartleby's death, but how this "eminently safe man" animates the new disciplines of life. 1 The


11 Gilmore begins to analyze these new relationships as becoming more and more regimented too, disciplined,
objectified. "Obligations, generally between strangers were now purely contractual and traditional habits of
sociability yielded to a new emphasis on regularity and discipline" (134). Dan McCall has argued against such
interpretations of this narrative based on textual evidence that suggests the narrator attempts to view Bartleby and
sympathize with him beyond those objectified relationships of the capitalist city; therefore, McCall argues, a Marxist
read of the class antagonisms of the novel are somewhat dishonest. But, as Rosemarie Garland-Thomson argues,
precisely the failure of any sympathy to have any real transformative effect establishes the axis around which this
narrative revolves: 'Bartleby' supports [a] connect between modern commerce and benevolence in that
benevolence is the primary discourse the narrator turns to in his desperate attempts to contain the threat Bartleby
presents to his ordered world. [...] In the end, benevolence collapses under the weight of its own contradictions,
throwing the narrator into crisis and casting him back upon a desperate and evacuated religiosity rooted in the
apprehension of suffering. Benevolence thus ultimately yields the narrator despair rather than comfort" (786-7).
Like this argument by Garland-Thomson, which ultimately posits that the tragedy of the narrative is in the failure of
benevolence, Reed argues against McCall in that the problems posited by new social relations of the urban setting
transcend individual cases: "The motor of capital is the exploitation of the worker to produce surplus value and thus
does not depend in the personal characteristics of any one individual" (248).










supposedly profound revelation thus voiced ripples with the possibility of being swallowed-up

by the social-technological mechanism. The epilogue is haunted by a subtext that mediates the

singular entity--worker--to a social life remade the proper medium for the practices of

investment, exchange and accumulation. That Bartleby has apparently fallen victim to one

"social death"--i.e. withdrawal from the rhythms of labor exchange--due to a previous

occupation does little to draw attention away from the submerged rumble of the countertext:

another kind of occupation--the politically charged term describing a reclamation of the spaces

of work--leads directly to another kind of "social death"--confinement and imprisonment in an

legally-sanctioned human warehouse.

The narrator's reluctance to utilize legal force and coercion to compel Bartleby to

conformity remains for readers today, 150 years subj ected to the cadences of industrial and post-

industrial discipline, a confounding, if not frustrating moment in the text. Significantly, when the

lawyer decides to remove his offices "closer to City Hall," a suggestion of the law-as-last-resort

enters into the narrator's consciousness:

Something severe, something unusual, must be done. What! surely you will not have him
collared by a constable and commit his innocent pallor to the common jail? And upon
what ground could you procure such a thing to be done?-a vagrant, is he? What! he a
vagrant, a wanderer who refuses to budge? It is because he will not be a vagrant, then,
that you seek to count him as a vagrant. That is too absurd. (135)

The hint of Bartleby as being consigned by the narrative of the law as vagrant is abruptly

dismissed by this calm, rational, safe narrator. As apparition, or "gentlemanly cadaver,"

Bartleby flutters in and out of a legal definition, traversing the limits of such a definition

precisely because he refuses movement; however, this is exactly the offense Bartleby is charged

with and the reason why he is removed to the Tombs. 12 The apparent contradiction in the legal


12 Central to Naomi Reed's argument is this haunting presence of Bartleby which will attest to the "spectrality of
capitalism, its complex intertwining of the material and the immaterial" (251).










logic of the narrative is not further contemplated by our lawyer-narrator, yet the implication

suggests that movement is not quite the defining offense in the crime of vagrancy; the offense is

more a disinvestment of labor from the socially prescribed exchanges that govern investment

communities, a disinvestment that deeply troubled elites in both North and South, particularly in

the years following emancipation. To ask a question as I do in the title of this essay-"Was

Bartleby Black" is not to ask if the character described and animated by Melville personifies

racialized tropes, but rather is to bring to the forefront the historically specific anxieties of the

nineteenth century that were at the heart of struggle of work, community, capital, and how it was

rendered "eminently safe" by a disciplinary apparatus determined to police the way people acted

to exchange their disembodied labor. Perhaps alternately, while the question "Was Bartleby

Black" cannot reasonably be answered with to any definitive end beyond speculation, the

implicit question, "is the eminently safe narrator of this tale white?" can be more to the point.

For emerging from these negotiations of specialized labor, technological-cultural innovation and

the proj ect of forging public spaces made safe is an axiomatic proposition about race and

citizenship.



The national railroad strikes of 1877 mark a moment which would be the genesis of a

new and unsettling possibility for social revolution grounded in what would become part of how

people began to perceive a "labor problem." Signifieantly, as Carl Smith has pointed out, the

trouble was not seen as that existing between labor and capital, but apparently labor alone, and

the class of people composing its ranks an enigmatic catalyst of the moral outrages that took

place across the Atlantic earlier in the decade in the uprising in Paris of 1871. One of Allan

Pinkerton's first novels, titled Communists, Strikers, Tramps, and the Detectives, put the









situation succinctly, advancing an unambivalent perception of a fluid workforce on curious

relation to the current of community: "The effect of tramping upon any person," Pinkerton

writes, "is to make him keenly arrive to the fair generalship of living without work, and existing

when work cannot be secured. He cannot but become a sort of guerilla on the outskirts of

civilization" (45). In viewing those of the laboring classes whose relationship to industry was

more "portable," "fluid," and "unstable," and thus confounding the fixity that increasingly

defined "work" within the ascendancy of industry at the end of the century, Pinkerton' s

description of these masses fuses romantic nostalgia with a palpable fear of violent struggle;

somehow, the compulsion to sell one's labor has had no affect on these "tramps," these warlike

apparitions both mobile and peripheral to "civilization." Indeed, in the beginning of Pinkerton' s

novel, the narrator describes the anxiety pervading the bourgeois and propertied classes in this

century: "Revolution was nowhere; revolution was everywhere." The mobility that defines this

class's marginality, the sense of being out-of-synch temporally and spatially is symptomatic of

the withdrawal of labor.

However, the development of industry and investment capital depended upon its creation

of a flexible and fluid workforce of unskilled labor. As David Montgomery has argued, the

advancement of "labor saving devices"--the presence of which helped create and advance new

modes of production--promoted the need for "casual labor." Exemplifying the extent to which

portable common labor had increasingly occupied an oblique relation to official accounts of

work--implicitly proscribing the relation of work to "society"-Montgomery demonstrates how

economists at the time began to rewrite the contours of a culture-at-work that held new emphasis

on professionalism and discipline. Censuses taken in the Einal three decades of the nineteenth

century began to track and classify the population's engagement in the market of labor-exchange










by i ndexi ng occup ati on s vi a sp eci fic divi si ons of the economy. The se sectors--agri culture,

professional and personal service, trade and transportation, and manufactures and mechanical

and mining industries--all did have common, unskilled laborers working within them, but were

not really distinguished from the general heading of "professional service" because, as

Montgomery has noted in quoting Margo Conk, common, unskilled workers were "assumed to

be in a personal, almost feudal relationship to an artisan (a mason's laborer, for example), or to

the society as a whole (a road laborer or day laborer)" (59). The perpetuation of portable,

unskilled labor suggests that the advent of "labor-saving machinery" facilitated a thorough

casualization of labor--work disembodied from the human via a more thorough

commodification process, now completely at the disposal of the drive to large-scale production.

By 1877, the advent of technological progress embodied in the introduction of machinery would

necessitate new measures for subjugating the masses made identifiable as such through the new

possibilities offered by the social quality of living labor. In many of the labor outbreaks of the

final quarter of the nineteenth century, frustration was often taken out against the machinery

itself, apparently seen as the source of much worker oppression.

According to Pinkerton's text the dangers that the refugees of the Paris Commune

presented to America lay in an alternative model of the relation of labor to a community. 13

Measures to further secure appropriate labor discipline began to populate the American


'3 As Kristin Ross points out in her study of the 1871 Paris Commune titled The Emergence of Social Space:
Rimbaud and the Paris Conunune, reaction to the commune typically condemned what was seen as the violence
exercised by the communards. In fact, it was the regular state army at Versailles that initiated the bloodshed. When
on March 18, 1871, working-class Parisians (many of them women) seized control of the city and barricaded
themselves within it in response to the resolution of the Franco-Prussian War for which the working people of Paris
were made to pay, the state army at Versailles responded with terrible force. Among the casualties of the attempt to
destroy the commune were twenty-five thousand, mostly working-class Parisians, a larger number than any of the
casualties of the battles of the Franco-Prussian War "or than any of the pervious 'massacres' (for example, the
Terror) in French History" (Ross 4-5). Still, the popular strategy to historicize the Paris Commune by portraying the
Communards in such an intensely negative light as perpetrators of uncontrollable violence was most definitely
employed by American writers, Pinkerton's text just one example.









landscape after 1877. Citizen associations such as the "Law and Order League" and others

formed in reaction to the ubiquitous news accounts of rowdy and intoxicated youths--many if

them explicitly marked as immigrant agitators--taking arms against the police (Adelman 2,

Buder 33). The general strike that had begun with a labor action by the workers of the Baltimore-

Ohio Railroad touched off numerous clashes on a national scale. On one level, the growth of the

"labor problem" itself turned on an axis of assumptions about a new community faced with

aggressive, invasive ideas. Popular presses rushed to publish stories that hinted of a threat of a

"Red War" being waged within and against the whole nation, and began outcries for national

counterrevolutionary measures (Buder 35).

In Chicago, these citizen boards and "Law and Order Leagues" did more than give new

emphasis to the enforcement of laws prohibiting the sale of liquor to youths by targeting the

violating saloons (Buder 33); they also spearheaded a campaign to increase the firepower of the

police. Business leaders sought to protect free enterprise from violent dissent such as those that

occurred in 1877 by increasing the militia-like capacities of local, state, and federal law

enforcement. "The elite, normally bearish on government spending," Thomas Philpott writes,

"lobbied for more National Guard Armories and more federal forts (Fort Laramie was too far

away). And the city's most prestigious reform group, the Citizen's Association, gave the police

department money to procure a small but modern arsenal 'for city defense'" (44). Among the

purchases were 100 new handguns and rifles, four 12-pound Napoleon cannons with carriages

and caissons, some lighter artillery pieces, one ten-barrel .50 caliber gatling gun, and 1000

rounds of ammunitions. All of this was given by the Citizen' s Association with the

understanding at the time that it was to be used where "the public order" was threatened, a

shibboleth that betrays the extent and scale of the class antagonism that permeated a delicately










balanced social sphere. Noteworthy is the fact that most of these Public Citizens Associations

were not "public" in the strictest sense; instead, numerous industrialists who had lost property in

the outbreaks composed these boards. Chicago's Citizen's Law and Order League, for example,

had as its chair George M. Pullman, president and founder of the corporation that produced,

among other things, the world-famous Pullman Palace Cars. 14

As a businessman, George Pullman was widely seen as one who dealt with his employees

as a capitalist-citizen best should--that is, obj ectively, without emotion, efficiently. Beginning

his career in physically elevating properties when threatened by floods or other water-type

damages, Pullman soon turned his attention to luxury railroad travel when, on a particularly long

and incommodious business trip, he decided to himself that surely people would pay top-dollar

to travel in comfort. As the Pullman Palace Car Company grew, each employee, from the

manufacturers through the conductors and porters that manned the cars themselves were strictly

monitored, their tasks closely regimented. In order to ensure this efficiency, Pullman hired

"spotters" who traveled on the cars in disguise to test the honesty of each worker (Buder 17).

Not all attempts to stem the supposedly rising red tide relied on overtly militaristic

measures. The events of 1877 spurred in industrialists like Pullman a concern for the causes

behind labor agitation (Buder 35). Such an impetus would propel Pullman to begin in 1880

construction of a model company town that would distance his workers and his factories from

the "evil influences" offered by the metropolis and the "rioting immigrant neighborhoods" (qtd.

in Adelman 2). When asked much later what drove him to build his famous company town

located far enough south of Chicago, Pullman responded


14 In 1877, Pullman himself had been invited to participate in a lawsuit to recover damages that resulted from the
violence of 1877. In the Pullman Company Archives at the Newberry Library in Chicago is a letter from the
Pennsylvania Railroad Company, inviting George Pullman to participate in a lawsuit against Allegheny County in
Pennsylvania for the destruction of property from damages done on July 21 and 22, 1877.









such advantages and surroundings made better workmen by removing from them the
feeling of discontent and desire for change which so generally characterize the American
workman; thus protecting the employer from loss of time and money consequent upon
intemperance, labor strikes, and dissatisfaction which generally result from poverty and
uncongenial home surroundings. (qtd in Adelman 2)

The planned industrial-company town targeted labor unrest by entombing it into a narrative that

dictates labor' s appropriate relation to the social whole. Underlying this solution of the new

industrial town-without-a-labor-problem is an argument about the meaning of belonging to that

community--of what the meaning of "citizen" is under industrial production. No longer will

community be concerned with or derived from principles associated with democracy--

representative or direct--or of autonomy in which social groups will be forged in order to

determine their own course of action based on common interest. In Pullman's solution,

"community" is rendered in terms industrial efficiency--a maximization of the possibility for

surplus wove into the fabric of everyday life and social discourse. Pullman's response to the

unrest symbolized in cultural consciousness by the Paris Commune and 1877 was to create a

commune for capital; citizenship invoked by the extent to which human labor has been

thoroughly disembodied, commodified. Citizenship in this mercantile-democratic society, or

more precisely, mercantile democracy has been redefined to the extent that workers are stripped

of their living labor--undead (living-dead) automatons interacting in eminently safe discourses.

This new "suburb" just south of Chicago would be completely engineered and managed

by the company underwritten by a philosophy that "practical philanthropy"--that workers would

gravitate to a locale in which everything was "made beautiful for them" by their employers--

would both solve once and for all the troublesome "labor problem" and also generate steady

production of capital." The Pullman Company's plan called for full corporate ownership of


15 According to Adelman, "Pullman believed his 'practical philanthropy' would generate profits with fewer
problems from his workers who were selected from those ethnic groups which he considered the least undesirable"










everything in the town--from the arcade-stores at which residents could purchase food, to the

libraries where the inhabitants could borrow books, to the churches where the residents could

collectively worship, to the individual tenement houses where his workers would live, to the

utilities by which citizens could pipe heat and water into their residences (Pullman tenements, all

brick structures, were some of the first to use running water and gas lines--but each had to be

purchased at an extra cost beyond rent), to the parks and recreation clubs where his workers

would spend their down-time. In addition, Pullman's plan called for close screening processes

for potential inhabitants; specifically, Pullman intended to populate his model town with workers

selected from ethnic backgrounds which he considered the least undesirable (Adelman 2).

Revealingly, according to the logic of Pullman, the combination of the emerging Hield of

landscape architecture with corporate community management and selective living practices

would need no overtly repressive apparatuses common to its larger metropolitan brethren for

controlling the masses--no police, no courts, no lockups or penitentiary system. 16 Pullman

famously bragged that law professionals-police officers, lawyers, judges--would not Eind much

work in his town. The legal arm of the Township of Hyde Park, in whose jurisdiction the town of






(2, emphasis added). This selective process in effect makes the corporate town of Pullman a narrative negotiation of
the "labor problem," and defines what would count as the "labor" element of the equation--cultural consciousness
begins to view "labor" officially, as I will argue, as "white," primarily of Northern European descent.

16 The field of landscape architecture had emerged at this time as a microcosm of the effort to engineer space for the
social purposes that married aesthetics with utility. Nathan Barrett designed the parks, the laws, the walkways, the
winding paths that would mollify the citizen-worker of Pullman, making him appreciate his surroundings, and thus
lifting his mind from and removing the temptations of the more vulgar tendencies associated with urban locales. The
discipline was also used in other urban-planning situations, most notably by Barrett's contemporary Frederick Law
Olmstead in New York's Central Park and even at Chicago's World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. Andrew
Silver and David Scobey have pointed out the expressly political means exhibited by Olmstead in his engineering of
urban landscapes. Olmstead, in designing Central Park "in part to mute social divisions and quell working-class
resentment, [attempted to hide] class boundaries just as he attempted to hide the boundaries of the park itself. The
goal of Central Park, in Olmstead's own words, was to 'completely shut out the city"' (Silver 111). See also Scobey,
Empire City.










Pullman fell, generally left the company town alone, its services deemed wholly unnecessary by

this "revolution in social engineering.""

Pullman presented not just a solution to the historically specific contentions that seemed

to be brought up by disgruntled labor, but also an alternative model for what would count as

politics in civil discourse. Pullman, visited often by journalists from foreign countries, became a

global experiment in the question of community, democracy, and sovereignty within the era that

seemed hopelessly doomed to unending class antagonism. While most reporters enthusiastically

heralded the successes of Pullman to the rest of the world, including Carroll D. Wright who

would soon become the nation' s first Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor, less sanguine were

the submerged reports from the worker-citizens themselves that would bubble up to the surface

of popular consciousness in numerous letters to the editor of local periodicals (most notably the

labor-friendly Chicago Herald) and an 1885 report by Johns Hopkins economics professor

Richard Ely, who argued in Harpers Magazine that the Pullman method more closely resembled

feudalism than democracy.

To a certain extent, Ely was correct, as the town of Pullman must have appeared to the

economist a feudal hamlet in which all subj ects were in absolute deference to the lord of the

manner, the community's sovereign power. Still, I argue that Pullman offered a distinctly

modern idea of community through industrial production and a civic duty-to-work that promoted

the principles of a commodity market, centered around a mechanism for mass production--the

industrial factory--and governed by the principles of the maximization of surplus value through

human activity (no matter how difficult the national economy would get, Pullman demanded that


17 As Buder has pointed out, "by and large the township left the model town alone, which was exactly what George
Pullman wanted. It provided the use of Hyde Park's courts and jailhouse and the service of two policemen, one
working the dayshift, and the other the night" (110). Even after the town had been successfully annexed into
Chicago in 1889, the company still more or less dictated community policy.









the town return at least a 6% profit). In this sense, the planned company town of Pullman more

closely resembles the community that Marshall Berman has described as a "Faustian tragedy of

development," that "aims less for immediate profits than for long-range development of

productive forces, which it believes will produce the best results for everyone in the end" (74).

The community begins to resemble the same industrial machinery that sought to coordinate

previously fragmented and competitive forces, and, in so doing, this technological state presents

a new model for capitalist sovereignty and authority. Manipulation of communal relations now

were in service of the need for progressive, unending development (Berman 74). By 1894, an

even greater contestation to the sovereign authority of capital that had taken place in 1877

centered around this model town of Pullman: the national strike by the American Railway Union

headed by Eugene Debs protested not just the company's lowering of wages while maintaining

rental costs (and other "cost of living" prices the company/town controlled) in the midst of a

severe depression, but also challenged this specific idea of capitalistic hierarchy in the politics of

community-buil ding.

Most importantly, Pullman represents an enlightening study of the both role of governing

apparatuses that monitor the social interactions of civil society at the apex of industrial capital's

power and the ascent of capital's sovereignty through its creation of "an eminently safe"

community. Pullman exemplifies the emergence of a radically different sovereign power that

polices and governs these newly constituted communities and those citizens within in a way

evocative of what Walter Benj amin (and later Georgio Agamben) would identify as the state of

exception. Briefly, the modern state is defined by an exception, or rather the role of the sovereign

to govern, to create and preserve social order according to laws under which that sovereign body










is not subj ect. Is For Benj amin, the state of exception turns on the role of violence as political

potential, and a legal system that will constitute and define the state serves to "erect, in all areas

where individual ends could be usefully pursued by violence, legal ends that can only be realized

by legal power." Banning the use of violence on the individual level, while simultaneously

deploying it for its own ends, this exception becomes the face of the modern state. It is precisely

this exception which will be distributed throughout the landscape, codified into an apparatus of

professional criminal justice--a legally-sanctioned violence--that will advance to assure that

social relations are at all times, (eminently, conspicuously) safe; for violence wielded for

individual ends "threatens [the state] not in the ends it may pursue but by its mere existence

outside the law" (Benj amin 281-2). In Pullman, in Bartleby, we get the historically specific

collapse of the distinctions between the principles that will organize communities and the

principles that will superordinate the production of industrial capital; the specter that walks Wall

Street, the specter that haunts late Nineteenth-Century Chicago, is the implicit knowledge that

the promotion of the legal fiction of mercantile democracy cannot erase the contradictions of an

industrializing nation-state.



's According to Benjamin, tlus exception is grounded in the legitimacy of violence: "since the acknowledgement of
legal violence is most tangibly evident in a deliberate submission to its ends, a hypothetical distinction between
kinds of violence must be based on the presence or absence of a general historical acknowledgement of its ends.
Ends that lack such acknowledgement may be called natural ends, the other legal ends. The differing function of
violence, depending on whether it serves natural or legal ends, can be mostly traced against a background of specific
legal conditions" (280). A legal system will try to "erect, in all areas where individual ends could be usefully
pursued by violence, legal ends can only be realized by legal power. [...] Law sees violence in the hands of
individuals as a danger undermining the legal system. As a danger nullifying legal ends and the legal executive?
Certainly not: for when the violence as such would not be condemned, but only that directed to illegal ends. It will
be argued that a system of legal ends cannot be maintained if natural ends are anywhere still pursued violently. In
the first place, however, this is mere dogma. To counter it one might perhaps consider the surprising possibility that
the law's interest in a monopoly vis-g-vis individuals is not explained by the intention of preserving legal ends but,
rather, by that of preserving the law itself; that violence, when not in the hands of the law, threatens it not in the ends
that it may pursue but by its mere existence outside the law. The same may be more drastically suggested if one
reflects how often the figure of the 'great' criminal, however repellant his ends may have been, has aroused the
secret admiration of the public. This cannot result from his deed, but only from the violence to which it bears
witness. In this case, therefore, the violence of which present-day law is seeking in all areas of activity to deprive the
individual appears really threatening, and arouses even in defeat the sympathy of the mass against the law" (281-2).










With the advances of technological reproduction, large-scale conflict seemed to have

been made an inseparable part of industrial society. As Montgomery has argued, the collective,

coordinated effort of thousands of hands in iron and steel manufactures wrought new

organizations of social labor wherein "technical expertise and intense physical exertion were

applied to ever-more imposing furnaces, rolling mills, molds, and transfer machinery, all of

which were legally owned by other men" (44). At the hilt of this example of newly-forged

community-as-soluti on-to-urb an-problems of crime, vi ce, and ri ot (and serving to constantly

remind the place of the worker in this new style of social organization) stood Pullman' s main

factory; watching guard over its territory and mediating all social interactions of the community

would be the immense and intimidating factory clock tower--the monolith of the industrialized

working day by which all worker-citizens would synchronize their lives so as to be "better, more

productive neighbors." By bringing these masses into new social relations, these immense,

imposing str-uctures of industrial production served as important locations for class identification

and mobilization to action (Montgomery 160). Extrapolating from the refrain from Marx' s The

Poverty of Philosophy, if "the handmill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam mill,

society with the industrial capitalist," the factory clock tower gives you society with the

industrial soverign. Marx' s demonstration of the process through which living labor is

commodified via the creation of factory-time and the working day most explicitly laid out in

chapters 7 and 10 of Capital, 19 Offers insight on our example of the significance of the factory



19 This important passage reads: "The value of a day's labor power amounts to three shillings, because on our own
assumption, half a day's labor is objectified in that quantity of labor-power cost half-a-day's labour. But the past
labour embodied in the labour-power and the living labour it can perform, and the daily cost of maintaining labour-
power, the latter is its use-value. The fact that half-a-day's labour is necessary to keep the worker alive during 24
hours does not in any way prevent him from working a whole day. Therefore the value of labour-power, and the
value which labour-power valorizes [vertwertet] in the labour-process, are two entirely different magnitudes; and
this difference was what the capitalist had in mind when he was purchasing that labour-power. The useful quality of
labour-power, by virtue of which it makes yarn or boots, was to the capitalist merely the necessary condition for his
activity: for in order to create value labour must be expended in a useful manner. What was really decisive for him










clock tower governing community relations in Pullman: not only did it serve to remind

inhabitants of the subordination of their everyday lives to the shifts of the workshops, but with

every passing minute also advances the alienation of one' s labor into a commodity with

exchange value under the logic of mercantile democracy.

This proj ect in social engineering for the purposes of efficient industrial production and

maximization of capital must be noted for how it built community by an "orderly arrangement of

race relations"--or the extension of social segregation of "Black" from "White" that had been

inherited from the antebellum division of labor. Indeed, as Montgomery has shown, a racialized

discipline was, if implicitly, attached to the emergent rhetoric of factory efficiency and scientific

management (177). In response to Chicago' s problems that seemed particular to the period, the

town of Pullman not only prohibited alcohol and coordinated patriotic celebrations, but also

attempted to bar people whose ethnic or racial backgrounds did not fit the company's idea of one

who would be a model citizen/worker. As certain skilled industrial jobs were used in effect to

define whiteness, Pullman as a planned town also would be a white communal solution.20

Scholars cannot agree on the extent to which Pullman worked to make his industrial

utopia a thoroughly "white" one. Philpott posits that Pullman expressly forbid African


was the specific use-value which this commodity possesses of being a source not only of value, but of more value
that it has itself. This is the specific service the capitalist expects from labour-power, and in this transaction he acts
in accordance with the eternal laws of commodity exchange. In fact, the seller of labour-power, like the seller of any
commodity, realizes [realisiert] its exchange-value, and alienates [veraussert] its use-value. He cannot take one
without giving the other. The use-value of labour-power, in other words labour, belongs just as little to its seller as
the use-value of oil after it has been sold belongs to the dealer who sold it. The owner of the money has paid the
value of a day's labour-power; he therefore has the use of it for a day, a day's labour belongs to him. On the one
hand the daily sustenance of labour-power costs only half-a-day's labour, while on the other hand the very same
labour-power can remain effective, can work, during a whole day, and consequently the value which its use during
one day creates is double what the capitalist pays for that use; this circumstance is a piece of good luck for the buyer
but by no means an injustice towards the seller" (Capital, Vol. 1, 300-1).

20 "Afro-Americans were rare in the trade. Nineteenth-century descriptions of black workers in machine shops
usually portrayed them in one of two ways: as ingenious mechanics performing amazing repairs with hand tools in
small rustic shops, or as helpers who assisted white machinists in preparing and setting up large, cumbersome, and
often greasy work, usually in southern railroad repair shops" (Montgomery 198).









Americans from taking up residence in his company town; Janice Reiff takes a less absolute

stance. Evidence does allow for the possibility that African Americans were not banned outright

from living within the town. However the fact that the numbers of African Americans living in

municipalities adj acent to Pullman, especially Chicago, had been on steady increase in the Einal

two decades of the nineteenth century, yet hardly any record can be produced of African

Americans living within the planned town, suggests that something was afoot. What our primary

obj ect of interrogation should be here is not (yet) segregation in the letter of the law-- we will

not Eind any codified laws of the town of Pullman that will say "whites only." Instead, our

obj ective here is the interrogation of the way that "culture" writes into "common sense" the

antagonisms and anxieties about work and social life with a particularly racialized tone--a read

of "culture" that is more an analysis of the unwritten codes through which people identified their

social lives and forged communities, and in so doing allowed for a system of citizenship that

contributed to racialized segregation and systematized social death.

Most of the type of work done by the factories owned by the Pullman Palace Car

Company had commonly and traditionally been performed by "white" labor, or more accurately

labor that had become growingly comfortable with identifying itself as "white." If African

Americans were employed by the company, their position would usually be that of a sleeping car

porter or possibly even a worker for the town's Hotel Florence (named after Pullman's

daughter). Interestingly, over thirty years after the town had been founded, it would serve as the

epicenter for A. Philip Randolph's struggle to organize the first African American labor union in

the nation in the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. Still, the idea behind the planned town as

solution to the conflict between labor and capital, in which skilled factory work rendered as a

means towards achieving industrial harmony--a modern "civilization"--must be questioned for










the ways in which it makes an argument about race. A contented operative, one who could be

best affected by the aesthetic and utilitarian methods of this social engineering proj ect, would not

be the typical inhabitant of the new industrial metropolis like Chicago--a metropolis now

teeming with immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe and newly emancipated slaves from

the South. A contented, docile operative would be ambitious, industrious, apparently unlike those

who shirked steady work and "proper" appearance, demeanor, even homelife itself (as apparently

occupied Chicago). In short, this narrative of labor and community--of skilled work, factory life,

and "secure" social relations--must be understood for the ways in which it creates a new identity

for citizenship based on "an occupation" for the role race will play in the nascent industrial

nation.

Arguments about the role of racialized identities within this period pose an idea that

racial identifiers served as a marker that would accelerate social divisions of labor; rather than

challenging the sovereignty of capital, nineteenth-century racism emerges as a way to stave off,

comprehend, and resolve competition among general social labor, or as a way to reinstate some

agency within a system of absolute subjugation. 21 Borrowing from the works of Herbert Gutman

and George Rawick, David Roediger argues that a concept of "whiteness" as a racialized trope

emerges within industrialism when workers will write "Blackness" as something that "could

permanently embody the pre-industrial past they scorned and missed" (97). All of the anxieties

and ambivalences concerning time-management, lei sure-time/work-time/home-time divisions of

daily life, bridled sexuality, and work in general is channeled, according to this argument, into

21 This idea of race affecting class struggle and solidarity is one of the central themes to W.E.B. DuBois's Black
Reconstruction. Taking as his subject the idea that chattel slavery debased "free labor" that had come to be identified
as "white," DuBois's history of the nineteenth century illustrates organized labor' s vexed position concerning work
and race. On the one hand, many leaders of organized labor disapproved of racial equality and interracial solidarity
among working peoples for an admittance of equality would have meant, according to their arguments, increased
competition among the working-classes. On the other hand, allowing racial distinctions to debase labor itself was
compromising labor' s power by threatening to level all labor to the position of absolute subjection (17-31).










racist perceptions and practices. Roediger cites the examples of the outbreaks of 1877,

particularly looking at the epicenters of St. Louis and San Francisco, as examples that might

have began as integrated struggles of labor against capital, becoming opportunities to vent racist

anti-Black and anti-Chinese sentiment (167-8).22 Manifested in Pullman's management of social

relations by imagining who would be the contented, chosen workers to form this utopian

community-for-capital, late nineteenth-century American culture reveals its assumptions about

race, docile social labor, legality and sovereignty, official citizen and "criminal outlaw": Pullman

constructed his model industrial town immediately within a period of anxiety about non-work

that had a distinct racialized tone within the national discussion that had as its key terms "Black

Vagrancy," which had particular currency in developing industrial centers, and its corollary in

the "Convict Lease System." This would be the ground upon which a modern Criminal Justice

System would build its lexicon.

In the cases of many Southern communities who wished to secure industrial productivity,

the trope of the Black Vagrant was invented to warrant the use of coercive, disciplinary force in

order to assure constant labor application to the creation of industrial capital. But many of the

fears about race and labor were not confined to the South. In fact, as Amy Dr-u Stanley has

shown, the situations of the impoverished, casualized workforce in the North and the freed slaves

in the South came to be seen in strikingly similar, if not reciprocal, terms (1 19). At the very same

time reformers in the North were writing anti-vagrancy laws to prevent idleness, the white South

had enacted the infamous Black Codes to target freed southern blacks (Stanley 126). The Black

Vagrancy Laws of the South and the micromanaged social engineering solution of Pullman

22 NOVertheless, Roediger observes a new attention on the part of labor to integrate its forces to the extent that was
unmatched in the antebellum period. Beginning his study into the post-bellum years of labor' s new-found desire to
integrate political action, Roediger speculates that "the Civil War and emancipation removed the ability of white
workers to derive satisfaction from defining themselves as 'not slaves' and called into question self-definitions that
centered on being 'not Black'"(170).










narrate the same tale about race, labor, community, and sovereign power.23 Chicago in the later

portions of the nineteenth century, particularly the period bracketed by the Paris Commune and

Chicago's own urban conflagration of 1871 and the Pullman Strike of 1894 offers one snapshot

of the struggles within industrialization. "The period between the fire and the Pullman Strike

witnessed the emergence of an outlook," writes Carl Smith, "in which reality, city, and disorder

became closely related, if not interchangeable terms" (8). The late nineteenth-century industrial

urban centers like Chicago speak a brand of realism haunted, the hint of the echo that escapes the

synthesis of capital relations, that which like a "guerilla on the outskirts of civilization," to revisit

Pinkerton, remains the ever-present negative of a mercantile democratic possibility.

Toward the "White City": The Operative Community

The fire that destroyed much of the property of Chicago in 1871 did little to slow the

city's rapid growth; indeed, the successful emergence from this particular conflagration furthered

the opinion that this once little-regarded outpost on the western banks of Lake Michigan best

exemplified American communal resolve when confronting the new questions presented by

living in an industrially-dominated world. The popular press from numerous other U.S. cities

reported the events and aftermath of the Chicago Fire with unprecedented zeal, and thanks to the

availability of new technologies that could communicate news over long distances the ways in

which media reported on the fire did much to build a network of communities concerned with

"national" events (Smith 29). Chicago seemed to hold much of the spotlight in this era, and it

became the conduit for an ambitious discussion on the perceived problems of modern "reality," a

site to navigate the new antagonisms of industrial social life.

23 As Bryan Eustice Wagner has observed, the field of legality that defines the contours of the social relation in a
community revolving around industrial production and capital accumulation "is a question, in other words, of
understanding how the ideology of universal citizenship and the practice of state-sponsored racial violence came to
coexist and even depend upon one another for their existence. [...] It is, finally, then, a question of the formation of
the modern racial state" (19).










Despite the profound economic destruction wielded by this fire, the city's growth-rate

accelerated after 1871. By 1890, more than one million called Chicago home, making it the

second-largest city in the United States in a phenomenally short period of time--the fastest

growing city in the western hemisphere in this period despite the dearth of jobs immediately

available to its citizens and the subsequent homelessness problems the city periodically faced

(Smith 101).24 Such growth was not always received enthusiastically, for by 1890 Chicago's

teeming masses had gained for the city an international reputation for "colorful wickedness" and

labor radicalism. Such an incredible influx of people in close proximity seemed to foster new

relationships with a specifically political end. The social structure of the urban metropolis

accented, made immediate, a strained divide between those who had modest-to secure Einancial

means and those who were struggling for a living wage and an eight-hour workday. Economic

depressions coupled with a sense that these relations of production increasingly impinged upon

the social customs and traditions of everyday life for the exhausted common laborer, would

periodically bring these antagonisms to a boil, and the extent to which the poorer classes fought

earned the city a reputation for instability (Gutman 73, Drake 21). Conditions in Chicago

exemplified to the international community a "Western Progress" laced with kindling for large-

scale catastrophe.

Up until 1871, Chicago's burgeoning population created the need to quickly and

inexpensively house the cheap labor upon which much of the city's prosperity would be driven.

Many of the poorer communities consisted of little more than shabbily-constructed shacks made

of wood. Such neighborhoods were prone to large and uncontrollable outbreaks of fire; in the

unusually dry summer of 1871, more than two dozen fires broke out in these communities that


24 Smith notes that often economic times would be so poor that Chicago's homeless would every-so-often be forced
to live in the city's police stations.









consisted of buildings made of board (Smith 19). When a particular fire broke out in one of these

poor communities on October 8, Chicago's elites looked on in horror as this blaze spread with

such vehemence that it jumped bodies of water and in no time took hold of buildings considered

to be "fireproof." The offices of the Chicago Tribune and homes of those same elites were

among those that proved not to be safely beyond the Gire's wrath (Smith 21). The perception of

the tragedy and loss centered not on the relatively low number of casualties (roughly 300 people

died in a fire that completely destroyed over two thousand acres of heavily-populated residential

areas), but instead on the destruction of private property. Stories of catastrophe emphasized that

the fire destroyed eighteen thousand buildings, and measured an economic cost that stretched to

almost two hundred million dollars, or roughly a third of the city's worth (Smith 22). The

literature of the fire hardly touched at all on the losses and the hardships of the lower-classes and

ethnic neighborhoods that this fire leveled (Smith 52). Apparently, the city presented a new

concern to the economic prosperity of the moneyed classes at least as much as it expressed a

concern with general public safety.

The prevalent view of the fire held the teeming masses of Chicago responsible for the

economic destruction wrought by the fire. Some accounts went as far as to suggest the fire had

been set by foreign, working-class inhabitants of the poorer districts that had been influenced by

the events in Paris earlier in the year (Smith 55). If Chicago were to be rebuilt, more attention

must be paid to ensuring such a disaster would not happen again. Because the economic

destruction of property was seen to have constituted the real disaster of the fire, a new proj ect of

imagining the social space of the city--one which saw the relatively close proximities of rich

and poor communities as a maj or concern--was deemed necessary to handle the urban

"disorder." Chicago after 1871 occasioned a new large-scale attempt forge order by quelling









these antagoni sms--recreating social space as that which can be grasped as "eminently safe."

Under this logic, Smith writes, Chicago stood in new global significance, "an epic moment that

made it pure, heroic, and modern" at the same time (35).

The substantial increase in the number of immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe

fueled in no small part this anxiety and fears about labor unrest. In 1850 half of Chicago' s

inhabitants were immigrants, fifty years later 80% of the city was composed of immigrants and

their children, most from locations other than Northern or Western Europe. Other western cities

saw similar increases in immigrants from Eastern and Southemn Europe; Detroit, for example,

counted 77% of its population in 1880 as children of at least one foreign born parent

(Montgomery 49). By 1880, an influx of "newer" immigrants from Eastemn and Southemn Europe

began to change the social landscape of the city with a steady stream into the Metropolis of the

Midwest for work (Philpott 117). The area on the western periphery of the business and wealthy

district in Chicago became referred to colloquially as "Little Prague." In nearly every expanding

city, immigrant labor--largely from those not from Northemn and Western Europe--composed

the maj ority of the manual and unskilled, casualized workforce.

The flood of living labor which facilitated the production of capital propagated larger

unemployment numbers, and a common view emerged that identified many of the modern social

problems of the city were due to "idle hands." Some advocated for an increase in services and in

employment opportunities as "a guard against trouble," for it was apparent that idleness was a

primary source of the wild behavior of urban disorder (Smith 73). Still, as Herbert Gutman has

recognized, the press of these cities themselves opposed such efforts, and even the relief agents

held those who were jobless in low regard as belonging to "the degrading class .. who have the










vague idea that the world owes them a living" (qtd. in Gutman 86). According to the very agents

who supposedly served them, unemployed workers were shiftless and lazy.

This disdain for the unemployed and unskilled workers in post-conflagration Chicago

was evident in the priorities the city placed on constructing houses for its citizens put out by the

catastrophe. By placing high priority on building single-family houses for Chicago's skilled

workers, rather than quickly constructing temporary barracks--which was sometimes done for

common, unskilled workers--the city posited an argument of what it would mean henceforward

to be a legitimate inhabitant of an urban community. Consider, for example, a report of the

Chicago Relief and Aid Society, the association charged with reconstructing many of the private

residences of those affected by the blaze, that made palpable an anxiety of putting a large

number of people "into promiscuous and involuntary association" that "would almost certainly

engender disease and promote idleness, and vice, and be dangerous to themselves and to the

neighborhood in which they might be placed" (qtd. in Smith 74). Employing a rhetoric thick with

anxieties of improprieties sexual, biological, and economical, urban municipalities took as their

subject the regulation of the associations of its inhabitants, and the construction of homes, of

neighborhoods, or urban pockets based on a social division of labor.

Along with the usual conflicts over wages and hours required by the industrialist, this

new urgency to closely manage and monitor the lives of many of its population became a stasis

point for the rewriting of the fault-lines within urban locales, indeed helped redefine the players

in a conflict between what had been recognized as "labor" and "capital." As St. Claire Drake

recognizes, the antagonisms between the foreign-born and native whites revolved around this

axis of intervention into social associations such as the passage of Sunday Blue Laws and the

general struggle for control of City Hall. Despite the fact that African Americans were more









commonly consigned to the place of the unskilled worker in this industrial age, Drake argues that

African Americans did not participate as often or to the extent as did "new" immigrant workers

in the agitations for an eight-hour workday primarily because they had been driven to work in

service capacities (50). Such an observation is not insignificant, for while not growing in

numbers to the extent that the Eastern and Southern European immigrants did, the city limits of

Chicago did also see a substantial increase in its African American population in these decades.

The determination to manage the social landscape in light of these population growths forms the

basis of racialized divisions of citizenship founded upon the type of work performed; this axiom

would go into the creation of what Philpott recognizes as the development of a "Black Belt"

within the city of Chicago.

When Chicago had incorporated in 1833, only a few of its residences were Black. In

these first few decades, the size of the Black population was insignificant when compared

against the rapidly expanding numbers of Chicago' s "white" population. Yet the numbers of

African Americans who called Chicago home continued a steady increase decade by decade,

tripling in the 1850s, nearly quadrupling in the 1860s, then doubling in each of the following

three decades (Philpott 116-7). In 1860, US census reports--which have to be conservative

estimates at best in the traditional under-reporting of the numbers of African Americans within

the population--measured the total population of Chicago at 109,260; 955 (.9%) of which were

Black. In 1870, the census reported 298,977 Chicagoans with a Black population totaling 3,691

(1.2%). In 1880, 503,185 people called Chicago home, 6,480 (1.3%) of them were Black. In

1890, Chicago had grown to a city of 1,099,850 people, 14,271 (1.3%) were Black. By the turn

of the century, 1,698,575 lived in Chicago, 30,150 (1.8%) were Black (Philpott 117). What this

tells us is that alongside Chicago' s unprecedented population boom, the rate of African










Americans in the city either kept pace with or grew faster than other demographics during this

timeframe; Chicago' s expanse was at least in part due to the increase in the numbers of African

Americans coming to this Midwestern industrial hub. But Black Chicagoans, more than any

other group during this time, found themselves more and more the subj ects of the intensive

proj ect to manage urban social space, evidenced by the fact that large pockets of Chicago

emerged as a "Black Belt." By the turn of the century, this reorganization of poor Black people

into urban pockets was nearly complete. While certainly many Blacks chose to live close to and

associate indeed forge a community--with those who shared a common history, the extent to

which African Americans had been isolated within the city had been so thorough so as to suggest

a much more elaborate proj ect of communal engineering taking place on perceived racialized

differences. African Americans were not allowed to vote in the city through 1870, and public

schools had been racially segregated in the city up through 1874. By 1900, sixteen Chicago

wards were 99.5 to 100% white. Over half of the city's black population lived in three congruous

South Side wards (Philpott 131). Racial consideration also went into the construction, or at least

the "containment" of "red light districts." Black communities also had to deal with the

authorities' willingness to build a "vice district" adj acent to their own homes.25

Perhaps the most international attention was paid to the attempt at urban social

engineering and management in an experiment located 20 miles outside of Chicago. George

Pullman, who had in the years leading up to 1880 had been quietly purchasing prairie land south

of the burgeoning metropolis, claimed publicly the need to move his workers so relatively far

from Chicago to escape the vice that he felt plagued these urban centers, particularly in terms of


25 ((NO white people, not even the sort who patronized whores and gambling tables, cared to live next door to
bordellos and casinos any more than they wanted to live near Negroes. Because it was not possible, or at least not
politic to suppress vice, the police segregated it. Black people were helpless to prevent the authorities from locating
the red light district where they lived, just as they were unable to stop whites from segregating them" (Philpott 159).










crime, vice, and labor unrest. While Pullman touted the idea of a planned community to solve the

haphazard and chaotic expansion of Chicago that contributed to its social problems, company

towns came with additional benefit to capitalists of isolating workers from labor unions and

larger, powerful solidarity organizations and from alternative sources of employment.

What must it have been like to inhabit such a community? Pullman took extraordinary

measures to engineer the physical landscape of his company town, employing a landscape

architect to produce a "natural," aesthetically pleasing effect for his worker that would be a stark

contrast to the concrete slums of the metropolis. "With such surroundings and such human

regard for the needs of the body as well as the soul," Pullman said, "the disturbing conditions of

strikes and other troubles that periodically convulse the world of labor would not be found here"

(qtd. in Buder vii-viii). Pullman' s insistence on absolute cleanliness in all aspects of his

settlement was the manifestation of a maj or underlying principle behind the town (and also,

significantly, behind his general corporate ethic)--that aesthetics and beautiful surroundings had

above all commercial value.26 The industrial city, dirty, mechanical, inorganic, haphazard,

disorderly, needed to be met with an community where every possibility had been calculated and

scientifically managed (to maximize profit).

Consequently, the Pullman company controlled every aspect of life for its workers

residing in the town. From guaranteeing that no one owned property within the city's limits

besides the company itself, to controlling the water and gas utilities (available in the tenement for

an extra cost, of course), to disallowing any saloons or shops that sold alcohol, Pullman

attempted to manage his workers lives so as to assure none of the problems that had occurred in a


26 This term, "the commercial value beauty" was famously attributed to the genius of George Pullman himself.
According to Buder, Pullman believed "beauty improved the individual, and that the businessman who understood
this profits from his insight. [...] The success of his company and now of the town would demonstrate the
importance of aesthetics as a civilizing force which had commercial as well as social implications" (43).










haphazard, chaotic, lawless metropolis would disrupt industrial production.27 Still, the forging of

"community" in this period is a dynamic undertaking, and any critical inquiry into the racialized

component of communal identities must look at how the citizen-workers viewed their civic roles

and their work within the town-to look at Pullman as a formation in sohttion.

The level of company surveillance on the lives of the population (the company reserved

the right to inspect the residences at any time "to look at any damage" (Adelman 26)), coupled

with the worker' s sense of being on display for the rest of the world often graded on many of the

citizens of Pullman. Although most accounts of the city reported a general sense of contentment

of the workers, a few accounts detailed the growing resentment: The Clevelan2dPost reported on

March 2, 1885 "The company owns everything and it exercises a surveillance over the

movement and habits of the people in a way to lead one to suppose that it has a propriety interest

in [workers'] souls and bodies" (qtd. in Buder 99). Thze New York Sun reported on October 11,

1885 that the workers of Pullman "secretly rebel because the Pullman company continues its

watch and authority over them after working hours. They declare they are bound hand and foot

by philanthropic monopoly" (qtd. in Buder 99). While the plan of Pullman was to show that the

solutions for the industrial antagonisms of the nineteenth century were not solely to be found in

diagetic narrative of "scientific management" and efficient organization within the factories

themselves but also outside the walls of the factory into spatial geographies of private and public

life, of being "at work," "at home," and "at leisure," that plan was met with a new type of

resentment and resistance.

Flats for the workers of Pullman were somewhat comfortable, in not affordable,

especially when viewed in relation to the difficult living conditions for many workers in

27 The Hotel Florence--the pricey resort in the town Pullman named after his daughterdid sell alcohol, but at
prices much beyond the means of the town' s inhabitants.









Chicago. Average rents were reported at $2.50 per room per month, which would make most

rents fall between $15 and $17.50 per month. While this may sound only somewhat oppressive

when wages were set to around $1.85 per day early on in the town's history, renters were also

required to pay extra for services such as water, garbage collection, fire protection, and gas.

Furthermore, many anonymous inhabitants of the planned community wrote into local

newspapers to scoff at the reportage of these rents. A letter to the Chicago Herald dated

February 10, 1883 from "a mechanic" begins "A number of us would like to know where you

struck the 'house' you describe for $12 a month. We fail to find the like for less than $18 and

$20." Sanitation facilities remained outside the apartments, and sometimes families in adj acent

apartments had to share. Next to these facilities was a community sink--no water was directly

pumped into the apartments themselves. Up to six families took all their water for cooking,

cleaning, bathing, and drinking from the same tap. Gas for lighting was available in each

apartment, but for an extra cost. Residents used heat from stoves to warm their tenements during

Chicago's infamous winter cold-snaps (Philpott 51). Living in Pullman often caused the

economic ruin of many, now completely prostrated and indebted to the industrial behemoth.

Furthermore, not only was it the Pullman company who paid wages that received the rent,

but it also owned the town's shops at which goods could be bought. In Pullman's early years, the

company would pay its workers with checks that deducted rent, taxes, water rates, and other fees

incurred in living in the company town. After these deductions, a worker might have only eight

cents to show for two weeks of work (Philpott 36). In times of severe economic crisis that would

periodically affect the national economy, the company traditionally cut wages but maintained

rental costs and prices on goods and services. In these harsh economic stretches, the company

argued that workers should not confuse the company as landlord with the company as employer.









This distinction was difficult for the workers to swallow, though, because those same company-

owned banks at which workers could cash their checks "strongly encouraged" workers to sign

their paychecks immediately upon receipt back over to the Pullman company. By the time of the

Pullman Strike in 1894, the town saw many of its population on the brink of starvation.

Analyzing the extent to which the corporation governed and synchronized the social lives

of its inhabitants to ensure at least a 6% return on the investment cannot ignore the design and

layout strategy of the town' s watchful and imposing structures. The immense factories of the

Pullman works, or more precisely the shadow that these structures cast on the residential portions

of the town, are what often struck visitors immediate with a sublime awe. Indeed, this industrial

sublime might be said to register an implicit understanding of the new subordination and

subsumption of humans to the mechanical monsters of industry. One article appearing in the

February 1883 edition of The Agricultural Review described the design of the city in these terms:

In every particular the architect has planned his work that it might present when
completed an attractive and harmonious effect. Especially is this noticeable in the design
and arrangement of the workshops. These are immense buildings, occupying a central
position in the city, and are the first to attract the eye of the visitor as he approaches the
station. The main building is a maj estic structure of pressed brick and stove. [...] It is
three stories in height, and is surmounted by a handsome clock tower.

The factories of the town--surmounted by an immense clock tower that stood watch over the

entire city--governed by synchronizing the community into "harmonious association." Pullman

would manifest the principle of economic stability through the temporal efficiency--the

discipline of the industrial factory extending beyond its own walls into the community through

the obj ectification of value--economic and social--via the time of the factory. City/citizen time

that oversaw the community becomes a function of application of one's labor to factory work.

Most tellingly, when the labor riots in his town reached its height in 1894, Pullman argued that

the loss of time, not the pay cuts themselves, had been the primary reason behind the decline in










employee earnings (Buder 159). While the company refrain to agitation said that workers could

attain and even advance past their original earnings by speeding up performance and

productivity, in reality workers were subsequently coerced to speed up productivity in order to

get out from under the crushing debt that had become part of their daily lives.

Additionally, as Montgomery has shown in an analysis of one Pullman worker' s

testimony, leader of the American Railroad Union local 261 Jennie Curtis, foremen of the town' s

workshops would often manipulate piece-rates to speed-up worker production (128). In other

words, Pullman foremen could materially affect piece rates to the point that workers expecting to

take home a dollar a day might have to work faster than they had previously (Montgomery 129).

When the company that orchestrates those rates also sets the standards for worker expenses like

rent and utility costs, an elaborate system emerges that manipulates worker production while

assuring the creation of surplus value for the company. One journalist, albeit unwittingly, put the

situation in these terms that reflected the absolute subjugation of everyday life of the worker-

citizen, when in the February 1, 1882 edition of The Christian Register published an article that

marveled over how the town had been run "like clockwork," powered by the technologically

legendary Corliss Engine that generated enough energy to assure the functionality of this

community-for-capital (We'll revisit this famous cultural marvel the Corliss Engine later.)

This community-run-like-clockwork was designed to minimize any and all waste in the

name of maximum efficiency. The town removed excess sawdust and woodshavings from the

carpentry shops to fuel the boilers that fed the Corliss. One machine powered by the Corliss

brought the town's sewage to a farm three miles away as fertilizer for vegetables that would later

be sold in the markets at the town's arcade building. When the town was built, the dredging of

Lake Calumet yielded the clay that would be turned into the brick for the town's buildings










(Smith 182). Visitors often enthusiastically remarked on the efficiency and resulting cleanliness

of a town dedicated to, indeed revolving around, industrial production; and the pristine

appearance of the town by association influenced a "wholesome atmosphere" that guided

communal relations. That same Christian Register from February 1, 1882 reported "Nowhere is

there the sign of any filth or decay. The streets are perfectly clean, the atmosphere is

wholesome." Links between the cleanliness of the community, the efficiency of a social sphere

"run like clockwork," and the community free of social unrest were commonly made. Towards

the end of the same article, this association is made explicit: "'Where are your policemen?' we

asked. 'We don't have any,' was the reply, 'and we don't need any.'" Such was the refrain of

many commentators--the orderliness and pristine layout of the city forged an orderly social

discourse. Another example from the August 4, 1883 edition of The Commercial Galzette:

I was surprised to be told that [the citizens of Pullman] are a happy and contented class;
that when night ends they appear on the streets, dressed like gentlemen and with the
manners of gentlemen; that they don't go around in their shirt-sleeves, squirting tobacco
juice on the pavements and slouching along with the air of men who feel that there is
nothing ahead for them but hard work and poor living.

For other observers, though, the newer modes of production become almost indiscernible from

"civilization" itself, as if civilized communal discourse collapses from its own history as

something that could have only existed in the industrial age. For example, another article from

the February 3, 1883 edition of the Agricultural Review celebrated Pullman as "The Arcadian

City":

In a word, a thriving, industrious, prosperous city, full of life, activity and enterprise;
beautiful in point of architecture, because every wall, angle, any turret, every street, park,
and lake were designed at the same time and by the same mind; perfect in a sanitary point
of view, because of the same reason; happy in the procession of a perfect law and order,
because of a total absence of the element which creates disturbance and gives birth to
crime; a city in which there does not exist a single lawyer because there are no laws to
enforce; no constabulatory because there is no disorderly element; no edicts issued, no
restricting rules or injunctions, because each individual is left to act according to his own










idea of prosperity and morality--a city which is at once a social phenomenon and an
industrial study.

Note here that industrial logic is community logic at degree zero, in its most perfect, pure form.

Laws are superfluous under this understanding of community--or at least extraneous to

communal relations. Because dissent is here outside of normalized relations, the need to police

communities is inherently outside those relations.

The actual "policing" of this community really was a composite of attracting and hiring

"acceptable" workers used in conjunction with efficient ways of cataloguing and thus

fragmenting socialized labor into specialized sectors. The company kept intense watch over who

it hired as its operatives in detailed demographic system based on national origin in conjunction

0I ithr the classification of worker based on the skill level of labor. So obsessed was George

Pullman with a precise index of the town, he took census counts that measured the population ten

times in the first four years (Buder 78). The company also spent unprecedented resources to

measure with painstaking precision the type of work done at Pullman. Operatives at Pullman

could be car builders, cabinetmakers, and painters (the most numerous, according to

Montgomery). In a memo to company executives dated August 1, 1890, city manager and

factory boss (the two j obs were essentially the same) Duane Doty reported the types of work

being done by the workers at Pullman's factory: 3782 employees labored in the car works, 389

worked for the town of Pullman itself, 504 in the foundry, 226 in the iron and steel works, and 66

in the standard knitting mills.28 Of the 5223 workers, 1985 resided in a place other than Pullman,

"and their $4000 a day in earnings are not used here."29




28 Doty did not keep as detailed a record as to the gender demographic of Pullman' s workforce, although, as
Montgomery notes, some departments and divisions like the carpet, upholstery, glass-embossing, laundry, and linen
departments were seen as "strongholds of the girls union" ARU 261. Montgomerv also surmises that the relatively
low wages of four other departments--the mills, wood machine, tinners, and streetcar divisions--suggest women










Even more revealing is the extent to which the company kept close record of the national

origin of its employees. Early on, circumstances favored a town make-up that consisted of

relatively better-off employees than were generally seen in urban centers. As the town matured

alongside industrial production, the needs for more immigrant labor also made its way to

Pullman.30 Much of this was due in part to the increasingly dangerous number of jobs done by

the heaviest of industrial machinery. But also significant was the emergence of machinery in the

factory that forged a new idea of skilled labor with a racialized tone. In 1885, 46.6% of Pullman

inhabitants were native-born; by 1892, that number had declined to 28% (Buder 80). The

Chicago Tribune reported on December 28, 1884, 8,513 residents of Pullman: 4,205 US-born;

527 from Canada, 425 from England; 596 from Ireland; 170 from Scotland; 85 from France; 851

from Sweden; 953 from Germany; 297 from Norway; 212 from Denmark; 55 from Italy; 137

listed as "other." The very same memo from Doty in 1890 that gave a detailed breakdown of the

types of labor done at Pullman also measured the ethnicities of the workers and demonstrates the

extent to which city and community management had been envisioned: 1738 were US-born; 967

from Sweden, 581 from Germany; 557 from Holland; 372 from England; 318 from Ireland; 206



may have held some of those jobs. In the final decades of the nineteenth century, Montgomery estimates the number
of women working at Pullman ranged between 250 and 590 (172).

29 According to Dotv, of those 1985 non-residents, 177 were employed in the car works, foundry, wheel works, iron
and steel works, and the town of Pullman itself.

30 The face of labor did not always reflect its true composition. Gutman and Berlin point out that the formation of an
American "working class" was quite different than its own development, with the tumning-point being 1840 (382-3).
While the importance of recognizing a native white-stock contribution to the foundation of any American working-
class "movement" (and here I mean a self-conscious, political, collective entity), after the Civil War years, Gutman
and Berlin point out, the primary contribution to political agency to an identifiable American working-class was
given by immigrants and their children and Mfrican Americans (385). Furthermore, by 1880, "the children of
inunigrants had become the dynamic element in the working class. They often outnumbered either white workers of
native parents or foreign-bomn workers. An analysis by occupation emphasizes the relative insignificance of workers
of native white stock in the manufacturing, processing, and mining industries. Such workers remained important in
the skilled building trades (especially in the older Eastemn and Southemn towns and cities) and in the operating
railroad crafts, but few labored in the iron and steel industry, the coal mines, and those processing and
manufacturing industries that sustained single-industry towns" (386).










from Canada; 108 from Norway; 80 from Scotland; 62 from Denmark; 57 from Italy; 39 from

Austria; 31 from Poland; 27 from Wales; 24 from Switzerland; 23 from France; 9 from Belgium;

8 from "Bohemia"; 6 from Hungary; 4 from Russia; 2 from Mexico; 2 from Australia; 1 from

Haiti; 1 from Greece, bringing them total number of workers to 5223. Alongside those numbers,

Doty left certain remarks in the ledger for the president in order to give a sense to Mr. Pullman

(who lived in his estate in the posh Prairie Avenue district of Chicago) of the type of worker

populating his city. Native-born US citizens were "good and versatile workmen of superior

executive ability." Scandinavians were "good workmen, good citizens, frugal, industrious, and as

rule, religious." Doty considered the British (whom he counted from England, Scotland, Wales,

and Canada) "intelligent, industrious, progressive, and desirable citizens." Germans and the

French (including those from Belgium and Switzerland) were also "industrious" and "good

citizens." However, Doty viewed the Irish as "never a desirable element here. We may have been

unfortunate in our allotment. They control all politics here as elsewhere in Chicago."

As stated earlier, scholars cannot agree on whether or not African Americans did, or were

allowed to, take up residence at Pullman, although Doty's detailed account seems to suggest that

they did not. According to Philpott, the town barred African Americans because the company

president could not imagine African Americans in a role other than menial labor, whereas

elevated, highly-skilled (and by association, most industrious citizens) working people would be

the best inhabitants of this Arcadian industrial community.31 Janice Reiff's study of the ways the

community has existed in collective, political consciousness of the mapping of social space

31 According to Philpott, the absence of African Americans at Pullman "was peculiar, because George Pullman was
famed for his paternal solicitude for Black people. He hired them to serve as passengers on his luxury sleeping cars.
He thought they made idea porters. Then why were the tenements and the workshops in the town lily-white?
Pullman never stated his reason for excluding Blacks. None of the histories of the town or of Black Chicago has
discussed the question. The answer here is conjectural, though obvious. The porters, uniformed, well-mannered,
dripping with decorum, gave a flavor of the old plantation South to the palace cars. Pullman could not picture Blacks
in any role but that of menials. The elevated working force of his town had no place for 'darkies"'(53).










through history has argued that Pullman had been populated by a handful of African Americans,

albeit those who held service j obs. 32 The strength of Reiff s insight, and the subj ect of our further

analysis, is the inquiry into the ways in which communities lived their racialized existences,

cultivating certain tropes and distr-usts within the interactions that began to define who people

were within a community. Even the documentation supporting the presence of African American

citizen/workers reveals the extent to which the work to define a community based on labor

antagonisms is tinged with assumptions about race and labor. Consider for example an article

from the revealinglyy) pro-labor newspaper The Chicago Herald from May 7, 1883, which spoke

of the outrage of the Pullman company of evicting a Mrs. Bucklin, a recent widow with four

young children, from her company-owned tenement:

The Pullman Car Company, who owned every foot of ground in Pullman, and who do not
permit any one to purchase any real estate there, happened to have a better tenant for the
Bucklin premises. It was a negro; but what difference did that make to the Pullman
Company, as long as they got their house?

The next week the company responded in an editorial by denying that Mrs. Bucklin had been

evicted, but rather had agreed to leave for less-expensive quarters; the company did not respond

to charge of the supposed racial affront. The synthesis of the antagonisms that were involved in

the forging of an "eminently safe" industrial community was meant to be lived by workers who

participated in a definition of industrial citizenship as lily-white and simon-pure.


32 Reiff writes "Although Pullman had always been racially integrated by a handful of company employees who
worked in various service jobs in the model town, racial distrust had been gradually cultivated in the larger
community in a variety of ways. In its earliest forms, it focused on the Italians. The growing Jewish community also
attracted negative attention from certain elements of the community. By as early as 1909, however, the idea that
African Americans ought to be excluded from Greater Roseland/Pullman was starting to take form. That year, a
traveling minister from the South spoke to the West Pullman Men' s Club, warning them of what only a southerner
familiar with African Americans could know and encouraging his audience to keep African Americans out of their
neighborhoods, according to the Calumet Index, 27 November 1909. By 1917, the Calumet Index had begun to
identify 'negro' criminals who invaded the community. Black-faced minstrels became high points in local
performances that rarely failed to point out their similarity to the 'famous Pullman porters on parade,' according to
the Calumet Index, 9 March 1917. In March 1917, The Birth ofa Nation began a long run at the National Theater on
Michigan Avenue in Roseland" just outside Pullman (20).









If the guiding principle of industrial community has been the rationalized, efficient

factory, it would stand to reason that the model citizen for said community would be the highly-

skilled operatives appropriately disciplined by that system of production. Gutman and Berlin

offer one explanation for the paucity of African Americans in these positions of skilled labor:

because many industries like the iron and steel industry developed in the North and West prior to

1880, African Americans by and large were unimportant in them (386). This explanation seems

insufficient to explain a systematic, cultural exclusion in the political unconscious; as Bobby

Wilson has shown, African American contributions to the iron, steel, and coal-mining industries

were vital to the development of those sectors by the close of the century. I posit that an even

more definitive answer lay in the idea of "labor" remade as subordinate subject for an

industrializing nation-state that trumpeted democratic participation as the onus for government,

but practiced something else. "Labor" must be disciplined, tamed, made absolutely docile before

capital. "Labor" could not be free to disentangle itself from industry, but must be recognized as

acting as it should--in safe and normalized relations--when it is at every moment subservient to,

or at least compelled to prostrate itself before--capital interest. Within this governing principle,

African Americans seemed to be excluded from what would count as "labor," or at least

occupied a very unstable ground within "labor" so defined, and thus also a very unstable ground

as who would be bequeathed the title of "ciie" o odr omuiy

A Whited Sepulchre

Perhaps one of the most illustrative examples of the intersections of race, labor, and the

place of "proper consumerism/citizenship" within a nation of developing industry was the

Chicago World's Fair of 1893, which helped draw world-wide attention to the promise of

utopian proj ects that celebrate mechanical and architectural, and by implication aesthetic and

cultural, development. Any in-depth discussion of the planned company town should consider










the World's Columbian Exposition--named to commemorate the 400-year anniversary of

European colonialist expansion and described by historian Robert Rydell as "Victorian

America' s equivalent to the modern-day Olympics and Disney World rolled into one" (xi)--for

not only were many of the same notions of "progress" on display here (indeed, George Pullman

was a maj or finance of the fair, and the Pullman Company ran a maj or display that showcased

both its palace cars and its planned community at the fair' s Transportation Building), but the

maj or national strike that hastened the collapse of Pullman' s dream occurred just one year

following the fair' s celebration of techno-cultural modernity.33 Many international j ournalists

who came to report on the fair stayed to visit and gave glowing reports on the successes of the

industrial utopia of Pullman. The company printed for its exhibit a pamphlet titled "The Story of

Pullman," whose main theme portrayed the company's patriarch in a way that would today

resemble the mythology perpetuated for Walt Disney--as a "pioneer of progress" who while

lacking the technical and mechanical knowledge, was very "hands on" in getting the engineers to

realize his dreams.34

This booklet told both the story of the palace car company and the company town, but the

only photographs included were that of the town, emphasizing that Pullman felt people would

pay more for luxury and aesthetics not just in mode of transportation but also in the surroundings

of their everyday lives. The pamphlet declared

that the Pullman men are the best type of American workmen, who stand solidly and
firmly on their own feet and will work out valuable and well-rounded lives just in


33 Critic Christopher Reed is more to the point when he states: "Pre-modern, agricultural America culminated its
transformation into the last phase of becoming modern, urban, industrial America on the shores of Lake Michigan"
(xxi-xxii).

34 In fact, Larsen points out that Disney's grandfather ivas a common ivorker at this World's Fair. Larsen's
conjectural rendition of the people of the Fair in The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the
Fair that C I,,;... / 4merica imagines Disney's vision being shaped by the stories his grandfather told of this
Chicago' sWorld' sFair.










proportion to their opportunities. [...] To measure the actual effect of conditions which
exist at Pullman, it is only necessary to look at any representative assemblage of the
Pullman workmen. During the eleven years that the town has been in existence, the
Pullman workingman has developed into a distinct type--distinct in appearance, in
tidiness of dress, in fact in all the external indications of self-respect. ("Story of Pullman"
23)

At this celebration dedicated to the implications technological progress had on sociological and

cultural advance, what became apparent in its marriage to the Pullman proj ect was the extent to

which those technological products were the new workers of the industrial world, or at least the

socially-engineered, mechanical daily interactions that constituted the new docile worker-citizen.

Drawing attention to the feats of human engineering and labor that had been obj ectified into

industrial machinery and architecture, the World's Columbian Exposition offered an enthusiastic

and absolute definition of progress. The final thesis of this World' s Fair of 1893 was the same

argument about work that threaded through Pullman itself, and this argument also serves as the

axis around which Melville's novella operates. This Columbian World's Fair, perhaps most

famous as the site for Frederick Jackson Turner' s lamentation of the closing of the American

Frontier, may have wrote the transition to a newer era of U. S. expansion and imperialism.

Commentators who visited the fair were struck by the effect it permeated of a "unified

whole," a complex enclave which taken together appeared itself like a "city." That this space

could be comprehended in terms usually reserved for social spaces in which people actually live,

that this fair could be seen as a "city," itself is a unique phenomenon.35 The overarching theme

of symmetry and order became the mantra for this model of social engineering, most strikingly

displayed at the fair' s Court of Honor. Here on a symmetrical layout were placed the monuments


35 Alan Trachtenberg's assessment of the fair recognizes this feat: "as a model city, [the World's Columbian
Exposition] taught a lesson in the coordination of spaces and structures in some 400 buildings covering almost 700
acres of once-swampy lands dredged and filled and inlaid with canals, lagoons, plazas, and promenades and a
preserve of woods. Based on [Fredric Law] Olmstead's unifying ground plan, it taught the public unity if beauty, the
coordination of art with the latest mechanical wonders: railroads, dynamos, electrical bulbs" (209).










to architectural prowess, and through this, "symmetry asserted itself as an unmistakable [... and]

conquering presence" (Trachtenberg 212). This Court of Honor centered the fair in its highly-

refined str-uctures in perfect symmetry, offering a clear hierarchical distinction--indeed a nascent

narrative for global relations--from the fair' s Midway Plaisance. While many of America' s most

respected features were reserved for the Court of Honor, the Midway Plaisance stood literally in

the periphery as an "exotic" space that situated its own exhibits in subordinate relation

(Trachtenberg 213). This thoroughfare, which was seven-eighths of a mile long and 600 feet

wide, became the strip in which the rest of the world would exhibit its contribution to the techno-

cultural utopian city, and thus "combined celebrity, notoriety, and popularity in bringing

exposure and information, if not knowledge, about the Earth's immense cultural and racial

diversity" (Reed xxvi). Still, by virtue of the superordinate position of the Court of Honor to the

Midway, coupled with the novelty and near pure spectacle of the exhibits of the Plaisance, the

narrative of a global people had been posited with a distinct idea of who would be at the center

of this model civilization.36

One popular moniker for the World's Columbian Exposition was "The White City"--so

named because of the effect of uniform whiteness that the paint that had been applied to all fair

structures had on its guests. The uniform white paint that adorned these structures aided in the

bedazzling spectacle, a whiteness that helped remake the citizen visiting the White City into a

consumer. Perhaps even more striking in the first-hand accounts of the fair were the distinct

sensations of "cleanliness" in contrast to terms reserved for "real" urban settings, a "plaster-of-

Paris dreamland, full of power and splendor, where grime was whitewashed away, and, as one


36 Reed is more sanguine concerning the relation of the Midway Plaisance to the rest of the fair, and expressly
counters any notion that the layout of the Exposition itself intended a hierarchical relation: "The Midway did not
exist as a panorama of ethnic or racial shame, and the foreign visitors were not part of a show--they [were the
essence of] the people themselves, just more part of a highly-differentiated global humanity" (xxvii).









visitor put it, there was no place for poverty" (Philpott 21). Common logic of the time focused on

the living conditions of the working poor within the burgeoning metropolises of the nation and

building new assumptions about poverty and citizenship within these new locales; during the

Exposition the U. S. Department of Labor had been engaged in a protracted study of "slums" in

New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Chicago, defining "slum" as "an area of dirty black

streets, especially when inhabited by a squalid and criminal population" (qtd. in Philpott 21).

With the White City, the readily apparent associations of urban living at the end of the nineteenth

century and the intense poverty that resulted from the ruthless restructuring of social labor had

been completely reworked by a new forward vision of the techno-political social fabric;

whiteness-as-cleanliness becomes the unifying theme of the ideal city in this technological

utopia.

The labor disputes that had come to be one of the defining characteristics of urban living

at the end of the century have also been completely "whitewashed" in this metropolitan

narrative. Work has been nearly completely displaced at the White City, and the human concern

for social relations had in part been recorded as an everyday consumerist ethic. Trachtenberg's

analysis of the autobiography of Walter Wyckoff titled The Workers: An Experiment in Reality, a

narrative depicting a young college graduate who for adventure' sake decided he would j oin a

construction crew in building the foundations for the fair, yields a portrait of the place of work

within the White City. The writer/worker is almost paralyzed by the emerging spectacle not only

of the nearly sublime beauty, or at least symmetry, of the fair' s layout. Intertwined with this

sublime awe lay an intense level of discipline, as the writer/worker notes the structures occupied

by sentries which will protect them from "unsought contact with all beyond" (qtd in

Trachtenberg 210). The word-choice reveals an inhered "inclusion/exclusion" dynamic involved









with this level of industrial discipline, especially with respect to the social place of the fair-as-

celebration of a new social text. Labor' s presence lies beyond the walls of this new

technologically savvy city. Thusly, White City indexes that new social fabric and the law by

which living human labor operates now in absolute subordination to the interests of industrial

capital.

Typical to this and other World' s Expositions of the late nineteenth century were the

inventions that demonstrated the technological prowess of the industrial age. The very same

Corliss Engine that powered Pullman in its early years and was famously introduced at the

Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1875 was put to use at the Chicago Fair, powering the

entire White City with the electricity it produced, contributing to the uniform-feeling of the city

by coordinating its machinery, and thus, coordinating the White City on a mechanical idea of

time. For example, one of the marvels this Corliss Engine was its ability to run a 7,000 pound

electrical pendulum clock which governed twenty-six smaller clocks at different locations at the

fair (Trachtenberg 41). Other devices facilitating industrial production found their way more

frequently into social consciousness, and the popular fictions that set their stories within these

fairs animated their protagonists through the new social minefields of awe-inspiring technology.

A deeply submerged notion settled into a collective unconscious that machinery hauntingly

become the front upon which antagonisms and conflicts came to be waged. Furthermore, Allan

Trachtenberg has argued that the abundance of dime novels, popular detective novels, and

utopian science fictions that had been cropping up at these fairs made the concept of repeatability

and automation commonplace, innocuous.37 I WOuld contend, however, that this

interchangeability and mechanization that grounded the narrative logic of storytellers in the era

37 "The interchangeability of plots and characters in dime novels," Trachtenberg writes, "parallels the
standardization of machine production that became a central feature of factory life in the 1880s" (46).










was itself a moment of ambivalence, for the portraits of the obj ectifieations of repetition found in

popular fiction were themselves often painted with a deep-seeded suspicion, if not outright

hostility. As often as machinery was utilized to glorify dime-novel protagonists and bedazzle

their audiences, so too was machinery portrayed as "taking over" in situations were human

agency--deci sion-making, labor, etc.-had once been prominent. Additionally, numerous

narratives of the Chicago World' s Fair depicted inexperienced visitors to the White City as

helpless prey to "those who knew the system well" who commonly fell victim to the new types

of crimes popular in these new urban centers.38 Human knowledge, as commentators from Marx

to Trachtenberg have shown, in this period appears more remote, more mechanical in its

repeatability, alien to the people from once it socially originated, and the machine as a Eigure

seems in its access to that alienated knowledge the vehicle of that alienation; thought, a product

of human social history, now appears as the essence of machinery.39

Within a year of each of the three World' s Fairs in the United States at the end of the

nineteenth century--in Philadelphia in 1876, in New Orleans in 1885, and in Chicago in 1893--

wide-scale labor unrest that often saw attacks directed against both industrialists and their

machinery defined a new era for the industrial-political landscape. In 1877, labor unrest stemmed

from the use of the "iron horse" to disrupt normalized social relations.40 By 1894, the reaction



38Larsen' s recent best-seller is a contemporary example in this vein, intertwining chapters of the architectural
planning with the activities of a serial murderer utilizing the attraction of the White City to lure his unsuspecting
victims.

39 Trachtenberg writes "The social distribution of knowledge began a major shift, a transference (as far as
technology and technique are concerned) from bottom to top, in these years of extensive and intensive
mechanization. Just as important, and as a symbol of the process, ;i,..,lgist now appears often in the dumb,
mystifying shapes of machines, of standing and moving mechanical objects as explaining themselves to the
unknowing eye, as the standing stones of ancient peoples" (69).

40 According to Trachtenberg, "Industrial unrest reached a climax and a momentary catharsis in July 1877, when
fears of a new civil war spread across the country during the great railroad strike. Provoked by a 10% wage cut
announced without warning by the Baltimore and Ohio Line, a measure to halt a declining rate of profit, the strike
spread like wildfire to other lines, reaching from Baltimore to Pittsburgh, Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, and San










seemed against the normalized relations of mechanical life itself, or a much more broad culture

of technology and a life subordinated in every respect to corporate profits.

Just as frequently, these ambivalences were registered along racialized lines; if

"civilization" told a tale of citizenship by narrating work into a progressive, advanced notion of

production, it did so also by making similar assumptions about race. The White City's

presentation of the harmonious relation between labor and capital, or more appropriately, the

labor "knowing its place" within a culture geared toward producing capital, defined "work" as

White, especially as the United States began to distance itself from its slave-owning past in favor

of a colonizing power and its imperial future.41 Within this context, the express exclusion of

African Americans from the planning of the World' s Columbian Exposition, and the explicit

segregation and containment of African Americans within many private, corporate

representations and exhibits that proj ected images of African Americans as "savages" in

distinction from "civilization," takes on a more important meaning. One famous corporate

caricature originated at the fair: the R.T. Davis Milling Company, a wealthy flour milling firm,


Francisco. The apparently spontaneous work stoppages met with approval and support from local merchants,
farmers, clergy, and politicians, tapping reserves of anger and wrath against the railroad companies. Workers in
other industries joined the walkout, and for a short spell it seemed that the United States faced a mass rebellion, a
recurrence of the Paris Commune of 1871 on an even vaster scale. In some communities (St. Louis, for example)
committees of strikers briefly assumed control of government and railroad services" (40).

41 In The Wages of Whiteness Roediger points out the republican dichotomies of free versus slave impinged upon
one's ideals of citizenship, of full agency within the ideal republic, and this dichotomy imposes itself on a pervasive
idea of race, the formation of the "white worker": "as reference to bonds and chains should sharply remind us, it was
impossible to think about dependency on wages merely in comparison with the position of labor in an ideal republic:
the comparison with the truly enslaved also loomed. Such a comparison cut hard, and it cut in two ways. On one
hand, the specter of chattel slavery--present historically in no other nation during the years of significant class
formation--made for a remarkable awareness of the dangers of dependency and a strong suspicion of paternalism.
On the other hand, hard thought about 'the hireling and the slave' could make the position of hireling comparatively
attractive. The white hireling was usually a political freeman, as the slave, and with very few exceptions the free
Black, were not. The comparison could lead to sweeping critiques of wage labor as 'white slavery' but it could also
reassure wage workers that they belonged to the ranks of 'free white labor.' In their early attempts to develop a
language of labor, working Americans therefore expressed soaring desires to be rid of the age-old inequalities of
Europe and of any hint of slavery. They also expressed the rather more pedestrian goal of simply not being mistaken
for slaves, or 'negers' or 'negurs.' And they saw not nearly so great a separation between these two goals as we do"
(46-7).










employed Nancy Green as "Aunt Jemima" as a living corporate advertisement to sell its product.

Race becomes corporate marketing strategy within the new mercantile democracy, and as such,

also serves to alienate humans from their labor, promoting a racialized ethic of consumerism. By

the time Ida B. Wells, Frederick Douglass, Irvine Garland Penn, and Ferdinand L. Barnett

published their collaborative pamphlet which offered both a contest to the White City's racially

motivated underpinnings and an alternative narrative for racial relations titled The Rea~son Why

the Colored American is not in the World's Columbian Exposition, fair organizers had after

much debate decided to mollify offended African Americans with "Colored Americans Day"-a

day in which racist depictions abounded on the Midway Plaisance. Douglass, himself invited to

speak at the fair not by his own nation but as a representative of Haiti, began his introduction to

this pamphlet by calling "this World' s Columbian Exposition, with its splendid display of wealth

and power, its triumphs of art and its multitudinous architectural attractions" a whitedd

sepulcher" (9). The biblical reference in Douglass' s criticism paints an acute picture of race,

technology, and community that had been embedded within the fair; the pallid mechanical,

inorganic facade entombs the social life of those who labor to make the advances possible. White

City becomes an undead city in its whiteness, the uncanny negative presence that will haunt the

moribund interweaving of technology and culture.

With an increased reliance upon African American labor in the productivity of industrial

culture, the possibility for African American participation in this particular World's Fair

exceeded the opportunities of the previous two American editions.42 Barnett, in his portion of the

pamphlet, writes




42 As Reed posits, "As the result of a rapidly expanding population with numbers exceeding 16,000 persons, three
times the total for 1876, it exhibited [...] a desire among some for participation in the very mainstream of the fair's
activities. Importantly, with or without the involvement of the local citizenry, the appetites of African Americans










In two of the states of the South the colored exceeds the white population, and so far as
the production energy of the Southern states is concerned, almost the entire output of
agricultural products is the work of negro labor. The colored people therefore thought
that their numbers, more than one-eighth of the entire population of the country, would
entitle them to one Commissioner-at-Large, and that their importance as a labor factor in
the South would secure for them fair representation among the Commissioners appointed
from the states. But this was not so. (76).

Of further insult to Barnett was the Exposition' s setting aside August 25th as "Colored People' s

Day." "In this wonderful hive of National industry, representing an outlay of thirty million

dollars and numbering its employees by the thousands, only two colored persons could be found

whose occupation were of a higher grade than that of janitor, laborer, and porter, and these two

only clerkships" (80). Barnett's criticism, that African American labor was only recognized as

menial, unimportant to industrially advanced production, illustrates the extent to which

citizenship and productive, skilled labor had become nearly synonymous. If the fair celebrated

the transformative power of technology on social relations--if it was meant to show how

technology itself, divested and alienated from any origins in living human beings, could solve the

social problems of the old and carry us into a new era--the systematic exclusion of African

Americans from any meaningful participation in the fair unveils the racialized component of the

alienation involved in forging proper citizenship of this mercantile-technocratic democracy. In

essence, the exclusion of African Americans from what "counted as labor" became akin to the

authors of the pamphlet an erasure of African American labor from the pages of history.

The agency and rationale of that kind of segregation must be interrogated for the ways it

imagines African American labor outside this dialectic of the contested culture of the industrial

revolution and its synthesis in a new technopolitical civilization, outside of the crisis of history.

As Reed observes, "during a time of labor-capital confrontation, while the immigrants engaged


throughout the nation were whetted at the opportunity to show their progress since the end of chattel slavery 1865"
(13-4).









in revolutionary or reform efforts aimed at ameliorating their economic plight, the ostracism of

African Americans from a political economy that was built on an industrial and commercial base

eliminated the possibility of interracial labor conflict or cooperation" (14). A contestation of

these assumptions is precisely the proj ect Ida B. Wells intended in her portions of the pamphlet.

Part of her larger proj ect to argue, as Hazel Carby has shown, that the modernization of

the South's economy and infrastructure was due both to Northern industrial investment and the

labor of African Americans (1 12), Wells prefaces the pamphlet by asking both the reason and the

meaning behind African American exclusion: "The wealth created by [African American]

industry has afforded to the white people in this country the leisure essential to their great

progress in education, art, science, industry and invention." Because "[t]he labor of one half of

this country has always been, and is still being done by them," Wells makes this question of the

evisceration of labor-particularly African American labor--from the celebration the

centerpiece around which the pamphlet' s challenge will orbit (3-4). Exclusion seems to enter

here as a feature of alienation; that is, African American labor has always been an indelible part

of the technological progress celebrated at the White City, but the apparent divestment of that

labor from its originators to the point that it seems absolutely alien defines for Wells the

"whiteness" of the White City. The pamphlet' s critique of the Exposition illuminates the ways in

which racialized alienation has been ingrained into the everyday social relation of the industrial

metropolis.

But Wells' s method in challenging the racial narrative of industrial culture posited by the

fair is especially noteworthy. Wells' s sections of the pamphlet at first glance seem to explain

only obliquely the reason for the exclusion, instead concentrating on institutionalized forms of

political segregation in the Jim Crow South, the social terror of lynching, and the rise of the









convict lease system after emancipation. For the overarching proj ect of the pamphlet suggested

in its title--promising to give the reason why the celebration of technological progress had been

recorded and blanched white--such chapters by Wells hardly focus directly on any subj ect of

industrial production, yet offer a key critical insight into the workings of an overarching,

complex structure understood broadly as culture; Wells's writings herein offer an innovative and

rich device of cultural criticism.

The chapter on the Convict Lease System in particular develops Wells's critique of

racialized alienation: "The white Christian and moral influences have not only done little to

prevent the Negro from becoming a criminal, but they have deliberately shut him out of

everything which tends to make for good citizenship" (24). The trope of the Black criminal was

already a developed figure in the American landscape at the time, and was a primary fuel for the

Convict Lease System as a structure that was also key to the modernization of an industrial

South. Wells gives weight to this argument by noting the racial disparities in convict

demographics. In 1892, Wells notes, "[i]t is an astounding fact that 90 per cent of [Georgia' s]

convicts are colored; 194 white males and two white females; 1710 colored males and 44 colored

females" (24). Wells's observation about poverty, race, crime, and "security" in normalized

social discourse recorded as industrial "civilization" offers a new dimension to the overarching

question of The Rea~son Why... These same racial disparities are involved in the production of

"civilization," of "citizenship," and of "culture" that had been offered by the World' s Columbian

Exposition. Unrecognized for the contributions their labor had in the development and advance

of industry, African Americans could more easily be considered exceptions from the aegis of

worker-as-citizen and the agency implied therein, and thus more easily fodder for systematized










institutions that furthered racist practices while still capitalizing on the social quality of work for

continued production and accumulation.

The development and deployment of the Convict Lease System in the postbellum South

marked a new moment in the role of state intervention in securing the requisite labor market for

modernization, and is a key feature in understanding industrial culture at the end of the century.43

This system by which the labor of African Americans was recaptured and applied to the proj ect

of modernization needed new ways to conceive of the freed slaves as transgressors of the law.

New codes outlawing the refusal to work began to specifically target African Americans,

essentially making being Black a potential crime. Through an analysis of this institution, one

sees that the question of the role of government with respect to its population morphed to both

enforce the rights if its citizens--the so-called "free labor" ideal--as well as to guarantee the

duty to labor, and racial demarcation of a public sphere became the field by which these new

state str-uctures derived their operational authority.44 The legal trope of Black Vagrancy in

particular is one such apparatus that bridges a specific logic of racialized labor in relation to state

sovereignty from the antebellum period into the Gilded Age while at the same time hides the

contradictions inherent in the system of industrial development. As Bryan Eustice Wagner' s

argument in "Disturbing the Peace ": Black Vagrancy and' the Culture of Racial Demarcation

points out, the antebellum slave patrols just morphed into "modern police departments with

standard issue uniforms, bureaucratic command str-uctures, and around-the-clock patrol

schedules" (2). Even the logic of "free labor"--which as James Schmidt has argued was a

43 As Schmidt has argued, "Marxist historians spend a good deal of time talking about the state's role in the creation
or destruction of private property, but they spend less effort on the role the state played in the creation of a labor
market" (3).

44 In the South, antebellum vagrancy laws persisted to reiterate the legitimacy of the idea of forced labor (Schmidt
82). "In the Antebellum North and South, Vagrancy Laws became a way for elites to affirm their status and control
others on the basis of class" (Schmidt 91-2).










complex legal construction of a worker "free to quit" a given employer based on individual

discretion--relied on a fully-developed labor market in which "free labor was unfettered to

circulate to the highest bidder" (4). But the transition after emancipation did not so easily lead to

an absolute commodification of labor.

Efforts to build a coherent challenge to the traditional distributions of wealth had to

confront both the economic might of the employing classes and the mutual distrust of the white

and black workers, in addition to, as Montgomery has argued, the "ultimate bulwark of white

supremacy and segregation: the state" (84-5). As the "professional policing structures" (see

chapter 3) began practices designated to bring freed slaves back into (in many cases their former

master' s) custody, the court system also began to concentrate not on offender rehabilitation but

on the extraction of as much labor as was possible from convicts. The constitutional amendment

forbidding coerced labor except "as punishment for crime" was met with the response of making

it a crime to be Black. The new vagrancy laws that were legislated in the South stipulated that

persons "with no lawful business or occupation" would be heavily fined or subj ected to

imprisonment; these laws were obviously aimed at freed African Americans, as "lawful business

or occupation" meant without exception having a white employer (Wagner 3, Stanley 126).45

In the aftermath of the Civil War, the organization and social makeup of abstract labor

was substantially altered in both the North and the South. Previously, in both regions, longer-

term labor agreements served as the infrastr-ucture of social labor and used primarily to keep

laborers for key moments in the work cycle (for example, a harvest in rural locations). But due to


45 The threat of Reconstruction as an attempt at wide-ranging redistribution of wealth was, as Bobby Wilson notes, a
possibility that "sent tremors through the ruling elites. Reconstruction achieved the goal of reconstructing the South
for industrial capitalism, but it failed to provide economic and democratic rights for Blacks. It left the labor
problems unresolved, and the ruling elites appealed to white solidarity against Blacks. They sought no new alliances
with the lower classes but wanted instead to exploit them and extract surplus value from their labor in the most
efficient manner possible" (62).









advancing mechanization, the need for contract, longer-term bound labor, particularly in

agricultural fields, decreased (Schmidt 196). Mechanization's effective casualization of labor in

which labor can be consumed according to the express needs and schedule that best suits the

accumulation of surpluses also facilitated an anxiety that people could possibly leave the labor

market completely. As a product of the economic panic and collapse of the 1870s, the presence

of "industrial tramping," which was seen to be elevated to epidemic proportions, created a crisis

for the arguments of free-labor and free-labor law in the post-bellum North. The economic crises

of the 1870s served as the impetus for industrialists to write and enforce new punishments for

people who had appeared to leave the labor market altogether by joining the growing numbers of

"industrial tramps" (Schmidt 208). A good number a vagrancy laws and tramp acts had been

written in the antebellum period; however, in the 1870s and 1880s, newer incarnations of these

codes intended to secure a constant labor market and a perpetual source of labor needed to create

and maintain industrial capital development became considerably more virulent and exploitative

(Schmidt 209). After 1880, after much of what has been described as "the tramp scare" in the

North had simmered, the powers of the state that been established through older vagrancy laws to

restrict movement by making loitering, previously a misdemeanor, a felony that punished

offenders by long terms of incarceration and hard manual labor (Schmidt 213). By the end of the

decade, it became clear to many working poor peoples that the state which had been propped up

by these vagrancy laws was a cynical attempt to ease the now explicit crisis and contradictions of

industrial capital, and many resented and challenged these laws as an unfair punishment to

people for simply lacking the means of support. "Knowing firsthand the stimulus of hunger,"

Amy Dru Stanley writes, "laboring men testified to the opposition between the ideal of free

contract and the coercive provision of the vagrancy laws. They claimed that necessity itself was a









dreadful compulsion which compromised the legal right to choose when, for how long, and for

whom to labor" (120-1).

Because of the relatively stronger reliance of agricultural labor moving towards

modernization, and the effects emancipation had on a labor market, these fears and onfcial

responses were amplified in the South. Perhaps the most interesting case study of the

modernization process and the effort to glean over the crises attendant to such transformations

was the place coerced Black labor and the trope of the Black Vagrant played in Alabama,

particularly in the rise of Birmingham, a city that did not exist before emancipation. Following

the same ethic of the town of Pullman and even much of the logic behind the White City of the

World's Columbian Exposition--namely the beneficial effects on social life that were to be had

through industrial modernization-officials felt that a newly-founded urban center of industrial

production was necessary if the South was to progress into the twentieth century.

In the aftermath of the war, machine technology was much more abundant in the North

than in the South. For example, in 1880, the percentage of all occupations engaged in mechanical

pursuits in Pennsylvania was 36.3%, while in Alabama at the same time the percentage of all

occupations engaged in mechanical pursuits was 4.6% (Wilson 110). The implementation of a

factory organization of labor would present new demands on those whom would be supplying

that labor; at the very least it would need a "free-labor" system in which people were compelled

to sell their labor at all times. As Montgomery had pointed out, the deployment of legal, state

force to compel work was most commonly used in direct relation to wages that were unstable:

when wages were high, African Americans worked least because they would only make enough

money to keep their families afloat.46 The origin and development of vagrancy laws along with


46 "Local sheriffs were sometimes called on to arrest Black workers who had quit on charges of violating boarding
house laws" (Montgomery 65).










the introduction and evolution of the figure of the Black Tramp were meant to counter Black

labor conscious of its own political position (i.e. against work stoppages, demands for higher

wages, or even the ability to quit mid-j ob) (Wagner 82-3) as well as to assure the complete

commodification of labor so as to be more properly consumed by industry.

Laws to bring newly-freed African Americans back into the custody of the authorities for

the purpose of the extraction of living labor began to spring up as the vehicle for southern

modernization. 47 By 1894, 10% of the entire revenue for the state of Alabama was generated

through the convict-lease system (Wilson 115). Northern investment, intending Birmingham to

be the "Pittsburgh of the new industrial South," increased to the point that by 1896, Birmingham

was the largest producer of pig iron in the U.S. and the third largest in the world, thanks largely

to coerced, mollified African American labor (Wilson 93). So industrial investment in the hopes

of expanding capital production developed and supported a system that not only mollified labor

into the commodity appropriate for industrial consumption, but also vastly increased the ranks of

inexpensive labor. Convict labor, made possible through the Black Codes and Vagrancy Laws

was the essential force that transformed the agrarian organization of labor into an industrial one

(Wilson 114), a fact that Ida Wells was quick to point out had been the key element in building

the industrial city-on-the-hill, the epitome of industrial progress, the White City.




47 Florida wrote into its codes a statute against vagrants by defining the offender as some who in "wanton
impudence" had abandoned his place of employment. Virginia defined vagrants as those who "live idly and without
employment" and those who "refuse to work for the usual common wages given to laborers [...] in the place where
they were." Georgia's Vagrancy Laws were quite elaborate, defining a vagrant as "All persons wandering or
strolling about in idleness, who are able to work and who have not property to support them; all persons leading an
idle, immoral, or profligate life [...]; all persons able to work having no visible and no known means of fair, honest,
and respectable livelihood: all persons having a fixed abode, who have no visible property to support them, and who
live by stealing or by trading in, bartering for, or buying stolen property; and all professional gamblers living in
idleness" (qtd. in Wagner 15-6). Georgia prisoners convicted of vagrancy were bound to work for some person,
assigned them by the state, for one year. Mississippi Black Codes defined vagrants as "anyone who was guilty of
theft, had run away [from a job], who was drunk, was wanton in conduct or speech, had neglected job or family,
handled money carelessly, and [...] all other idle and disorderly persons" (qtd. in Davis 29).










In order to create and sustain a labor force at all times available for industrial production,

the state had been expressly involved in the writing of fears of Black freedom from work and the

rise of the cultural significance of "vagrancy." In effect, "vagrancy" enters the collective lexicon

as a new term that draws attention away from the antagonisms and contradictions of a new post-

bellum social relation that created and perpetuated a casualization of labor.48 These laws were

enforced inconsistently, in testament to their main objective to extract and exploit as much cheap

labor from African Americans as possible; the moment African Americans had been subj ected to

this arbitrary enforcement of the law, they became, to use Wagner' s term, "legible to the general

public as vagrants--as shiftless, unruly, and threatening" (5). The practice of forging a

sociopolitical term with racialized markers into the collective lexicon began to more-rigidly

define the contours of industrial citizen; to be Black was to be placed on the edge of the

normative national order.

The trope of the Black Vagrant--a device that popular media and onfcial state

apparatuses consistently reflected back against and in dialogue with one another--had started to

enter the common sense through numerous popular narratives and media such as The National

Police Galzette which brought news of crime stories from all across the nation to the saloons and

the streets of New York. The role of media representations of African Americans as material for

crime reportage had been itself a subj ect identified by Ida B. Wells for intense scrutiny in The

Reason Why ... Wells asserts that popular representations of Black Crime were so

sensationalized the newsworthinesss" of the events was questionable; that is, Wells noted the

role the owners of these popular presses played in authoring a public perception that makes

certain associations between race, work, and criminality (30).


48 Schmidt observes this much in his assessment as well when he notes that the "crime of vagrancy emerges as a
structure to work out or at least hide, the contradictions of bourgeois culture" (61).









Perhaps no medium better exemplifies the interactions of popular fiction and state

apparatuses to fuse a racial demarcation of citizenship for the entire nation and its disparate

regions than the Galzette. One of the most popular narrative papers of the era, and a medium that

was published for much of the later portions of the nineteenth century by former New York City

Chief of Police George Matsell, the weekly story paper contained general news of crimes in New

York and other locations throughout the U. S. (Gorn 12). In fact, even though the bulk of the

items printed in the Galzette were taken from New York, and even though the readers of the

Galzette were wage-earning, working class New Yorkers, the paper consistently saw itself as a

national institution, and cobbled together news events from different regions to proj ect a national

composite of crime and community. The Galzette must be recognized in the proj ect to forge a

national community built upon that narrative base that told a story about Blackness and labor.

Referred to colloquially as the "barber's bible" because it was often read by the clientele

at barber shops as well as saloons, liveries, hotels, and anywhere else men congregated, the

Galzette circulated at least 150,000 copies per week (Gorn 11). The fears attendant to those who

"shirked responsible and respectable work" permeated much of these stories that composed its

sensational pages; consider, for example, the lead story from the May 18, 1878 edition, which

detailed a rape in a small Massachusetts community.

Just as she entered the thicket, and by the way, it is one of the lonesomest places in that
locality, she was somewhat surprised to see sitting at the base of a tree a man who
seemed to belong to the tramp class. He appeared to be about thirty years of age, with
dark eyes, sallow complexion, with black chin whiskers and mustache. In build he was
short and thick-set. His clothes were well-worn and of light color, his pants being tucked
in his heavy rawhide boots.

The Galzette's news articles features numerous descriptions of this sort in which a respectable,

bourgeois or upper-class white woman attacked out in public space-"one of the lonesomest

places"--by a typical member of the "tramp class" distinguishable in dress and complexion.










When Richard Kyle Fox took over publication of the Galzette from Matsell in the 1870s, the

paper employed a larger stable of artists who would recreate the scenes depicted in many of the

racially-charged narratives, and in-so-doing further accented racial caricatures into the socio-

legal construction of being Black (Gorn 12). What is particularly interesting in these depictions

of the criminal acts of a nascent "tramp class" is how it grounds concepts of idleness, dishonesty,

and visibility into a specific spatial location. Read today, the Galzette's stories are challenging to

decode because of the apparent multi-directional portrait they paint concerning the social

landscape of the late nineteenth century. We have in this narrative' s creation the racially-charged

spectacle of crime, a recreation of common, "public," space in the period of industrial production

as "one of the lonesomest places," signifying on an assumption that those spaces are already in

some way ripe with alienation. Such narratives fraught with divergent traj ectories illuminate the

sense of the vexed political consciousness on the part of the typical readers of this medium: for

the Galzette contained stories, often printed adj acent to each other, of the crimes of the shiftless,

lazy tramp as well as the salacious actions committed by the upper classes. Other critics have

commented on the social anxiety made palpable by popular renditions of beggars and the abj ect

poor as a way to understand the stories bourgeois culture told about its own privilege in light of

an economic system that so obviously and so readily gave ample evidence of inequity.49 Still, the

sympathies expressed for lower- and working-class people did not extend beyond racial lines.

For example, even when the Galzette would expressly criticize the Southern implementation of

the Convict Lease System, it still disparaged African Americans as ignorant automatons who




49 Schmidt recognizes these contradictory impulses embedded within popular renditions of beggars and those
identified as "vagrants": "When seen in terms of social theory, vagrants and beggars seemed strangely perverse.
Their behavior defied expectations about relationships between people and the state. In addition, in their clothing or
lack of cleanliness, beggars emphasizes the gap between themselves and respectable classes" (54-5).










sold their labor too cheap.'o Furthermore, as an article from the June 22, 1878 Galzette shows,

suspicions of African American collective organization for political ends were especially

charged; just one year proceeding the general strikes of 1877, fears of a Parisian-style revolution

materialized that warned of a communist-style philosophy would "find soil in the negro heart."

The Galzette writes

Just now, [the African American] has come to the fore, away down in the Louisiana
lowlands, to exhibit a bit of unwholesome knowledge, derived from his colorless brother,
in the Communistic line. With the workings of the idea in the North, where capital is
made the distinction and those who are without it are arrayed as the natural foes of those
who have it with the attendant principle that the latter have no rights which the former are
bound to respect, and that, in the event of success the non capitalists shall be privileged to
distribute among themselves whatever goods the capitalists shall happen to possess,
Sambo is excessively charmed.

The fear generated by these narratives aids in the rewriting of class antagonism into potential

racial violence. In answering the question, "whose space is public space?" a bourgeoning

popular culture herein does much to help the conflicts of capitalism fade to white.51 The potential

to be recognized as belonging to that community, to have agency against such a background

similarly faded for African Americans while increased the likelihood that they would be fodder,

swallowed up be the developing State machinations and systems of white capital.52 Or worse,



"0 Gorn cites an October 1886 issue of the Gazette to argue that the politics of the paper were often progressive: the
Gazette criticized the Georgia Convict Lease System "as one of pure exploitation by the State's wealthy
businessmen to extract the labor if 'ignorant negros"' (14).

51 In Vogel's words, the media became the location where the political rights of citizens, indeed the raced definitions
of what it meant to be citizen, had been in play since the outbreak of the Civil War: "The laissez-faire economy in
the North and a slave economy in the South left a free Black population with a crisis over the relationship between
labor and citizenship. A population defining itself and American political rights as 'white' threatened to permanently
lock out free Blacks, and they had no place to turn but to themselves (39).

52When seen in conjunction with the decisions of specific court cases of the late nineteenth century, a clearer image
emerges of the extent to which African Americans were in effect being excluded from the confines of citizenship.
By 1893, as Reed notes, the Supreme Court had ruled against the Civil Rights Act of 1875, which further
disenfranchised Mfrican Americans in the South. A parallel increase in the number of lynchings and the
establishment of debt peonage contributed to a sense that the antebellum legal decisions that had rejected the
argument that African Americans could be considered citizens "seemed to gain renewed popularity in the rarified
atmosphere of the 1890s" (Reed xxiv-xxy).










they could be seen as anticitizens, the directional counter to the traj ectories mapped out by

industrial democracy, potential enemies of the state, and thus logically the obj ect of new

apparatuses of social discipline.5

Epilogue: The Politics of an Occupation

Historical accounts of the Pullman Strike of 1894 portray the aftermath of the violent

conflict as a watershed moment in the American political outlook. Pointing to one of the strike' s

primary cast-members, American Railroad Union President Eugene V. Debs, criticism has

looked wistfully at the aftermath of the Pullman Strike for a new potential for socialist ideology

that rose from the ashes of the smoldering mechanical wreckage. Debs in particular saw his

imprisonment for his actions in calling for the general strike as a turning point; henceforward

Debs would spend his energy working for governmental control of means of production. He

would be the Socialist Party's candidate for President five times in the first two decades of the

twentieth century; his last attempt in 1920 from his cell in an Atlanta prison gathered him nearly

one million votes.

Still, I am concerned for the logic of community, work, and citizenship within a state that

emerges from this era. The artifacts I have chosen for an analysis of the cultural climate--an

odd-tic of a narrative by Herman Melville; a planned community as secure space free of crime,

vice, and political unrest; a sublime technospectacle of a World' s Fair; and a formalized legal

institution of Black Vagrancy--have been hauntingly threaded with the shadow of a more rigid

social stratification, a stronger social division of labor that had been based on new ways people


53 David Roediger' s argument about the citizenship status of African Americans--that they were not just excluded
from the rights defining citizenship but were anti-citizens whose otherness reveals the contours of citizenship-
seems especially instructive of the industrial situation. "That Blacks were largely noncitizens will surprise few, but it
is important to emphasize the extent to which they were seen as anticitizens, as 'enemies rather than members of the
social compact.' As such they were driven from Independence Day parades as defilerss' of the body politic and
driven from their homes by the Sons of Liberty and Minute Men. The more powerless they became, the greater their
supposed potential to be used by the rich to make freemen unfree" (57).










defined themselves as "workers" and understood their agency as citizenship within an institution

of Empire. As Marx identified twenty years earlier in his reaction to the Paris Commune, this

same cast-iron social division would serve as the basis for the state as it had operated under the

reign of Napoleon III. Rather than supporting the Hegelian notion that the State is the apotheosis

of social life, Marx realized that the worker occupation of Paris served as complete antimony for

the French State as it had been conceived as relegating the political as a specialized activity,

separate from everyday life.54 Rather than criticize this increase in specialization and

fragmentation of the social fabric of industrial community, newly forming trade unions seemed

all too willing to assert and accept the privileges granted through the deployment of the rigid

social division of labor.

What did/does it mean to identify oneself as a "worker"? All four artifacts of the cultural

logic I have here studied share a refrain to this question. Perhaps the most definitive answer

enunciated by this logic could be unearthed in the contorted language of the Nineteenth-Century

Freedman's Bureaus that decreed "all freed people must enter into voluntary contracts with

employers of their own choice" (qtd. in Schmidt 104); the limits of "freedom" and "democracy"

are contained within and subordinate to the system of production. The legal Eiction of a public

community operates as a dialectic--a false "peace" or secure space in which capitalist

production is allowed to go on uninterrupted. With the interventions of the state apparatuses to

guarantee perpetual engagement of labor to the production of capital, the logic of government

morphs from representations and manifestations of a collective, social "will," to one that acts in a


54 Kristin Ross points out as much about Marx's writings in a post-Paris Commune, 1972 edition of The Coiniunist
Manifesto: "Political emancipation means emancipation from politics as a specialized activity. [...] The state is not
merely an instrument of the bourgeoisie: its detachment from civil society, its status as a distinct organism, is
attained only ;it ..;, ;i, and by ineans of the social divisions of labor. The organs of centralized state power the
standing army, the bureaucracy, the police, the clergy, the judiciary--are 'organs wrought after the plan of a
systematic and hierarchic division of labor' (197)" (qtd. in Ross 24).










way that can be more accurately described as a capitalist subject that presents itself as having an

inalienable right to its citizen's labor. But in consenting to the social division of labor, "citizens"

allow themselves to be contained as capitalist subj ects. The growing influence of these trade

unions, of people whose conception of their own political agency depended on a close

relationship to specialized labor apart from general unskilled workers, helped define the contours

of the developing mercantile-democratic state. One' s relation to the state, how one defines

citizenship, becomes a dyad of being at work/not at work, of having an "occupation."

The public horror at the intense violence of the Pullman Strike--numerous popular

presses could not reprint fast enough the stories of workers setting fire to the Pullman cars they

had constructed- coupled with the fact that the American Railroad Union refused to handle any

US Mail locomotive cars that had Pullman cars attached, thus threatening the assumption of safe,

public space a~s circulation-warranted new interventionist strategies of state apparatuses to

secure the public peace. Ironically, the spectacle of "dead letters" and "dead men" returns to

become the onus for new interventions that would define the violence properly exercised by the

sovereign state. Overriding the authority of Chicago' s popular mayor Patrick Hopkins--who had

once himself been an operative for the Pullman factories and was a strong supporter of Pullman' s

striking workers--and Illinois governor John Altgeld, President Grover Cleveland deployed

federal troops to end the strike. As Benj amin notes in "The Critique of Violence," part of the

constitution of the modern state involves a systematic means of resolving the violence attendant

to class conflict. The right to violence that is usually reserved for the state has also, through

historical struggle, been granted to organized labor in the right to strike. But the proposition that

the right to strike is a right to exercise violence cannot completely escape the obj section that a










collective refusal to work is not precisely an exercise of "violence": how can an abandonment or

collective withdrawal from labor be properly described as "violence"?

This objection seems especially pertinent in the situation of the Pullman Strike. Support

for "democratic" interventions in the Pullman strike hinged on the perception of a violence in

excess on the part of organized labor--both in the destruction of property and the obj ects of their

own labor (and also of their alienation), and in the threat against social circulatory order. The

portrait of labor violence in excess hid the fact that the strike' s organizers had been targeted by

the law for their success at organizing a withdrawal of labor from a broad coalition that cut

across the lines of labor specialization. The declaration that Debs's sympathy strike transgressed

the law became the grounds for federal intervention and the definition of a new type of imperial

sovereignty. In other words, the modern state dictates that organized labor could exercise

violence in its right to strike so long as that violence does not recognize general solidarity

amongst a broader version of labor and that does not supersede the specialized contours of the

social fabric of Empire." The threat of the general strike is the withdrawal from those rigid

social divisions necessary for capital accumulation, another sort of "occupation" of social life in

defiance of the striated social fabric. This type of occupation--a radical protest of specialized

social space by putting one's person in defiance of these differentiated locations geared to the

facilitation of productivity--had been receding as a form of struggle through the end of the

nineteenth century.


55 Benjamin argued "the right to strike constitutes in the view of labor, which is opposed to that of the state, the right
to use force in attaining certain ends. The antithesis between the two conceptions emerges in all its bitterness in face
of a revolutionary general strike. In this, labor will always appeal to its right to strike, and the state will call the
appeal an abuse, since the right to strike was not 'so intended,' and take emergency measures. For the state retains
the right to declare that a simultaneous use of strike in all industries is illegal, since the specific reasons for strike
admitted by legislation cannot be prevalent in every workshop. In this difference of interpretation is expressed the
objective contradiction in the legal situation, whereby the state acknowledges a violence whose ends, as natural
ends, it sometimes regards with indifference, but in a crisis (the revolutionary general strike) confronts inimically"
(282).









In those final decades of the century, the political organization of specialized labor relied

heavily on perceptions of racial difference. In the 1870s and 1880s, as Montgomery notes, trade

unions commonly did not permit African Americans into their unions, and the American

Federation of Labor refused to allow Chinese immigrants working on railroads in the west to j oin

AFL-affiliated organizations (26-7). With the rise of these trade organizations and the decline of

unskilled labor unions like the Knights of Labor and the United Mine Workers, racial

stratification became more stringent (Wilson 142-3). In the instance of the Pullman Strike, these

racial codifications of class conflict become even more evident. Philpott quotes a sentry in the

U. S. Seventeenth Calvary as he surveyed the faces of the "Hunkies" and "Polacks" in the crowds

near the Union Stockyards; he turned to a fellow peace-keeper and remarked "the things ain't

human." Skilled workmen were known to have quit Pullman, one remarking that laboring

alongside factory operatives for Eastern and Southern Europe no longer seemed to be "white

man's work" (qtd. in Philpott 119).

While the concept of an "occupation" helped determine one's agency, one's defining

characteristic within the rising industrialist nation, the concept also comes to be a way to

comprehend and measure time; or more precisely "occupation" also describes an apparatus to

capture time in the service of industry. In many respects, the process by which modernization

reorganized labor and the social landscape was as much a revolution in the conception of time.

Time is a new site for struggle, conflict, and resistance in the era as it measures the extent to

which living labor has become commodified and consumed for the purposes of maximizing

surplus value. This conception of time fundamentally changes in the factory organization of

social labor, for as the factory operative became bound to repetition of similar tasks in a static

place, the issue of compensation for work done oscillated between a hourly-wage scale and a










piece-rate method (Montgomery 115). The oscillations due to repletion of labor opened up new

spaces for conceptualizations of time, the most famous being "discovered" by Frederick

Winslow Taylor in his time-motion studies to demonstrate how time could be used to maximize

production as a function of "efficiency." Taylor' s studies resulted in his advocacy of the phasing-

out of the piece-rate method for labor compensation. Piece-work, Taylor writes in The Principles

ofScientific Management, is too susceptible to "soldiering"--which Taylor defines as the worker

deliberately altering the amount of time needed to complete a task or product. 56 Time under the

rationalization of labor through the factory organization of labor, must be removed from the

control of labor and instead be a measure of the magnitude, or even the means, of alienation.

Time must be "occupied" by industrial interest--the occupation of time presents the cadences for

those communities-for-capital .

The Vagrancy Laws of the nineteenth century explicitly merged industrial conceptions of

time and work into an "occupation." In Birmingham, for example, investors in the proj ect of

southern modernization employed these coercive means to make modes of living that were

outside of the cadences of industrial life extralegal.57 Increasingly, industrial time also began to

be comprehended in terms of race. As Bobby Wilson and Mark Smith have argued, the

management of the antebellum plantation introduced the clock as bearer of industrial time into

seasonal and diumal rhythms in order to discipline labor. The plantation organization of labor

differed from the factory model, along this line of argument, in its facilitation of an environment

56 Taylor writes "Under piece-work [...] the art of systematic soldiering is thoroughly developed: after a workingman
has had the price per piece of the work he is doing lowered to two or three times as a result of his having worked
harder and increased his output, he is likely to lose sight of his employers side of the case and become imbued with a
grim determination to have no ore cuts if soldiering can prevent it" (23).

57 Wilson points out that "to instill the industrial notion of time onto black workers' everyday routine, Birmingham
capitalists sought to make other modes of living difficult, if not impossible. Industrialists, like the planters with
sharecroppers, supported laws to control behavior and enforce a rigid work schedule." By the turn of the century
"Birmingham waged an unrelenting campaign against vagrants giving them the choice of going to jail or to work"
(99).










geared towards the completion of a task or product and not strictly dependent upon time intervals

(Wilson 97). In the modernization of the South, exemplified by Birmingham, this shift in the

concept of production needed coercion to achieve temporal conformity of its working

populations.

In both North and South, labor often rejected these new cadences of industrial discipline.

Schmidt offers the example of freed slaves in South Carolina, who had traditionally attended to

specific tasks during morning and took the rest of the day off-a system that had been carried

over from the plantation. Schmidt retells an anecdote given by Freedmen's bureau agent A.J.

Willard to demonstrate the extent of the conflict over industrial time:

A sawmill owner who had contracted for twenty five dollars per month plus rations came
to Willard to solve a dispute. The two workers in question, "very intelligent and good
laborers" in Willard's opinion, claimed an hour off between 8 and 9 AM for breakfast
and another between 12 and 1 for lunch. Trying to resolve the situation, Willard
explained to them that "laborers in the North got less wages and worked from sunrise to
sunset, this season of the year, only having an hour at noon." The workers' answer was
"We want to work just as we always worked." (177)

The anecdote illuminates the differences that underlie a maj or conflict--each side understands

the relation between time and production in radically different ways. To quell this potentially

explosive fault-line, industrial capitalism required a structure by which workers and industrialists

could speak the same language.

When these negotiations and adjustments in time and labor' s compensation became one

of the key issues that sparked the Pullman Strike in 1894 (Pullman worker/citizens expressed

outrage at a cut in pay for the same amount of work, yet the rates on rent and other everyday

expenses of living at Pullman remained the same), the langue of industrial production, time

manifested in the clock tower at the hilt of the Pullman factory that oversaw and governed the

planned community, was thought to have been a specific target of the violence. Standing










prominently over the rest of the town as the community's tallest structure, the factory clock

tower became the beacon for "eminently safe" industrial citizenship, broadcasting its cadences

about the fragmentation of daily-life for people living within the community for capital. This

same compulsion to work through the language of industrial time, the new rhythms of progress,

efficient investment, and cultural growth are precisely the same cadences that serve as tempo for

the logic of Melville' s "eminently safe narrative," and that will manifest themselves in cultural

institutions like the narrative of technology, work, and citizenship (and its dyad in criminality)

within emergent American national imperialism. "Bartleby" understood within this new narrative

cadence has been deemed inactive and is consigned to "social death" of the Tombs by the

extradiegetic bond--the assumptions about work--the narrator shares with his reader. That is,

the novella "works" by creating an eminently safe world in a complicit understanding between

narrator and reader as citizens of the same industrial nation-state. To read "Bartleby" is to

experience the ways in which investment capital has affected reading as a social activity.









CHAPTER 4.
POLICE ACTIONS AND WAR ZONES: "THE MAJESTY OF THE LAW" AND THE
GEOPOLITICS OF PROFESSIONAL POLICING

One of the most critically scrutinized chapters from Theodore Dreiser' s Sister Calrrie

(1900) depicts G.W. Hurstwood' s attempt to earn money set against the backdrop of a rather

volatile streetcar strike in Brooklyn. The first interaction between Hurstwood as replacement

worker and the crowd of strikers occurs peacefully enough: "'Come off the car, pardner,' said

one of the men in a voice meant to be conciliatory. 'You don't want to take the bread out of

another man's mouth, do you?'" The attempt at engagement, conversation, and possibly even

solidarity between these two workers pitted against each other cuts through the walls--embodied

in the officers of the law assigned to guard Hurstwood and the streetcar on its run-working to

"secure labor." The officers of the law reply "'Clear out of this now. Give the man a chance to

do his work.'" This attempted rhetorical bar to the connection between two (or more) workers

here uttered by the law, almost by the badge itself rather than those behind it, is one that once

again pits the commodified labor-power of one worker against another, but couched in a rhetoric

that places security as a means to "protect/save labor." The voice from the strike, though,

responds "'Listen, pardner,' said the leader, ignoring the policeman and addressing Hustwood.

'We're all working men, like yourself. If you were a regular motorman, and had been treated as

we've been, you wouldn't want any one to do you out of your chance to get your rights, would

you?'" (308, emphasis mine). The address from the collective speaks directly to the worker here

and completely ignores the officer of the law, a~s if the officer were not present. In fact it is only

after the violence initiated by the police that the collective body of the strikers--the voice of

labor--even acknowledges the presence of these other two men, as if these two men' s presence

did not count them among labor' s number.

Once the violence does begin in this scene, the epithets begin to reign down-"scab,"

"sucker," "coward," "murdering thief"; except that once the violence begins, it is hard to discern

the target of these invectives: Hurstwood and his two police officers/guards are here almost one

and the same:










"Work, you blackguards," yelled a voice. "Do the dirty work. You're the suckers that keep
the poor people down!" "
May God starve ye yet," yelled an old Irish woman, who now threw open a nearby window
and stuck out her head. "Yes, and you," she added, catching the eye of one of the policemen.
"You bloody, murtherin' thafe! Crack my son over the head, will you, you hard-hearted,
murtherin' devil? Ah, ye-"
But the officer turned a deaf ear.
"Go to the devil, you old hag," he himself muttered as he stared round upon the scattered
company. (309)

Somehow the words of the mob, particularly the old woman' s accusation, launched at these

officers of the law cuts through the facade of their office, perhaps due to the notion that one of

those officers is himself identified earlier by Dreiser as Irish, or perhaps referencing an earlier

passage in which the "bluecoat" (significantly in this novel, clothes have as much interiority as

do living beings) struggles to maintain the outward appearance of neutrality despite

sympathizing with the strikers and hating this "scab" "in his heart of hearts" (300). Thus the

violence this "bluecoat" once wielded has transformed into shame. The implications of this strike

scene, then, hinge upon an oscillation on the part of these officers of the law--at once collapsing

into the landscape that disciplines the collective body of living human labor, at another time

drawn out from the stoic, metallic, statuesque office of the professional badge by the epithet

"scab," charging these officers of the law with attacking and emptying the history of the human

material behind any and all occupations.l

As did many of the strikes of the late nineteenth century, the streetcar strike depicted in

Dreiser' s novel seemed to take much of its wrath out against the technological apparatuses that

nominally "saved labor." And the violence both perpetuated by and directed against the officers



SStephanie Smith' s historical analysis of the word "scab" as a visceral attack on the strike breaker highlights the
extent to which the role of labor ascends to become the defining element of the social fabric. "Just as a scab is a
physical lesion," Smith writes, "the strike breaking scab disfigures the social body of labor--both the solidarity of
the worker and the dignity of work. [...] Moreover, if, as classic Marxism insists, labor under capitalism is that
which is most one's own yet most taken away, scabbed labor is a site of trauma" (98). Smith observes that the word
today has been emptied of much of its political weight by the expansion of global capital, partly because realists
narratives like Sister Carrie animate the possibility for social change while simultaneously containing neutralizing
the potential through narration. Essentially, the text limits an idea of what would count as work, which, Smith writes
"in turn colludes with an emergent middle-class common sense [...] that associates knowledge and knowledge
production with leisure and consumption (and even disease), rather than with labor or production" (112).









of the law itself seems to partake in this tradition if we note the extent to which emerging

professionalization tactics of these officers--their "labor-saving" strategies-increasingly

removes them from partaking in that idea of "labor": more uniform, regimented, repeatable,

professional, indeed technological. As critics of the novel have posited, one possible source for

this scene was the Brooklyn Streetcar Strike of 1895 (Pizer 427). That same year, Theodore

Roosevelt had been appointed president of the Board of Police Commissioners in New York

City. One of the maj or tasks undertaken by Roosevelt in this position, aided in no small part by

his friend and journalist Jacob Riis, was the modernization and development of a professional

disciplinary regiment, a philosophy for securing the social landscape by emptying the office of

any traces of the history of the human material that composes it. The development of a

professional police as such--as a human disciplinary apparatus (and product of human labor

explicitly uncomfortable with its human (i.e. subj ective) origins)--lodges and hides itself into

the very fibers of social relations which in the recreation of community as subordinate to the

capitalist nation-state. After years of development in the late nineteenth century United States,

the concept of a professional disciplinary apparatus--a modern police--will serve as a vehicle

for expanding the practice of constituting whole populations as "workers" prostrate before

industrial modes of production-- takes its next step by going "global."

Walking Softly through New York City: A Domestic Ethic of Nascent Imperialism

In a letter dated February 9, 1898, the newly-appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy

Roosevelt spelled out his plan for American foreign policy that would be a rationale for U.S.

expansion into the affairs of Cuba and the Philippines in the Spanish-American War:

I should myself like to shape our foreign policy with a purpose ultimately of driving off this
continent every European power. I would begin with Spain, and in the end would take all
other European nations, including England. [. .] What I want to see our people avoid is the
attitude taken by the great bulk of Americans at the beginning of this century, and the end of
the last, when the mass of the Jeffersonians put the interests of France above the interest and
honor of America. I am not hostile to any European power in the abstract. I am simply an
American first and last, and therefore hostile to any power which wrongs us. (qtd. in Bishop
79-80, my emphasis)









An aversion to "foreign interests" proj ecting a presence into territories "destined" by the

American imagination as fertile land for U. S. development grounds Roosevelt' s self-identity as

an "American first and last." Significantly, this aversion to foreign influences bases itself on an

understanding of proximity as potential national property; already within this logic of the threat

these European entities pose to Roosevelt' s "America" is an understanding of "nation" as

outward momentum.

Of course, by the time Roosevelt published his reflections on his diverse career in 1905's

The Strenuous Life, many of his techniques and philosophies behind the relations between labor,

discipline, the nation-state, and imperialism had become explicit. Beginning with a deeply

gendered understanding of labor, Roosevelt proceeds to criticize "over-civilized man, who has

lost the great fighting, masterful virtues" and shrinks "from seeing us do our share of the world' s

work, by bringing order out of chaos" through U.S.-style democracy to "the great fair tropic

islands" (24). Roosevelt warned that national timidity threatened to make the U.S. into a new

China "content to rot by inches in ignoble ease within our borders, taking no interest in what

goes on beyond them," shirking responsibility and work "until suddenly we should find, beyond

a shadow of question, what China has already found, that in this world the nation that has trained

itself to a career of unwarlike and isolated ease is bound, in the end, to go down before other

nations which have not lost the manly and adventurous qualities" (21-2). In terms that would

startlingly mirror the racist practices of the police, the imperial proj ect of professional discipline

that would be born in the streets of New York and other urban, industrial centers in the United

States would increasingly be rendered in terms of sexual exploitation.

This policy of barring and checking European nations from locations designating

America' s future (Roosevelt menacingly uses the verb "take" in a way the OED describes as

"confront with physical force" or "assault," but also implicitly "to arrest for oneself") sets the

tone for the United States as global policeman, and itself has a genealogy in the history of

policing in America at the end of the nineteenth century. Not coincidently, the Spanish-American

War, an event that has been viewed as both a continuation of the American Civil War and an










initial outward momentum of national presence abroad that signifies a foray into imperialism, is

preceded by a strenuous remapping of the working classes in urban centers by burgeoning

industrial and investment capital.2 Both conflicts are understood as the proper Hield for "police

actions," effectively defining the contemporary imperial nation-state with this logic. This is to

say that while much of the nineteenth century witnessed a tireless U. S. expanse westward (that

was itself driven by racist and genocidal sentiments), these moments in the Einal decade of the

century mark something new--an attempt to bring U.S. style "law and order" to other "nations"

by freeing them of their European influences and which also tells a story about how the U. S.

narrated itself as a protagonist in a stage thoroughly mapped by global capital.

One of Roosevelt' s most controversial activities as police commissioner was the full

enforcement- many argued the "over enforcement"3- Of New York' s "Blue Laws," barring

alcohol from being sold on Sundays. The enforcement of these laws, as Amy Kaplan has shown,

pitted Roosevelt' s police force against local saloons and beer gardens of immigrant communities.

"Blue Laws," according to Kaplan, "would have contributed to the Americanization of

immigrants by denying their autonomous cultural practices" that depended on social and

communal activities, communities often forged in European homelands (230). This specific

practice teases out a historical account of the conflicts trying the new industrial nation (by 1900,

according to Michel Beaud, America had become the world's largest industrial producer) in its

relation to the world stage: conflicts of "foreign presence" contest the terms of understanding




SAmy Kaplan's essay, "Black and Blue on San Juan Hill," in Cultures of U.S. Imperialism explicitly makes the
argument that the Spanish American War over Cuba and the Philippines was intended to heal specifically
masculinist wounds in the aftermath of the Civil War and Reconstruction. See Kaplan 219.

3Bishop narrates the controversy over the rigorous enforcement of the blue laws as one of a conflict between the old,
corrupt policies of Tammany Hall and the new progressives exemplified by Roosevelt:
When, therefore, Roosevelt declared his intention to enforce the Sunday-closing law rigorously, the outcry
from all political quarters was tremendous. The politicians and the newspapers that they were able to
control were as furious in their wrath as their kind had been when Roosevelt began to enforce the Civil
Service law. They declared that the attempt was pure foolishness, that the law was obsolete, a mere "blue
law," and was never intended to be enforced anyway. A Tammany spokesman said, "We believe the law
should be enforced, but with intelligence and discrimination," to which Roosevelt retorted: "That is a good
deal like believing in truthful mendacity." (61)










sovereignty, both nationally and globally.4 The national effort to maintain an order has at its

heart

a global teleology--a sense that the global is the local, or rather that the local is just an instance

or example for how the world "works." Attendant to this activity of "working out the world" is a

remaking of an order which is a "totalizing"- appearing any place where human labor exists, or a

teleology that operates as does the local but on a vastly different scale. The new activities of

managing/"taking" populations, carved in the clashes of labor and capital in the industrialization

era, understand and remake differences as that of scale.

It is a gross understatement to say that the Roosevelt of the 1890s was an active

"statesman." Not only was Roosevelt busy protecting the west from foreign influence, but he was

just as busy creating the systematized government apparatus needed to carry this out- in effect

rethinking the ways in which policing were viewed. Roosevelt, in a meeting of the Baltimore

Civil Service Reform Association in 1892, conversed with Charles Bonaparte, bragging to the

Baltimore Lawyer (and future Attorney General under the Roosevelt administration) that his

border patrolmen (Roosevelt was national Civil Service Commissioner at the time) were so well-

trained that they could out sharp-shoot any other law officer in the nation. The two continued

discussing the proper presence and training of law enforcement in a nation where technological

advances, particularly in the field of transportation, confounded typical disciplinary devices by

increasing mobility, eventually coming up with the idea that some national police force must be

formed- an idea that was the germination of the FBI' s founding by Bonaparte in 1908.5 The

investment of officers of law enforcement with specialized, national-disciplinary powers can be



4Census reports illustrate the boom in immigration rates and shifts in nationalities of those immigrants over the last
thirty years of the nineteenth century. For example, between 1871 and 1880, over 1.5 million immigrants were from
western and northern Europe, while only 181,000 were from eastern and southern Europe. Between 1891 and 1900,
however, 1.1 million were from western and northern Europe, while almost 1.85 million were from eastern and
southern Europe. Between 1901 and 1910, government estimates report that just over 1.05 million came from
western and northern Europe, while 5,789,000 came from eastern and southern Europe.

5This history is part of the FBI's view of itself, posted on its own web page:
http1 u \\\l.fbi.gov/libref/historic/historv/origins .hm










viewed as a strategy to manage the "unprofessional," unskilled "rabble" that threaten to turn the

formerly "tranquil" America into a war zone.6 Sovereignty embodied in this new view of

imagining particular spaces to be disciplined conflates police actions and war zones, and in this

re-imagination, grounds its rationale as a means of restoring order and peace to those zones

which only it is allowed to freely traverse.'

The law that brought this first professional national police force into existence itself

suggests a revision of race, gender, and labor along a globalized scale--the 191 1 Mann Act-

also known as the "white slave law."s This particular law negotiates a number of cultural

anxieties rising out of swift changes produced by industrial and investment market ideology:

anxieties attendant to women working in "public" spaces (like factories and other places of work



6Burton Bledstein' s analysis of professionalism in Nineteenth-Century America, The Culture of Professionalism,
analyzes the desire of one set of laborers to forcefully distinguish themselves from another set through a
identification of class: "finding themselves in public competition with their neighbors, Americans began to segregate
themselves socially, to tumn inward voluntarily, and to define their private lives by associations based upon race,
ethnicity, and religion" (16). "In a country in which every self-reliant white man increasingly thought he had a little
something to lose- if only a financial debt and a nervous investment in dreams of respectability, comfort, and a
sense of superiority over others- the image of middle-class society as the most progressive in history animated the
Northern imagination" (25). One particular means of distinguishing onself within the harsh world of capitalistic
competition was to improve and secure one's position by defining oneself as a "professional"- a term which would
institutionalize and formalize attitudes that the middle-class thought defined its own existence (31), as well as
promote its value to capitalism as "skilled," "efficient," indisposable living labor. The stigma attached to being
"unprofessional" thus implied a specific relation to the exploitative activity of capital to labor, which Bledstein
analyzes in the word amateur:
The word "amateur," which earlier in the eighteenth century had simply referred to a person who pursued
an activity for the love of it, increasingly acquired negative and pejorative references as the nineteenth
century, developed. amateurish, a new midcentury word, connoted faulty and deficient work, perhaps
defective, unskillful, superficial, desultory. (31)

7To sharpen the distinctions between the figures of law enforcement and the mass of unskilled laborers that "need
management," Frank Momn points out that the late nineteenth century saw a shift in how policemen were paid. No
longer wage earners, law enforcement officers were beginning to be seen as skilled labor apart from the masses, and
thus should be salaried. So, one key means of defining the contours of class, demarcated in the term "professional"
as opposite "amateur"/"unskilled" labor is the shift from the wage to the salary payment method. See Momn 73.

"Some language worded into the law, passed July 25, 1910, explicitly makes itself into one that manages and
"regulates interstate and foreign commerce." In order to legitimate itself as a national police, the FBI needed at its
origins to be seen as overseeing exchanges and circulations on a mass level. Section 6 of the law also requires those
who harbor immigrant women
for any immoral purpose [. .] shall file with the Commissioner General of Immigration a statement in
writing setting forth the name of such alien woman or girl, the place at which she is kept, and all facts as to
the date of her entry into the United States, the port through which she entered, her age, nationality, and
parentage and concerning her procuration to come to this country.










in urban centers) as a threat to ideas of "virtue"9; anxieties about immigration and the

exploitative role of capital to labor'o; anxieties about commerce circumventing the sovereignty

of the nation-state grounded in liberal democracy. 1 Written in response to the widely held fear

that women- both considered "native"/locals (i.e. women moving from rural to urban centers in

the United States) as well as eastern European immigrants- were being lured by American

capitalists with false promises of work only to be sold into prostitution, the law itself allowed for

a new national police force to track criminals that traverse the boundaries of individual states. 12

The cultural logic of the nineteenth century was in the process of reviewing common-sense





9As demonstrated in a report published by the M~assachusetty Conunission for the I,,. t, arear. of the So-Called
White-Slave Traffic in 1914:
In former times girls worked at home under their mothers' watchful eyes, and seldom rvent abroad unless
accompanied by women of mature years. [. .] Present conditions are vastly different. Modern invention
and business methods have transferred industry and its products from the home to the factory, the big store
and the office. The great majority of our people now live in large towns and cities. (66)

10Anxieties over labor and immigration, both that immigrant men lvere participating in degrading "native" white
women, and that immigrant women were themselves being captured and sold into slavery (and also thus contributing
to the degradation of "white womanhood"), can be seen not just in the wording of the Mann Act (see note 8), but
also in a 1911 expose on the supposed phenomenon, written by former police commissioner of New York Theodore
A. Bingham and titled The Girl that Disappears:
There is absolutely no question of the existence to an appalling extent of women who are
veritable white slaves. At least 2,000 of them are brought into the country every year. [ .] They are
enticed from their homes by deceit, by promises of big pay for easy work in the United States, the land of
gold. Generally the picture of what they are to find in this country is painted by their countrymen, a man
who has been in the United States and has returned for the fixed purpose of finding girls to take back with
him. [. .] My observation and the police records convince me that fully ninety-five per cent of all the so-
called white slaves are foreigners, principally girls from France, Italy, Germany, and Hungary. [. .] (15-6)
See also Bingham, 32.

'' As evidenced not just in the language of the Mann Act explicitly making itself as a means to regulate interstate
and foreign commerce (see note 8), but also in the congressional debates over the enactment of the "White Slave
Traffic Law": "Transporting innocent girls .. from the country districts to the centers of population .. in order
that the image in which they have been created shall be defaced is conunerce" (Congressman Edward Sanders from
Virginia, quoted in Lolventhal 14, my emphasis). "The police power exercised by the state and municipal
governments is inadequate to prevent [white slavery]- particularly when girls are enticed from one state to another"
(Congressman James Mann from Illinois, quoted in Theoharis 6).

12.'The White-Slave Act"-as a decree from the federal government-which is itself a space in which ambivalences
about gender, race, and the role of labor, and the professional disciplinary powers of the emerging bourgeois state
converge is a striking example of modern, twentieth century ideas and practices of sovereignty. What is most
striking about this particular act of congress is not just the immorality wrought into the activity of prostitution, but
the fact that such a morality could violate prescribed spatial practice: that is, it is not merely the activity of
prostitution being marked as criminal here, but the possibility of intraspatial criminality herein suggested.









notions of gender, race, and work under a new teleology, and new procedures for management

redefined the terrain for mapping, containing, and policing conflict.

Roosevelt' s ambitions for revitalizing America through a disciplined, professional

activity of policing a particular space were at least influenced by, if not directly resulting from,

conversations had with good friend Jacob Riis. The close friends often walked together through

the streets of New York as if on tour, and Riis's impact on Roosevelt' s plan for national

maintenance had been noted by Roosevelt himself. After Riis' s 1890 publication, How the Other

HalfLives, Roosevelt communicated to Riis personally the profound impact the work had on the

then-current civil service commissioner. When Riis died in 1910, Joseph Buckin Bishop,

longtime friend to Roosevelt, points out that Roosevelt thought of him

as next to his father the best man he had ever known, saying of his book that it had been
to him both an enlightenment and inspiration for which he could not be too grateful. In
company with Riis he visited the tenement house regions, often at midnight, in order to
see for himselfjust what conditions were, just what the police were doing in regard to
them, and what the Health Department was doing to regulate and improve them. (67, my
emphasis s)

What must be meditated upon here is the privileged perspective this method of "seeing," this

particular "scaling of New York," as a shift to an organized, methodical, aggressive, ambitious-

i.e. "professional"- means to contain the crisis created by the stresses of rapidly advancing

capital. This method of configuring the new urban space by cutting New York' s streets down to

scale involves narrating and understanding the real New York by aggressively walking through it

(Riis often barged in to tenements unannounced to snap his photos); a specific activity of

traversing its differentiated Hields. Such a professional momentum through New York

exemplifies Benj amin' s flcineur walking purposefully through the city of nineteenth-century

Europe: "With each step the walk takes on a greater momentum; ever weaker grow the

temptations of shops, of bistros, of smiling women, ever more irresistible the magnetism of the

next streetcorner, of a distant mass of foliage, of a street name" (417). Walking though the city in

effect carves the grooves for circulation into that city: unwilling to be distracted from his

purpose/direction, the city walker/narrator immerses himself within a city of circulation, of










unresisted movement that interpolates himself as "good traffic" (as opposed to a gaperr" who is

slowed from the purpose of circulation).

Roosevelt, writing the introduction to Riis's autobiography, The Making ofan American,

celebrates Riis because the latter stood for "kindly good citizenship." What most notably

demonstrates this virtue, according to Roosevelt' s introduction, is apparently aggressive direct

action: Riis "was one of the few great writers for clean and decent living and for upright conduct

who was also a great doer. He never wrote sentences which he did not in good faith try to act

whenever he could Eind the opportunity for action. He was emphatically a 'doer of the world,'

and not either a mere hearer or preacher" (xi). Riis embodies for this former President, Naval

Secretary, and New York Police Commissioner a new logic of imperial sovereignty which

grounds itself in an aggressive resolve to re-unify specific, differentiated locations under one

"professional," rational, and omnipresent vision- to become a "doer of the world."

Jacob Riis' s 1890 study of tenement houses in the poorest districts in New York, a city

Riis metonymizes and scales as "the principle city of the Unites States," is instructive in the

history of the rise of the professional disciplinary force in America. Riis' s strategies of

arrangement constitutive of narrative- a means to imagining a functionality of one' s

surroundings--imply specific stratifications, particularly of gender, race, and labor that

necessitate an "obj ective force of social maintenance." Riis, a police reporter for the New York

Tribune since the 1870s, does not merely and transparently relay events in How the Other Half

Lives; rather, he conjures a taxonomic order--literally consolidating a mass of diverse peoples

into "an other half" within and through the function of narrative, through a "coherent"

arrangement of words and characters. The text proceeds as if on tour, a chronological

imagination which the author and reader descend into the ghettos of the Metropolis, all of which

situates the reader of this text in a specific position vis-a-vis the "landmarks" that make up the

content.

Readers of Riis' s text tend to have described it as unsure of its own authority, and thus

unstable in the "reality" it works to produce as a negotiation between the "eye witness" and the










obj ect on the other side of the narrative lens. 13 However, I argue that Riis, no matter how he

reads to contemporary critical audiences, orchestrates the text, and by association himself, from

an "amateur" photographer maturing and "progressing" into a professional sociologist. The

narratological structure that fuels the text-"Let us turn down Street"- relies on an

assumption of absolute spatial differentiation and identifies physical markers to plot that

progress. The foundational aspect which will at first be the means of differentiation between

various classes in this text will of course be economic, but translated into how an assumed

conglomerate of the masses, an "other half," practices and utilizes space. 14 The activity of

"living" at this initial moment is first maneuvered into an understanding of a spatialized practice.

Riis began what he termed his life's work when he had been appointed police reporter for

the New York Tribune.ls Significantly, Riis's reporting covered also the Health Department, the

Fire Department, and the Coroner's Office. In Riis' s own words, "The police reporter on a

newspaper [. .] is the one who gathers and handles all the news that means trouble to someone:

the murders, the fires, suicides, robberies, and all that sort, before it gets to court" (qtd. in

Leviatin 16). This occupation, office across from police headquarters on Mulberry Street,

afforded Riis the opportunity to freely explore the tenements of the city. Riis entered his self-

styled "battle"- his autobiography describes his reaction to his new assignment as police reporter

as akin to praying before Mars: "In my soul I commence my work and myself to the God of

battles who gives victory" (128)- against the poverty and squalor of the tenements (and also to

expand his own readership) with a new narrative weapon called the "detective camera." On a

number of occasions, Riis carried this detective camera, smaller and more portable that its

'3 Cindy Weinstein argues that Riis's text is not an artifact of stable authority, and does not work to structure a
coherent realityv" (196).

14 Henri Lefebvre's important work, The Production of Space, illuminates the ways in which the concept of space
needs to be seen as a social practice "which embraces production and reproduction and the particular locations and
spatial sets characteristic of each social formation" (33). As a practice, according to Lefebvre, space serves to unify
a given community. "In terms of social space, and of each member of a given society's relationship to that space,
this cohesion implies a guaranteed level of competence and a specific level of performance" (33, emphasis in the
original).
15 This according to his autobiography, The Making of an 4merican, first published in 1901, on page 128.










predecessors, underneath his coat for "undetected" pictures and thus actively "capturing"

moments, situating the operator of said technology in a new relation to time. 16 The technology of

flash powder, coupled with reduced exposure times thanks to the advent of gelatin plates finally

allowed the photographer to bring to light a new representation of action- the lived practice of

the "other half." This technology of "capturing" action, cutting across and through temporal

linearity, must also be viewed as a new ontological construction: "stilling" action isolates a

newly produced image, making it the reified property of the person who wields the technology of

detection.

A strategic, efficient reorganization of snapshots along a means/end split that Fredric

Jameson argues attaches itself to the image through the logic of capitalism--wherein an obj ect

now becomes a means to its own end in consumption- presciently describes Riis's narratological

activity. When encountering a vagrant in chapter seven titled "A Raid on the Stale Beer Dives,"

Riis describes an encounter with a typical "tramp" on one of these "raids"

who sat smoking his pipe on the rung of a ladder with such evident philosophic
contentment in the busy labor of a score of rag-pickers all about him, that I bade him sit
for a picture, offering him ten cents for the job. He accepted the offer with hardly a nod,
and sat patiently watching me from his perch until I got ready for work. Then he took the
pipe out of his mouth and put it in his pocket, calmly declaring that it was not included in
the contract, and that it was worth a quarter to have it go in the picture. [. .] The man,
scarce ten seconds employed at honest labor, even at sitting down, at which he was an
undoubted expert, had gone on strike. He knew his rights and the value of "work," and
was not to be cheated out of either. (111)

Wielding a technology that takes as its ingenuity an ability to isolate images from their temporal

existence, Riis's endeavor to "capture the moment" of tramping, an attempt to commodify

"tramping" in New York, is confounded by the control the obj ect of reification recognized in this

particular system of production. A recognition of labor power runs counter to this technological


16 As David Leviatin notes, these technological advances had a specific ontological effect on Riis's mission:
The gelatin dry plates Riis exposed, more sensitive to light than the collodion or wet plates they would soon
replace, reduced exposure time significantly, allowing Riis to freeze action instead of recording moderate
movement as an indecipherable blur. Additionally, unlike the wet plates, the dry plate did not have to be
prepared by the photographer in the field or developed immediately after it was exposed: sensitized by the
manufacturer, it could be stored either exposed or unexposed for months. This helped eliminate one of the
major burdens of location work. (24)










activity of commodiaication-through-(spatial and temporal) isolation and draws the ire of the

cameraman/detective. We see in this scene the logic of How the Other HalfLives: Riis builds

with these snapshots a narrative to be consumed for the benefit of its own ideas, "capturing the

moment" for its own end of obtaining a "realistic" feel for how "tramps" live.

A rendition of crime-as-spectacle also permeates Riis's attempt at technologically

acquiring- Riis calls "taking" (which meant to take one' s picture, but also recalling Roosevelt' s

menacing use of the verb "take")- "reality." For Riis, the securing of the streets within a system

of circulation by channeling the Other into "safe" patterns for the middle class, essentially

channeling figures safety as a degree of utility (Twigg 370). With these photographs the image of

crime also extends from its temporal realm to produce an idea of "crime" that exists for the

benefit of its own consumption- that is, concocted to show how crime "ends."l7 Riis's foray into

the criminal gang regions in chapter 19, "The Harvest of Tares" relates a scene in which Riis

convinces a gang of toughs to re-create their criminal actions before his detective camera.

One of them tumbled over against a shed, as if asleep, while two of the others bent over
him, searching his pockets with a deftness that was highly suggestive. This, they
explained for my benefit, was to show how they "did the trick." The rest of the bend were
so impressed with the importance of this exhibition that they insisted in crowding into the
picture by climbing upon the shed, sitting on the roof with their feet dangling over the
edge, and disposing themselves in every imaginable manner within view, as they thought.
(205-7)

Notable in this scene is again the ability to recreate an instance so that it may break down activity

into a hodgepodge of body parts, of limbs hanging into the frame, of partial beings populating an

activity that has been recreated by the detective camera and rebuilt into a narrative of criminality.

Crime now is reproduced, and its reproduction ends by rendering those on one side of the

technology/product/narrative to a specific relation to those on the other side. I The vexed relation


17As Ernest Mandel argues, "The detective story is the realm of the happy ending. The criminal is always caught.
Justice is always done. Crime never pays. Bourgeois legality, bourgeois values, bourgeois society, always triumph in
the end. It is soothing, socially integrating literature, despite its concern with crime, violence, and murder" (26).
1s Jameson uses the narrative of detection as the most demonstrative example of "reading for an end": "the bulk of
the pages becoming sheer devalued means to an end-in this case, the 'solution' which is itself utterly insignificant
insofar as we are not thereby in the real world and by the latter's practical standards the identity of an imaginary
murderer is supremely trivial" ("Reification" 146).









of detective fiction to "reality" demands meditation: authors and reporters of a "reality" of crime,

of the contours of urban landscapes, must first have a specific idea of that which they are looking

for in their observations prior to the activity of discerning the "real." A dramatic effect of this

logical inversion in a nineteenth-century understanding of technology in that the devices used to

capture and lead to a "real" only count as technology insofar as they produce a product already

packaged for consumption.

It is the contention of this essay to argue that the historical rise of a professional police- a

genealogy of the modem state apparatus- relied on the technologies that produce reality through

narrative; that a new (technological) activity of discerning and policing class works through

isolating entities from their spatio-temporal existence, only to reinscribe those entities within that

nexus through narrative. Such an activity is an example also of a shift in perspective; no longer

viewing entities on an individual basis, the genealogy of the logic of modern discipline also

postures entities on a larger scale, metonymically drawing conclusions about mass sets of people

through the particular case.

The necessity for the logical shift bases itself on a rhetoric of emergency: that populations

within the city live their daily existence in an area that needs some sort of rational, meticulously

planned order, to which a "professional" civil servant can lead. A number of points within Riis's

text read as an expert actively navigating a mass audience on a "raid"; yet an audience is still

marked by class--itself interpolated as "primary" folk by an "other half" through the tenements,

remade now as the proper field for policing- i.e. entering a "war zone."

Suppose we look into one? No. _Cherry Street. Be a little careful please! The hall is
dark and you might stumble over the children pitching pennies back there. Not that it
would hurt them; kicks and cuffs are their daily diet. They have little else. Here where the
hall tumns and dives into utter darkness is a step, and another, another. A flight of stairs.
You can feel your way, if you cannot see it. Close? Yes!i What would you have? All the
fresh air that enters these stairs comes from the hall-door that is forever slamming, and
from the stairs their sole supply of the elements God meant to be free, but man deals out
with such niggardly hands. That was a woman filling her pail by the hydrant you just
bumped against. The sinks are in the hallway, that all the tenants may have access--and
all be poisoned alike by their summer stenches. Hear the pump squeak! It is the lullaby of
tenement-house babes. In summer when a thousand thirsty throats pant for a cooling









drink in this block, it is worked in vain. But the saloon, whose open door you just passed
in the hall, is always there. (88)

Riis, who explicitly makes himself as a "war correspondent" in chapter 7 interpolates the field

which he moves about in his occupation through this description as the proper "battleground" for

sovereign action. A specific effect of this narrative technique employed by Riis is to isolate

specific characters--the children, the woman with the pail, the tenants sharing the hydrant, as

well as himself and the audience- within a practice that utilizes spatial surroundings as a way for

understanding one's own social position: the narrator explaining the various observances an

"audience" perceives, an audience clumsily bumping into obj ects due to both unfamiliarity and

not being able to "see," and an "other half" going about its daily life. The activity of "seeing"

here is rendered by Riis's specific words to have a dual function within the construction of

narrative: Riis acts as the eyes for an audience on tour through the dark tenements, but Riis also

uses the words to construct the ontological activity of seeing "the picture" to an audience

accustomed to reading words an imagining of a picture on their own through the words that

comprise the text. Riis's text produces a new way of "seeing": the author-expert both creating

and bringing the phenomena to the person of the audience-novice, as well as explaining what that

phenomena itself means. The fact that Riis makes this "battlefield" absent of a particular enemy,

save perhaps in the last sentence on the open doors of the saloon, founds an important

counterforce to the horrors of the tenements. Such a subtle, yet aggressive force oppressing the

tenements requires like subtlety, like aggression, through a methodic, organized, efficient civil

service apparatus. Policing thus emerges under the guise of serving the community by plowing

through it.

Technologies of Detection: From Private to Prosthetic Eyes

The segmentation of individuals within a "proper place" becomes the grounds upon

which narrative logic in this case imposes an expression of viewing someone in relation to their

spatial surroundings, thus melting characters into the zones of contention. Keith Gandal's

observation on the "excess" of Riis' s photographs, that these pictures "cannot help reproduce










'irrelevant' details along with the subj ect at hand" (65-6), must be taken further. The text is not

just a passive representation of the lower classes as an amusement, as Gandal posits (71), but is

much more invested as a work that actively, socially divides the people of New York into either

private or public. Thus, the text carves out the grounds for "appropriate" policing actions; the

people of the bowery are herein becoming the war zone. Mike Davis provides a wonderful

example of how specific practices "interpolate a demonic other" in a specific relation to

"upstanding citizenship." Davis's essay "Fortress L.A." also foretells a particular construction of

space, particularly in the constitution of public buildings as hyper-secure fortresses that dareddddd~~~~~~~dddddd the

public to defy the authority it "reflects back on the surrounding streets and street people" (240).

Likewise, Riis's products of poverty exposed reflect back onto the streets of New York. While

many of the snapshots of people within the tenements were taken on police raids, the people of

the tenements are always seen posing. Riis does not afford "the people of the streets"- the

tramps, beggars, "street Arabs" sleeping on the street corner- the same opportunity, often

"capturing" them while asleep. Thus a key moment in the history of the police in America, on

the rise of professionalization within that particular vocation, relies on a spatial configuration and

division of people on the streets versus "private citizens" in their own houses. The internalization

of space becomes vital in distinguishing class, as Benj amin notes. At the threshold of the private

space, that is, that which delimits private versus public spaces, are possessions and properties.

Threshold magic. At the entrance to the skating rink, to the pub, to the tennis court, to
resort locations: penates. [. .] Of course, this same magic prevails more covertly in the
interior of the bourgeois dwelling. Chairs beside an entrance, photographs flanking a
doorway, are fallen household deities, and the violence they must appease grips our
hearts even today at each ringing of the doorbell. (214)

Already, distinctions of spatiality materialize under a specific relation to properties a~s

accumulation; the more one owns, the more one interiorizes and becomes a private individual.

The detachment into an interior is often an abrupt and violent one, and the rigid line between

public and private, between middle and lower class, sharpens with each personal accumulation.










As a result, these properties are guarded on the highest terms: a threat to property

becomes a threat to the middle-class self. Burton Bledstein's The Culture of Professionalism

points out that attendant to the aggressive outward push of professionalism was also an

aggressive "cordoning off' or interiorization of spaces now marked private. 19 The power on the

one side of the detective technology reflects back onto the obj ects in the streets an inherent

division implicitly based on, but never voiced thoroughly as, class by making the product of that

technology the property that lies at the threshold of public/private and lower/middle-class

divisions. The activity of melting the distinction between people and the streets- a people

without an interior- determines a mass relation, or a relation of people on a massive scale as to

how certain people marked "public" relate to those on the other side of the camera/technology-

the "private." As Bill Brown notes in an essay provocatively titled "The Prosthetics of Empire,"

"technology" "is and has been an obj ectification of divisions within society" (132). The

technology of policing, of a legal apparatus defined by outreaching into sectors determined

"public," herein becomes the line of division that distinguishes middle from lower classes, and

"the Law" clearly takes a particular residence on one side of that distinction.

The collapse of that spatial division for Riis constitutes the possibility for social calamity.

For instance, in chapter three, titled "The Mixed Crowd," in answer to the question "where is the

typical American among these tenement houses?": "They are not here. In their place has come

this queer conglomerate mass of heterogeneous elements, ever striving and working like whiskey

and water in one glass, and with like result: final union and a prevailing taint of whiskey" (16).

The metaphor Riis uses here, comparing the "queer conglomerate" tenements to a mixing of

water and whiskey marks a definitive anodyne to Riis' s obj ective, sober professional, as well as

ominously forecasting a national union possibly "tainted" with the breath of immoral excess if

left unmanaged. This paranoia of the porousness of spaces rhetorically shifts into this passage as

a threat to security; it will be a paranoia over the evaporating of security invoked again and again

19"In the period, the enclosure and definition of private space received even more attention than public. The
appearance of Yale locks, burglary and fire-alarm systems, lighted streets, and anti-tramp legislation indicated the
extent to which Americans were becoming concerned with protecting their private spaces" (Bledstein 61).









to delimit the contours of class division, as Ernest Mandel notes (26). An anxiety about the

collapse of security has always managed to create the fervor necessary to retreat inward, to

interiorize, to distinguish oneself along class lines. Placing doubt over security that works to

delimit and cordon off space calls middle-classness into being.

One specific result of this strategy is that the expert/author as cartographer bases an

authority that is not just an ability to correctly identify and territorialize districts within the city

(and the city here again functions as metonymy for the nation, under Riis' s expressed logic), but

also an ability to effortlessly traverse these spatial divides, thanks to "technological obj activity"

of the mechanical "eye" of the detective camera. What emerges is a type of new citizen/subj ect

grounded in specialized experience, and the professional social scientist/ war correspondent into

whom Riis remakes himself knows without the possibility of dispute "how the other half lives,"

for his views can be demonstrated, related, repeated (in that everyone else can also see through

this prosthetic eye), and thus proved via a dexterity at adapting spatial practices into a composite

whole.

The finished product is a coherent mapping of the city's various "compartments,

divisions, and neighborhoods" into a fully functional (and thus prescient taylorist logic of)

"city." Riis and the tenements are both citizens of the city; however, the logic of How the Other

Half Lives works to illustrate how the whole cannot fully function without reform in one of its

parts. That is, the logic of relations in this text seems a taylorized understanding of scale: by

understanding how the parts work, one can understand the whole. The reporter, walking through

the streets of New York, detective camera in hand, partitions the streets off into particular zones

which he comprehends (and "handles") as smaller communities defined by ethnicity:

A map of the city, colored to designate nationalities, would show more stripes than on the
skin of a zebra, and more colors than any rainbows. The city on such a map would fall
into two general halves, green for the Irish prevailing in the West Side tenement districts,
and blue for the Germans on the East Side. But intermingled with these ground colors
would be an odd variety of tints that would give the whole appearance of an
extraordinary crazy-quilt. From down in the Sixth Ward, upon the site of the old Collect
Pond that in the days of fathers drained the hills which are no more, the red of the Italian
would be seen forcing its way northward along the line of Mulberry Street to the quarter









of the French purple on Bleeker and South Fifth Avenue, to lose itself and reappear, after
a lapse of miles, in the "Little Italy" of Harlem, east of Second Avenue. Dashes of red,
sharply defined, would be seen strung through the Annexed District, northward to the city
line. On the West Side the red would be seen overrunning the old Africa of Thompson
Street, pushing the black of the Negro rapidly uptown against querulous but unavailing
protests, occupying his home, his church, his trade and all, with merciless impartially.
(19)

The rhetoric implied here again maps a terrain of contention, supposedly pitting various locations

marked by a specific ethnic identity against others, by employing the verbs "forcing,"

"overrunning," "pushing." By defining ethnicity here as national origin, Riis reconstructs the

smaller communities of New York on a global scale populated by "warring nations" (and thus

partaking in the same logic that Roosevelt himself espoused)- almost as if somehow the nations

themselves, through the immigrants in the city, push up against one another. It is thus the activity

of detection that can best identify and study, and therefore completely police, this potential war

zone.

In a narrative that begins (significantly, at least, from a labor perspective) early on the

first day of May, with the discovery of "de most bootful corpse dat I eber seed," the dime novel

detective story "Black Tom, the Negro Detective, or Solving a Thompson Street Murder"

commences. This particular story is taken from The Old Cap Collier Librar, a Hyve cent library

that was published by George Munro between 1883 and 1899, and is believed by dime novel

scholar Gary Hoppenstand to be penned by W.I. James.20 The entire library collection of dime

novels narrated a shift in subj ect matter from rural to urban story. A few western adventures

appeared in this library from time to time, but the vast maj ority presented detection as an activity

associated with the emergence of urbanization. The popularity of the detective in the urban scene

was undeniable. By 1893, the year "Black Tom" was published (which would locate it squarely

between the Homestead Strike of 1892 and the Pullman Strike of 1894), the Half-dime Library





20 Michael Denning's contends that authorship for these mysteries of the city remains a bit foggy; often a given
library would employ a number of "house" authors whose names would be absent from the pages of the text.










was able to declare at the top of each issue "Largest Circulation of any Five-Cent Library

Published."21

Our first introduction to the detective/hero Nick Miller, who "blackens up" at times to

become "Black Tom, the Negro Detective," in this first chapter is through dialogue: two African

American women discussing the discovery of a murdered white woman's body in the vicinity.

The narrative, significantly enough, opens from the perspective of those it would eventually

manage and discipline. The embodiment of new professional citizen for these two women living

on Thompson Street, a predominantly black neighborhood within New York (as Riis marks it)

exists, in Raymond Williams's terms, in solution: there is a specific entity known to them

through rumor as "Black Tom," commonly thought to be a detective, but what that means is still

in the midst of being actively formulated and shaped by lived practice.

The narrative opens with a conversation between "Fat Hannah" (so named at every

moment she appears in the text) and her friend in a chapter titled "Black Tom the Sleuth," and

presents the dialogue in stereotypically racist terms. After a brief conversation on the identity of

the murder victim, the dialogue turns to the question of the mysterious black man walking

around whom "they say is a detective." The "they" of this statement locates the persona of

detection on a social discourse, and Hannah responds: "He mighty fresh, he am; an' jist look how

he pull around' tings" (1). The mystery this particular Eigure of the Law offers to a predominantly

white audience seems to advance the narrative. 22 A "freshness" attaches to this particular black



21 According to Hoppenstand, "in a sense, the Old Cap Collier Library can be seen as a microcosm of dime novel
rural story to urban story shift in general. Occasionally an Indian adventure (by "Wild Bill") or a Frank James
outlaw Western appeared in the Library, and yet each excursion into the Western was followed by dozens of
detective stories. It appeared as if the publisher was testing the waters from time to time, only to discover that the
readership did indeed prefer the detective story to the western" (70).

M2Lichael Denning points out that the bulk of the readership for these "mysteries of the citv" were white (oftentimes
immigrant), young working class people, primarily of Irish or German ethnicity. However, it was not uncommon for
a more "professional" laborer to purchase and read one of these texts. "The evidence suggests that the bulk of the
dime novels audience were young workers, often of Irish or German ethnicity, in the cities and mill towns of the
North and West; and that dime novels and story papers made up most of their reading matter. On the other hand, the
dime novel was certainly not the self-creation of these craftworkers, factory operatives, laborers, and servants: it was
a commercial product of a burgeoning industry employing relatively educated professionals [. .] Nor were dime
novels limited to working class readers: they were read by professionals" (45).










body "pulling around things" would seem to invest "Black Tom" with a sexualized fascination,

an access to things not imagined granted to the white reader. Also, like Riis's text, the narrative

here again offers us with these introductory words a tour of space that is specifically marked: the

peculiarities of dialect and word choice signal the reader a racial difference, the jarring discovery

of a murdered white corpse (the most beautiful ever seen), the possibility that one of the

characters has something to hide, and the emergence of the mysterious sleuth Black Tom. The

scene demarcates a sense of a definitive space actively being produced by the ways in which the

inhabitants live and communicate on a daily basis. Not only were presentations of dialect and

vernacular conspicuous in the deviation from "proper grammar," but representations of dialect

this way are also thus spatial distinctions- means to further interiorizee" a middle-class self.23

Further, this particular dialogue marks a racialized spatial division as well. By presenting dialect

in such a distinguishable way, this text narrates the desire to interiorize, to cut the "grammatical"

reader apart from the communicating subj ects. While written with a working-class audience in

mind, the representation of dialect plants the seeds of a logic of wanting-to-be middle-class into

those on the other side of the pages. By interj ecting a reader into this scene, this narrative not

only differentiates and marks space-"an other half'--but also represents professional detection

"as distinct from other social semantical formations which have been precipitated' and are far

more evidently and more immediately available" (Williams 133-4), in the process of

interiorizing space. The strategy employed here then, that is, the rhetoric of the text, emerges as a

movement and a phenomenon still actively being formed, existing within a zone of contention

defined as a lived practice by those whom apparently need disciplining and are in the midst of

being interpolated as the proper Hield of police actions.

The rest of the detective narrative proceeds and is fueled by a contrast in spatial practice.

Consecutive chapters in this narrative oscillate between the bowery of New York and the parlors




23 Alan Trachtenberg's argues that a presentation of dialect and vernacular that "appeared within a grammatical
framework [. .] made clear it was intended for a grammatically proper reader" (189).









and hotels of the city's elite. These contrasting chapters, these settings in conflict, are brought

into contact with one another through a particular crime that has been placed strategically in the

narrative. The traffic of New York, the people that populate the street, are rhetorically scaled as

people within this rabble-filled war zone; emptying the social and political conflict, the rhetoric

of crime and detection that loops through these contradicting spaces configures against

soverei gnty- into a relati on to the Law as either citi zen/p otenti al vi ctim, or cri mi nal/c on spi rator-

that is immanent in the pages of the detective narrative.

The novel's opening scene describes the disguised detective as "a mysterious individual,

who came and went into and out of the negro quarters of the city like a phantom. [. .] The only

name that he was known by was Black Tom, and no other man or woman in that locality had

been able to discover anything about him" (1, my emphasis). What adds to the effect of

detection, what makes detection work, is this shared understanding of spatial practices as

absolute and definitive characteristic of racial difference. If the work both presents and assumes

race to be a means through which people utilize their surroundings--a notion that was implied

by Riis' s mapping strategy- then the narration of "crime" shifts temporally and spatially; it is no

longer a singular event but, like Riis' s picture of the toughs "re-creating their crime," is rendered

as a complex series that spans a cultural logic of space and time, of gender, race, and class.

These aristocrats looking to secure their fortunes through a lucrative marriage, organize

the murder and assume that the social barrier of racially marked identities cannot be traversed:

"'David told me that there is a detective called Black Tom scenting around.' 'Is he a negro?'

'Yes; he has the reputation of being one of the shrewdest detectives in the city. All his work they

say is confined to the scenes where his own race live"' (9, my emphasis). Yet, the practice of

detection strikes against criminality in its adaptability, in its "outward momentum." The figure of

discipline exists as an apparition- a proj section outward into spaces where it is supposed that it

does not logically belong. Suspicious people seem to exist at every corner-"the detective

moved about among them and listened to their conversations" (6). The narrative places the

professional officer of the law squarely in the midst of a spatial, textual practice--moving about










the features of the landscape just as would a member of that particular class. Within the narrative

itself the detective emanates a presence throughout the story despite oscillations in setting in

consecutive chapters within the novel. Yet, because "detection" emerges as a practice that

defines its proper field as the zone of contention, potentially everywhere, its antecedent

"professionalism" transcends the confines of textualization as well, haunting the urban locales it

gentrifies and works to recreate. A narrative cohesion, a synthesis of warring, oscillating spaces

that is part of a perception of industrial and urban capital in this era thus has been embodied,

mapped into the figures of crime and detection.

Cleaning the Streets: Traffic Control in the "Circulation revolution"

The presence of the dime novel as a form in the late nineteenth century itself recreates a

stress, "a frequent tension between the received interpretation and practical experience"

(Williams 130), not fully available to be articulated and defined at the time. The dime novel of

the late nineteenth century itself schizophrenically alternated narrative settings between the

western frontier and the urban locations of the eastern United States, and in so doing marked a

period of change in which the dialectical spaces of the rural and the urban register in the

collective unconscious. Such shifts are, according to Williams, "changes of presence" and "in

that although they are emergent or pre-emergent, they do not have to await definition,

classification, or rationalization before they exert palpable pressures and set effective limits on

experience and on action" (132). The dime novel portrays a tension in the ways through which

people actively created, engaged in, and practiced a relation to their surroundings. As Michael

Denning helps illustrate, an analysis of popular culture entails the history of social relations that

help produce mass entertainment and recreation. Popular culture analysis demands a look at

elements that are working themselves out, and analysis of this field revels tension wrought by the

industrialization of the culture, a re-organization of the social code that emerged into one

defining a specific protocol and manner for how the classes did indeed interact.24 What pushes


24 "The history of popular culture is not simply an antiquarian collecting and cataloguing of nostalgia artifacts; it is
the history of the social relations between the industries producing cheap commodities for mass entertainment and










these texts to the level of critical import is precisely this imprint, this echo voiced in the

narratives of a working-class de-territorialized, or, more precisely, in the process of being

recorded a;s an industrial proletariat within a developing, systematized, bourgeois nation-state.25

These particular narratives mask a deterritorialization of the laboring class, a recoding into

mndustriahized proletariat.2

As with every industrializing nation, the corrosion of one structure of production and

accumulation that used to map a distinction of class results in tensions cris-crossing the

landscape to achieve a normalized, "safe" social order, and an "initial proletarianization" of the

laboring classes within this industrial shift. For example, the defining crisis of the nineteenth

century was the actualization of "free labor"- of a proletarian class based both upon the

emancipation of Black slaves and the ebb of wage labor throughout the landscape. This drawn-

out general shift imbued the "free labor" and "wage labor" system with anxieties, and became a

ripe, contested social field (Denning 55-6). The creation of a free-labor, industrialized proletariat

accompanies a "proletarianization of space"-an attempt to regulate and discipline the proletariat

by defining how space will be practiced. This recoding of space is recreated and lived in the



recreation, the symbolic forms and practices, both traditional and newly-invented, of working class communities,
and the attempts by the dominant culture to police and reform the culture of the lon e~l classes." (Denning 4)

25Furthermore, the production of dime novels reflects an interesting dynamic of production that characterizes the
intra-class and social atmosphere. Although many narratives were carved by middle-class authors, they were without
question producers looking to satisfy lower-class demands, or fulfilling a socially necessary conceit. For example,
when faced with unpopular responses, to the western stories included in some issues of Old Cap Collier 's Library,
the writer returned to write the mysteries of the city that his audience sought out. Denning points out that "the
contested terrain at the intersection of the culture industry and the cultures of the working classes remains the terrain
of our conflicts, and the precondition for a 'new literature as the expression of moral and intellectual renewal,' a new
culture" (5).

26 An historical analysis of industrialization in Great Britain by Michel Beaud lays the roadmap to this process:
In Great Britain the relative importance of production of the means of production within the whole of industrial
production, which did not greatly change between 1783 (when it was 29% of industrial productions as a whole) and
1812 (when it was 31%/) rose to 40 percent in 1851 and 47 percent in 1881. [. .] During the same period, the nature
of "occupations" and their relative importance changed: a new structure of classes was established. (Beaud 94-5)
In the United States, recoding into an industrial proletariat occurred a bit later. In 1880, the U.S. produced 65 million
tons of coal. In 1890, the U.S. was just behind Great Britain in coal production at 143 million tons, and by the tumn-
of-the-century, the U.S. was the world's largest producer of coal, producing 245 million tons of coal. The same
time-span saw the U.S. grow to the world's biggest producer of cast-iron and steel, more than doubling the nearest
country in production of both cast iron and steel by 1900 (Beaud 140-1).










records of this five-cent narrative, and is measured and marked with the imprint of the activity of

detection. The recoding of a new industrialized class defined by the wage system of human labor

working for a leisured class through the commodification of human activity fuses with racialized

anxieties that permeate post-bellum America. These anxieties attendant to "wage slavery" are

recorded through an emerging structure of city discipline, voiced in the popular detective dime

novel of the nineteenth century. Thus a city-landscape cannot be imagined hereafter without

attention paid to the element of order wrought by the apparatus of policing. The detective of the

city in this particular dime novel melts into the buildings and streets that define the urban; no one

Imows- or rather no one is- the city more than the professional city detective of the late

nineteenth century. The fully-mapped city, mapped by the emerging occupation of professional

disciplinarians, works to deploy a proletarian voice through an "unreal" "mystery," and the word

of the Law re-emerges within this space as the mystery's "resolution." These narratives produce

a view of the world in light of industrial and investment capital in need of a new worldly order,

and sovereignty becomes a type of tra~ffic control.

In a system of sovereignty that on its surface advances its own legitimacy according to

the "will of the people," the emerging community of the nation-state must have its hands actively

involved in producing such a will. In effect, disciplinary str-uctures and practices that gather a

legitimacy to exercise a practice on behalf of the masses actually testify to this non-identity with

those same masses.27 We must look at the voiced anxieties that seep through this dime narrative

in this case as such a practice: how, in the "identification" as a mass-produced cultural artifact,





27Susan Buck-Morss argues any sovereignty that bases its legitimacy on the "will of the people" encoded into law is
confronted with a crisis when it comes into contact with the masses in whose name it supposedly acts. "It is the
premise of liberal-democratic philosophy that the monopoly of violence by popular sovereignty is legitimate
because, mediated by law, popular will and popular sovereignty are one and the same. But this theoretical
grounding, seemingly the most secure, is inherently precarious. The criterion of law that separates the "good" state
(embodying sovereignty) from the "bad" state (which escapes the people's control) implies a circular logic, because
the state as law defender is itself the constructor of the law. [. .] When democratic sovereignty confronts the people
with all the violence that it monopolizes as the legitimate embodiment of the people, it is in fact attesting to its
nonidentity with the people." (Buck-Morss 5-7)










does sovereignty in effect confront the very people it purports to represent?28 The narrative

structure of a mass-cultural production like the dime novel-- striving to represent the "real

people" and targets those people as an audience, in the confrontation with those masses- works

to suppress them through a specific mode of representation in the name of nationalist

sovereignty .

Of course, the adolescence of industrial and investment capital in the United States in the

later portions of the nineteenth century was seen to have necessitated a new rationale for

maintaining social order. Mass production needed a very different landscape of labor to produce

surplus-value (thus the conglomeration of living labor in industrial centers and communities).

With a more tightly-spaced and regimented labor force, burgeoning capital was confronted with

a new crisis--the crisis of organizing amongst the workforce itself, culminating in maj or strikes

in 1877, 1886, 1892, and 1894. In 1880 alone, there were 760 strikes in the United States, a

testament to the contested field produced by advances in industrial and investment capital(Morn

97). David Scobey's analysis of guidebooks, magazine sketches, and lithographs of New York

from the nineteenth century depict the tensions wrought up in the contact with these densely

packed people of the streets (174). Scobey argues that the streets were a "place out-of-place: a

promiscuous shambles where all the repressed and unspeakable conditions of metropolitan life

might erupt into visibility" (175). The streets of New York had the potential for commercial and

class warfare--of all against all, of a contest for what the street would be used for--as a means

of easy transit or as a place for wage work, relief, food, and leisure.

If the logic of the topographical polis is re-defined by the streets, by the modes and

contours of circulation, the measure of harmony within such a setting is understood in terms of

"efficiency." What altered everyday, common activities were, then, certain technological

advances meant to economize the everyday by allowing human activity to be "saved." If


28 It is with these understandings that Jameson argues in "Reification and Utopia in Mass Culture," that a mass
aesthetic "manages" "fundamental social anxieties and concerns, hopes and blindspots, ideological antimonies and
fantasies of disaster" via a "narrative construction of imagining resolutions and by the projection of an optical
illusion of social harmony" (138).









Bledstein is correct in his argument that we are to view this particular era in the late nineteenth

century as a "communications revolution," we must ask the effect of these technologies on the

social sphere and how they work to rationalize the activities of exchange through various people

to scale, through a management not just of people, but of whole populations. Between 1876 and

1900, the numbers of telephones increased from 3000 to 1.3 million. Between 1870 and 1900,

post offices increased their numbers nationally by three times, the sale of ordinary postage

stamps increased eight times, and newspapers increased their circulation by seven times

(Bledstein 47). Not only are these increases indicative of a "communications revolution," but,

because of the nature of these types of media- facilitating and greatly expanding the possibilities

for exchange- this period is more aptly termed "the circulations revolution."

If the city were to best operate as a technological advance as part of the communications

revolution, the city managers thought that its streets should best follow ideals of efficiency. As

Kristin Ross points out, a taylorist logic that prefigures "technology" as that which "saves" labor

so as to maximize value, making sure no labor is "lost," rhetorically associates functionality/ with

cleanliness (Fa~st Calrs 89). Policing the urban sphere, the place in which business transactions

occur at a scale never before seen, took on a characteristic of maintaining functionality, of

keeping the streets "clean" for easy exchanges, rationalizing circulation. A city apparently

defines itself thereafter as a theater for circulation by eradicating the diseased elements, the

"germs" that inevitably settle into the circulatory process that clutter, stifle functionality and

becoming a traffic hassle. The word tra~ffic in this period, as the OED demonstrates, shifts now to

be synonymous with "rabble"- with unskilled labor, with a person becoming synonymous with

the flows of the street. Already tra~ffic registers people under a newly systematized, taylorist

"scaling" of people into populations. (And again, the image of a globalized "traffic in women" is

something that the reactionary apparatus of professional police forces looks to manage in the

"White Slave Law.") In many ways the layout and contours of the city in this period define the

urban landscape as one of constant movement. The term "traffic" becomes a description for the

characteristics and properties of daily city life. In consequence, criminality also morphs in this










period into a type of contagion--a type of flow which circulates throughout the veins of the

community. Crime is the pathogen, and the streets are the public threat that makes this new

activity possible.29

The role of the law enforcement officer as professional takes population management and

hygienic upkeep as its new challenge. Throughout Riis's text, the professional police force of

New York is referred to as "The Sanitary Police."30 In effect, what determines the degree of

"honesty" amidst a given populace in Riis' s New York is nearly a direct function of that

populace's attempts at cleanliness. "The true line to be drawn between pauperism and honest

poverty is the clothes-line. With it begins the effort to be clean that is the first and the best

evidence of a desire to be honest" (Riis 35). Because a clean body does not distract the senses, in

effect hiding the body, a cleaning of the body can be seen as a commodiaication of that body,

making it into something that facilitates quick and easy circulation.31 An idea of citizenship in



29onna Haraway's arguments about how pathogens have been rendered and understood under a logic of capitalism
is instructive here: the communications revolution as means to handle population, as a means to population control
(although Haraway locates an attempt to manage populations much later, after World War II.) Part of guaranteeing
the proper function of the network f an "informatics of domination" as Haraway states it--entails a prevention of
overflow, a spatial maintenance--that elements remain where they are supposed to remain. Riis's text and the dime
novel itself rely on this assumption in order to build the new character and power of the police apparatus, for while
citizenry is defined by proper place, professional discipline, and has been granted the ability to traverse space freely
in the name of sovereignty. Riis, imagining a place where traversal of space is a threat, all the while as a police-beat
reporter, traversing and transcending space itself:
The border-land where the white and black races meet in common debauch, the aptly- named
black-and-tan saloon, has never been debatable ground from a moral stand-point. It has always
been the worst of the desperately bad. Than this commingling of the utterly depraved of both
sexes, white and black, on such ground, there can be no greater abomination. (161-2)
Note that it is on the ground where these people meet that is the abomination. Haraway's point concerning a
paradigm shift from a white capitalist patriarchy to one of managing information flows bases itself in a logic of an
acceleration in the modes of communication. The preferred method of disciplinary maintenance with the advance of
new communication technologies shift to one of population management and strategies for shepherding the masses.
I argue this begins to happen in the late nineteenth century.
Also, Karen Halttunen' s argument in Confidence Men and Painted Women- that the city became the site of
the possibility for contagion and that individuals who moved to urban centers were susceptible not only to crime, but
to the disease of debauchery characteristic of the city- helps us understand the terms of the criminalityv" within the
city as a type of contagion.

30It should also be mentioned that before Roosevelt was offered the office of Police Commissioner by Mavor
William L. Strong, he was first offered the office of Street Cleaning Commissioner. See Bishop 58.

31 Twigg analyzes Riis's obsession with cleaning as the disciplinary activity of the middle-class. "Cleaning
disciplines the body by hiding it, denying it its presence" (323-4).










effect welds cleanliness with an idea of functionality, and social maintenance of the largest

scale--of the necessity to fortify hierarchies that would economically engender social function-

requires professional, minuscule, atomic, policing activity, a type of disciplinary action that in

effect parallels germ warfare. Note, for instance, this passage in Riis's text describing "The

Bend," one of Riis' s zones of criminality

Where Mulberry Street crooks like an elbow within hail of the old depravity of the Five
Points is "the Bend," foul core of New York' s slums. Long years ago the cows coming
home from the pasture trod a path over this hill. [. .] In the memory of man the old cow-
path has never been other than a vast human pig-sty. There is but one "Bend" in the
world, and it is enough. The city authorities, moved by the angry protests of ten years of
sanitary reform effort, have decided that it is too much and must come down. .. Around
"the Bend" cluster the bulk of the tenements that are stamped as altogether bad, even by
the optimists of the Health Department. Incessant raids cannot keep down the crowds that
make them their home. In the scores of back alleys, of stable lanes and hidden byways, of
which the rent collector alone can keep track, they share such shelter as the ramshackle
structures afford with every kind of abomination rifled from the dumps and ash-barrels of
the city. Here, too, shunning the light, skulks the unclean beast of dishonest idleness.
"The Bend" is the home of the tramp as well as the rag-picker. (41-2, my emphasis)

The very first line defines spatial practice as a formation of cleanliness. Riis's descriptive terms

employed in this passage-- "foul core," "vast human pig-sty," "ramshackle structures,"-- couples

with spatial metaphors-- "crooks like an elbow within hail [. .] of the Five Points," "trod a

path," "scores of back alleys," stable lanes," and "hidden byways." Conflating these two

categories of description into one cultural logic of city-scape echoes the "modernizing" practice

described in Ross: cleanliness matures a moral logic to a logic of functionality--that these

definitive spaces within the market are "depraved" "abominations," degrading the city by their

mere presence. What is worse is that these degraded locations have agency in creating "unclean

beasts"--the trampst~t~rt~t~rt~t~rt~ and the rag-pickers. But the conflation of hygiene and proper circulation

into a tyipe of transgression is also embodied in these particular characters. Riis describes the

depravity of these figures as "dishonest idleness," a term that would evoke emergent feelings of

prescient taylorism: that somehow, what makes these figures "tramps," and "dishonest" is

idleness, a lack of proper movement within the pace of the city. Criminality and citizenship is

packaged in this passage as degrees of functionality within the pace of the urban market.










But when do the people that populate the streets of New York stop being characters in-

transit and start being "traffic"? Scobey's analysis notes that New Yorkers had been envisioning

themselves as characters at some maj or terminal in a systematized mobility or flow of power

since architecture of Grand Central Depot in 1871.32 Characters are figured, configured in

relation to the city movement, or movement within the city by the architecture and engineering

of the cityscape itself. The new technological developments of the city "effected a revolution in

urban circulation, transforming the inner-city street from a communal form, an open-air store, a

garbage dump, and a sort of Darwinian free-for-all into a specialized instrument of movement.

Like the concurrent innovations of subway travel and the 'union' stations, the business street of

the gilded age came to embody new Progressive ideals of efficiency, cleanliness, and social

discipline" (Scobey 142-3). If this is the case, then the advent of detection must be seen in much

more broad aspect as being similar to something in the custom-house manager, and crime viewed

in light of these racialized tensions, a process of regulating the flow and identity of whiteness in

the social field- of managing traffic, a noun that itself implies some sort of global flow of

commerce. (The OED traces the word to European trade in the Mediterranean and Middle East

by claiming a genealogy in the Arabic verb taraffaqa, "to seek prof it." Thus etymological and

logical associations can be made between the noun and another that suggests global commerce:

tariff )

The Color of Money

"The new color of money: safer, smarter, more secure. Tyad for a new $20 bill.

Within these proscriptions and atmospheric conditions in which the dime novel comes

into prominence, the characters of the narrative "Black Tom, the Negro Detective, or, Solving a

Thompson Street Mystery" speak with inflected tongues. The discourse represented in that


32 Scobey points out that such structures "impelled New Yorkers and visitors to construe the cityscape as a unified,
complex, and theoretically limitless artifact, subject to systematic processes of development and, potentially, to
unified governance" (68). The train shed that housed the cars before they were used was itself at the time thought to
be the largest interior space in the world. In effect, Grand Central's physical vastness reminded visitors that they
were at the nexus of a great "concentration of money, machinery, movement, and corporate authority" (76).










opening scene situates the characters in relation to one another on the basis of crime and

punishment--the words emanating from their mouths locate them in relation to each other, a

particular act (the crime) and the body of a new sovereignty, the detective. And one particular

intonation that echoes throughout the landscape of this particular narrative is presented as race. 33

If this particular detective narrative animates the lived practice of emerging racialized

identity, it details the germination of race as proper zone of sovereign action. Once Hannah, the

quick-tempered woman from the first scene, learns that Black Tom (who turns out to be Nick

Miller, a white New York detective in blackface) is on the case, she runs to tell her lover,

"Foxsey Bill," who also is one of the perpetrators of the crime (and one figure in what will turn

out to be a conspiracy that extends beyond the spatial limits of class and race). Bill responds

with, or, more precisely, the narrator attributes to Bill, a self-assurance that ripples with aporia:

"Foxsey Bill was more afraid of a white detective than he was of Black Tom" (8). Already, a

construction of crime and of its supposed anodyne in the Law is wrought with racial conflict; or

the conflict boiled into proletarianization gets displaced into one of criminality that revolves

around race.34 The presence of a Black Detective, as opposed to a white one, is somehow more

reassuring to Bill, primarily because he understands the legal potency of "Tom," as a black man

and not a white man, is limited. The Law, the reciprocity assigned for a specific act (and in a


33Denning, in lus assessment of dime novels as the whole in the latter portions of nineteenth-century America, at
times seems rather dismissive in regards to projections and echoes of race- claiming that no dime novels were
"aimed at blacks" (30). But it is precisely this field of differentiation within the working class that must be analyzed,
and this particular dime novel narrative offers the material through which emerging structures and attitudes about
race and citizenship, legality, statesmanship, and criminality will be grounded. After all, it was the emergence of a
new free labor force, comprised in large part by a people for whom the only justification presented us to their
enslavement was a field labeled racial difference-coordinated with a rise in industrial production that came to
define the period.

34 Mandel points out that the genre of detective fiction, through a narration of social conflict into a logic of crime
and discipline, obscures the social conflicts of capital and labor wrought into the being of the culture. "Clues have to
be discovered because tracks have been covered. Instead of human conflict, there is competition between abstract
intelligence. This competition is like that of the marketplace, where what is involved is a struggle over cost-prices
and sales-prices, and not between complex human beings." The crime narrative would seem here, in dis-covering
clues because traces have been "covered" to be, again, emptying culture of history and refilling it with a conflict of
property disputes. But, just like the supposed conflict of the marketplace between people over value and price,
embodied in the money form, so too does the social conflict of capital and labor seep through the mask of crime and
punishment.










capitalistic system reciprocity correlates to justice systematized), and indeed sovereignty itself, is

remade "white."

I have alluded to the presentation of what comes to be considered "crime" as an activity

that can possibly leap the specified spatial borders ascribed to class and race. Thus the solution to

this social problem must also circulate freely amidst the landscape/jurisdiction.35 This dime

novel marks thi s fluidity by reading it into the body of the detective-in-di sgui se. Remini scent of

Foucault' s discussion of the body of the king and sovereignty in Discipline and Punish,

sovereignty is dispersed to the person of Nick Miller/Black Tom in this depiction. After Hannah

attacks Tom for insinuating her involvement in the murder, she apologizes for the attempt. The

detective-in-blackface responds to this attack with "I am glad you recognize the maj esty of the

law"(5). This portion of the dime novel asks the meaning of an attempt on the life of a officer of

the law at-work, but whose work is defined as to "practice a specifically raced and classed

identity," only to answer that such an attack on the body of the detective is a much larger

political attack on "the majesty of the law."

Situating this economic circulation of social control in the "Black Tom" narrative is a

representation of physical location in New York City. Much of the narrative is a mapping of "the

principal city of the United States," and individuals consistently are presented as traffic, as

characters in circulation-walking down specific avenues, into and out of neighborhoods that

must have been familiar to the audience. But what delimits the flows of that particular traffic,

what defines itself as the medium of movement, are specific entities inflated with specific values

by the activity of narration within this novel. The victim is described in the dime novel story as

a beautiful young woman. She was not more than 20 or 21 years old. Her hair was light
brown. Her hands were small and delicate, and the finger-nails were the color of pale
pink coral, well-manicured, and tapering, indicating that the woman had not been used to
any kinds of hard work. She was dressed in a light brown street-dress, and what part of

35 Baudrillard's assertion, that discipline circulates, takes specific meaning in this view of the professional police
wrought in the late nineteenth century: a fluidity between constructed poles of race and class becomes the premise
for an economy of detection and social maintenance and social control. Baudrillard is primarily talking about
nuclear deterrence here: "Deterrence is not a strategy. It circulates and is exchanged between nuclear protagonists
exactly as is international capital as the orbital zone of monetary speculation" (33).










her underclothes could be seen was of the finest linen, and with expensive embroidery on
them. Silk stockings covered her feet. (1)

The act that sets this particular detective in motion, a murder of a white, young woman (the title

page j arringly blurts out she was an heiress!i"), extends beyond, or at least cannot be obj ectively

contained within a typical understanding of "offense." For it is not just a murder that fuels the

anxiety of criminality, but somehow a violation of the purity white womanhood. So many

descriptors fill this passages to mark this woman as "pure" victim of some sort of sinister

criminal plot. Reverberating throughout this description is a specific class marker, or, more

precisely, the identification of the victim a~s victim in relation to labor. What marks her body as

pure is that it had not "been used to any kinds of hard work." Compounding the outrage is her

dress- finest linen, expensive embroidery, silk stockings. Riis also had been obsessed with the

presence of gender in the labor force, most notably in the chapter immediately following "The

Harvest of the Tares"- "The Working Girls of New York." Beginning this chapter with an image

of two women setting in chairs sewing (the caption reads "in a sweatshop"),the chapter proceeds

to document, as Twigg points out, Riis's anxieties about the sexual behavior of these "working

girls" (315). An 1888 caption to the same picture that Riis presented in a lecture, as Leviatin

notes, read simply "white slaves." By 1890, Riis had replaced the caption, but the anxiety over

the bodies of women working had been already becoming a particular zone in need of

disciplinary action. The configuration of crime as a violation of the purity of women only has

narratological force, can only fuel this sensational dime novel, if the victim is classed a specific

way.

And once again the rhetoric of cleanliness appears in this passage, this time attaching its

taylorist logic of functionality onto the body of the white woman, whose clean fingernails--a

clear marker of class distinction in revealing how much often and how laboriously this victim

worked--somehow amplify this criminal transgression. Evacuating "crime" of any ambiguities,

this passage presents a definitive threat to the operation of "nation" via the categories of gender

and race. The threat posed by anxieties about work in gendered terms to national function










necessarily don a global teleology, as demonstrated in Riis' s writing of the most sinister threat of

immigration.

The site of the white female body emerges as potential location for the contestations of

capital and labor, deflected and funneled into an understanding of "crime." Whiteness,

particularly the anxiety of "white slavery," is etched into the contours of criminality in Riis' s text

as well, but can only be understood when the dimension of immigration is thrown into the frame,

as depicted when Riis enters Chinatown in chapter nine. Riis's comments about the

neighborhood pay particular attention to the cleanliness of the place- immeasurably different

from the rest of New York. Whereas every tenement, every stale-beer-dive has been represented

as cluttered, Riis's observation that people of this particular district named "Chinatown"- a

completely different nation within the city- are "as clean as a cat" (123) heightens a construction

of absolute evil in this passage. For it is here that "the women, all white, girls hardly yet grown

to womanhood, worship [. .] nothing save the pipe that has enslaved them body and soul" (122).

In this passage, the white woman's body and soul constitute the proper field of contention arising

from anxieties about work and immigration.

What is perhaps most notable in this depiction is that it ultimately presents us with a

white victim so emptied of life that it, along with the officers of the law--in particular our white

detective in blackface, becomes nearly indistinguishable from the city landmarks that participate

in the social differentiation of space. The dime novel continues: "there was a certain expression

on those cold, marble-like features, which indicated the purity of the victim" (1, my emphasis.).

Sandra Gunning's study of "crime" through a nineteenth-century gendered construct of race in

Race, Rape, and Lynching reads how an affirmation of white male supremacy is built upon the

binary characters of a black, criminal beast alongside a white woman-as-victim and in constant

need of protection. Gunning comments that the white woman-as-victim in Thomas Dixon' s

narratives heightens and re-empowers white masculinist logic, as a grounding for white

masculinist aggression. The presence of the female docile body- literally emptied of life in

Dixon' s case and in the case of this particular dime novel- is the catalyst for white patriarchal










violence (Gunning 37, 43, 45-6). The effect of this mode of narration, a valuation of docile,

literally dead, white female bodies, turned from flesh into marble, made over into a symbol of

purity, heightens the tension that will act as catalyst for the new sovereign rule of Law. The body

of white womanhood is remade to scale into the location for policing, and the (globalized,

recalling the word traffic and its relation to the White Slave Law) activity of policing this

gendered war zone is itself marked as strictly masculinst in this context.

The murdered white woman stands as a reference point around which the rest of the

narrative will circulate: it is a violation of that whiteness, of that understanding as to what counts

as value, or what is literally value-able, that necessitates detection and a professional practice in

the first place. Solving the crime" in this particular sense is to make an assumption of whiteness

a public reality. Already, within the confines of New York as emerging industrial metropolis,

circulation configures a gendered logic of "race" onto the logic of capitalist circulation. In the

circulation of discipline, whiteness at this point seems to ascend to the place of capital--

whiteness as an accumulation of specific properties that depends upon an extraction of value

from a surplus of labor. And thus, what seems to mark the victim as white are her properties. To

secure that logic of accumulation, the detective, Nick Miller, disguises his appearance: when in

affluent surroundings, Miller is dressed as a well-to-do white aristocrat. When attempting to

acquire information in the poorer communities on Thompson Street, Miller "blackens up"-dons

the disguise of "Black Tom, the Negro Detective."

Tensions and antithetical relations between the lower classes and those better off,

necessarily revolve around questions of race. 36 The anxiety presented in this particular dime

narrative about the status of whiteness figures onto class conflict here and teeters on dissipating



36 Eric Lott's argument in Love and Theft is to this point: anxieties in race ground anxieties about class. In his
analysis of the popularity of the minstrel show amidst the working classes in antebellum America, Lott points out
that one of the functions of the phenomena of minstrelsy was to "bring various class fractions into contact with one
another, to mediate their relations, and finally to aid in the construction of class identities over the bodies of black
people. [. .] Similarly, a new discourse of race, employed largely by workers themselves, also helped mute newly
created class conflicts. .. the insecurity that attended class stratification produced a whole series of working-class
fears about the status of whiteness" (67, 70).










in the narrative into a mere question of criminality. In other words, the racialized tension that the

narrative on one level attaches to a tension between workers and those with capital, is almost

completely effaced by a question of criminal transgression. Yet the social conflicts of race and

class still whisper through the contours of detection. Anton Couvier, Adolph Lafarge, and

Constance Lafarge, the three white aristocrats that mastermind and orchestrate the crime in order

to assure a lucrative inheritance, hire two African Americans from the bowery to enact the crime.

The three aristocrats do not deal with Foxsey Bill Johnston and Mugsey Pell directly; rather,

Couvier' s racially diverse valet, David Morris, acts as the go-between for the orchestrators.

In chapter three, "Black Tom," in order to learn more about the crime, decides to "throw

a banjo over his shoulder" "dressed as a decrepit old negro" and enters a saloon in the bowery

neighborhood to listen to Foxsey Bill and Mugsey's conversation. After strumming a few notes,

the detective decides to sit a table near Bill and Mugsey. He notices sitting with the two is a third

stranger, a man who had been trailing the black detective across the city until the detective's

most recent disguise. The stranger' s dress, according to the narrative, gives the impression that

this man sitting with Bill and Mugsey, whom we later learn to be Dave Morris, looks to be a

house servant, and that "one would have concluded that he had white blood in him" (6). Morris

begins the conversation with Bill:

"I saw Couvier."
"Wha' he say?"
"He gave me some money for you and Mugsey."
"Let' s see de color ob it." (6)

Foxsey Bill's remark to Morris to show him "the color of money" maps the exchange--money

originating from a white aristocrat Couvier, to two African-Americans from Thompson Street

mediated through an African-American servant "with white blood in him"--and latches a

rhetoric of racial relation onto a system that would also come to define class distinctions. Herein,

economic flows are regulated by conscriptions and rationalizations of race- that money indeed

has a color. The hierarchies involved in the economic transaction make racial domination

common economic sense. A similar strategy for distinction is seen within the confines of this









exchange. But "the color of money" seems especially vexed with aporia: we have a white

detective dressed as Black Tom, disguised even further as a decrepit banjo player, watching

Dave Morris, who is represented as having both "white and black blood in him." Morris

mediates the exchange between the white aristocracy and the black working class.

Recalling our discussion in chapter two of the Black Guinea, the presence of money here

tells us something about the composition of "common sense" racial identities that participate in

monetary exchange. Once again, the ability to freely circulate, to function as equivalent form, as

Marx makes clear in the Grundrisse, means that money, in order to function as money- as the

measure of value- needs to be emptied of its physical properties:

As a value, a commodity is an equivalent for all other commodities in a given relation. As
a value, the commodity is an equivalent; as an equivalent, all its natural properties are
extinguished; it no longer takes up a special qualitative relationship toward the other
commodities; but is rather the general measure as well as the general representative, the
general medium of the exchange of all other commodities. As value, it is money. (141)

In order to function as the equivalent form, as the standard bearer of value, the money

commodity within circulation needs to be emptied of any physical properties that exist for

itself/in itself. But- and this is one of the crises inherent to the idea of money- in order to remain

as general measure ofvalue, to mediate, define, and facilitate exchange, money needs to make a

physical appearance.

The oscillating quality of commodities within a market relation between sensuousness

and supersensuous beings also takes place in the figure of the detective in this particular

narrative, helping illuminate the fantastic (and phantasmagoric) quality of professional discipline

within the space of the national landscape. Nick Miller and "Black Tom" oscillate between

existing as real and as unreal persons- as special commodities within circulation. Miller remarks

to himself after listening to Couvier and Lafarge talk, "can it be that these people know anything

about the murder of that beautiful girl; or have they been up to some other scheme, and

employed Foxsey and Mugsey to help them? Well, whatever it is, Black Tom and Nick Miller

must find out" (8). Speaking of a self in third person, the detective has been emptied of a










common identity and remade into the money-form/token. Miller here steps out of himself to

review and remake himself into the form of detection. This bizarre comment by Miller empties

the professional of humanity; he is a text that Miller reads and is read by stepping outside of

himself here. "Miller was possessed of a wonderful gift. He could change his countenance with

the movement of a few of the muscles of the face so that his most intimate friends would not be

able to recognize him" (8), and the money commodity as detective gains the air of formlessness,

only to be inflated with a new body, in this case, the figure of the law emptied into the body of

the detective in blackface. Miller, as the new body of sovereignty, is voided of any physical,

personal properties. What marks the detective as detective in this system of exchange is his

body's malleable, but newly constructed physical presence.

The bodies of the newly emerging working class against the rise of industrial and

investment capital become more and more the actual sites for working out, understanding, and

controlling the tensions and dynamics of this new regime of control. Specifically, those bodies

marked "black" emerge as the medium for an exchange and ascendance of value or worth. As

Lott points out, paralleling anxieties about labor' s increasingly precarious position in the

technological and industrial accelerations were anxieties about "racial identities," "blackness,"

and ambivalence of "hard labor" in uneven, opposing relation to industrialization which seemed

to fuse into an understanding of "race" and "hard labor" in this particular period of the history of

American capitalism. 37 The bodies of black people, as represented in the contours of this

particular dime narrative become the medium for exchange for a new type of value within this

period of "realism." As medium of circulation- as money form in Marxian terms- the bodies of

black people move within and define the circulatory activity that comes to be known as the

temporal and spatial coordinate/coordination: the Law.



37 Lott points out that "precisely when anxieties about the advancements of industrial capital, working people felt
they were becoming 'blacker' in direct proportion." "Blackness" and anxieties about the place of work in rapidly
advancing industrial capital were tied together--this anxiety was countered with a language and violence of white
supremacy-wrought up in the word "blackleg"--a predecessor for the word "scab" (71).









But this process of exchange does not fully work to re-establish normalized and defined

roles for the everyday lives of the classes. The fact that exchange is grafted onto a practice of

race seems at least a destabilizing, if not rupturing, moment in the narrative. The tensions

imagined into this special commodity, the contradictions that define the money commodity, can

also be said to define the emergence of the professional officer of the law circulating within the

city. The history of this systemization and rationalization of criminal justice not coincidently

matures and thrives within the expansion of capitalism. Prior to 1840 the maintenance of society

was left to private citizens, or nightwatchmen who had full-time day jobs. According to Frank

Morn, before the middle of the 18th century, the state maintained social order through thief-

catchers and through citizens "ratting each other out." Advances in circulations which came to

facilitate capitalistic exchange in the late nineteenth century, while eliminating the physical

difficulties and limitations which inherently complicate trading in values (i.e. needing to be

physically present for an exchange), seemed also to heighten an intuited, antagonistic relation of

worker and employee. For instance, the rise of embezzlement as a crime demonstrated an anxiety

that employees, in this case ticket-takers on interstate passenger train cars, cheated proper market

circulation by intercepting money "that was not theirs"(18). Advances in technologies like these,

making it possible for the train car owner to collect from a mass consumer by not necessitating

his presence in the exchange, instead heightened human agency and unpredictability within the

process. With the rise of urban centers along the landscape came an outcry for a public police

force, policemen paid by the state on salary. (In the US, this happened in the 1850s, after a

number of riots in urban centers against abolitionist movements.) Criminal justice now morphed

into a career possibility-- a profession in the sense that it was characterized by patrolmen

wearing uniforms as a means of appearing as professionals, distinct from "rabble," unskilled,

wage labor in need of management, and as a means of deterring crime by the presence of order in

the person/presence of the officer. The newly established police departments began employing

professional techniques that define professionalism for this field, "detecting" crimes through

"spying." This emergence of professionalization within the discipline of the police resulted in a










huge increase in people who increasingly came into contact with what was now a fully-

functioning criminal justice system. The emergence of this new professional figure of discipline

had two particular assumptions as consequence: 1.) detection is the one way in which crime can

be understood and thus stopped, and 2.) that there must be a "type" of criminal that must be

understood (Morn 13-4, 33).

We are pressed at this critical moment in the analysis of this particular detective work to

ask the role of "darkening" up in a social activity for "detection," for "solving a mystery," for

producing a "truth." Somehow, Nick Miller' s ability to convincingly "play black," or even "play

varying degrees of blackmess" has a particular use-value in the production of truth, or more

specifically in the social maintenance of order that is the new (global) epistemologies of

detection. Miller' s ability to adequately circulate--to "fit in" within the various classes in order

to "find out" and attain information about the crime, that is, Miller' s use-value as professional

detective, is quite literally his exchange value; he exists for the sole purpose of obtaining

information through the uncanny ability to circulate. For Marx, the commodity-thing that

exhibited these qualities is the universal equivalent--i.e. the money form. Like the money-form,

detection emerges as a socially accepted value : in this case, there is a particular socially accepted

value of maintaining order through the ability to circulate amongst the classes.

And, like money, there are a number of contradictions literally embodied into the figure

of sovereignty, molded into its being. As equivalent form, the standard-bearer of value ascribed

to law-abiding citizenship, the body of sovereignty must maintain a level of transcendence and

mysteriousness generated by a mere presence. The uncanny ability, the supernatural potency of

the professional detective as demonstrated here in his fantastic practices of race/class

mutability--a mutability that is made even more fantastic in the eyes of a community that does

not believe these specific categories to be malleable--leads to the embodiment of the sovereign

this metaphysical characteristic. Yet, just as the money-form must somehow maintain a physical

presence as a commodity, so too must the detective-in-circulation maintain a sensuous as well as

supersensuous presence in the text. This added element of detection, of disguise as a professional










practice, adds a new understanding to previous conception of minstrelsy. Not only is "darkening-

up" disguising the detective as an instance of expressing repressed desires and emotions on and

through the black body, not only is it a social commentary on how white middle-class Americans

lived and rendered their whiteness, but it is also a social activity, that is, an establishment and

traversal of definitive, real, spatial, social, and racial practices. It gives license to, and brings

forth the possibility of, a large-scale community that functionally shepherds all classes and races

within its bounds.

What becomes advertised as "natural" and "real" is a specific production of rationalized

practices defined in this time as "professional." Yet this "professionalization" is grounded in an

assumed logic of capitalism. In effect capitalism's market is assumed to be "natural and real" and

extends its logic into national practices such as the criminal justice system, arising as "naturally"

as does the sovereignty which wields it. These new technological practices, methods for

rationalizing and ordering the new layout of populations on a large scale, construct a "real"

which posits itself as an absolute unquestionable logic.

The rise of professional police and detection often in this period demanded subterfuge in

order to secure the information necessary to define skilled apart from unskilled labor. Such

tactics to accurately understand the functionality of specific classes in order to cure certain social

ills are commonly employed in dime novel detective fiction. "Black Tom, the Negro Detective,

or, Solving a Thompson Street Mystery" is a particular instance of this. "In the resorts which Joel

Harris frequented, it was not known that he was connected in any way with the detective force. If

it had been, he never would have been able to have secured an entrance into these places. He

would have been watched, and not given a chance to secure the information which he did" (19,

my emphasis). In this passage, the rhetoric of detection is security of information flows. Joel

Harris, the apprentice of the hero master-detective, Nick Carter, in this chapter ventures into an

opium j oint to listen for information that happens to pass by, not just to gather, collect, and sort

information into some coherent order, but to secure it. Within these narratives classified as

popular culture can quite possibly emerge the face of hegemony, as Denning is quick to assert:










"not only can the popular classes, the 'subaltern classes' in Gramsci's phrase, transform the

meanings of the signs of a dominant culture, but the dominant culture can repossess the signs of

the 'people'" (143). Hegemony is by definition a disguise--an attempt to wield the signs of the

"people"--a mask donned to gain the sympathies of the very same people that are the telos of

domination.

Concerning the role of disguise, Denning ponders that the logic of disguise relies on a

sense of property a~s identity, a sort of "possessive individualism."38 The role of disguise in these

texts has to be understood alongside a shifting perception of "property" that is tied into this

particular movement in the history of capitalism. A traj ectory is created by narrative, its

concomitant partner in bourgeois power--identity and subjectivity understood through

ownership (Denning uses the formula x owns the identity x). Narrative encapsulates life into a

readable, commodifiable product that can be read with an eye toward the ending, for it is in the

ending were the absolute product, identity and subj activity, makes its presence felt. But in dime

novels, "low brow" texts, identity is not diachronic but synchronic (x is x and x is y) (147).

"Properties"-languages of ownership which will locate people on a logic of capital- can also

collapse the method of taxonomy. To understand this collapse and deflation of property, one

needs to have already inhered a logic of differentiation of scale and space. Denning's point, that

the fact of disguise functions metaphorically, is not lost, but what needs to be emphasized is the

privilege wrought within the application of metaphor: a fluidity of identity in the definitive tool

of hegemonic practice, the ability to be both x and y operates as an apology for sovereignty-

manifesting itself as professional Law, and also becoming the possibility of the Law' s

fragmentation.



38Denning is quick to point out that this logic of disguise does not completely describe the device within sensational
fiction. The activity of disguise works metaphorically, investing the particular characters within a specific system of
valuation. "To say that x is v does not mean that x is not x: x is v and x is x. Or to invest these terms with their
present content: to reveal that the mechanic is a nobleman is not to deny that he is a mechanic, the characters all
continue to insist on their characters as mechanics. This is why so little narrative time and energy is spent on
explaining why the nobleman is pretending to be a mechanic in the first place: the metaphoric juxtaposition of
mechanic and noble is what is important, not the story of the noble's pretense" (146-7).









The oscillating qualities between physical presence and formlessness, supersensuousness

within the figure of the detective itself, generates a crisis situation: a specific anxiety emerges in

the use of disguise and scheming in order to gain that security. Talking to Carrie, a young

woman dancer at an opium joint with whom Adolph Lafarge had been in confidence about his

activities and the murders, Joel Harris gains her trust in that he makes Carrie believe Adolph has

betrayed her. Note the anxiety with which the author relates this scene: [Carrie], you might be

[afraid] of someone else but never of me." Joel looked sweetly across the table at Carrie. Oh, the

young hypocrite." (20). Joel, in the process of becoming a professional as a detective-in-training,

proj ects a value of trustworthiness without actually fulfilling that credit. At this moment the

narrative invites speculation as to the motives of Harris. Proj section as to his true worth overlaps

and comes in to crisis here. The irony ingrained in the mysterious statement made by the

detective as money-form that he can be "trusted" is immediately met with a statement of scorn

by the narrative. Both real and unreal, the professional-detective-in circulation is the conjunction

where the crisis of value, the crisis of sovereignty and thus a possible crisis in the cohesion that

is disciplined in the name of unity for the producing boundaries that define the nation-state.

This anxiety of "professionalization" is also present in Riis's texts. He at times seems to

disparage the activities of the contemporary police in his creation of the city.

One cannot take many steps in Cherry Street without encountering some relic of past or
present prominence in the ways of crime, scarce one that does not turn up specimen
bricks of the coming thief. The Cherry Street tough is all-pervading. [. .] There goes one
who was once a shining light in thiefdom. He has reformed since, they say. The
policeman on the corner, who is addicted to a professional unbelief in reform of any kind,
will tell you that while on the Island once he sailed away on a shutter, paddling along
until he was picked up in Hell's Gate by a schooner' s crew, whom he persuaded that he
was a fanatic performing some sort of religious penance by his singular expedition. Over
yonder, Tweed, the arch-thief, worked in a brush-shop and earned an honest living before
he took to politics. (30)
The "unbelief in reform" narrated by Riis that is characteristic of professionalism sours and is

tinged with a sense of hypocrisy in this passage. Once an escapee from "The Island," this

professional, whose denial of reform marks his status, is himself a model testament to "reform,"

as long as reform is understood as conformity under the Law. Not only is the passage ironic with










this reformed individual's unbelief in reform, but a suspicion of unbelief in reform that haunts

Riis's professional narrative- that Riis also, through the logic of his own narrative depiction of

"toughs," is guilty of the same doubt as the policeman on the corner- heightens an anxiety that is

to be located onto this new type of sovereignty. Immediately linking this character to the former

mayor of New York, a mayor associated with corruption, escalates the questionable relation

between the official law as an anodyne to criminality. Speaking about honesty-- a term vital for

the security of circulation- for a Eigure of the Law is just as dicey and precarious as trusting the

people when circulate and thus discipline. Policing at this point may not be about civil service,

but may instead be about \Ilm'inehig else.

But the crisis most evident in this new mode and practice is found in its method of

disciplining the black male body. The fact that the detective is in disguise only when he is

circulating in spaced marked racially black, and is Nick Miller in spaces marked racially white

lends to this emerging practice of professional discipline its hidden, racialized quality: as an

implicit strategy for containment via its re-appointment and proj section into the public sphere.

The sovereign's practice of minting and pressing into circulation equivalent-values functions as a

strategy of containment through commodiaication of living labor as product of the human body.

The detective narrative replaces the logic of entertainment offered by the minstrel show to direct

its anxieties and "play" on racialized divisions of labor within a policing apparatus given license

to traverse the heterogeneous spaces of the social situation of Empire. 39 And the teleological

product this particular detective narrative produces is one which empties the contradictions into

the machinery to which the professional disciplinarian is skilled at handling- the systemization

of criminality within a specific understanding of the nation-state as global traffic cop.

In Nick Miller' s activity as detective, the body as the site for creating value is at once


39In Lott's study of the social practice of entertainment through blackface minstrelsy, the activity of simulating the
presence of the black male body serves to project and manage the place of the black male body: "the body, [. .]
becomes a central problem in justifying or legitimizing a capitalist (or indeed a slave) economy. The rhetoric of
these economies must insist that capital has the magical power of multiplying itself or that slaves are contented,
tuneful children in a plantation paradise; in reality, of course, it his human labor that must reproduce itself as well as
create surplus value. In these societies the body is a potentially subversive site because to recognize it fully is to
recognize the exploitative organization of labor that structures their economies." (117-8)










managed--that is, re-made as the example of an "efficient" practice. The body of the black

worker is mimicked and captured via the epistemologicall science" of detection. The narrative

treats the characters Mugsey and Foxsey Bill as of secondary importance: their presence and the

realization that they committed the crime on orders from the white aristocrats situates a specific

logic of production and reproduction--the labor/management logic is not only assumed here, but

is itself reinforced. The "true" crime has been posited by a logic that transcends the physical,

actual crime. In the final pages, the narrative brings this to light: The capture of Mugsey Pell and

Foxsey Bill functions as a means to capturing the white criminals. Narratologically, this capture

is treated as an afterthought, treated in the penultimate chapter. The final pages tersely relay the

fate of the characters: "Mugsey Pell and Foxsey Bill Johnston were both executed. Hannah was

the principal witness against them, and she got off without serving any time. She was afterward

killed in a street fight and her murderer escaped" (29). The narrative hardly meditates on the fate

of Foxsey Bill, Mugsey, or Hannah. (It is not altogether clear what crime Hannah has committed,

besides being black.) But the final pages spend much energy on the fate of the white aristocrats.

(In fact Constance Lafarge and her son Adolph return to live in the South.) That the black, poor

characters are handled so violently, treated as insignificant afterthoughts, speaks volumes on the

assumptions implicit to the cultural logic of the text. As workers for the aristocratic criminals,



the living labor embodied into their being must be contained, obliterated, subj ected to the

modernization of the nation as global police.










CHAPTER 5.
IN JUST TIME: THE PENITENTIARY AND THE MOTION PICTURE AT THE TURN OF
THE CENTURY

In short, by the introduction of nzachinely the division of labor as ithrin society ha~s been
developed, the task of the workman 11 ithrin the factory ha~s been simplify ied, capital ha~s
been accumulated, and man ha~s been further disnzenbered.
Karl Marx, The Poverty of Philosophy

"False Dawn": The Flashpoint of the Buffalo Pan-American Exhibition

The Pan-American Exhibition held in Buffalo, New York in 1901 has commonly been

dismissed as just one in a litany of exhibitions that celebrated the industrial progress of

nineteenth-century Europe and United States. Indeed, as Walter Benj amin' s meditations on

exhibitions' place in the industrializing nation-state speculate, an examination of the evolution of

the exhibition offers insight in the political development of the nation within a system of global

capital. While national exhibitions had been a cornerstone of France in the early nineteenth

century- the first taking place on the Champ de Mars in 1798; three taking place during the

imperial years 1801, 1802, and 1806; three during the restoration of 1819, 1823, and 1827; and

three during the July Monarchy years of 1834, 1837, and 1849--the first two International

Exhibitions, 1851 in England and 1855 in France, were seen by many as a testing ground for the

place of the nation-state in global capital.' But could an exhibition in the city of Buffalo offer

any insight in this tradition?

While many of the contradictions of the nation-state as subj ect of global capital did indeed

take place on these international stages, particularly an oscillation between the display of


SOn this subject, Benjamin' s arcades Project sites Julius Lessing to portray the extent of this debate:

The world exhibitions have lost much of their original character. The enthusiasm that, in 1851, was felt in the most
disparate circles has subsided, and in its place has come a kind of cool calculation. In 1851, we were living in the era
of free trade. .. For some decades now, we have witnessed the spread of protectionism. .. Participation in the
exhibition becomes .. a sort of representation .. : and whereas in the 1850 the ruling tenet was that the
government need not concern itself in this affair, the situation today is so far advanced that the government of each
country can be considered a veritable entrepreneur. (quoted in arcades Project 183)









national progress and extra-national modes of production, critical attention should not bypass the

ways in which these exhibitions attempt to distract from the social antagonisms that accompany

industrial advance. This diffusion of social tensions into a celebration of technology that

circumscribes the industrial nation plays a vital role in the mystifieation of working people.

Arguing that the exhibition arises out of the need to keep the working classes amused, Benj amin

notes that

World exhibitions glorify the exchange value of the commodity. They create a
framework in which its use-value becomes secondary. They are a school in which the
masses, forcibly excluded from consumption, are imbued with the exchange value of
commodities to the point of identifying with it: "Do not touch the items on display."
World exhibitions thus provide access to a phantasmagoria which a person enters in order
to be distracted. (Arcades Project 18)

Benj amin' s point that the exhibition stages on a mass-scale the processes typically associated

with the fetish over and ultimate identification with the commodity also extends to the

exhibition' s fetishization of the means of production. The once stark contrasts between the

masses and the means of production fade in indistinction with the exhibition, and the excitement

over industry settles into what was emerging as popular culture.

The diffusion of this distinction between the human and machinery functions, then, as a

"premature synthesis" which for Benj amin bespeaks "a persistent endeavor to close up the space

of existence and of development. To prevent the 'airing-out of classes'" (Arcades Project 175).

The origins of an entertainment industry can be found in these exhibitions for Benj amin by

refining and managing this mystifieation and elision of antagonism that defined the masses'

position as labor (Arcades Project 201). If these exhibitions, then, had a "premature synthesis" of

class antagonism as the obj ective, this particular avatar of burgeoning popular culture in Buffalo

is to actually prevent history by accelerating past it. And the future which exists as the focal

point of this acceleration past history has been marked out by the technologies, the inventions,










the moments of "civilized progress" that populated World Exhibitions like the one in Buffalo.

These monuments of progress only answer a question posed by capital--namely, how to create

markets most conducive to the accumulation of surplus value: capital clears the path for the

inventor and serves as the final judge as to whether something is a technological advance or "just

junk."2 The exhibition seemed to stand as a thorough rej section of the notion that history must be

lived, not just viewed. For Marx, the presence of technological advance furthered the social

divisions of labor, and "each advance in the division of labor brings in its turn new mechanical

inventions" (151). In this vein, the events of the Pan-American Exhibition in Buffalo 1901 must

occupy a special place in the cultural memory of modern politics.

Many of the initial reactions to Buffalo' s Pan-American Exhibition would seem to

support the fascination of "technology" and its popular celebration of mechanization. Certainly

the most celebrated industrial advance at this fair was the promulgation of electricity to its

ubiquitous position in the urban United States, prominent at Buffalo because of its proximity to

Niagra Falls, which helped generate the amounts of power necessary for the mystical attractions

portrayed as approaching the sublime at the exhibition [see figure 5-1]. The September 1901

Cosmopolitan records the awe at the Buffalo Exhibition with regard to the illumination of the

Electric Tower at night:

The time fixed for the ceremony of illumination is half-past eight, just as the summer
twilight is deepening into darkness. A few moments before the appointed hour, one









2 As Herbert Marcuse reminds us, "It has been frequently stressed that scientific discoveries and inventions are
shelved as soon as they seem to interfere with the requirements of profitable marketing. The necessity which is the
mother of invention is to a great extent the necessity of maintaining and expanding the apparatus" (144).








































.I`
.r
e


~


1F' .Ik-,...,f


9''


j ;.
n- ~; L Iie
i-


Figure 5-1. Buffalo's Electric Tower. Photograph taken from Engineering Magazine, 1901.
































188










perceives the bulbs of electric light along the paths and in the buildings diminish in
intensity until they become mere tiny specks of flame which fade away. There is a deep
silence, and all eyes are riveted on the Electric Tower. Suddenly, in the splendid vertical
panel with four brooches which decorate its center, there is a faint glow of light like the
first flush of sunrise from behind a mountain-peak. It mounts and spreads, at first
gradually, with dignified celerity, then with a swifter effulgent pervasiveness until the
entire territory of the Fair has been metamorphosed into a gorgeous vision of dazzling
towers, minarets and scintillating gardens. The Spanish Renaissance scheme of color is
gone, and in its stead we have a veritable fairy-land; the triumph not of Aladdin' s lamp,
but of the masters of modern science over the nature-god, Electricity. (454)

Other j ournals at that period share the sentiment of awe of electricity as a sign of cultural

development: Engineering Ma'gazine championing "the progress of civilization arising from the

applications of art and science to industry" (83 8); Frank Leslie 's Popular M~onthly exclaiming "it

is appropriate therefore that the close of the nineteenth century and the dawning of the twentieth

should be marked by a great exposition of all that has been accomplished in the past in the

domain of electrical science and of those marvels of recent discovery and invention which will

be the commonplace a generation hence" (316); and The Atlan~lt~lt~I~lt~lt~ltic M~onthly: "perhaps, on its

industrial side, the most prophetic thing about the Pan-American is seen in certain exhibits in

electro-metallurgical and electro-chemical lines. [...] They are, in fact, an industrial fourth

dimension" (91). This celebration of the new advances in industry, of a mastery over electricity,

of a discovery of an "industrial fourth dimension" would seem to link technological progress to

the everyday of the political in one particular way. In effect, one could view the celebration of

the apex of industrialism at Buffalo' s Pan-American as the creation of "politics" as the complete

evisceration of the labor' s voice in production in favor of consumption, fascinated with a new

form-giving fire--electricity--as the simulation of living human labor.



As the Buffalo Exhibition was drawing to a close on a September afternoon in 1901,

Leon Franz Czolgosz, an out-of-work machinist and child of Polish and Russian immigrants









acted in a way that he would later reportedly describe as "heroic for the cause [he] loved" by

shooting William McKinley as the president greeted fellow exhibition-viewers. The

assassination of the president at an exhibition dedicated to the celebration of the new heights of

industrial progress offers a very different portrait of the status of the politics of production in this

period--one that demonstrates both the intense socio-economic antagonisms that exhibitions

strived to mask but actually prolong, and the sense that economic development for some means

extraordinary poverty to those on the other side of the "fourth dimension of industrialization."

Czolgosz, portrayed afterwards as a "labor radical" and an avowed anarchist, was treated

as no ordinary criminal. Soon after his swift trial and execution--he was put to death by the state

of New York forty-five days after McKinley had died--biologists eagerly requested Czolgosz's

body for examination. Weary of creating a martyr for labor' s cause, the warden of Auburn

Penitentiary soon sealed Czolgosz's remains in a thick pine coffin, poured acid over those

remains (in order to assure that the body would fully dissolve in less than 48 hours), and buried

those remains without customary ceremony. All clothes and possessions of the executed convict

were burned or otherwise destroyed.



Buffalo' s specific contribution to political history of the exhibition in an emerging

industry of amusement and entertainment must also be recognized, particularly the extent to

which its attractions and celebrations of industrial and electro-metallurgical advance helped

ground a new logic that brought the motion-picture into the popular lexicon. The same

fascinations with electricity that dazzled the popular print also seemed to call attention to a new

medium, a new way for representing progress. Certainly any celebration of commodity culture

will lend itself to particular narrative media, and the motion picture conforms to our definition of










"technological progress" as an answer to the question posed by capital. In this sense exhibitions

illuminate the ways that the motion picture participates in the reconstitution of the human as a

citizen of consumerism by inflating one's whole being with a momentum of desire by which

"subj activity" can be understood. The panorama shot, so popular at these exhibitions, offers the

subj ect a whole store of commodities, lays them before the centered subj ect, placing them within

the desiring reach of the camera' s eye. [see Eigure 5-2] The cinematic relation negotiated

between the eye of the kinetoscope and the "real" obj ects it re-creates is the narrative realm of

consumerism. Hence, as Frederic Jameson reminds us the cinematic narrative form is the

narrative form of realism.3

Numerous motion-picture shorts taken by Edwin Porter of the Electrical Tower,

portrayed by the print culture as part of what was colloquially referred to as a "false dawn"

illuminating the night sky and other exhibitions at Buffalo, represented a new way of capturing

and recreating that fascination with progress, and in itself also represented industrial advance

[see Eigure 5-3]. But Buffalo's fascination with electricity offers a different setting in the fusion

of industrial advance and nascent systems of criminal justice: ten years earlier, the city of

Buffalo was the setting for the crime that would result in the first use of the electric chair. That

particular device--an invention of the corporate laboratories of Thomas Edison--would be the

means to the execution of Czolgosz as well, and this execution also would serve as the subj ect

matter for one of the first motion-pictures of the kinetoscope-- yet another invention of the

corporate laboratories of Edison: Edwin Porter' s three minute long motion-picture titled The



3 Jameson writes "Not coincidently, the emergence of such narrative centers is then at once accompanied by the
verbal or narrative equivalences of techniques characteristic of film (the tracking shot, the panning of the camera
from Carrie's position as observer to that of a telescopic keyhole glimpse of the ultimate interior, with its enclosed
warmth and height)--that medium which will shortly become the hegemonic formal expression of late capitalist
society" (160).





















































,I


Figure 5-2. Circular Panorama pf Electric Tower. Entire motion picture may be viewed at the
Library of Congress website. http://memory.loc.gov


























































Figure 5-3. Esplanade at Night. Entire motion picture may be viewed at the Library of Congress
website. http://memory.loc.gov









Execution ofCzolgosz aI ith Panoramna ofAuburn Prison (1901). This motion picture artifact

seems both inheritor of many of the late nineteenth-century panoramic celebrations of

technological commodity culture and radical departure from the ways the genre negotiated the

relation between humans and the mechanical landscape. The turn-of-the-century's individual

advances--including the new uses of electricity--appear at this point to structure a new situation

of the human to the machine that will ground a popular conception of technology.

This motion picture belies an intense antagonism of social relations that results from a

new means of production and accumulation, an antagonism that threatens to seep through the

facade of the Pan-American Exhibition. An analysis of this motion-picture offers an

interrogation of the history of citizenship, criminality, labor and technology as it navigates the

contours of the social relation, particularly the establishment of certain poles of human relations

within the industrializing, imperializing nation-state. In specific, this motion-picture text leads

into the execution of the "labor radical" with a minute-and a-half panorama of an exterior view

of Auburn Penitentiary looking eerily similar to a turn-of-the-century industrial factory. Taking a

cue from Benj amin' s "Art in the Age Mechanical Reproduction" in which he argues that the

reading of one particular frame in the motion picture is directed by the frames leading up to it, I

ask what, then, is the caption to the reproduction of the execution of Czolgosz when it is

preceded by a meditation on the penitentiary-as-factory The phantasmagoric quality that the

modern penitentiary holds in collective consciousness can be traced, at least in part, to the

fetishistic comprehension of the means of production that also helped bring about the

celebrations for mechanical progress at the national and international stages of exhibitions. This

film speaks to its audience as if pointing to the factory to say "here is where the value of the










commodity originates," only to re-mystify through the fiction of citizenship that capital tells via

the "democratic punishment" of the distinctly American institution of the penitentiary.

American Technocracy: "Shock" and Sovereign Control of a World Without Work

How are we to read, then, this Einal frame [see Eigure 5-4] in this Edison/Porter text? How

can we look at the portrait of living human labor in measured relation to mechanical production?

The culminating scene in the Porter film, the shot which grants fulfillment to the promise of its

title, the scene which reproduces the complete subordination of labor to the authority of the state

(and by association, capital) concludes a very intricate political and narratological assemblage.

What is the caption for this scene of resolution? Why does this reproduction of Czolgosz' s

execution--both by the motion-picture-as-medium, and the electric chair's mechanical

reproduction of death (and thus the life preceding it)--include as a signpost for this text the

panorama of the penitentiary which uncannily seems to resemble the industrial factory?

Edison/Porter' s motion-picture, which begins by depicting a locomotive passing by the

outer walls of the Auburn penitentiary, must have offered a different portrait of humans and

technology than other motion pictures of the time. Yet, to be audience to this motion picture

already presupposes a collective shared consciousness, one molded by the prevailing modes of

production of the mechanical, electrical age. In his essay "On Some Motifs in Baudelaire,"

Benj amin applies the Freudian conception of consciousness as the suppression and management

of shock to an understanding of daily life under mechanization (161).4 COnSCIOUSHOSS



4 QUOting Freud Benjamin understands that

"For a living organism, protection against stimuli is an almost more important function than the reception
of stimuli; the protective shield is equipped with its own store of energy and must above all strive to
preserve the special forms of conversion of energy operates it against the effects of the excessive energies
of work in the external world, effects which tend toward an equalization of potential and hence toward
destruction." The threat from these energies is one of shocks. The more readily consciousness registers
these shocks, the less likely are they to have a traumatic effect. (161)















































Figure 5-4. Final frame, Execution of Czolgosz with Panorama of Auburn Prison. Entire motion
picture may be viewed at the Library of Congress website. http://memory.loc.gov
















196












Undergoes a vast revisionary process thanks to the features of mechanized production, whose

new rhythms situate the human to history and thus consciousness and everyday life in a new way

(177). Under mechanization, every human activity and movement is broken down, isolated,

repeated, specialized to maximize productive efficiency, so much so that the products of the

method of economic efficiency recede from its apparent origins in human labor. This appearance

of a product emptied of its characteristic of "belonging" to its producers is for the worker a

particular shock that defines a feature of experience under a culture of mechanization.

Consciousness under classical Marxist thought is often described as something mediated

by the commodity, typically associated with capitalism's management and deployment of

exchange values which infuse a perception that the commodity has a supersensuous existence--

appears as a sentient entity. Of course, Lukacs's important work on the concept of reification

which advances the marxian idea of the commodity fetish to understand how commodity

exchange serves to obj ectify the human--where the human becomes thing-like--is vital to a

critical interrogation of mechanized culture. Yet, Benj amin' s analysis here serves as a reminder

that this particular evisceration of history does not allow us to abstract consumption from

production. Indeed, Marx's introduction to the Grundrisse cautions against this tendency to cut

out consumption from the particular modes of production:

Production, then, is also immediately consumption, consumption is also immediately
production. Each is immediately its opposite. But at the same time a mediating movement
takes place between the two. Production mediates consumption; it creates the latter' s
material; without it consumption would lack an obj ect. But consumption also mediates


SAs Benjamin points out:
The jolt of the movement of a machine is like the so-called coup in a game of chance. The manipulation of the worker
at the machine has no connection with the preceding operation, for the very reason that it is its exact repetition. Since
each operation at the machine is just as screened off from the proceeding operation as a coup in a game of chance is
from the one that preceded it, the drudgery of the labor is, in its own way, a counterpart to the drudgery of the gambler.
(177)










production, in that it alone creates for the products the subj ect for whom they are
products. The product only obtains its "last Einish" in consumption. (91)

In this way, the specific product of mechanical production grounds and makes possible an idea of

the human confronting the commodity; and likewise the product of mechanical organization

instantiates what can be understood as subj ect-consciousness. A casualty of the phenomenon of

mechanized culture is living human history, which also confronts the worker as an alien entity.

In effect, the worker in commodity culture is cut off from any agency in history. The emergence

of what amounts to a technocracy--the tenor of which has as its Einal manifestation the

subjugation of the human to the rhythms and thus the structure of mechanical organization--

seems to define a pattern of consciousness as that which manages the shock of the possibility of

an improvised, living history.

To a certain extent, one can identify many activities of the state within this period of

increasing mechanization as explicitly maintaining and controlling the "shocks" attendant to

industry's advance. The history of the penitentiary as a state apparatus, as I hope to show in

greater detail later, is tied to an explicit attempt to forge compliance to industrialized sovereign

law by controlling stimuli, beginning with the experiments and practices of the devices of

Benj amin Rush, and continuing through the establishment of the first penitentiaries in the world

at Walnut Street and Cherry Hill jails in Philadelphia, and Newgate, Auburn, and Ossining

Prisons in New York State. If the emergence of the penitentiary is explicitly tied to the

management of "shock" to the human sensorium, the rise of the state in this period must be

interrogated for the ways it structures and distributes consciousness throughout the social

landscape, especially as the history of the penitentiary draws ever closer to another specific

apparatus for organizing and managing production and consciousness--the industrial factory of

the gilded age. We approach the notion that the social relations have been determined by the









forces of production; citizenship as the walking dead divested of their labor has been determined

by the penitentiary modeled after the prevailing site of production--the industrial factory.

Of course, if one is to argue that the emergence of mechanization structures

consciousness in a new way, one must turn to the collective imagination and the ways it brings

consciousness into being; in this sense, new techniques of situating the human in a social relation

can be seen by the ways the social is narrated into consciousness. Benj amin recognizes the

emergence of the motion-picture as a medium in this vein:

Technology has subj ected the human sensorium to a complex kind of training. There
came a day when a new and urgent need for stimuli was met by the fi1m. In a film,
perception in the form of shocks was established as a formal principle. That which
determines the rhythm of production on a conveyor belt is the basis of reception in the
fi1m. ("Some Motifs in Baudelaire" 175)

Presenting individual photographs--a development that also has its origins in nineteenth-century

culture--in rapid succession to simulate motion and thus reconstruct a sense of time, the motion-

picture participates in this phenomenon of mechanized consciousness, infusing a given obj ect

that had been abstracted from time back within time--albeit the time of the machine: the time of

the locomotive, the time of the factory press, the time of the electric chair.

If consciousness is indeed structured by time-as-mechanical-assemblage, the political

battles fought against the human subordination to technological production seem to materialize

in a different assemblage--that of narrative. I take as my mode of inquiry into the emerging

modes of production and accumulation an extended meditation on two "texts" whose

identification of, participation within, or resistance to these material conditions is negotiable.

Still, Rebecca Harding Davis's Life in the Iron M~ills, as well as Porter' s motion-picture for the

Edison corporation will serve as sites for a "dense materiality" in which the political minefield of

industrial production, prison/factory-life, labor's situation within technology, and indeed the










cultural "obj ectification" of time demonstrates narrative' s participation in the politics of justice

masking the politics of production. 6

Almost immediately after Czolgosz's death via the state of New York' s electric chair,

Edwin Porter began work on a motion-picture for the Edison corporation that would recreate and

reproduce this execution. This motion-picture would on one level participate in a corporate

advertising war between the Edison company and Westinghouse Electric. Indeed as many

historians have demonstrated, Edison Laboratory's invention of the electric chair was an attempt

to discredit the Westinghouse model of electrical current, suggesting the Edison model of direct

current was "safer" to the general (read: domestic) public. Yet this recognition of the conditions

surrounding the device's invention ignores the intensely political antagonisms inherent in the

reproduction of the circumstances surrounding this emergence of a mechanical deployment and

management of the laboring human body that is at the heart of this three-and-a-half minute

motion-picture, and at the heart of the emergence of the motion picture as a medium.

Benj amin recognized that the motion-picture emerges as the battleground for intense

political struggles deriving from the accelerations of industrial capital. Thanks to the relative

SAs John Frow has attempted to explain in his grasping of the marxian conception of the commodity fetish, because
of the expansion of equivalence exchanges to the structure of social relations, people become "thing-like" and the
causal relationship between labor and value becomes unstable. This reversal highlights
the opposition between the immediacy of relations among direct producers of use-values and the highly
mediated and abstract structure of commodity relations. What characterizes things in capitalist production
and exchange is thus not at all their thinginess but the opposite, an abstraction which takes the form of a
dense materiality. ("A Pebble" 350)
Frow's understanding of commodity fetishism as a "dense materiality" of an abstract social relation is instructive to
a reconstruction of consumerist time--the synchronization of the human to the commodity that places all human
labor in a social, commensurable relation. Still, the distinction between this fantastic, privileged location of the
commodity in the cultural landscape and the concept of alienation-implicitly marked by Frow here as a distinction
of the poles of capitalist accumulation, namely production and consumption-participate in a nwstification that
Marx critiqued as characteristics of bourgeois economics, namely a recognition that the two concepts may somehow
be related, but a failure to elaborate and meditate on those links, and thus an abstraction of those concepts from the
material conditions of production from which they emerge. What needs to be undertaken here is a serious reflection
of the rise of nwstification of those supposedly discernible zones that present themselves as the determining features
of industrial capitalism.









ease by which art can now be reproduced and distributed en masse, the political significance of

"art" that emerges as its reproducibility increasingly liberates it from its original confines in

space and time--confines which Benj amin equates to ritual. Whereas art prior to the advances in

industrial production was in part defined by what Benj amin terms its "aura"-an aesthetic affect

of it really existing as art in one location spiritually and temporally, the dissolution of a work' s

"aura" via the act of reproduction brings "art" to the politics of the everyday. For an example of

this, Benj amin writes of the new technologies of the nineteenth century--photography and

motion-picture.

It is no accident that the portrait was the focal point of early photography. The cult of
remembrance of loved ones, absent or dead, offers a last refuge for the cult of value, of
the picture. For the last time the aura emanated from the early photographs in the fleeting
expression of a human face. This is what constitutes their melancholy, incomparable
beauty. But as man 0I ithrian (1a fJon the photographic image, the exhibition vahte for the
first time shows its superiority to the ritual vahte. ("Art in the Age of Mechanical
Reproduction" 226, my emphasis)

What is the nature of this "withdrawal" from the photographic image? The phrase does not read

"as the subj ect matter of the photograph ceases to be the face of the human portrait." Rather,

withdrawal suggests activity of movement, as if the human loses interest in the aestheticization

of the portrait. But in favor of what? Benj amin continues:

To have pinpointed this new stage constitutes the incomparable significance of Atget,
who, around 1900, took photographs of deserted Paris streets. It has quite justly been said
of him that he photographed them like scenes of crime. The scene of a crime, too, is
deserted; it is photographed for the purpose of establishing evidence. With Atget,
photographs become standard evidence for historical occurrences, and acquire a hidden
political significance. [...] They stir the viewer; he feels challenged by them in a new
way. At the same time picture magazines begin to put up signposts for him, right ones
and wrong ones, no matter. For the first time, captions have become obligatory. [...] The
directives which the captions give to those looking at pictures in illustrated magazines
soon become even more explicit and more imperative in the film where the meaning of
each single picture appears to be prescribed by the sequence of all preceding ones. ("Art
in the Age Mechanical Reproduction" 226)









The withdrawal of the human from the photographed scene is an intrinsically politicized

moment, one that is key in grasping the social relation of the human in an automated,

mechanized world. Human labor is no longer just something that commands the camera' s eye,

but it is also something that, through automation, can be read so as to offer pedagogical platform

for ideological contestation. The trace of the withdrawn human, present in the impress of

technology, demands interpretation of the photograph. When coupled with a simulation of time

through the literal rapid-fire technique of the early motion-picture, the mechanical subject of late

nineteenth-century narratives seems to invite one intensely political read.

The first twenty seconds of the Porter/Edison motion-picture depict Auburn Prison as

both the background for and destination of a particular technology--the prison here is marked as

a series of smokestacks behind concrete walls and barbed wire, being passed by the mobile

smokestacks associated with the freight train [see Eigure 5-5]. Evidently, the rhythm and tempo

of this motion-picture is made evident not just by the motion of the train, but also the mounting

smoke that billows from beyond the prison's walls. In the next fifty seconds, the train has

stopped completely, and motion here takes on the characteristics of the sweeping eye of the

camera over the apparently barren concrete buildings that make up Auburn Prison [see Eigure 5-

6]. Significantly, the human body has 11irlthlians it from these opening images: no humans are to

be found either aboard the train or even on the prison grounds. But the trace of the human,

particularly humans at work, permeates the motion-picture-as-text, and in essence composes the

illusion of motion when we recognize that the train and the smoke from the prison's structures

are the products and the traces of living human labor.

The abstraction of the human presents the shock of this ghost town of technology; yet, its

animation and reconstruction of time, of a total whole cannot be understood without the trace of


























































Figure 5-5. Feight train frame, Execution of Czolgosz with Panorama of Auburn Prison. Entire
motion picture may be viewed at http://memory.loc.gov





203





























































Figure 5-6. Panorama of Auburn Prison, from Execution of Czolgosz with Panorama of Auburn
Prison




204









the human. Time and motion under technical reproduction is contingent upon the physical

removal of the human in favor of the trace of living labor--the human body has been removed,

but it is also simulated as temporal progress. In this sense, a critical analysis of the penitentiary,

the factory, and the motion-picture must also encompass an inquiry into what these supposedly

distinct apparatuses suggest about a politics within a nascent technocratic culture.

Attempts to locate the emergence of the motion-picture within a technological and

political context of imperial capital are not particularly new. In her studies on the formative years

of motion-picture culture, Amy Kaplan has advanced the argument that the new medium of the

motion-picture itself is founded upon a logic of imperialism, providing a "submerged foundation

on international terrain for a history that charts not only internal bonds of national unity but also

the changing relations between the domestic and foreign" (Empire ofAnarchy 147). Kaplan's

argument turns on a point she makes about the fascination with motion within a collective logic:

the activity and appearance of motion is the focal point of emphasis in these early manifestations

of the new media. Historians of early cinema have linked the emerging medium to new

experiences of space and time, associating its rise to the responses to railroad travel and walking

through the modern metropolis (150). What Kaplan does not meditate upon, however, and what

this particular Edison/Porter film assumes, is a transformation of a logic of time and space as

both a product of human labor and yet becoming divested of that activity of production. Before

we can point to the imperialistic, expansionist logic behind film, I contend that we must first look

to understand why it was granted cultural privilege, why the formation and the possibility and

imaginability of "motion-picture" as fathomable "technology" depends on the abstraction and

transformation of human labor within new structures of organization and production as the basis

for "motion." To this extent, the cultural logic that allows for motion pictures in specific and










technology in general has already pushed human labor to the background, "off screen," in favor

of the consumption of human labor by machines--in short a logic of technology that

characterizes a specific portion of modernity. Even to those workers in which the exploitative

relation is most readily available to their everyday lives, human labor recedes to appear as a

completely subordinate entity, to put down their labor in order to wave the nation's flag.

City of Fire: The Time of the Commodity and the Regime of Automation

This recession from the face of the political landscape instantiated by this motion-picture

offers an avenue of insight to modern cultural logic in the way it participates in the practices of a

commodity economy. An idea of time as reworked through the commodity is for Guy Debord

vital to comprehending capitalism's development as the dominant mode of thought.' The intense

energy emptied into sites of productivity like the industrial factory contributes to a

commodification of time, according to Debord: "The time of production, time-as-commodity, is

an infinite accumulation of equivalent intervals: each segment must demonstrate by the clock its

purely quantitative equality of all other segments. Thus time manifests nothing in its effective

reality aside from its exchangeability" (110). The snapshot action photograph captures such a

conceptualization of the "moment" of time: an accumulation of these equivalences can be

presented in such a way so as to simulate time, completely imbued with commodities at time' s

fiber. That is, commensurable equivalences linked together proj ect accumulation in rapid

succession. The woof of pre-industrial time is remade into that which grounds equivalence as

sequence and consequence.



7 The victory of the bourgeoisie was the victory of a profoundly historical time--the time corresponding to the
economic form of production which transformed society permanently, and which transformed society permanently
from top to bottom. [...] History, which had hitherto appeared to express nothing more than the activity of
individual members of the ruling class, and had thus been conceived of as a chronology of events, was now
perceived in its general movement" (104)










Commodity culture's tendency to effect a new synchronization of consciousness has

often been a subj ect for meditation in works of canonized American Literary Realism. Chapter

11 of Theodore Dreiser' s Sister Calrrie demonstrates a specific example of what has been

understood as commodity fetishism--which in this scene seems to be a result of that novel's

protagonist, Carrie Meeber, as she transforms into consumer, a revision of herself as

participating in a scene in which the obj ects are the other actors within the new metropolis

repopulated by obj ects in discourse with each other as commodities. Commodity exchange

transforms into urban living:

Carrie was an apt student of fortune' s ways--of fortune' s superficialities. Seeing a thing,
she would immediately set to inquiring how she would look, properly related to it. Be it
known that this is not fine feeling, it is not wisdom. The greatest minds are not so
afflicted; and, on the contrary, this lowest order of mind is not so disturbed. Fine clothes
to her were a vast persuasion; they spoke tenderly and Jesuitically for themselves. When
she came within earshot of their pleading, desire in her bent a willing ear. The voice of
the so-called inanimate! Who shall translate for us the language of the stones?
"My dear," said the lace collar she secured from Partridges, "I fit you beautifully;
don't give me up." (75, emphasis mine)

This extract from Dreiser' s novel grants insight into Carrie as she remakes herself into an actress

for the theater. Dreiser' s management of this scene parallels that of an auteur directing a motion-

picture. The discourse is with formerly inanimate obj ects, the movement within earshot to the

pleading of these inanimates, the re-envisioning of herself in proper relation not to other people,

but to now-sentient things. The tempo and re-animation that is a result of commodity culture

seems to be of import in narratives within the advancing moment of mechanical production.8 The



SThis "social relation of things" has often been the subject of critical debate, Rey ( Itlo\ recently suggesting the
marxian description of commodities as "false representations of the real relations of production" may have lead to a
"thing phobia" which catalyzes a series of book-burning events in communist China. "Ironically," ( hlow writes, "in
the retrospective assessments of the Cultural revolution, scholars and writers have tended overwhelmingly to
interpret such destruction of things as part of a larger violence against humanity--when, strictly speaking, such
destruction was genealogically consistent with the Marxist critique of dehumanization as made manifest in the
processes of reification and commodification" (C 110\\ 364-5). ( Iell\ 's reading of Marx's theory of the commodity
fetish seems to melt into a critique of that idea itself, assuming the commodity is a representative sign marking the
exploitation of human labor. But can commodity fetishism as a system be reduced to semiotics in a political action










emergence of a commodity culture, Dreiser' s novel seems to hint, is intensely cinematic. Sister

Calrrie's recognition of social-life as no longer a relation between people but between things

hints at the tendency of "reality" becoming more "filmic"; the obsession with animation and

navigation through a metropolis of commodities--the obj ective trace of a social relation--

participates in the continued subordination and removal of human labor frames "real life."

The town which serves as setting for Rebecca Harding Davis's novella presents a portrait

of the social relation and the poles between which desires circulate. Written approximately forty

years before Dreiser' s Sister Calrrie, Davis's narrative expresses the extent to which production

itself plays a specific role in the exploitation of living labor. Leading the reader through the

streets of the town towards the iron mill at the town' s heart, Davis writes:

Not many even of the inhabitants of a manufacturing town know the vast machinery of
system by which the bodies of workmen are governed, that goes on unceasingly from year to
year. The hands of each mill are divided into watches that relieve each other as regularly as
the sentinels of an army. By night and day the work goes on, the unsleeping engines groan
and shriek, the fiery pools of metal boil and surge. Only for a day in the week, in half-
courtesy to public censure, the fires are partially veiled; but as son as the clock strikes
midnight, the great furnaces break forth with renewed fury, the clamor begins with fresh,
breathless vigor, the engines sob and shriek like "gods in pain." (19, my emphasis)

A subtle shift has thus been involved in this formulation of Davis's narrative. Rather than the

citizenry governing the mechanizations and functions of the town in which they live, Davis's

description flips that relation to the point that this "vast machinery of system" itself drives

production, "governing the bodies of working peoples." Davis's narrative begins with this stark

inversion--the horror that will become the situation of technology within industrial production--

in which the products of human labor have somehow warped the structural logic of "ownership."




proscribed by this identification of commodity fetishism really to destroy the commodity; that by wiping out the
signifier you've undone that system of signification? Or does not such a proscribed action advance and participate in
the belief that commodities hold special status?









The form of Davis' s narrative emphasizes animation, or at least prefigures an emerging

fascination with that which will allow motion to be the subject of pictures. The town in which the

narrative takes place seems engulfed in the flames of the iron mills--a city literally of fire.

The road leading to the mills had been quarried from the solid rock, which rose abrupt
and bare on one side of the cinder-covered road, while the river, sluggish and black, crept
past on the other. The mills for rolling iron are simply immense tent-like roofs covering
acres of ground, open on every side. Beneath these roofs, Deborah looked in on a city of
Gire that burned hot and Hiercely in the night. Fire in every horrible form: pits of flame
waving in the wind; liquid metal flames writhing in tortuous streams through the sand;
wide cauldrons filled with boiling fire, over which bent ghostly wretches stirring the
strange brewing; and through all, crowds of half-clad men, looking like revengeful ghosts
in the red light, hurried, throwing masses of glittering fire. It was like a street in Hell.
Even Deborah muttered, as she crept through, 'T looks like t' devil's place!" It did,-- in
more ways that one. (20)

This situation presents something in the realization of labor that leads to its own evisceration, or

at least a disquieting feature that organizes and divides political consciousness into hermetic

spaces of an audience--a space for consumption, and the activity of production--a space of

living labor.

Scholarship on Davis's novella has argued that Davis's text works to confound this social

division. Andrew Silver, for example, has argued that Davis's text reworks and criticizes the

popular picturesque fiction of the time by de-eroticizing working-class labor, explicitly rej ecting

a narratological fetishization of "hard work": "the androgynous narrative voice and the disabled

and grotesque bodies it details serve to de-eroticize middle-class spectatorship, writing against

the gaze that had provided the sexual novelty of hypermasculine bodies" that characterizes much

popular, picturesque narratives of the middle nineteenth century. "The narrative does not focus

on fulfilling the reader' s anonymous desires, but on providing a reading experience which

confounds easy spectatorship" (107). My point of contention with this line of argument is not

precisely that Davis does or does not work to counter the fetish of "hard work." Indeed, Davis









does at times play with gender and labor, at times referring to Hugh Wolfe, the protagonist and

one of the workers before the flames of the iron mill, as "Molly" Wolfe--a nineteenth-century

colloquial term for a male prostitute. Still, my point is to illustrate the pervasive effect a

characteristic of industrial capitalism structures narrative. Androgyny does not mean de-

eroticization but itself participates in the eroticization of labor. What Davis' s text marks instead

is an attempt to grapple with the ways in which to tell the story of industrial labor, and in this

effort under the terms of commodity fetishism, which effects an abstraction of "just looking"

from active work, an attempt at narrating the story of industrial labor that depends upon an

eroticization of elements, of manufacturing and manipulating desires into new narrative forms.

What is most telling about this picture of Gire is that it radiates in such a way so as to illuminate

and proj ect a specific relationship between worker/obj ect and viewer/subj ect, a relationship that

serves as an apt description of "realism." We can see in Davis' s mode of narration a logic that

will bring new technologies of narration into existence.

Davis, ever concerned with the "vast machinery of system" and with making this life of

labor before the mechanical inferno "a real thing to you," works as narrator through this

perspective of proj section. And it is a relationship that is itself thrust into the narrative with a

specific tinge of class, for just as the audience looks on at the laboring city, so too do the owners

of the iron mill look in and wonder in awe at the site of the mill hands laboring before the

company's inferno, the view of capital upon labor. Kirby, the owner of the mill, upon viewing

his workers laboring before his machines, exclaims: "'if I had the making of men, these men who

do the lowest part of the world' s work should be machines,-- nothing more,-- hands. It would be

kindness. God help them! '" (36). One of his companions responds: "'Money has spoken! [...]

And so money sends back its answer into the depths through you, Kirby! '" (36). Kirby's









comment upon witnessing this city of fire demonstrates the extent to which "life" has become a

series of measured, repeatable, indeed mechanical actions. The solution toyed with here is the

utter pacification and literal obj ectification of those "who do the lowest part of the world' s

work." Furthermore, the social relation apparently manifests a spatial relation of economic

exchange--money verbally responding to labor. In other words, a solution to the stultifying

situation of labor, voiced here by "money" in Davis's narrative, is the construction of sites of

consciousness--subj activity centered within a system of consumption, mediated by a desire that

depends upon the differentiated spaces carved out by capital's quest for new markets.

The product of Hugh Wolfe's labor--the korl woman figure carved out of the scrap

metal--literally circulates not only throughout these differentiated social spaces within the

novella' s primary narrative, but also throughout the narratological structures of Davis' s text. The

figurine-commodity then exists in-itself as a marker and medium of the differentiations in

consciousness, and thus appears as, in marxian terms, the literal obj ectification of all social

relations. Still, the nature of the commodity reveals an aporia, a reverberation that threatens these

neatly differentiated sites within capital, and reminds that the consumer is a worker, albeit a

worker divested from her work. In this way, the commodity as obj ectification of social relations,

also registers the anxieties and understandings of work in this period and the technologies used

to capture and represent that relation:

Nothing remains to tell that the poor puddler once lived but this figure of the mill-woman
cut in korl. I have it here in a corner of my library. I keep it hid behind a curtain; it is such
a rough, ungainly thing. Yet there are about it touches, grand sweeps of outline, that show
a master' s hand. Sometimes,-- to night, for instance,-- the curtain is accidentally drawn
back, and I see a bare arm stretched out imploringly in the likeness, and an eager wolfish
face watching mine. (64)

The relation condensed and obj ectified within the korl figurine here at the end of Davis' s text

seems to mark the product of the mill-hand' s labor as necessary catalyst and conclusion for the










narrative moment, for its appearance at the beginning of the novella begins a reminiscing

moment prompting the narrator to "lead us down into the iron mills" to "make it a real thing to

you." The commodity stands guard over the differentiated zones that define the diagetic moment

of narrative realism, and as such defines the threshold dividing the site of production from the

sites of consumption (and between "confinement" and its rhetorical opposite "freedom").

The commodity also keeps time in the synchronization of these differentiated spaces in

discourse (read exchange) with one another.9 Davis's novella implies as much in Hugh's

realization of his fate under this system, seeing what Davis marks as "the reality of the world and

the business of it" after he thinks to himself of the possibility of creativity. Richard Hood' s

observation about Davis' s text examines a temporal realignment through the act of narration.

"Here it is clear that the reader, though 'present' in the narrative frame of the story is somehow

removed from the narrative setting; the reader cannot enter the story except by 'hearing' it. The

reader is present 'now' in the dialogue of the narrative, but is not present 'here' in the mill-town"

(74). Space remains here something of absolute difference, but a play with time can somewhat

corrode this difference (Hood 75). Spatial difference in this context is merely the medium of

desire; the political energies delimited by the subj ects of capital exchange are enough to move

Kirby to "want to look," as they are enough for a cinematic reader to "realize" Davis's subj ect

matter.

The fact of commodity production as the dominating socio-economic principle

necessitates a rethinking of the concept of isolation at the foundation of the penitentiary within

industrialism. This mode of enacting justice does not rely on the concept of "isolation" per se but

instead a very regimented, precise system of absolute division that accompanies or patterns itself


9 As John Frow argues elsewhere, "Time and space now too become entirely abstract categories, the architecture of
a world which, 'is at once here and elsewhere"' (Time and Conunodity Culture 7).










after the divisions of labor necessary for the commodity. 10 While Marx is quick to point out that

a social division of labor preceded the historical appearance of the commodity under capitalism,

we must look to see how commodity culture secures and guarantees its own existence by

reproducing the conditions necessary to its own existence, namely a complex division of labor.

The presence of the korl woman does not just appear at the bookends marking Davis' s

diagesis but also at the point of contact for the differentiated spaces nI ithrin the new social relation

under industrial production. Most memorably, its appearance to the mill owners visiting the iron

mills is quite literally unsettling, its haunting presence serving to collapse assumptions about

those who make up the differentiated space of the mill. More pressingly, though, the logic of

production and accumulation and the desire that mediates these new social relations, that logic of

commodity creation Hugh Wolfe has known his whole life, will structure the logic of his

punishment and imprisonment.

It was market-day. The narrow window of the jail looked down directly on the carts and
wagons drawn up in a long line, where they had unhooked. [Hugh] could see, too, and
hear distinctly the clink of money as it changed hands, the busy crowd of whites and
blacks shoving and pushing one another, and the chaffering and swearing at the stalls.
Somehow, the sound, more than anything else had done, wakened him up,-- made the
whole real to him. He was done with the world and the business of it. (54)





The totality of heterogeneous use-values of physical commodities reflects a totality of similarly
heterogeneous forms of useful labor, which differ in order, genus, species, and variety: in short, a social
division of labour. This division of labour is a necessary condition for commodity production, although the
converse does not hold: commodity production is not a necessary condition for the social division of
labour. Labour is socially divided in the primitive Indian community, although the products do not thereby
become commodities. Or take an example nearer home, labour is systematically divided into every factory,
but the workers do not bring about this division by exchanging their individual products. Only the products
of mutually independent acts of labour, performed in isolation, can confront each other as commodities.
[...] [T]he use-value of every commodity contains useful labour, i.e. productive activity of a definite kind,
carried on with a definite aim. Use-vales cannot confront each other as commodities unless the useful labor
contained in them is qualitatively different in each case. In a society whose products generally assume the
form of commodities, i.e. a society of commodity producers, this qualitative difference between the useful
forms of labour which are carried on independently and privately by individual producers develops into a
complex system, a social division of labour. (Capital 132-3)









The sound of the market which "makes the whole real to him" has been presented here as a

punishment, reminding that he has been restrained from full participation in what counts now as

social life. "The free world" comes into view through its opposite--isolation and confinement--

and marks punishment through unfulfillable desire. The distinctions between Hugh's spatial

confinement, marked by the clink of money in exchange, takes on a temporal tone a few

passages later:

He looked out of the window again. People were leaving the market now. A tall mulatto
girl, following her mistress, her basket on her head, aroused the street just below, and
looked up. She was laughing; but when she caught sight of the haggard face peering out
through the bars, suddenly grew grave, and hurried by, a free firm step, a clear-cut olive
face, with a scarlet turban tied on one side, dark, shining eyes, and on the head the basket
poised, filled with fruit and flowers, under which the scarlet turban and bright eyes
looked out half-shadowed. The picture caught his eye. It was good to see a face like it. He
would try to-morrow, and cut one like it. To-morrow!i He threw down the tin, trembling,
and covered his face with his hands. (57-8)

This exchange between Hugh behind bars and the enslaved woman, and a complex discourse

about what distinguishes "free" from "imprisoned," seems particularly odd--somehow, this

woman is remarkable to Hugh because of a "free, firm step"-but in a time of slavery, that free

firm step traces that of her mistress. Both individuals in this scene become much more

melancholy; that is, the scene becomes extraordinarily ominous when these two exchange

glances and thus share an understanding that the other' s situation perhaps all-too-closely

resembles their own. The trigger for Hugh' s despair revolves around a notion of time, triggered

by the desire to produce. Somehow, Hugh has made the realization that the cultural logic of time

here is in fact his punishment, the reciprocal equivalent in a discourse of justice.

The dialogue between these two separate spheres is mediated by the possibility of time as

an obj ective measurement. Time brings these poles into a field in which they can be compared,

can exchange and be rendered commensurate. Time for Hugh defines the incarceration of his










creative capacities--that he has no real "to-morrow" in the same sense as the "world outside the

jail." What Davis demonstrates here is the pervasive logic of commodity culture to differentiate

zones of production and consumption through an obj ectified, measurable time within industrial

production that begins to dictate and raise into being the penitentiary as absolutely distinct to the

"free" public space. Effectively, "freedom" has been interpolated by the absolute exploitation of

labor within the j ail through the obj ectification of time, and thus the market becomes associated

with "freedom."

But somehow the distinction between the "free world" and the jail is the same as the

dialectic between the market and the industrial factory. Mapped onto an image of the "free

world" of the market and the confines of production is a portrait of modern jurisprudence. That

is, what makes Hugh' s situation undesirable--the fate of the criminal--is his isolation from the

market, his withdrawal from what counts as "social life." The differentiated zones--factory and

market, jail and the "free community" outside--are opposed to each other through the desire "to

make it a real thing to you," the cinemagraphic desire that will synthesize these antagonisms into

a modern concept of industrial citizenship. Under the logic of Davis's narrative, all those not

imprisoned are marked culturally "free," even though the novel seems to conjure a register where

this idea does not seem thoroughly accurate, nor completely descriptive. As a result, an entity

that is supposed to present an obj ective unit for measurement--the standard of time--which

really is dependent upon human labor, in turn works further to divide and contain labor within an

apparatus that looks to comprehend the social relation as a complex of citizen-automaton acting

in negotiable degrees of compliance to the conscripts of law that constitute the nation-state.

The collapse of the distinctions between the nineteenth-century factory and the

industrialized penitentiary was a phenomenon that troubled a number of journalists of the period.









An 1877 article appearing in English Illlustrated2\agazinene for example, described an excursion

to Auburn's sister Ossining Prison, colloquially referred to as "Sing-Sing," thusly: "At first

appearance, Sing-Sing presents more the aspect of a large factory than anything else; its tall

chimney and blocks of many-windowed buildings heightening the illusion, while the sound of

machinery and the hissing of steam helps to give it an air of life and liberty which is somewhat

unexpected" (Price 57). A large steam horn would sound the commencement of work in these

prisons, as it would the industrial factory. At times, the article slips into actually referring to the

prison as a factory, especially when describing the bootmaking, tailoring, stonemasonry, and

other types of labor performed therein (Price 59). Pri sons-as-factories, the author implies, can be

understood as a specific productive entity within the capitalist system, defined by its complete

sustainability in producing a value. In fact, at the beginning of this article, the author' s

comparison between the penitentiary and the factory seems charged with pleasant surprise--

apparently factory work signifies an "air of life and liberty." Still, when the journalist examines

the prisoner' s cells away from the workrooms, his hopefulness that this prison was a site of the

heights of industrial production latched onto domestic politics changes dramatically:

All the conclusions I had jumped at as to the over-lenient treatment of the prisoners
vanished when I saw how this was counterbalanced by the reverse of the model. There
were six tiers of cells, or accommodations for 1200 prisoners. At the time of my visit
there were 400 more prisoners than cells, so many had to be "doubled-up." This does not
sound so very dreadful till one learns the dimension of each cell. As they struck me not
being larger than cupboards, I took the trouble to measure one for myself, and found its
exact dimensions were 3 ft. 6 in. wide, 7 ft. long, and 6ft. 6 in. high, and these dismal
holes are only lighted and ventilated by a grating in the door. I got the warden to shut me
up in one for a few seconds, but I felt such an overpowering sensation of suffocation that
I was glad to get out; yet two big men are often shut up in such a space. I was informed
that every day at half-past five, after their work is done, the men are locked up until a
quarter past six the following morning. (60)

At this moment, the critique seems to argue that the prison is merely a contradiction, a poorly run

factory; that is, there seems nothing innately "inhumane" or even retributive about factory work










itself, a view that belies a deeper cultural anxiety toward the machine, the factory, and the prison

that allows the three to combine in one apparatus overseeing security and justice across the

collective psyche. Displaced onto the horror of living conditions apart from factory-work, the

dominant cultural assumptions hide that each is part of the same logic of production.

Other testimonials in this "reformist" vein show similar outrage as to the conditions

prisoners of Sing-Sing and Auburn were subj ected to daily, Charity and the Commons going so

far as to say living in Auburn "is far worse than living in a sewer" (680-1). Such testimonials--

the descent into these horrifying space--worked both to mortify and tantalize the reader. This

feature arises only because of the narrative it tells about human labor under industrial capitalism.

That is to say, the collapse of systems of justice into apparatuses maximizing and exploiting

human productivity comes to define the narratological/scopophilic quality of the modern prison

sy stem.

If the marker of the emergence of the modern penitentiary system is the inherent

collapsibility of imprisonment into factory work, the method of punishment in industrial U.S.

culture is inherently metadia~~~~tttt~~~~tt~geticie always beyond the frames in which it is encased and

extending "outward" into "free public space." The formation of the motion-picture as a

fathomable, technological product of this inertia is kin to this early formation of a prison

industry. In this sense, the Edison/Porter film is remarkable for both what it contains and

simultaneously collapses. The corrosion of the apparatuses, spaces, and means of production into

what had been emerging as a modern labor warehouse actively extracting surplus labor is a

fundamental characteristic shared by both the penitentiary-as-factory and the motion picture as

technological medium. In this spirit, Horkheimer and Adorno recognize:

Real life is becoming indistinguishable from the movies. [...]The old experience of the
movie-goer, who sees the world outside as an extension of the film he has just left










(because the latter is intent upon reproducing the world of everyday perceptions) is now
the producer's guidelines. The more intensely and flawlessly his techniques duplicate
empirical obj ects, the easier it is today for the illusion to prevail that the outside world is
the straightforward continuation of that presented in the screen. (126)

I would advance a notion here that what Horkheimer and Adorno are identifying in the culture

industry most easily located in modernist (i.e. early twentieth-century) Hollywood is something

that precedes film, or at least clears the space for such an industry to flourish. The accelerations

of circulation of the commodity affect consciousness to the extent that the differentiated zones of

commodity production and exchange become permeable and metadiagetic; a feature that itself

will at least be a vital, if not constitutional, element of early motion-pictures like this one.

The Penitentiary, the Individual, and the Invention of Productivity

The metadiagetic reach that characterizes the structure of the relation between the public

(market) and the prison also frames the fascination with the "realistic" aims of the motion-picture

in that time-as-commodity stretches through the boundaries between film and audiences,

between work and consumption. This reach is necessarily one that reenacts and reanimates class

as a social division of labor. "Man in prison," write Horkheimer and Adorno,

is the virtual image of the bourgeois type which he still is to become in reality. [...] The
prison is the image of the bourgeois world of labor taken to its logical conclusion; hatred
felt by men for everything that they would themselves wish to become but is beyond their
reach, is placed as the symbol in the world. [...] Since de Tocqueville the bourgeois
republics have attacked men's souls whereas the monarchies attacked his body; similarly,
the penalties inflicted in these republics also attacked man's soul. The new martyrs do not
die a slow death in the torture chamber but instead waste away spiritually as invisible
victims in the great prison buildings which differ little in name from madhouses. (226-8)

The discourse that the fact of the penitentiary presents grounds a new type of class-consciousness

in industrialism. 1 Unsurprisingly, the new topic of being at work/being imprisoned, itself as a



" As Michael Ignatieff has observed on penitentiaries in England in the 1850s, reformers had to confront the typical
problem that accompanied the new social relations re-written by the factory mode of organizing labor. Numerous
strikes and sit-ins protesting convict imprisonment as a substitute for transportation to Australia occurred in British
houses of discipline. Furthermore, reformers were just as horrified at the level of solidarity among the lower










subject for contemplation, also becomes an obj ect for amusement in a narrative marked for the

ways it produced class distinctions through the motion-picture. To make this shift in the cultural

logic, the "common sense" idea of time and motion--which I argue governs narrative and allows

for the possibility of motion-pictures as technology--must change, and the history of the

emergence of the criminal justice system reflects that passage of the concept of time as

commodity, payment.

The history of the emergence of the penitentiary as the material obj ectification of, and the

main apparatus and location for, the punishment end of "justice" illuminates a political

consciousness grounded in many of the principles of the Enlightenment. This history animates

into consciousness the human being in the social world by offering a meditation on, and thus

bringing into being, an individual in discourse with a social, an inner-soul in discourse with

one's outer acts, and proper civilized behavior in discourse with moral society. If as Angela

Davis has argued in an essay titled "From the Convict Lease System to the Super-Max Prison,"

the current prison system "has abandoned the goals of individual rehabilitation and social

reintegration in favor of increasingly harsh forms of punishment and retribution" (60-1), what we

must then interrogate is the emergence of these logics of executing justice that has born the

impress of that shift. What we find is, as Otto Kirchheimer and Georg Rusche have observed,

that "every system of production tends to discover punishments which correspond to its

productive relationships" (5). This correlation between productivity and punishment

fundamentally links the factory and the prison as manifestations of time in service to apparatuses

of accumulation. Whereas early U.S. Punishment systems, such as those adopted by religious

groups like the Quakers at the first penitentiaries in Pennsylvania, viewed time as the medium to

economic classes which broke through the divisions of the justice system, particularly between convicts and those
assigned as their guards (202-3).









reform--i.e. individual convict work as a means of preparing the offender for a return to

society--later versions, corresponding to the ascent of industry, see time as a means of debt

repayment, as sentence, and the penitentiary as a place of custody and

reciprocity/commensurability .

A new, inhered logic of time as a commodifiable, obj ective quantity made flexible by

shifts in production emerges as a "thing" which can be isolated for "technological" and

narratological experimentation. If, as film scholar Andre Gaudreault asserts, temporality became

a phenomenon which was standardized, synchronized by filmic narrative after 1907 (326), this is

because the experiments in the association between temporality and productivity (manifested in

apparatuses like the penitentiary and the motion-picture) had been exhausted.

Much scholarship of Life in the Iron M~ills has concentrated its efforts on the religious

motifs underlying the text, and directs a critical eye toward the "Quaker Angel" who offers

narrative closure. Such a Eigure is important when confronting the history of the penitentiary,

which itself was a Quaker invention in the constitution of the Pennsylvania colony. Sheila

Hughes, for example, interprets Davis's narrative as an attempt to advance secular and religious

vision that "does not neatly categorize as realist, reformist, or religious. [Instead .] the

principle of liberation opens up the complexities of Davis' s text in unique ways. The biblical cry

for liberation can be heard in Davis's novella which also prefigures developments by twentieth

century theologians in other contexts of race, class, and gender oppression" (114). The religious

principles that Hughes demonstrates are characteristic of Davis' s narrative, that would have been

identified by readers of such popular religious and sentimental narratives of the nineteenth

century, personified by the Quaker "angel" with whom we are left at the resolution of the story,

itself has a particular history in the method of control over human productivity submerged within










a rhetoric of community and dissent through a penitentiary system. That is, the narrative telos of

Davis's allegory, concluding in the prison with the Quaker woman administering to the convicts

foregrounds the history of the penitentiary as such a space for "religious conversion." Davis's

narrative thus participates in a political struggle that pits various forces of labor and capital,

subj activity and law, that mark the industrializing landscape of a technocratic nation. Put

differently, the "religious experience" supposedly used in such "liberatory practices" has always

been a part of the subsumption of human labor, and the history of such an apparatus reveals the

historical changes in how human productivity is managed, maximized, and exploited. 12

The first "character" in this Porter film, Aubum State Penitentiary, holds a special history

in commodified justice in the U.S.; a critical inquiry into the history of Aubum offers a

flashpoint in the history of labor subsumption and the production of modem industrial capital.13

Certainly, before the advent of the first penitentiary established in the late eighteenth century,

methods of enacting justice through punishment did entail detention. However, the establishment


12 According to Max Weber, the absolute denial of the worldly, the concentration of inner-light over outer
appearances did in a way help foster the development of capitalism in the U.S.

The immense importance which was attributed by the Baptist doctrine of salvation to the role of the
conscience as the revelation of God to the individual gave their conduct in worldly callings a character
which was of the greatest significance for the development of the spirit of capitalism. [...] we have already
called attention to that most important principle of the capitalistic ethic which is generally formulated
'honesty is the best policy.' Its classical document is the tract of Franklin quoted above. And even in the
judgment of the seventeenth century the specific form of the worldly asceticism of the Baptists, especially
the Quakers, lay in the practical adoption of this maxim. (Weber 151)

Also recall that much of the writings of Benjamin Franklin lay at the foundation of Weber' s study of the rise of
capitalism out of a particular protestant ethic.

13As Dario Melossi and Massimo Pavarini point out about the history of justice's production:
The transition [...] to retributive punishment, that is, the transition from an almost "biological"
phenomenon to a juridical category, requires as a necessary precondition for the cultural dominance of the
concept of equivalent based upon an exchange value. [...] Under a socio-economic system such as
feudalism-in which the historic development of "human labor measured in time" (read: wage labor) was
still incomplete-retributive punishment determined by an exchange value, was not in a position to find in
the privation of time the equivalent of the crime. (2-3)
That maturation to the point in which time becomes the compensatory element in this new industrial production of
justice, a time made standard by the capitalist sovereign with a specific view toward human labor, emerges in the
contested field of the nineteenth century.










of these institutions becomes a study in the use rise of the nation-state as specific apparatuses to

secure the well-being and growth of capitalism. Pre-penitentiary workhouses had been

established by local governments as an apparatus that reorganizes the landscape in preparation

for the large-scale productivity that became the aegis of nascent industrial production. As Rusche

and Kirchheimer demonstrate about the political economy of the early mercantilist state, the

capitalist mode of production needed (and still needs) to keep wages low in order to compel

work. The state, then, emerges as the site for the management of this in "civil society"--i.e. a

manifestation of the social relation, but seen here as a way to assure and secure its productive

systems of surplus accumulation. 14 The first houses of correction then, accompany an attempt to

remake the landscape of the general population into "productive labor." These early institutions

had the dual obj ective of not only forcing "unwilling" persons to work, but also as instruction,

preparing the person to sell their labor. 1 The earliest houses of correction appeared in nation-

states where this principle had most highly developed--England and Holland-- a feature that

immediately illuminates the link between houses of correction and capital accumulation. The

first "correctional" facility (and here I must note the rhetoric of "correction" as advancing an

idea of proper relation to "civil society" as one in which the person was willing to sell labor)

used to handle the poor and the vagrant classes that populated many country sides in England

was the Bridewell in 1555 (Kircheimer and Rusche 42). 16


14 "The state established maximum wage scales in order to halt the rise of wages resulting from free competition in
the labor market. Wage policy was governed by the principle that a country cannot become rich unless there is a
large body of people forced to work out of shear poverty" (Kirchheimer and Rusche 31).
'5 "The Thomastic doctrine of the necessity of labor as an indispensable, natural condition of life meant that man has
a duty to work only to the extent required for the preservation of the individual and society" (Kircheimer and Rusche
35).

16The concentration on the inner-self of those deemed deviants often saw hard labor as a means of spiritual reform.
In this view, hard, manual labor replaces corporal punishment.
The workhouse was an institution that had been used in several European nations as a means of controlling
poor people. Primarily successful in the Netherlands, it had been used experimentally in the Dutch










The original uses of imprisonment prior to the penitentiary were also tied with managing

social life as a means for controlling threat by isolating agitators and catalysts from the masses. 1

In fact, as Adam Jay Hirsh has argued, the logic behind the establishment of habeas corpus was

intended not to keep prisoners out of custody, but to keep them in it: because custody was

intended only to hold the offender for trial or until the punishment could be enacted, and because

housing the prisoner was a comparatively hefty expense, sheriffs did everything they could to

accommodate the offender' s release (8).

Foucauldian scholarship, particularly that of critics like Thomas Dumm, argues that the

particular philosophies of the Quakers emerging from enlightenment principles of dualities of the

soul versus the outer works of the body mark an important shift in the historical significance of



administration of justice, but not as a primary means of punishment. In England, the workhouse, also
known as the Bridewell, was designed to impress upon poor people work habits that would lead to their
acceptance of employment in textile mills. [...] Throughout the more advances mercantile countries,
workhouses were being used to supply labor for manufactories of all sorts. (Dumm 79-80)
With this shift in punishment, while apparently concentrating on the reform of the individual transgressor, the shift
to hard labor as punishment in effect projects the necessary rewriting of public as a working public.
The ritual of public executions of punishments traditionally called for communal participation in the offender' s
humiliation; the activity of castigating the individual by society of ostracizing the offender from society by society
could be said to be an act that calls the cohesion of society into being. However, as Dumm illustrates that clear
structure that dictated the terms of the relationship between the communal whole and the individuals that compose
it--in effect enforcing a philosophy of community that states the social is mediated through an idea of the individual
as transgressor--was in its implementation filled with potential complications. Dumm's argument that
[t]he social relation that was an integral part of the old system of punishment, however, was not important,
and indeed could be counterproductive, to the goal of just punishment defined by Beccaria, because the
measure of punishment could vary greatly depending upon the mood of the public. In Philadelphia, the
citizenry responded to the spectacle of chain gangs dressed in ragged clothing, working under armed guards
in the streets, in the manner prescribed by tradition; they harassed and taunted them, sometimes threw
stones and vegetables at them, and generally made sport of them in an attempt to humiliate them. It has
been recorded that at times a prisoner would manage to break free and assault his tormentors, sometimes
using his ball and chain to strike passersby. [...] Because the new law demanded a length of time in
confinement as a part of the sentence, and because the punishment was public [ the wheelbarrow law was
the first attempt at refining the penitentiary code, but prisoners were forced for a time to also work chain
gangs], the overall effect was merely to make the [older] English Code apply to a broader category of
convicts than before. (Dumm 97-8)


"7 "Like the Tower of London in England, Massachusetts jails also occasionally held political prisoners. Indian
sachems, Quakers, Jesuits, and Loyalists took their turns in colonial cells. In all such cases, the purposes of
incarceration was negative. It prevented the persons from causing political or moral harm to the community" (Hirsh
7).










houses of correction. In the seventeenth century, figures like William Penn had begun to theorize

that the isolation and division of inmates would be the solution to the social problem of

violations to the codes of civil society. The Pennsylvania model utilized an intricate system of

isolation and division of prisoners "according to an articulated typology and envisioned forced

confinement for vagabonds and the idle" (Melossi and Pavarini 103). By 1785, Castle Island

Prison, guarding Boston Harbor, began holding convicted criminals (Hirsh 10). But historians of

the penitentiary trace its birth to Pennsylvania in 1786 with the founding of Walnut Street Jail,

defined by a systematic substitution of corporal and public forms of punishment with sentences

of time and hard labor and confinement a~s the punishment (Dumm 97).

The establishment of the penitentiary as a systematic means to handling deviations form

the moral code of civil society is a result, according to Dumm, of enlightenment principles that

allowed for religious tolerance, specifically a view of the human as a division between inner

belief and outer "works" (66). I The location for civil discipline and justice moves under this

new technology to the "inner soul" of the human, as the Quakers "increasingly devoted their

efforts to the proj ect of developing individual autonomy through techniques which would

encourage the establishment of self-discipline. Such internal discipline, necessary for the

reception of Inner Light, was to be shaped through prayer and silent meditation" (70). For the

Quakers, according to Dumm, discipline that concentrated on "external coercion" was not

capable of touching "the inner-self" (70). Under this logic, the method of imprisonment swerved


18 The Quakers enshrined tolerance not only as a principle, but as a policy, More specifically, the separation
between inner belief and outer work established by the Lockean liberals as a means of protecting the
freedom of religious belief, also enabled authorities to influence the actions of subjects and, more
fundamentally, actually to construct these subjects as liberal individuals. The doctrine of tolerance was
directed against the use of coercion by the state in regard to matters of belief, but the separation of inner
from outer contributed to a new correspondence between public and private that was to greatly enhance the
capacity of civil society generally, and government as a servant to civil society, to exert social control.
(Dumm 66)










from being the preferred method of retribution for political crimes to being the central method

for realizing justice. This method was desirable because not only did in preserve the offender' s

life, but it promoted inner reflection, a means to individual self-improvement. Imprisonment

encouraged the cultivation of selfhood that, as Dumm points out, was "responsive to persuasion"

(78).

Walnut Street helps identify the moment of a collective cultural logic that not just moved

emphasis from reform through physical coercion to "friendly persuasion" and spiritual

recuperation, but demonstrated also how this method was vital to the construction and

appearance of the individual completely divested of any social bond, thus clearing the way for an

industrial organizational model of labor. Benj amin identifies this tendency with the increased

mechanization of nineteenth century urban life. 19 The establishment of an intensive system for

the reform of the individual that imagines an interior-soul as its contested Hield, this

mechanization of the human being to the extent that it Eigures entire populations as isolated sites

for varying degrees of moral conformity, acts as the real hallmark of a switch in the execution of

civil and social reciprocity.

This concept would ground the conditions for discussions and conflicts over coerced

labor throughout the nineteenth century. After abolition, "individual free choice" became the

mantra for a system which compelled the worker to labor. Of course, such rhetorical

maneuverings of individual freedoms are necessary for capitalism' s expansion. That is,



19Quoting Paul Valery, Benjamin writes
Valery, who had a fine eye for the cluster of symptoms called "civilization," has characterized one of the
pertinent facts. "The inhabitant of the great urban centers," he writes, rl i Its to a state of savagery--that
is, of isolation. The feeling of being dependent on others, which used to be kept alive by need, is generally
blunted in the smooth functioning of the social mechanism. Any improvement of this mechanism
eliminates certain modes of behavior and emotions." Comfort isolates: on the other hand, it brings those
enjoying it closer to mechanization. arcadess Project 174)










fluctuations, exploitation, imbalances that arise in this new social relation of production are

matters of individual happenstance, not characteristic to systematic problems.

Against this backdrop, we can view Benj amin Rush' s attempt to recreate a population as

a series of what Dumm calls individualized "republican machines"-citizenns that would best be

suited for a republican form of government (Dumm 83).20 Rush's philosophy proclaimed that

controlling the patient' s environment by monitoring and controlling the patient' s motions was

the quickest path to curing deviant behavior (Dumm 91). One of Rush' s inventions for his

asylum was designed to do just that: Rush' s tranquilizer eerily calls forth an image that

emblemizes the path through which criminal justice will be distributed en masse [see figure 5-7].

Because of the division of the human into a dialectic of inner thought and outer works, curing the

social ills of the mind must first embody techniques that would control the stimuli that

influenced those mental faculties. As Dumm points out, Rush took the position that if those

stimuli were controlled, so too could particular ills that supposedly had been caused by the over-

stimulation of the senses. Extreme cases required extensive control of an array of stimuli; the

penitentiary emerged as the overarching site of the complex proj ect of moral reform through

scientific, mechanized stimulus control (92). One key characteristic of this new paradigm of

punishment is the principle of solitary confinement, a principle that Dumm argues was developed

by Rush' s asylum as a means of modifying socially incorrect behavior. The eighteenth century

produced jails that "didn't work" because of a tendency to overstimulate the offenders, and thus

prison and legal reformers wrote provisions for controlling stimuli into Pennsylvania law. Every

minute detail of the convict' s life--diet, sleeping patterns, grooming habits, and other daily


20 The proper training for their roles in the great machine of government was indeed to be accomplished in
these institutions where morality was traditionally formed, namely, the church, home, and school. [...] But when
these institutions failed--and in the disruptive circumstances of the revolutionary era they were bound to fail from
time to time--others were needed to inculcate those internal checks and balances. (Dumm 91)





:


",a







g


4,
-;r
L~-~


:...I;.


Figure 5-7. Benj amin Rush' s Tranquilizer Device.




227


LI[I"L s:~f~F~3i,










activities and social interactions--became the material for imagining reintegration of the

individual into civil society (Dumm 101). With this establishment of the Walnut Street Prison

way of handling convicts, work becomes the means and ends of punishment; or put another way,

hard work was seen as in a fundamentally new way, had an new place in the logic of emerging

criminal justice and a panacea for new social ills of individuals that compose abstract labor.21

Thi s example of the p enitenti ary -as -factory, i n whi ch the hum an i s m ade i nto di screte,

abstract components which fall under increasingly automized attempts to manage behavior,

participates in the development of capital and the contradictions that lie at its very fibers. The

fragmentation of the human into a complex of organs examinable in isolation contributes to the

cultural feature of alienation. 22 The definitive logic marking the birth of a system of criminal

justice within an industrializing nation-state turns on the fact of alienation. This advances

distinctions and anxieties towards criminality with respect to a law-abiding citizenship--the

situation of the completely alienated worker has as its final personification the convict in the



21In April 1790, in large part because of the sentiment that convicts had too much contact with each other,
hindering the means of reforming the violator' s behavior, the act initiating this first modern penitentiary was passed,
reading "the laws heretofore made for the purpose of carrying the said provisions of the constitution into effect have
in some degree failed of success, from the exposure of offenders employed at hard labor to public view, and from
the communication with each other not being sufficiently restrained within the places of confinement" (quoted in
Dumm 102). The act called for the construction of cells "six feet in width, eight feet in length and nine feet in
height, [...] separated from the common yard by walls of such height as, without unnecessary exclusion of light and
air will prevent all external communication, for the purpose of confining therein the more hardened and atrocious
offenders, who [...] have been sentenced to hard labor for a term of years" (quoted in Dumm 102).


Marx writes:
The fact that in the development of the productive powers of labor in the objective conditions of labor,
objectified labor, must grow relative to living labor [...] appears from the standpoint of capital not in such a
way that one of the moments of social activity--objective labor--becomes the ever more powerful body of
the other moment, of subjective, living labor, but rather--and this is important for wage labour--that the
objective conditions of labour assume an ever more colossal independence represented by its very extent,
opposite living labour, and that social wealth confronts labor in more powerful portions as an alien and
dominant power. The emphasis comes to be placed not on the state of being objectified, but on the state of
being alienated, dispossessed, sold. (Grundrisse 831)









modern system of criminal justice in the United States, a situation which will ground communal

participation. As the founding of the first penitentiaries in Philadelphia saw reform and creation

of "inner-light" as the fundamental element of the human condition, any anxieties concerning

incarceration may now be more easily brushed aside. And as the penitentiary developed under

U.S.-style industry working in tandem with (or rather deploying as its guarantor) U.S.-style

democracy, so too did a notion of the human living within the industrial community. The

rhetorical shift of carceral punishment as reciprocity for acts against "the people" was meant to

empty any challenges to the disciplinary authority, an authority to which the people themselves

were also subj ect as citizens. The fact that the penitentiary arises out of the modes of production

betrays the idea that productive work before the machine becomes the fundamental precondition

of U.S.-industrial democratic citizenship.

We can also mark Auburn Prison as a point of departure from the original model of

Walnut Street and Cherry Hill, in that the concept of "productivity" is introduced as part of the

establishment of modern penitentiaries. In one sense, this whole concept of productivity morphs

an understanding of work in the prison beyond a solely rehabilitory effect; the isolation of the

prisoner now seems eradicated, for that prisoner' s labor seems a part of something that goes

beyond the individual cell--something in communion with all other workers. In this sense, the

penitentiary begins to occupy a staunch shift in the cultural logic of what will count as

"productivity." A footnote in notebook three of Marx' s Grundrisse directs the point:

What is productive labor and what is not, a point very much dispute back and forth since
Adam Smith made the distinction, has to emerge from the dissection of the various
aspects of capital itself. Productive labor is only that which produces capital. Is it not
crazy, asks e.g. (or at least something similar) Mr. Senior, that the piano maker is a
productive worker, but not the piano player? But this is exactly the case. The piano maker
reproduces capital; the pianist only exchanges his labor for revenue. But doesn't the
pianist produce music to satisfy our musical ear, does he not even to a certain extent
produce the latter? He does indeed: his labor produces something; but that does not make










it productive labor in the economic sense; no more than the labor of the madman who
produces delusions is productive. Labor becomes productive only by producing its own
opposite. (305)

Because the whole conception of "work" was beginning to shift, insofar as capital advances and

develops to find new means of accumulation of surpluses through advances in automation and

machine production, a new appropriation of the social quality of work begins to dominate the

landscape--i.e. the industrial factory.

Marx' s thoughts of the new arrangement of labor given spatial meaning in the concept of

the factory can be seen in the Grundrisse's fragment on machines: the spatial relation of the

factory to the market situates a new relation of living versus obj ectified labor. Citing Andrew

Ure, a proponent of the factory system of production, Marx begins to concentrate his critical

faculties on the factory as a cooperation of several different workers, becoming the material

location for labor in abstraction.

"In its most vigorous sense, this term conveys the idea of a vast automaton, composed of
numerous mechanical and intellectual organs operating in concert and without
interruption towards one and the same aim, all these organs being subordinated to a
motive force which moves itself." (Quoted in Grundrisse 690)

The factory stands for Marx as a radical shift in the productive process:

Once adopted into the production process of capital, the means of labor passes through
different metamorphosis whose culmination is the machine, or rather, an automatic
system ofnzachinely (system of machinery: the automatic one is merely its most
complete and most adequate form, and alone transforms machinery into a system), set in
motion by a an automaton, a moving power that moves itself; this automaton consisting
of numerous mechanical and intellectual organs, so than the workers themselves are cast
merely as its conscious linkages. (Grundrisse 692).

As a new means of organizing labor, the factory stands as a social location that apparently

fragments labor as a collective force, and at the same time a system which enables the worker to

give more of her time to capital (701). More than that, the factory as the site and situation for

individual productivity and of the exchange of labor (and thus also market) exists as a field for










resistance, a text into which can be read, when the factory overlaps into the justice system

through the penitentiary, the situation of the human against a nation-state.

The method of isolation invented at Walnut Street assumed that solitary confinement was

the best means to reforming individual behavior. But Walnut Street, because it bases its daily

operations on an absolute segregation and elimination of all contact, was ill-prepared for

industrial organization. As Melossi and Pavarini observe, "in a system of solitary confinement,

labor could not be economical since it was of an artisan nature. On the other hand, in the

conception of the penitentiary, work, even in ideal terms, was not endowed with any economic

functions; on the contrary, it was seen as a purely therapeutic instrument" (127). The advance of

industry that enlisted new organizational strategies for human labor put this system in which

work was for purely "therapeutic," i.e. correctional means, into crisis. The shifts in modes of

production brought the accusation that the Walnut Street Penitentiary system's method of

solitary confinement deprived the open market of labor, and actually, because of the un-

economic nature of the labor performed there, was detrimental to the reform of the offenders by

reducing their working capacities (128). Reform for the prisoner was no longer enough to justify

this system, or rather, the system was challenged because the production going on at these sites

was not "productive enough" and thus not "labor"--outside of capital's reach for the productive

process. Importantly, the logic of "productive work" which was determined as such in direct

correlation to the dominant modes of production in the culture was introduced to the penitentiary

system.23 Machinery and the social organization of collective labor in the factory forced a




23 "The chronic deficit which local authorities incurred in running those institutions resulted, as we have seen
essentially from two causes: the high cost of supervision and the non-productiveness of institutional labour. This in
abstract terms, there were two possible solutions: to find a system which was more economic to run or to raise the
productivity of institutional labour" (Melossi and Pavarini 125).









reconceptualization of the relation between the penitentiary and "reform" or "productivity"

(Rusche and Kirchheimer 91).

By the 1820s, because of the demands of industry, the State of New York overhauled and

refined the original ideas of the Pennsylvania mode of total isolation. In the "free market world,"

labor was becoming more automated, specified, and outfitted for efficiency. New technologies of

manufacturing made forced labor, which had previously been the norm to workhouses prior to

industrialization, less and less viable (and by association less valuable). Methods of production

began to outstrip the utility of labor-in-isolation. Because of the differences in productivity

between the penitentiary and the "outside world," the house of correction began to partake in a

segregated universe--wholly apart from the new "real world" of productivity--a social

anachronism. Being confined to the prison takes on an added dimension on being condemned to

exist outside of time--a feature which still is residual in contemporary cultural attitudes towards

the penitentiary. Because, however, the activity within the early penitentiary counted less as

"work" under industrial rule, and because this prison institution itself had to exist in the "new

real world" of industrial capital, the institution risked fading out of the grasp of time-for-capital

by losing its economic status. This made the penitentiary's economic viability a financial burden

for the authorities: Auburn had to "be more economical" in its maintenance and operation, and

the cost-cutting measures yielded disastrous results. Dumm observes that those cells at Auburn

were much different that their Pennsylvania counterparts, having no yards, stacked on top of

each other in the interior of the building, and were so small "that the prisoners barely had room

to turn around in them, much less exercise." In 1821, New York condemned 80 new prisoners to

Auburn's new wing. Within six months, five of those new prisoners were dead and over half









were deemed "unhealthy enough, emotionally or physically, to be in danger of losing their lives"

(116).

Auburn at this juncture employs what historians of criminal justice term "the silent

system"--solitary confinement by night and communal work by day, under complete and

absolute silence and total supervision by guards, some with whips and lashes. In this way, a new

system of distributing punishment and thus enacting justice had a reciprocal relation to the

modes of production, of "factory work" that brought an ever-more refined and complex division

of labor into being. The activity of work in the Auburn system itself frames and morphs labor

into a way of maintaining surveillance over the prisoner, now working with other convicts in

common work rooms, a new way which as Dumm points out was meant to solve the sanitary and

health problems of the large-scale penitentiary while simultaneously participating in the logic

that isolation was conducive to reform (116). Auburn, while nominally showing the same

rehabilitory obj ectives as its Pennsylvanian predecessors--work as means of rehabilitation,

enforced new practices that enabled it to become an institution geared toward a mass population

of potential convicts.

Auburn's silent system succeeded in implementing a sense that swept away the social and

shared quality of labor from the surface of the idea of work in the abstract. One of the defining

characteristics of this new method, Dumm points out, were the substitution of systematic

surveillance in place of cell walls, hard labor under constant watch of the lash to maintain

silence, guards and wardens as workshop supervisors (116-7). This method of implementing

order which Foucault has famously placed alongside the factory system to ingrain habits of

obedience within the cultural collective psyche is vital to understanding the place of the prison

system under industrial, factory organization; while it touts as its mantra social reform and










progress, it effectively shackles human labor to a position of absolute, unquestionable servitude

in preparation for its own exploitation.24 This breakdown into individuals is a feature Melossi

and Pavarini recognize in both the Philadelphian and Auburn models as well, the "destruction of

every parallel relation (between prisoner-workers, between 'equals')" (151). Instead, work is

mapped onto a vertical relation, one of hierarchies, not equality and solidarity. Dumm' s analysis

here leads into an exposition of human labor that is mechanized, specialized, isolated, extracted

from a totality. As Debord has observed, "the triumph of an economic system founded on

separation leads to the proletarianation of the world" (21). Time here seems to be a vehicle for

that isolating activity--no longer does time seem integral to the human life, but abstracted and

recreated as the newly "obj ective" mode by which the part of human activity can be measured

and synchronized to maximize efficiency. Time-as-sentence in the penitentiary-factory appear as

the machine that drives productivity. The penitentiary is the state-sanctioned means to

segregation tout-court; it had as its reason for being the isolation the human from the communal,

the alienation of worker from her work, and the creation of proletarians within a working

definition of "productivity."

Auburn emerges as a reminder, an obj ectification of the state imposing itself within the social

relation, becoming the material association between warehousing humans and the new division

of productivity, the place where human labor is subsumed under a systematic industrial

organization, the most pressing, uncanny psychological, subconscious reminder of human


As Dumm observes:
The penitentiary isolated the inmate, yet did so in such a way as to emphasize that isolation was a shared
characteristic of all inmates. [...] The disconcern for the interior reform of the inmate, the simple teaching
of habits in order to shape behavior was echoed in the factory discipline of repetition and specialization that
was to be the hallmark of U.S. industrial practice. Citizens were broken down into isolated individuals
whose social purpose was the accumulation and expansion of wealth. [...] The petty rules, the intricate
procedures, the schedules, and finally the silence were born of an expressed desire as the part of responsible
citizens to make responsible citizens out of others. Thus democratic despotism is born, the woof of time
was broken, only to be reshaped into the regular and predictable time of the prison workday. (140)










alienation that takes place under this specific mode of productivity. Inheriting some of the

assumptions of the discipline of labor and its role on "normal" social human behavior, Auburn

fused this Quaker model with a method or organizing the new "individual" into a system of

production under the auspices of industrial progress--in short, remade the activity of the

penitentiary back into what would count as productive labor. The penitentiary should not be seen

as a mere side effect of the fractures and unaccountable gaps and contradictions of late

nineteenth- and early twentieth-century capitalism, but a vital means to understanding the

invention and management of industrialized workers, a fundamental aspect in the development

of wide reaching capital. By redefining the social landscape as a population of citizens cast

before the potential of the factory/penitentiary, isolation and individualism settles into the

cultural subconscious. 25 Capital reaches through the cells of the penitentiary to restructure the

prisoner as worker, divesting the human from her own labor, and at the same time marking every

carrier of living labor a~s subject, that is, always at risk or in contact with this tomb of industrial

production. The penitentiary is this absent presence--a chilling effect indexed by Davis's

novella and mark a ruthless reorganization and manipulation of collective, social labor under a

new logic of industrial production and exchange.

Stepping Out of Time: The Mechanical Reproducibility of Life and Death

Porter' s motion-picture text points to a new rhythm of production based on the technological

relationship that subordinates humans to automation. The penitentiary-- a site where human labor

is made available en masse, and thus lends itself more quickly to becoming labor abstracted, and

which exists in negotiation with the most developed modes of production-- wedges into this

25 About the concept of how prisoners were organized on the new penitentiary model, Melossi and Pavarini write
inmates 'confined to short sentences' were separated. The latter group was assigned to special institution in
which work organization was more productive, requiring a higher grade of ability and thus a longer period
of confinement. [...] The most important objective achieved by the introduction of productive work in the
prison was the possibility (exploited for the whole of the nineteenth century) of lowering the cost of
production in certain industrial sectors and of restraining rising wage levels through competition. (129-30)









structural transformation of time. The penitentiary is both an experiment in time and the dense

materiality of a logic that calls forth new mediums for distributing equivalences and

commensurability. The penitentiary and the motion-picture share the same assumptions of time

obj ectified.

If the obj ectification and commodification of time results from the dynamics of

production, exchange, and accumulation, and the penitentiary as a system of reciprocity, justice,

and segregation of those marked criminal from a "law-abiding public" is distinguishable from

that public through its differences in time, such a neat separation and obj ectification will run into

trouble when an analysis of objectified labor-time is undertaken. In order to calculate value, a

common temporal unit of measure becomes necessary to place concrete labor as a degree of

abstract labor. Time-as-measurement seems a particular apparatus of industrial state-capital. This

aspect seems a fundamental law of narrative "realism" made problematic, the aporias within this

rubric for capitalism' s production of value that breaks the rational mode, seemingly "unreal."

Time per se is not outside capital, if we solely understand time as measure of living labor. The

excesses of labor, or more precisely, that which steps out of time, run counter to this

mechanization of daily life. The possibility of an outside of commodifiable labor-time is subj ect

of Antonio Negri's analysis:

In Marx, time is given to us as the matter of equivalence and the measure of the
equivalent. Bit by bit, however, alongside the abstract development of social
mediatization and of the subj ectification of abstract labor, time itself becomes substance,
to the point that it becomes the fabric of the whole of being, because all of being is
implicated in the web of the relation of production: being is equal to product of labor,
temporal being. [...] At the level at which the institutional development of the capitalistic
system invests the whole of life, time is not the measurement of life but life itself. (34-5)

Time as measure of human productivity ripples with the same fantastic qualities of a commodity,

at once appearing external, having an intrinsic value, but at the same time having that external










value undermined by the nature of labor itself. Because time becomes the measure of value that

is necessary for an obj ect to be comprehended as a commodity, time functions simultaneously as

a medium to value and a thing that has value. Negri's analysis begins with this axiom that time

under industrial and post-industrial modes of production measures the amount of labor exerted

within a given obj ect, and thus its value, while also reducing labor to one homogenous substance

by presenting it in commensurable relations. 26 If time then is measure for human labor, it must

therefore appear external to human labor, external to production. But, according to Negri,

"external" can only be understood with reference to use-value. The measure of exchange-
value is determined from outside, that is by temporal quantities formulated on use-value,
determined immediately. The immediacy of the determination, considered in relation to
the function of mediation that the quantitative unit determines, is a real enigma. (24)

Ultimately, Negri argues, because the "productive force of human labor is irreducible to pure

temporal measurement," in and of itself enigmatic in describing productivity, a labor theory of

value and time would seem to be wrought with a specific paradox: using an apparently extrinsic

element, the use of time as measurement, to comprehend what for Marx is most intrinsic to

human labor (25).27 When time reigns down from a sovereign power as the direct conclusion for

social transgression, that is, when it is reanimated as the artificial force for production, a new

emphasis will meditate on the question of time married to narratological technologies of

consciousness. Specifically, the motion-picture, as is illustrated in this Edwin Porter film,

attempts to demonstrate the reign of time as measure of commodity value, as guarantor of the


26 "Therefore, time measures labor insofar as it reduced it to homogenous substance but it also determines its
productive power in the same form: through the multiplication of average temporal units. Therefore, in relation to
labour, time is at once ineasure and inatter, forin and substance" (Tine for Revolution 24, emphasis in the original).

27The aporia of time-as-measurement of productivity can be recognized when
(1) in real subsumption all use value is drawn into exchange value: (2) but with that the external origin of the
measure of time (based on the externality of use-value) recedes and measure is flattened into the process
itself, (3) if measure measures itself, it follows that the process of value concludes in that of command, in
tautology and indifference: (4) the trend of productive forces (increase, decrease, transformation) bears no
relation to the magnitude of value: (5) complex, productive scientific labor is definitively irreducible to
elementary temporal units: (6) productive force is inexplicable. (Negri 27)










social division of labor. If the tranquilizer is the image associated with the establishment of the

penitentiary, it is not just the electric chair as the emblem of the modern system, but the moving

image of an electrocution passing through time within the activity of industrial work that best

describes the modern situation, synchronizing the human body to the machine of Eixed capital,

subj ecting it to abstracted, reanimated, commodified time [see Eigure 5-8].

This motion-picture, therefore, participates in a fascination with time and animation as

new elements of factory production. The hallmark for this new activity of capturing the

remarkable quality of living labor is the motion-picture as technology; in this sense, I modify

Gina Dent' s thesis (as cited in Angela Davis's Are Prisons Obsolete) that the modern

penitentiary is made for cinema. The assumptions that bring the penitentiary system into being,

that of a narrative of human productivity, the creation of values and surplus value under

industrial organization, commodity production, are the means through which time becomes a

progressive alienation. The human is put to death by the machine, completely at the mercy of

mechanization: this is the new literary logic of realisnz.28 COmmodity logic flattens the activity

of narration into the activity of industrial management, particularly concerning how it

restructures and reshapes the possibility of time as something manageable. This grounds

particular technologies of "realism"--that "reality" becomes graspable as a subj ect for literary

meditation because time "comes out j oint" as a result of new "shocks" and stimuli. At a

fundamental level, and strictly speaking, the motion-picture has to derive its requisite motion






28 I take my cue here from Gilles Deleuze in his text on time and cinema: an inorganic conception of time--time as
falling under specialized practices of management, has at its formulation the conception of motion-picture as
technology (132).


























































Figure 5-8. Execution frame, Execution of Czolgosz with Panorama of Auburn Prison










placed upon it by the human mind immersed in automatic movement.29 Death by machine as the

first moment in the narrative of industrial criminal justice serves as reminder to which life is

almost completely automatic living. The strapped down electrified body is stripped of its own

life, reanimated by an electricity that now comes from a new "spirit"--that of electro-

metaullurgical advance.

Film historians have propped-up the argument that a manipulation of spatial and temporal

orientation acted as the starting-point of the early motion-pictures, grounding and structuring the

rise for such a technology. Lynn Kirby, for example, links the emergence of a fascination with

the motion-picture to the changes in spatial and temporal consciousness that resulted from

locomotive technology as "the annihilation of' or "a machine vision for conquering" space and

time (2, 7).30 The motion-picture technology immediately presents this case. In this way, time

seems to be measured in film also by the activity of the human body in motion, a movement

contingent upon machines, a "cog" in a complex whole of a mechanism, living labor at the

behest of an inorganic monstrosity. The motion-picture at this juncture serves as a reminder of

the anxiety en masse, proj ecting the relation into the general public.

If the early motion-picture was a study in the playful association between how humans

experience temporal and spatial relations, the fact that such elements could be abstracted and

subj ected to "experimentation" offers a fundamentally radical and telling shift: time and space

are merely isolated variables and, as abstracted units of measure, become the proper obj ect of

29 "(It is only when movement becomes automatic that the artistic essence of the image is realized: producing a shock
to ;i,. ,ritr. c. tono,,, ,Ir,e,~ as ,I; ,t. ,, to the cortex, touching the nervous and cerebral system directly [...]
automatic movement gives rise to a spiritual automation which reacts in turn on movement" (Deleuze 156).

30Both panoramic perception and the radically new time consciousness were premised on a fundamental
discontinuity and instability: the experience of shock. Besides the shock of temporal disorientation in relation to
speed, acceleration, and simultaneity the spectator-passenger was susceptible to the shock of surprise during the
train journey (as emblematized by the accident) and the film journey (exemplified by rapid point-of-view shifts
within the frame and across different shots) (Kirby 7).










technology, oftentimes presenting themselves as barriers that must be overcome. Andre

Gaudreault presents an illuminating example of this ambitious project to colonize time:

examining a sequence of frames which depict a man falling through a window, Gaudreault' s

acumen lies in the fact that the film shows the man falling through a window from one

perspective, then replays the action from the other side, rather than following the action itself.31

Time here in this example is fungible, negotiable, repeatable; no Eidelity to temporal continuity

exists. Rather the overcoming of time is also a mastery of space, a potential ubiquity via the new

technology. Motion-picture presupposes a new temporality, or in positioning a new temporal

logic, obj ectifies time as the field for experiment--giving it an autonomous str-ucture abstracted

from the human.

Running alongside the development of time abstracted from human labor, as obj ective

measurement, up through the aporia of the conclusion to The Execution of Czolgosz, the body,

while at once marking time through its own labors at producing a commodity of value that can

be easily turned into capital, seems measurable by a "time" now wholly abstracted from the

human; time seems the property, as does the human body, of the machine. In this context,

deviations can be made commensurate through new state-enforced legal codes: "there is no

crime other than time itself." Deleuze writes, "If normal movement subordinates the time of

which it gives us an indirect representation, aberrant movement speaks up for an anteriority of

time that it presents to us directly, in the basis of the disappropriation of scales, the dissipation of

centers and the false continuity of the images themselves" (37).

Gaudreault concludes:
early filmmakers were more or less consciously considering each shot as an autonomous, self-reliant unit:
the shot' s objective is to present not a small temporal segment of the action but rather the totality of an
action unfolding in an homogenous space. Between unity of point of view and unity of temporal continuity,
the former takes precedent. Before releasing the camera to a subsequent space, everything occurring in the
first location is necessarily shown. Spatial anchorage prevails over temporal logic. Stability, persistence,
and uniqueness of point of view remain so important that the supersede anachronism. (322)










This formulation would seem to explain the specific anxiety and fascination that is

focused into "the person of Czolgosz": as a labor activist, presenting a very real threat to that

time, "Czolgosz" the character in the motion-picture short seems in the collective psyche to step

out of industrial time, something absolutely other. The strapped-down body of Czolgosz before

the electric chair, before the kinetoscope, is the guarantor against aberrant movement--or at least

in the celebration of the achievement of the state to successfully control aberrant movement as

social deviations from the rhythms of "civilized society."32 In death--in this case the death of a

threatening worker--that is produced by machinery, the body is represented as being the

perfection of normalized movement. 33

However, as Nancy Cartwright has demonstrated, such an appropriation and

establishment of time through the indexing of movement is not just what motion-picture works

toward. 34 With the body as its centerpiece, cinematic time does not just emphasize and recreate

the standard bearer for value in industrial capitalism, but reenacts the particular logic of human

subsumption and alienation, subordinate to "something alien." "As a laboratory technique,"


32Deleuze writes,
It is still necessary for movement to be normal: movement can only subordinate time, and make it into a
number that indirectly measures it, if it fulfills conditions of normality. What we mean by normality is the
existence of centers: centers of the revolution of movement itself, of equilibrium of forces: of gravity of
moving bodies, and of observation for a viewer able to recognize or perceive the moving body, and to
assign movement. [...] Now aberrant movements call into question the status of time as individual
representation [...] because it evades the relationship of number. [...] A direct presentation of time does not
imply the halting of movement, but rather the promotion of aberrant movement. (36)


Bodies no longer have centers except that of their death when they are exhausted and return to the earth to
dissolve there. Force no longer has a center precisely because it is inseparable from its relation to other
forces. [...] Weights have lost the centres of equilibrium around which they were distributed: masses have
lost the centres of gravity around which they were ordered, forces have lost the dynamic centres around
which they develop. (Deleuze 142)


34(As a mode of knowledge," Cartwright argues, "the film motion study is interesting less for what it showed
researchers about the mechanics of human life than for what it tells us now about the cultural desires, pleasures, and
fantasies surrounding a modernist dynamic of 'life' generated in physiology and medical science and advanced
through technologies like the cinema" (4).










Cartwright argues, "cinematography did not simply record or document movement; [...] it

regulated discipline and transformed the body studied" (20). The lifeless body of Czolgosz

strapped to the electric chair at the end of a panoramic view of Auburn prison grants us a glimpse

of the chronology of systematized justice at the turn-of-the-century. An ever-increasingly

specialization of all living labor to maximize capital accumulation of surplus. The

penitentiary/factory becomes the ultimate labor-saving device; Auburn as factory, industrial

production as punishment--the contours of existence within an emerging nationalist

technocracy. 35

What we witness in correlation to the shift in temporal logic that str-uctures modern,

systematized justice is the invention of proletarians, the invention of work as we know it, in

dialectical relation to industrial surpluses. Virtual man (or ideal man, product of the re-

educative process) which came to be imposed through subordinate work was no longer a

dependent-ar~t~-~-tisan,~t~t~ a worker, of/for manufacture and the workshop, but a worker, a disciplined

operative, subordinated by/to the factory" (Melossi and Pavarini 138). Motion-picture is no mere

accidental witness to this proj ect, but is a child of the same totalizing logic of the

proletarianization of people. Productivity, value, "reality" ascend to concepts essentially alien to

that of living, working people, confronting those very people as a dense materiality of a

systematic, oppressive project.






35 the Auburn penitentiary theory, however, puts forward a model of labor subordinated on industrial lines.
Where the silent system prevails, labor-saving machines and communal works are introduced along with
factory discipline. The contract system thus provides the model to accommodate this. The contractor enters
the prison, efficiently organizes production, industrializes the workshops, partially pays for works done,
manufactures noncraft goods and personally handles the distribution of these goods on the free market.
(Melossi and Pavarini 137)









Class and Technology: Popular Mechanics and Participatory Science

If we have in the final frame of this Edison/Porter motion-picture a synchronization--the

two distinctive technological devices collapsing into one larger abstraction, "technology," that

has as its definitive characteristic the reduction of the human body to mere part, and not the

whole, of production--we must look at Marx' s view of the factory and machinery as intensely

ideological:

A machine which is not active in the labour process is useless. In addition, it falls prey to
the distinctive power of natural processes. Iron rusts: wood rots. Yarn with which we
neither weave nor know is cotton wasted. Living labour must seize on these from merely
possible into real and effective use-values. Bathed in the fire of labour, appropriated as a
part of its organism, and infused with a vital energy for the performance of the functions
appropriate to their concept and to their vocation in the process, they are indeed
consumed, but to some purpose, as elements in the formation of new use-value, new
products, which are capable of entering into individual consumption as means of
subsistence or into a new labor process as means of production. (Capital 289-90)

The machine, in this passage by Marx, cannot be conceived apart from the human element --

"bathed in the fire of labor." But the concept of the machine now ascends to a sublime moment

in the history of management as depicted in this particular motion-picture. The two formerly

distinct elements seem to fade into one fetishized image of production--the machine and human

labor as one. The disturbing image here suggests the obj ectifieation of living labor, thus also

suggesting a much more weighty, thorough, and all-encompassing power of the nation-state in

league with capitalism. Those who do not seem a part of this technological monstrosity, those

who seem to be able to control it are marked here as either professionals, the two doctors

measuring the heartbeat and rate of the prisoner, or personifieations of the technocratic state--

the guardsmen/wardens/techni ci ans who strap l ab or down and who pull the switches. The

machine here lies at the point of contact between class formations, and such a relation is

compounded by the situation of screening this motion-picture, necessitating a disidentifieation

with labor, the suggestion that to view oneself as worker is to live in subordinate relations to










machinery. I argue that this apparent confrontation between worker and machine, this evasion

and disidentification, is the situation oftechnology.36

Of course, technology here seems to become the site of labor fragmentation in favor of

industrial citizenship. That is, the construction of citizenship depends upon the mechanical

fragmentation of humans in concert with each other through their capacity to labor. Technology

has commonly been criticized as the place where labor is degraded and fragmented into

intellectual power of production in opposition to manual labor. 37 Labor in this culminating image

has been disembodied, or at least the laboring body has been rendered just another machine. The

bare elements of the human body, life and death, can be created mechanically by one monolithic

technology operating in concert whose components here are the electric chair and the

kinetoscope. Under the technological fragmentation of labor at the behest of the machine--

animating life and mechanically reproducing death, living labor, what really creates value, has

been approximated and no longer seems to originate in the human body alone but in electricity.

In this sense, any and all types of"technology" must take into account specific divisions

of labor that foster any and all types of production in conjunction with the recreation of human

labor subj ected to what it had originally created in labor-time. In shorthand, we can speak of a

"classness" that is impressed onto the mass understanding of "technology." Early motion-

pictures exemplify this new technological situation, both in production and reception. Robert C.


36 Paolo Virno's interpretation of Marx's fragment on machines is useful in the vein: "Abstract knowledge," which
can be, but is not necessarily "scientific, technical knowledge," by nature of its increasing abstraction and distancing
from production ascends to direct production, "becomes the principle productive force, thus relegating repetitive and
compartmentalized labor to a residual position" (265). Knowledge thus exists as "technology" as both objectifies
and incarnate, abstract, yet fixed. This seems to remove material human agency from labor, placing it "alongside the
productive process, instead of constituting its principle agent (266).

37 As Ronald Takaki has observed, technology (particularly innovations in steam power) seemed a way for people to
replace their own bodies as sources of labor. However, in the process of mechanization, "technology actually did not
eliminate bodily labor: rather it degraded labor, separating the intellectual power of production from manual labor"









Allen points out that the early motion-picture exhibits were primarily a part of inexpensive

amusement for the working-classes in vaudeville programs prior to 1906. Between 1897 and

1901, these motion-picture shorts had oftentimes been given the title of a "chaser"--acts which

supposedly bored the theatergoer so that vaudeville managers used them to "chase" patrons from

the theater in order to make room for new ones. Allen's argument is rather persuasive and

instructive though: the purpose of these "chasers" was "not so much to drive the audience from

the theater as it was to announce that the program had run its course. The chaser in this sense was

not a particularly bad act, but the repetition of the act" ("Contra" 107). Between 1887 and 1891,

kinetoscopic motion-picture technology was confined to individual peep-show devices in penny

and phonograph arcades and hotel lobbies. By 1895, Allen writes, Edison had demonstrated the

economic practicability and commercial utility of the motion-picture as popular entertainment

("Vitascope" 144-5). Materially, it is true that Edison added only his own corporate name to the

invention of the kinetoscope; yet he offered corporate backing--the legal and commercial

promotional team, necessary for its success ("Vitascope" 148, 152).

The advent of motion-picture technology as it became a mass-cultural phenomenon is

indelibly linked to the emergence of an imperialist sovereignty, and, as has been referenced

above, played more than a coincidental role in the ascent of an "American public" within a

global capitalistic design. Charles Musser writes on the links between motion-picture technology

and the new imperialism of the industrialized nation-state: "With the Cuban Crisis, most theaters

showed pertinent 'war films' for weeks and months without interruption; in many cases, moving

pictures became a standard feature. This sudden increase in demand gave exhibitors like

American Vitograph new opportunities to big-time showmanship" (32). This supply-and-demand

neoclassical economic logic, though, assumes that the emergence of the motion-picture as a










cultural phenomenon that emerged as a reaction, a passive phenomenon, without recognizing the

agency of motion-picture technology and the way it created a certain means of productivity, or a

logic of what will count as productive, and what will count as progress within a medium that is

structured on a class-based conception of time. Repetition and circulation seems in part to

become ingrained onto the daily lives of those whom frequented these exhibitions, and seems

also to become a class-differentiated characteristic. Film historian Alan Williams has brought

attention to the idea that a significant number of early motion-picture productions also were

documentaries that filmed factory work and work-related activities (155). Under the short

motion-picture, historicity is abstracted and reanimated--the desire to know, which is a historical

desire, is fulfilled without the act of critically thinking through history.38 Essentially, the motion-

picture technology's participation in the technological, class-compositions helped define the

interactions, social relations, and activities of everyday life.39

Many of the first motion-pictures made their object the activity of labor because the

emphasis of motion as fetish emphasized mechanical production. By 1883 trains had so affected



3 Silent cinema continually showed civilization, the city, the flat, everyday objects, objects of art of cult, every
possible artifact. However," Deleuze writes, "it passes on a kind of naturalness to them, which is as it were the
secret and beauty of the silent-image [...] The visual image shows the structure of society, its situation, its places
and functions, the attitudes and roles, the action and reaction of the individuals, in short, the form and the contexts"
(225-6).

39This fragmentation in daily life in industrial culture must most certainly be interrogated along class lines, for it
allowed for the possibility of leisure-time which gave rise to the possibility of such a mass-art form. Film Scholar
Garth Jowett argues "The single-most important reason favoring the growth of all recreational activity was the
increase in available leisure time. The decline in the work of American workers meant more time for reading and
other forms of self-improvement. Thus in nonagricultural industries, the work week decline by about the hours
between 1850-1900 from 66 to 56 hours" (197). Jowett' s study points to an increase in "amusements" in
distinguishing and segmenting the daily existence of the urban (often immigrant) worker at the tumn of the century:
numerous urban recreational facilities such as dime museums, dance halls, beer gardens, saloons, bowling alleys,
and billiard parlors began to spring up in the latter years of the nineteenth century (159). Jowett argues that motion-
pictures could transcend some of those bounds because vaudeville theaters that also showed motion-pictures were
very cheap, and they could be enjoyed despite the language barriers found in many neighborhoods comprising of
newly immigrated workers. The material conditions for the motion-picture at the very end of the century presumes a
social relation composed of intricate and complex divisions of the social stratification.










the landscape that a standardized time was established to accommodate the first "truly national

railroad network" (Kirby 5 1).40 Because the advent of motion-pictures occurs at the end of the

era that Kirby correctly identifies as mechanically and temporally defined by the railroad, we can

see the railroad as a "protocinematic phenomenon, a significant cultural force influencing the

emergence and development of the cinema in both the United States and Europe" (2-3). The

locomotive remained the sign not only of the coordination and establishment of a new type of

time, but also the sign of the advance of individual capital in the fields of coal, iron, steel,

lumber, livestock, and other industries of manufacture (Kirby 4). Furthermore, the motion-

picture offered an embodiment of the new techniques of perception that had been bathed in the

fire of industrialism. The railroad situated passengers prefigured cinema by situating "viewers"

into a relation which prepared them for participation in a new public as the fodder for the new

regimes of industrial production.41 Kirby argues that the train image includes an anxiety of threat

and "terror," but does so as a film image, shocks viewers and passengers into mere spectators

(62). However, Kirby does not explicitly link this relation of humans made double through the

railroad/motion picture precisely to the relations of production as do I. In this sense, David

Sowell's reminder that the railroad system's presence in industrializing space proved more than



40 Both Alan Trachtenberg and Lynne Kirby have written on the railroad's influence on the establishment of
nationalized, standardized time. "With the rationalization of time came the rationalization of time came the
rationalization of markets coordinated by the railroads--which could now steam through the last remaining local
obstacles that impeded the efficient pursuit of profit on a national scale. People and goods could not be regulated as
a single unit, as the country could be regulated in relation to the city, and all territories could be bound together in
the post-Civil War era" (Kirby 52).

41"As perceptual paradigm, the railroad established a new specifically modern mode of perception that the cinema
absorbed naturally. In other words, the kind of perceptions that came to dramatize the experience of the passenger
on the train became that of the spectator in the cinema," Kirby writes. "The perceptual paradigm of cinematic
spectatorship includes a charge in temporal consciousness--an orientation to synchronicity and simultaneously
embodies in the railroads' industrialization of standard time in 1883. Simultaneously as a mode of consciousness
infected cinematic spectatorship form the beginning and became institutionalized in the classical system of
alternation and parallel editing" (7).









merely contentious--but was the starting point of new anxieties about industrialization in the

communities of class sects--is useful. The locomotive, a technological device that many geared

emblematic of an impending, violent revolution, especially in 1877 and 1894, was a dense

materiality of these slippages, fears, and contradictions felt at the expanse of industry. The

locomotive becomes in many ways the emblem of nineteenth-century class war tout court: a

material condition for the social antagonisms of capital wealth and labor-shackled-in-iron.

This particular motion-picture explicitly links the locomotive to the electric chair--one

particular technology that embodies the anxieties and antagonism of one era morphs into the

technological relation of production of another. The Execution of Czolgosz 11 ithr Panoramna of

Auburn Prison straddles two different eras of conflict, offering a transition and resolution of the

conflicts of one particular made of production with the "technologies" of a new generation that

breathes a new fire into new apparatuses of absolute development and alienation of humans from

their labor. Here, "technology" exists as "progress," effectively mapping out the body as a site of

colonization, as again this film would demonstrate with the body of Czolgosz stretched out

before the law, to see the role this technology plays in a new type of sovereignty. The message

sent here is labor is for the machine, human bodies are for the penitentiary or the market.

However, through the reproducibility of the execution as subj ect for the motion-picture, a

pervasive "overflow" or excess in signification grants this final scene and the whole in which it

partakes a surreal quality. I hesitate to argue that The Execution of Czolgosz 11 ithr Panoramna of

Auburn Prison is wholly an advertisement of one corporation over another, for it recreated the

electrocution of one whose body was, after his execution, the obj ect of scientific experimentation

in the service of obj ective knowledge. After the execution, Czolgosz became an example for









turn-of-the-century modern justice, or at least how such an ideal should function. The Nation

lauded the swift trial and execution of McKinley's assassin, for

before the memory of the wretched Czolgosz rots with his body, it behooves the
American people, and especially citizens of New York, to lay to heart the true lesson of
his trial and punishment. The vindication of justice in his person has been in every way
credible to the bench and bar of this state. He was swiftly brought to trial. His prosecution
was pushed without clamor or malice; the solemn duty of seeing that he enjoyed all his
legal rights was undertaken by two members of the Buffalo Bar of the highest standing;
there was no unseemly wrangling in court; the condemned man was held in close
confinement and executed without any sensational display. The whole affair shows what
justice is when it is most impressive. It is as if the law embodied in its sworn ministers in
New York had lifted the sword without passion, and let it fall with the sure and
undelayed stroke necessary to make the process of the courts appear dignified, impartial,
and just as inescapable as the Einger of God. (332)

This particular instance in which a labor radical assassinated a U.S. president that inaugurated

and oversaw some of the most ambitious imperial proj ects has been granted a special status in

the literal apotheosis of justice achievable through mechanization: the machinery of death as the

"Hinger of God." Time is here the measure for an enactment of reciprocity, explicitly linking

justice as something not to be delayed. But also herein, justice is linked explicitly to desire to

identify "a people." For while other capital cases, to the frustration of prosecutors and

government officials alike, tended to get slowed in appellate courts, "an alert, vigilant, jealous

public opinion was behind the trial and behind [this] court. The people wanted only justice on a

miscreant, but they wanted it, wanted it speedily and surely. They got it; and it is safe to say that

if an equally aroused and watchful public onion pressed upon all our courts at all times, we

should not see justice so baffled so often as we do" (333).

The threat of Czolgosz seemed to preoccupy, fascinate, and horrify the public mind to an

extent similar to that reserved for those like Damiens the Regicide detailed in Foucault' s

Discipline and Punish. Yet, the telling difference lies in the fact such public attention was

focused on the body as the site of punishment after the execution. To this end, the cultural










situations of punishment is the divestment and disembodiment of living labor--the logical

development to an enlightenment principle that built up an individual and against a social,

separated inner-thought from outer-act--the body as mechanism becomes the ritual. A

postmortem examination report of Czolgosz' s electrocuted body that had circulated among the

well-respected medical periodicals of the time measured the exact state of the body of the

criminal in order to come to a new understanding and comprehension of the crime that had been

committed. But as usual, such a report tells us more of the full development of enlightenment

philosophy of human action and transgression wedded to an explicitly capitalist proj ect. A new

scientific fidelity of breaking the body into infinite organs and measurements, length of mouth

and chin, size of the skull--combines with rebuilding it as a thing that straddles an organic and

inorganic divide. The body fades into the machine in this examination, concentrating on the

angle at which the electrodes had been attached to the body of the convict, the degree to which

the skin had been charred by the chair, the temperature of different locations on the lifeless

cadaver. Technology no longer measures what Benj amin would point out as the trace of the

human, but something else--of machine and human worker together--the monstrosity of

industrial death. This is the bourgeois fear that fuels modern justice. Here, the obj ectification of

the body goes beyond Foucauldian notion of sites of production of truth and knowledge, but a

social relation of obj ectified versus living labor, of "technological sovereignty," the rationale to

which the human body is made subj ect to the social industries that brought them into existence.42

The postscript to the execution, i.e. the peculiar circumstances of the autopsy and burial of this

42The autopsy, performed by officials from New York City, concludes
It had been the writer's purpose to make a fuller anatomical and anthropological investigation upon the
assassin, but the peculiar circumstances which arose in the matter of the disposal of the body, and the
anxiety of the prison' s warden to put the body under earth, forced me to conclude my researches after
having obtained the most essential data for the purposes of record and future study. (Spitzka 22)










"labor radical" demonstrated the conflicted social attention paid to this embodiment of industrial

conflict, a bizarre conflation that merges science with ritual superstition.

As Cartwright points out, early motion-picture also participates in this recreation of the

subordination of the body to mechanical, obj ectified, "scientific" knowledge:

It is finally Edison' s Electrocuting an Elephant that best describes the place of
"scientific" looking in public culture. [...] It documents an extreme intervention in the
living process of a test subj ect [... and] it reflexively documents the complex place that
technologies of representation had come to occupy in the repetition and control of life
and death. Here we see science as experiment as popular cultural ritual. (46)

Observation as a particular part of the motion-picture experience allowed for mass-scale

"participation" in the "scientific" activity of visual analysis "and thereby vicariously exerting

control of a living being' s life and death" (18). The displacing of tension and anxiety into the

fetish of the obj ectified motion-picture image synchronizes the living, moving body.43 If it is

both the case that the sciences, as per the usual Foucauldian refrain, participate in the writing of

the body as obj ect, evidence, and the site of tr-uth, and the motion-picture sciences particularly

reauthor by changing not, as Kirby and Cartwright might say, the subj ect matter, but recreating

the spectator as consumer, I argue that it does this in such a way so as to specifically submerge

human labor as subordinate to the mechanical, repetitive, actions of production. In this motion-

picture in particular, we have two distinct Edison inventions, with each particular mechanical

device reflecting off the other. Not only is the event of the execution of Czolgosz itself a

repeatable, mechanically produced phenomenon, but so is the death administered by the

machine, and so is the particular relationship of sovereign domination that describes the

particular situation of "technology" in the late nineteenth century. This new form is open,



43 A point Deleuze was quick to recognize: "the body is never in the present, in contains the before and the after,
tiredness and waiting. [...] The daily attitude is what puts the before and after into the body, time into the body, the
body as the revealer of the deadline" (189).










however, to the slippages and disidentifications in one' s own participation of the social, the

filmic negative of the Porter motion-picture.44



































44Benjanun refrains:
Mechanical reproduction changes the reaction of the masses toward art. The reactionary attitude toward a
Picasso painting changes into the progressive reaction toward a Chaplin movie. The progressive reaction is
characterized by the direct, intimate fusion of social and emotional enjoyment with the orientation of the
expert. Such fusion is of great social significance. The greater the decrease in social significance of an art
form, the sharper the distinction between criticism and enjoyment by the public. With regard to the screen,
the critical and the receptive attitudes of the public coincide. The decisive reason for this is that individual
reactions are predetermined by the mass audience response they are about to produce, and this is nowhere
more pronounced than in the film. The moment these responses become manifest the control each other.
Again, the comparison with painting is fruitful. A painting has always had the chance to be viewed by one
person or by a few. The simultaneous contemplation of paintings by a large public, such as developed in
the nineteenth century, is an early symptom of the crisis of painting, a crisis which was by no means
occasioned exclusively by photography but rather in a relatively independent manner by the appeal of art
work to the masses ("Work of Art," 234)
The advent of film seems to thus synchronize the viewer to each otheraveryone comes to the motion-picture
disoriented, forging a new possibility or solidarity of experience. While the mask of mass-subjectivity herein is
dictated and graspable only through new technological devices, thus handed down as discrete compartments of a
"vast machinery of system"-the recursivity of the technologies in opposition here would seem to expose tlus
evisceration of social relation of production and accumulation to an audience oriented and synchronized to a coming
community.










CHAPTER 6.
"GOING PUBLIC": ALAN PINKERTON' S NARRATIVE OF "GENDER TERROR" AND
"PEACEFUL SECURITY"

In a plenary session at 2003's Rethinking Marxism conference titled "Postcolonialism

Post-9/11," Economics Professor Eiman Zein-Elabdin argued that Marxist critiques could not be

used to explain the attacks on the World Trade Center because those who were a part of the plot

were themselves of a professional, middle-class. Of course, involved in this attempt to

disqualify Marxist critiques from an apparently contemporary phenomenon "terrorism" views

"class" as a reified thing, a characteristic of an identity extracted from history, a snapshot rather

than a description of a dynamic relation. Still, Zein-Elabdin's argument turns on an intuition

that a specific materialist analysis to historical events in fact should have much to say about

"9/1 1" as political act, yet the terms of the subj ect of analysis have been posed so as to void

specific critiques of their explanatory potency: political upheaval apparently must not come from

economic hardship because the "actors" in this historical event were of the empowered economic

"class." Conversely, precisely what should be undertaken is an interrogation about "public" and

security while recuperating the dynamics of social and economic divisions, and how these

divisions structure the imagination, creating a narrative logic of debt that will foreground an idea

of public space as proper subj ect for Nineteenth-Century American Literature. To do so, we need

to rearrange the terms of the question and interrogate the relation of "terror" and "public safety"

to the history of the liberal-democratic state, an entity that is born in a particular era that not




'. E.P. Thompson, for example, argues that class should not be viewed in a static but instead a dynamic way, that
class is a relationship and not a "thing." Instead, Thompson argues that class needs to be recognized in the animation
of history: "'It does not exist, either to have an ideal interest or consciousness, or to lie as a patient on the Adjustor' s
table. [...] If we stop history at a given point, then there are no classes but simply a multitude of individuals with a
multitude of experiences. But if we watch these men over an adequate period of social change, we observe patterns
in their relationships, their ideas, and their institutions. Class is defined by men as they live their own history, and, in
the end, this is the only definition (11).










coincidently oversees the development of new, large-scale means of production, exchange, and

accumulation.

The historical use of that word "terror" as a term with political weight belies a specific, if

inhered, assumption about "class" within the system that defines the modern state as the relation

between a governing regime and a "public." "Terror" or "terrorism" as concepts are often

wielded by those whom can stand secure within a supposedly uncontested "public" ground in

order to vitiate political violence. "Terror" has been grasped in this reified view as a

phenomenon with only an opaque political influence on what counts as "public"; the historical

conditions that give rise to a logic of "public" and that comprehend specific acts as "terrorist"

have been strategically removed from critical inquiry.

The intent of this essay is to interrogate a history of terror in order to best understand

how that term has been employed in narrative forms and imaginations of what counts as public,

and how best to understand the narration of political legitimacy in response to what Michael

Hardt and Antonio Negri in Empire describe as "a crisis" resulting from the contradictions of,

and thus defining, modernity (76).2 Terror traces a political significance back to the origins of

this "crisis of modernity," to the attempt to establish a new way of governing that proscribes

actions and initiatives of organizing society based on mass, popular sovereignty. What interests

me is how these contemporary views of terror sans class, Zein-Elabdin' s being just one readily

available example, enact a "political forgetting" of that particular concept' s genealogy in the

struggles between labor and capital, and how that concept marks the historical terrain through

which the State arises to secure as "public" a specific social relation of production in a


2."Modernity itself is defined by crisis," Hardt and Negri write, "a crisis that is born of the uninterrupted conflict
between the immanent, constructive, creative forces and the transcendent power aimed at restoring order" (76). This
crisis that defines modernity comes to fruition when humans realize their transcendent potential, termed by Hardt
and Negri as immanencee," and yet this radical immanence needed at the same time to be checked and corralled.









remarkably gendered fashion. That is, through an analysis of products of an American literary

imagination, we can see a new concept of State as a specific relation between what was

constituted as "public" and apparatuses meant to govern that sphere. This essay looks at how an

emergence of that particular state apparatus navigates through nineteenth-century polar

coordinates that constitute the state in modernity. I use Allan Pinkerton's narrative of detection

in 1877's The M~ollie Maguires and the Detectives as a genealogy of modern justice as it attempts

to govern and recast social calamities brought on by the contradictions of burgeoning

industrialism-wildcat strikes, forced shutdowns of factories and collieries, the mass

organization of labor against the interests of the owners of the means of production, and the

large-scale labor actions of the 1870s--into a logic of citizenship deriving subj activity and

autonomy through "law-abiding" subj ugation to the nation-state-as-system Security" and

"terrorism" are thus catch-words whose histories reveal middle-class heteronormativity remaking

itself into a "public."

Of course, the rich social genealogy of the collective unease with the secured social

relation--coined in the highly-ideologically charged term "terror"--has recently all but been

forgotten, a memory lapse that is definitive of bourgeois transformation of a collective, political

will into a form of consumerism. Most attempts to recuperate a modicum of this social history

links to the aftermath of the French Revolution' s "Reign of Terror" and its actions in the name of

public safety. Jeffory Clymer is just one critic to trace the U. S. deployment of the term back to

the French Revolutionary Period (5). However, contemporary uses of the term can reach back to

its U. S. origins in the inextricable developments of the modern state and its juridical deployment

into the lives of its citizenry/subj ects.









Take for example The Great Law of Pennsylvania approved by the colonists in 1682,

which as Thomas Dumm has argued was a pivotal moment in the establishment of the

penitentiary system in the ways it rendered criminality as a degree of subj activity under the state.

This law established a definition of the state as a duality: "first, to terrify evildoers; secondly, to

cherish those who do well" (qtd. in Dumm 75). The state' s deployment of terror here cannot be

made distinct from its role in its promotion of behaviors it was designed to accept. "Terror"

remains at the heart of the bourgeois notion of "man in prison" (to return to Horkheimer and

Adorno), and is in this sense what a state properly does to those whom it governs. This opens up

the term for radically divergent traj ectories associated with bourgeois ideology, a condition

which remains at the heart of Marxist critiques of the state and political action/revolution. If

Susan Buck-Morss is correct in her assertion that the French Revolution's import lay in an

inauguration of "the political proj ect of modernity" in which "notions of power residing equally

in all the people rather than in the monarch" marked a new moment in the political imagination

"to found legitimate power on a popular basis, without recourse to divine explanation or

unquestioned obedience to authority" (14-5), we must also look at this particular proj ect that

resulted in the establishment in the modern state with a similar disappointment as did Marx in

The Eighteenth Brumaire ofLouis Bonaparte, as an overthrow of one particular regime of

exploitation in favor of another. The idea of state that had been established in the 50 years

following the events of 1789, Marx writes, had established a political entity that asserted itself as

"represented of the will of the masses," but had a specifically classed tinge in the way it was

actualized:

The heroes as well as the parties and the masses of the old French Revolution, performed
the task of their time in Roman costumes and with Roman phrases, the task of unchaining
and setting up modern bourgeois society. The first one knocked the feudal basis to pieces
and mowed off the feudal heads which had grown it. The other created inside France the










only conditions under which free competition could be developed, parceled-out land
properly used, and the unchained industrial productive power of the nation employed;
and beyond the French borders it swept away feudal institutions everywhere, to provide,
as far as necessary, bourgeois society in France with an appropriate up-to-date
environment on the European continent. [...] Wholly absorbed in the production of
wealth and in peaceful competitive struggle, it no longer remembered that the ghosts
from the days of Rome had watched over its cradle. But unheroic though bourgeois
society is, it nevertheless needed heroism, sacrifice, terror, civil war, and national wars to
bring it into being. (16-7)

Marx's initial assertion in this passage about this new political entity--founded under the guise

of popular sovereignty but actually precipitated in order to best serve a specific mode of

production--swerves to an assertion about "peace" and revolutionary violence as it relates to

"civil society"--a descriptive term that has been associated with an Hegelian delineation of a

governing regime regulating a "public" that is defined by the social bond of human labor. 3 The

state has an interest in productions of wealth, to the point that "competitive struggle" must be

guaranteed via a "peace" negotiated on terms dictated by bourgeois terms. "Peace" and

"violence" have been descriptors deployed by this new stately regime to secure its own

existence. "Heroism," "sacrifice," "civil and national wars" and "terror" are for Marx terms that

animate this "peaceful relation" into political consciousness. The State enacts a stance toward

revolution of "thus far, and no further," and secures itself against such further revolution with its

conception of the idea of political "terror." Thus, in the terminology deployed by the State in

service of a "public safety" (and here it is important to remember that "the Terror" of the French


3.For Hegel, as he is read by Herbert Marcuse, "civil society" becomes a term and idea activating the political role of
the state. Labor here is a concept grounding Hegel's understanding of the development of "civil society" (Marcuse
78). What apparently binds humans in a social relation is the capacity of labor which "transforms the particular work
of the individual, pursued for the gratification of his personal wants, into 'general labor,' which operates to produce
commodities for the market. Hegel calls this last 'abstract and quantitative' labor and makes it responsible for the
increasing inequality of men and wealth. Society in incapable of overcoming the antagonisms growing out of this
inequality; consequently, the 'system of government' has to concentrate on the task" (Marcuse 57-8). Hegel goes on,
in Marcuse's view, to identify various stages of government in an attempt to regulate equality in "civil society," for
the social bond has the negative consequence of completely subordinating people to the "demon of abstract labor,"
perpetuated by the conditions of exchange. For Hegel, a state needs to step in to free people from the terms of this
subjugation.











Revolution has been used to describe the late eighteenth-century activities of the Jacobin

Committee of Public Safety) lies not an anxiety in an uneasy relation not between public citizens

versus "terrorist" threats, but an uneasy anxiety of established regimes of power confronting

potential revolution.4



4. The contemplation of revolutionary responses to the absolutist government of society, and the French Revolution
as a particular example of this response, marks for Marcuse the beginning of German Idealist philosoplw. "This does
not imply that Kant, Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel furnished a theoretical interpretation of the French Revolution, but
that they wrote their philosophy largely as a response to the challenge from France to recognize the state and society
on a rational basis, so that social and political institutions might accord with the freedom and interest of the
individual" (3). If Marcuse is correct in this assessment that German Idealism is an attempt to respond to the
challenge of sovereignty reworked by the French Revolution, its successes and failures, we could also look at this
"school of philosoplw" as a contemplation of the political as it attempts to negotiate inodernity 's contradictions. To
that end, it may be useful to look at holy Hegel's philosophy of history comprehends "terror" within this negotiation
of crisis.

Hegel grounds his observations on the French Revolution as a mediation of the difference between German
conceptions of Spirit- of thought and contemplation in communion with "the world"- and the abstraction of ideas
detached from the materiality of things. Freedom consists of the former, for "except when he is thus engaged [in
thought] he sustains a relation to the world around him as to another, an alien form of being. [. .] Thought is the
grade to which Spirit has now advanced. It invokes the Harmony of Being in its purest essence, challenging the
world to exhibit the same Reason which Subject possesses" (439). The "Romanic nations" (opposed to the Germanic
nations) are the first to enact an abstraction of ideas, and it is this abstraction which can be seen in an alienation of
humans to the world, or more precisely, allows humans to see the world as objective, separate. For Hegel, the
tragedies of the French Revolution are examples of the abstraction of ideas, and this is the historical point in which
he questions the differences between the German and the French models of human freedom. The French Revolution,
Hegel admits, receives its first impulse from philosoplw, "but this philosophy is in the first instance only abstract
Thought, not the concrete comprehension of absolute Truth- intellectual positions between which there is an
immeasurable chasm" (446). Revolution happens at the stage in which the absolute freedom of human will had, for
Hegel, historically asserted itself against i lsong Right," i.e. the current State-structure and its rule of Law. It is the
aegis of State-as-contrary to the concept of human Freedom that Marcuse argues characterizes Hegelian calls for
revolution: "I shall demonstrate that, just as there is no idea of a machine, there is no idea of the State, for the State
is something mechanical. Only that which is an object of freedom may be called an idea. We must, therefore,
transcend the State. For every State is bound to treat free men as cogs in a machine. And this is precisely what it
should not do; hence the State must perish" (qtd. in Marcuse 12).

Frangois Furet uses an interpretation of Hegel's conception of state to demonstrate where Marx had grounded much
of his own political-philosophical writings in a misread of Hegel, and thus in error. Furet does admit that much of
Hegel's principle criticism was directed toward political economy- a term which Furet tellingly defines as "the
utilitarian conception according to which the state is the guarantor of the property and safety of citizens' (8)- but
Furet's Hegel apparently foresaw "the Terror" as a necessary result of a revolution brought about by an abstraction.
Where Marx had taken a tumn from Hegel was in a similar abstraction, in which Marx priorities civil society to the
state: that is, he sary the structures that made up each as abstractions and psychological particulars: "Left to itself,
indeed, civil society is only capable of defining a political end consisting of the protection of liberty and property- a
sort of optional citizenship according to individuals' expectations. But nothing could be further from Hegelian
thought. [. .] Hegel's state transcends proprietary individualism. It alone allows for the reconciliation of the
constitutive abstraction of modern society- that which defines need, labor, class- with historicity. [. .] It is only
through the state, this superior form of history, that society is organized according to reason" (64). The implication
here is that a movement against this "superior form of history" is counter-historic, and necessarily leads to terror.










And in the context of the developing U. S. imperialist state, these anxieties of politically

charged revolutions in part seem a direct result of the implication of "democracy" applied within

a juridical system that disenfranchises and marginalizes in order to further the economic,

monetary mission. Robert Ferguson, for example, points to Jefferson's writings over the

revolutionary spirit of humans as the de facto property of the elite class (which in part had been

realized in 1800 by the planned slave insurrection of Gabriel Prosser): "[I]f something is not

done, and soon we shall be the murderers of our own children [for] the revolutionary storm now

sweeping the globe will be upon us" (qtd. in Ferguson 204-5). For Ferguson, this visceral

response settles into the political lexicon similar to that which is socially created by the

uncanny--an element according to Freud which has been repressed in the collective unconscious

yet j arringly returns to consciousness (202-3). The politically-j arring familiar seems especially

descriptive of a State that holds these contradictions as its constitutive element.

The history of what Marx views as an "organic" relation between this new governing

formation and its construction of a "public" becomes the narrative history of "safety" and

"terrorism" of industrial and investment capital in America, and it is precisely that narrative

construction of public in service to the governing regime that needs to be analyzed with a critical


Significant in this assessment of Hegel's state and a critique of Marx's call for revolution is the role, as Furet has
defined it, of political econonw as the idea through which the state is the guarantor of human property and safety.
While political economy is explicitly rendered in Furet's understanding as a utilitarian concept, and thus a reduction
of institutions to particulars, and thus necessarily not in line with a Hegelian idea of the state, the ways in which he
speaks of "the Terror" as an unfortunate result of revolution in which "heads fell like cabbages" (10), seems also to
place his idea of state as one that guarantees individual securities and properties. By using "the Terror" as a proof
that "revolution" is misguided, Furet shares an assumption of the concept of "state" not with Hegel, but with the
political economists.

It is here that Kristin Ross, in her book May '68 and Its afterlives, lodges a critique against Furet's famous claim
that revolution necessarily leads to totalitarianism, in which any thought that would seek systematic social change is
a move backward, counter to what supposedly is a Hegelian view of history(151). While Ross's intent is to point out
how this view of the French Revolution, of political time, was used specifically in a commemoration that laments
the student and worker uprisings in May '68, nw intent here is to illustrate the appropriation of "political time" in
deference against revolution. This appropriation is warranted by a view of "terror" as anathema to "safety," and thus
the terms themselves are rhetorically deployed in service of the political economy of capitalism.









historical eye. For, if by the beginning of the nineteenth-century, "terror" predominantly

described an activity of a specific arm of state government against rational, civil society, by the

end of the century, the term had been completely reversed to mean a threat against the governing

structure in "normative," "peaceful" discourse with a docile conception of public. This shift in

the obj ects of political feeling cannot be divested from the histories of industrial development

and its effect on political, radical subj activity. An analysis of the narrative use of the term terror,

which begins to belie a particularly anti-labor tone in the contentious period of the late

nineteenth century reveals the extent to which a system of security shapes political logic. An

1887 article appearing in The Nation, for example, sounded the alarm thusly: "Labor overawed

the sheriffs, defied the courts, intimidated the juries, and marked out its enemies for assassination

literally by the dozen. It reduced a large and populous district to a condition of terror and

disorder which it would have been hard to match outside of Central Africa" (70). Popular

accounts often took the particular events of the previous decade in Schuylkill County,

Pennsylvania--the same events that compose Pinkerton's detective novel--as an opportunity to

describe what it saw as "the Conspiracy of Labor" which threatens the peace. The shift in the

subj ects of this politically-charged, uncanny feeling also finally reveals the extent to which the

normalized social relation becomes textualized in the State as vehicle to economic exploitation

of the public it simultaneously constitutes and polices.

The form and content of Pinkerton' s 1877 detective memoir rearranges the political poles

of action into one of public civil service, indeed calls a new idea of public into being by actively

funneling political threat into a unified corpus. I push further back into the contentious history of

labor and capitalism than does Clymer, who argues in America 's Culture of Terrorism: Violence,

Capitalism, and the Written Word that the contemporary political understanding of the term









"terrorism" begins with the Haymarket incident of 1886. I argue that the historical events upon

which Pinkerton's novel is based, and Pinkerton's narrative of criminal justice, did much to

influence the political lexicon and thus political consciousness. A new descriptor of political

action, "terrorizing," is employed within much of the popular print media of the 1870s,

exemplified in the reports on the Mollie Maguires found in numerous dime novels and

periodicals. An article appearing in Ma'~cmillanlll1~~~~~11111 's Magazine, for example, spells the conditions of

terror and security in this period out nicely, looking back at the M~ollie case as the founding of a

new, professional state apparatus which evokes a "Reign of Terror" as a concept in order to

shape a normative, safe public in desperate need of protection against this new type of political

intimidation. The logic of the 1870s expressly situates the political and "social Reign of Terror"-

- marked by the threat not by state dominance, but organized labor power-- against a need for a

new, strong, repressive professional force whom would operate efficiently through "military

surveillance." This rhetorical shift not only calls into being new policing apparatuses, but the

formulation of this new apparatus of policing whose obj ect and target is organized labor calls a

specific idea of the people into being as well. In this sense, a proj ect interrogating what has been

meant by public and civil society as a management of human labor is sizably different than that

which Jurgen Habermas undertakes in his study The Structural Transformation of the Public

Sphere. Whereas Habermas approaches a contemporary idea of public in the eighteenth century

as, in principle, an inclusive dynamic emerging from a conglomeration of autonomous, "private"

individuals (37, 55) and thus de-emphasizes Labor as the social bond of "civil society," the

narrative of nascent professional detection in burgeoning industrialism depicts the process by

which human activity had been contained, or in a Foucauldian sense, deployed- what I will










argue finan2ced- into an intensely confining idea of public. As a product of finite relations, public

and the justice administered becomes the obj ect of a narrative of finance capitalism.

So, what are the contours of this narration of public? How particularly is it narrated into

the collective imagination? How does it become part of a political consciousness? An analysis of

this diffusion of the tensions and contradictions felt by the social division of labor into a rhetoric

of "public safety" practiced in the concept of policing must be recognized in the ways it divides

along its own notions of gender. This is not to say that there is a gendered "component" of

policing, but that this division is itself gender, an index used to efficiently extract productivity by

reifying the working human body and its attractions and desires. It is therefore no coincidence

that the indexing of human sexual activities into gender categories accompanies the emergence

of the security apparatus of the state at this moment in the social history of capitalism. I use

Pinkerton' s 1877 novel to understand the historicity of security and its complement terror in how

it produces a public as a gendered, rhetorical apparatus to quell emerging structures that

challenge the sovereignty of capitalism. As Stephanie Smith has noted, and as I have shown

earlier, what has been emerging as a sense of shared social space--a location made legible as

public--increasingly entails the production of (sexualized) identities made into commodities so

as to define public space as the proper locale for capitalist circulation. "Instead of an increased

politicization of the private, we've seen an increasingly commodified, depoliticized,

individualized personal. And this new personal is made increasingly available for public

consumption, if not, as Foucault might say, available for inspection and regulation" (167). The

colloquial phrase "going public"--which is explicitly tied to the rise of the corporation and the

expansion of capitalism into the everyday lives of the population through the invitation to

participate in the stock market (businesses "go public" when they begin to sell stocks for general










investment)--marks the path along which the social bond upon which any notion of shared

social space is actually becoming more privatized, uniform, subj ect to disciplinary measures that

guarantee the subordination of the mass of workers.

Keeping a Private Eye on the Public Sphere

Historians have traced the rise of what is understood today to be the new, professional,

modern-day police to the Pinkerton National Detective Agency.s As Frank Morn notes in his

analysis of the agency, titled after the Pinkerton business slogan The Eye that Never Sleeps,

forms of social maintenance that had been passed on through the late eighteenth and early

nineteenth century were not, according to late nineteenth-century logic, equipped to deal with

newer forms of dissidence, resulting from new relations of production and exchange. Thus

advances in the accumulation of surplus-value necessitated a new plan for advances in social

control (11-2, 24-6, 33). Calls for an efficient, restrained, disciplined, highly-trained, salaried (as

opposed to waged), uniformed, and educated state apparatus marked this turn towards a modern-

day practice of policing (8, 13, 72). Crime detection became the specialization of this new

profession--now able to approach and view crime in covert ways by infiltrating suspect

organizations, or by disguising themselves so as to catch an unassuming perpetrator in the act

(70). Detection as a professional field wielded a new social, epistemological power, and became

elevated to the status of cultural legend, invested with a new "enlightened" sovereign authority.

For example, an article by General R.B Marcy, father-in-law to Pinkerton's longtime friend

George McClellan, in the 1873 edition of Harper 's New M~onthly Magazine celebrates the

prescient abilities of Allan Pinkerton, at once "an astute craftsman" and almost superhuman.

Adequate detectives must "possess the ability to read at a glance the complex workings of the


5 James D. Horan going so far as to call them "the nineteenth-century prototype of the present Federal Bureau of
Investigation" (x)









human mind in all its phases, and [display] the skill to decipher the infinite variety of emotional

permutations of the facial muscles, which [...] are understood only by the initiated" (720).

The professional, highly-skilled methods of the Pinkerton agency that are not the only

elemental ancestors to the contemporary disciplinary apparatuses of the State, but just as

important are what "professional detection" suggests about the State as the normative, "peaceful"

interaction between one particular regime of power in discourse with one idea of "the people."

Contemporary structures of the terms of enacting justice trace back to these "private eye"

narratives for how they view as their narrative obj ect an idea of public in order to legitimize one

regime's own privileged position in a systematized, indexed, social transaction.

Professional discipline embodied in the practice of detection carried with it a sense of

mystery; as Christopher Raczkowski points out, a sense of invisibility ordained detection with a

new cultural authority. Manifesting what Foucault would later identify as the dispersal of the

panopticon into the culture, Pinkerton recognized that the possibility of being watched would

create more "safety," for people who suspected that they were being watched will internalize a

disciplinary gaze. An initial reduction in crime on those railroads that employed Pinkerton's

private security forces contributed to the mystifieation and growth of the detective legend as a

practice that somehow "works." As Morn points out, fare theft on the railroads in some cases

decreased by as much as 40% after Pinkertons had been hired by the given railroad company

(78). A primary axiom of a new style of systematized, efficient criminal justice had been therein

established: sovereign authority/authorship of actors in a "normative," "peaceful" public setting

effectively erases its own traces from that act of narration. This is a particular tactic that will

characterize Pinkerton' s own novel: the traces of authorship are an uneasy presence that the text

will try to hide from audience view, as we shall see.










If Morn is correct in his assertion that this particular detective agency serves as ancestor

to the police as we know them today, the conceptualization of security as a catch-word for this

era can potentially deteriorate from a conflict between the guarantors of public safety versus

criminal threats to that order to one of "the knights of capital" versus "the knights of labor."6

Pinkerton, a Scottish immigrant and former chartist whose first foray into professional detection

was to capture producers of counterfeit money and wildcat specie, hired out operatives to large

businesses to circulate amongst employees so as either to quell individual criminal activity

against the employer, or to suppress union organization and work actions. The examples of

Pinkerton infiltration and detection chronicle the development of activities marked "criminal" in

discourse with a closed "public" as an increasing anxiety to control labor and organized unrest,

especially after the general strikes of the Paris commune of 1871, for general strikes and labor

unrest heralded revolution. Whereas Pinkertons in the formative years of the 1850s and 60s had

often been employed, significantly, as either divorce detectives or by railroad tycoons to ensure

that individual conductors were not pocketing fares (the word "embezzlement" begins to enter

the lexicon of criminal justice at this time), in the final years of the nineteenth century,

Pinkertons targeted a mass body of workers. The apotheosis of this shift in mass security had

occurred by 1892, when 376 armed Pinkertons were hired by the Carnegie Steel Company's

plant manager Henry Clay Frick to retake the steel works in Homestead, Pennsylvania, from the

workers who had occupied it to prevent replacements from taking their j obs after a lock-out in a



6.Indeed this is exactly the terms that Momn uses as the title of his fifth chapter, in which he details the rise of a labor
war that began with the Mollie Maguire incident, and continued throughout the later portions of the nineteenth
century, as unions and laborers explicitly expressed an anxiety about spies for the employer provoking criminal
activities. See Momn 96-101.

7.Momn notes that this period marked the rise of interest in National Guardism in 1877 to stem and suppress
organized work actions; between 1877 and 1892, the National Guard had been called in to end 33 labor disputes and
14 labor riots (97).










collective-bargaining dispute. After a day-long siege, in which a barge carrying the Pinkerton

operatives engaged in a fierce gun battle with thousands of steelworkers of the

township/commune, scores of steelworkers (and a few Pinkertons) had been killed.8

This new profession which primarily used surveillance as its defining characteristic

brought every aspect of every person's life into contact with the State. Popular fears of a police

state, in which every acquaintance could possibly be a Pinkerton spy for the employer, as well as

an anxiety that operatives worked not to detect crime, but to entrap common working people,

lead many to view this new organization with scorn. Anxieties persisted that such hyperactivities

of security, embodied in techniques all too close to practices that had been associated with

American fears of monarchical tyranny--were infringing on individual rights by becoming

"moral scavengers" (Morn 70-1). In some cases, famous outlaws who had successfully evaded

the Pinkerton police became cult heroes. Consider the elevation to legend the activities of Frank

and Jesse James. Acting on a tip that the James gang, whom Pinkerton had for years pursued for

train robberies as well as for the murder of two of his own agents, had been hiding at their

mother' s farm, Pinkerton operatives threw a flare into the residence attempting to force the

brothers into the open. The flare accidentally exploded, killing Jesse and Frank' s eight-year-old

half-brother and wounding the outlaws' mother. The James brothers were not, in fact, in the

residence, and the railroad robbers, as Morn puts it, "emerged now as romantic, glamorous, and

".Paul Krause's study of the Homestead "incident" takes a detailed look at the years that lead up to the conflict--the
1889 strike, the rise and decline of the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steelworkers union (at the time, the
largest union of its kind in the world), Andrew Carnegie's and Henry Clay Frick's antipathy towards labor
organizations in general and their particular quest to break the steelworkers union in specific, and the cultural
phenomenon of steel production and consumption itself as one heralding "progress" to give a composite of
"Homestead" not as a singular conflict between Pinkertons and labor (indeed, as Krause suggests, Frick's use of
Pinkertons in the conflict was not to have them occupy the company's Homestead plant, but to sacrifice them in
what he hoped would be such a public outcry that government troops would have to intervene on Carnegie's side),
but a symbol of a long-brewing social conflict (14). Horan also offers an analysis of the cultural significance of the
Homestead incident not just as one between Pinkertons and labor, but a new struggle of labor versus mechanization
and automation, for the negotiations between Carnegie and the union were some of the first that discussed this
innovation in production (337-49).









somewhat justified in their actions. America had its first real 'social bandit,' a special form of

outlawry that represented peasant protest and rebellion against oppressive authority" (79). A

glance through the titles of popular dime and detective novels at the time reveals such titles as

"The James Boys as Guerillas and the Train Robbers," "Frank James, the Avenger," and

"Hunted for Ten Years; or, the James Boys' Fight Against Fate" (Hoppenstand). With these

popular narratives crime takes on a new, political potential. Thze New York Detective Libraly, a

library in which 801 dime novels were published between 1882-98, dedicated almost 300 dime

novel narratives to the exploits of the James gang, helping to elevate to legend the defiant acts of

these marked "criminals" as social rebels.

To combat this problem in popularity, the agency employed a number of house authors to

work on public relations and ideology production. Between 1874 and 1884, Allan Pinkerton

published sixteen popular detective novels, narrating the activities of various operatives to

capture criminals that had to be presented as a threat to the general public's well-being. While

the title pages indicated "Allan Pinkerton" as author, and while the narratives were told in his

own voice, historians have long suspected that Pinkerton may have dictated the stories of these

narratives to a number of professional writers that worked to produce the novels. Thus,

Pinkerton's professional agency-as-security-firm annexes a fiction factory into the corporation

by investing Pinkerton' s voice into the stable of authors employed in writing "his memoirs." This

fiction factory was charged with promoting the importance of police detection; the conj oining of

private, formal business practices and public social control into the contemporary capitalist State

marks the birth of criminal justice in industrial America, demonstrates the extent through which

narrative plays an indelible role in suppressing dissent and creating ideology.









Gender and the Narrative Logic of Public-as-Debt

The form of Pinkerton' s 1877 novel mimics the structure through which a logic of public

in discourse with governmental regimes within popular sovereignty shapes a conception of a

"secured" or "safe" state. In the interest of safety, a governing regime apparently acts in

subordination to the people. This logic is made explicit in Pinkerton's novel, manifested in the

scene in which F.B. Gowen asks Pinkerton to halt the activities of a clandestine labor

organization. The novelist-as-character, in a scene anterior to the primary narrative of the

Pinkerton operative in the coal mine, responds to Gowen's request accordingly:

It had always seemed to me that it was a sacred duty which Pennsylvania owed to herself,
to her own citizens, and to the country at large, to clear her garments of the taint resting
upon them and bring to punishment the persons who, for so many years, habitually
outraged decency, spilt human blood without stint, and concerted the richest section of
one of the most wealthy and refined of all the sisterhood of States into a very Golgotha--
a locality from which law-abiding men and women might soon be forced to flee, as from
the threatened cities of the plain, or from a spot stricken with plague and pestilence. (16)

The dynamics of the relation between sovereign regime and public appear to exact a logic of

balance and reciprocity, a logic of interaction that is specifically gendered. The distance between

the two spheres has been minimalized; this act of securing is something the people owe to

thinsekesrl~r', or, more interestingly, something Pennsylvania owes to herself: Debt and duty are

the terms and ideas that apparently erase the traces of difference--that the executive wing of the

governing regime and "the people" are somehow one--masking any undue influence, masking

"authorship," of one particular regime over what counts as "people." And yet within this logic of

debt is an inhered logic of gender as an index of difference that permeates and makes the

dynamics of the transaction possible. The author-character Pinkerton, weighing the case in this

manner, immediately agrees to send an operative down into the coal mines to articulate this

terrorist threat to the "peaceful" (normative) relation.










The narrative effect of the text produces the characters of a given public with "gender"

traits presented as "real," once we recall the notion of realism as ways most conducive to "safe"

social relations in that everyday life and human discourse are lived by proxy. That Pinkerton the

author narrates his hired stand-in's experiences, insights, and attractions, creates an

uncomfortable sense that, Raczkowski argues, the operative infiltrating the coal mine is a mere

host for the agency's consciousness, watching the events of Schuylkill County from the secured

location of the agency's Chicago headquarters (673). This "eeriness" for the reader, exemplified

in a reading like Raczkowski's, is, I argue, an effect of the narrative logic of investment:

consciousness is never "on location," never a part of the operative's immediate experiences

down in the coal mines. Human consciousness and human desires herein are portrayed as

traversing the distances delineated by security, traversing the strict bureaucracy of the Pinkerton

detective agency-as-business-corporation, as criminal justice incorporated. The fact that

Pinkerton at times will stray from the primary tale of James McParlan, the Pinkerton operative,

attempting to find out the Mollies' next move, to the unnecessary, almost affected tale of

McParlan' s own personal attractions to one miner's sister suggests the possibility that these

heterosexual desires come from somewhere beyond McParlan, and even beyond Pinkerton

himself.

Despite his best policing efforts, Pinkerton "the novelist" cannot completely eviscerate

residues that would challenge the innocuousness of this new professional apparatus. The seams

of anteriority, not of a public-as-author of government sovereignty, but just the opposite, a

regime as author of that "public" subj ect, become obvious when we highlight the dynamics of

labor at work underlying the form of this type of sovereignty. In this case, I would go further

than Raczkowski to point out that it is not just the operative-as-host for a consciousness of










justice, but that the logic of justice-as-host for capitalistic consciousness that haunts this

narration of public security against terror. That is, retracing the dynamics of the relationship

between labor and capital exposes the "narrativity" of the system, exposes the layers and

directions or ordination and anteriority that allow us to see public as obj ect of a particular way of

narration.

The novel's preface insists that the events of the text be understood as being relayed as

without embellishment. But the dynamics of labor exerted in the production of consciousness

mark the layers and exertions of influence on a public as narrative subj ect. The preface' s first

paragraph explicitly portrays the narrative product as the result of the intensive labor of

authorship: the author

is aware that, in many places, the selection reads much like fiction, and that it will be
accepted as romance by very many who are totally unacquainted with the country and the
people attempted to be described. It has been the constant endeavor to adhere closely to
facts, and if the incidents are, in a great degree, novel and absorbing it is due to these
facts, and they were worked out, through arduous labors, in sleepless nights and
undivided attention to the ends to be gained. (ix)

The immediate situation of this novel in producing a coherent narrative places an embellished

portrayal of events against the author a~s worker, but in a counter-intuitive manner: the author

works harder to demonstrate that the narrative events are not embellished. The realist text

explicitly becomes the product of the author-as-laborer. In this particular context, though, the

product of safety and security as narrative obj ect oscillates between something being made, and

something that exists on its own. That is to say, the labor of authorship in this genealogy of

contemporary policing, apparently relying on balanced exchanges and circulations between

authoritative sovereignty and a "people"-as-narrative obj ect in whose name it acts, threatens to

rupture the balance to show a particular type of sovereignty anterior to any such understanding of

public. A disciplinary author labors to control and secure these currents.









But it is not for mere "realism" as an end in itself that this detective-narrator labors. In a

striking passage in the initial chapter titled "An Extraordinary Proposition," the moment that

precipitates the narrative act of "public" production reveals for whom "the action of the Law"

represents. After being called to F.B. Gowen' s office, the head of the detective agency must be

convinced of the social necessity of the work: "I considered the proposition for a moment,"

Pinkerton writes, "turning over in my mind the magnitude of the labor to be performed" (14).

Interactions between these spheres reverberate with a mediation of exchange, understood as

work done for someone else. But "the labor to be performed" here is unstable: the work of the

security agent collapses into the work of the author in this introductory chapter. While the

interest of public safety supposedly presents and describes how these entities interact, conditions

of labor and capitalist exchange underlie that system of security.

Industrialism as a system that utilizes and attempts to manage and thus make efficient

collective labor, labor on a mass scale, matures through the concept of interest, a term that

describes a narrative act circumscribing and writing a "public" into being for the purposes of

extracting and securing value for an anterior sovereign regime, as a critique of Pinkerton' s

narrative reveals. For example, Gowen, acting as prosecuting attorney, has an explicit interest in

framing Pinkerton' s account of the Mollie "terror": the novel begins with Gowen, the former

District Attorney for Schuylkill County, hiring Pinkerton to investigate a secretive, militant labor

organization "terrorizing" (Gowen is the first in the novel to use this term) the community, and

concludes with Gowen' s closing argument for the court case of the State of Pennsylvania against

alleged members of this organization. The narrative plays down, but cannot hide, the fact that

Gowen-- the man who had hired the detectives, the man who had prosecuted the "terrorists" in

court, the man who had publicly pronounced a judgment on them in his closing argument--was









also the president of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad and Coal Company, and hired the

novel's detective protagonist after some of the most contentious coal mine strikes in 1871 (the

same year of the general strikes composing the Paris commune).

But what must be interrogated in this narrative encasing of an idea of "the people" are the

attendant attitudes and assumptions about gender that are written into a normative idea of public.

Pinkerton' s novel concludes with 30 pages of Gowen' s closing argument in the trial of the

Mollies, in which he recounts the history and origins of the organization. The Mollie Maguires,

Gowen argues, sprang from organized resistance of Irish-Catholic tenants against protestant

landlords:

Their obj ect was to intimidate and hold in terror all those whom they owed money or
who were employed in its collection [... and] that, in the perpetration of their offenses,
they dressed as women, and generally ducked or beat their victims, or inflicted some such
punishment as infuriated women would be likely to administer. (518-9)

If this particular text marks a new era in state-sponsored repression in league with forces of

accumulation of a surplus of value, it must also be remembered for what it engenders as a

"heteropublic" that needs to be secured, for what the extent of that security means. What is at

stake in this narrative recasting of the contradictions wrought by capital into one of actors in this

particularly gendered way? What counts as "labor" within this normative product called

"public," and how is it policed so as to secure the normative structures of production and

accumulation? How are humans and their living labor recast into subj ects whose activities, loves,

attractions, and desires with and for other workers do not threaten the capitalist state?

The first chapters in this detective novel expressly enact a particular gendered division of

labor, as Gowen tells Pinkerton: "[w]e want the miner to go forth cheerfully to the slope [...]

void of the fear in his heart that when he parts from his wife at the cottage-gate in the morning,

that it may be their last farewell on earth" (17). Under this logic, labor begins when the "worker"










leaves the cottage-gate. "Workers" do indeed make up a part of this idea of public as a space that

needs to be secured, but it is a gender-specific idea of how that public space functions, of who

are "workers." A recollection of Lefebvre' s critique of the mode of production that fragments

everyday life into specific segments here seems tinged with a gendered account as to what counts

as work with regard to the social bond that constitutes a public (96). Certainly, much critical

energy has been spent pointing out how these discourses on work render labor commonly done

by women as invisible. I want to press further to point out that this novel renders a specific

public, social relation as that which is, to borrow terms from Rosemary Hennessy's Profit and

Pleasure, a reification of sexual identity in conjunction with a particular view of labor that serves

capital.

Like many narratives of the time, this detective narrative derides the affinity and

attraction that bonds workers in solidarity, and, in so doing, actively produces a normative public

which proscribes appropriate desires and needs. Recalling John D'Emilio and Estelle Freedman's

point that interventions into the intimacies of working people takes place upon this contested

field of class formation in which "worker" comes to mean something entirely new under

industrialism (142), we can begin to see the evolution of securing a public into one in which a

specific gender identity is rendered commensurable, commodifiable, a field in which humans can

be related to, and are in commerce with, one another. An article written by John Morse for The

American Law/ Review in 1876 retells McParlan' s narrative of how he gained the favor of the

Mollies by telling them "his favorite occupation was to 'shove the queer.' As an occasional

murderer and a professional counterfeiter he not only secured a warm and ready welcome to this

loving fraternity, but it was deemed worthy of more especial trust and honor" (239). The

activities of McParlan as Pinkerton operative infiltrating the "warm and loving fraternity" is









hereby depicted on a level of reified exchanges and commensurability, the process of these

exchanges that motivate market relations rendered in terms that conceptualize desire in a very

specific, economic way. In the nineteenth century, "showing the queer," vernacular for passing

counterfeit money, was one of the first crimes investigated by the new professional police; it was

also the first crime investigated by Pinkerton himself, as Horan details (15-8). With the narrative

of professional discipline, in which the economic logic of commensurability embodied in the

money commodity had gravitated toward descriptions of everyday human activity, an economic

terms comes to have sexual, political meaning on proscribing the interchanges and relations

amongst human beings. This particular rendition of gender-terror and security exchanges must be

seen as revolving around a question of economics, for according to nineteenth-century

vernacular, a "Mollie" was also a male prostitute. Public is narrated into consciousness by

masking the history of modern-day security and its anodyne of terror within these gendered,

economic terms, exemplified when McParlan "gets in with the Mollies" at their local hangout in

a chapter titled "The Detective Sings, Fights, and Dances Himself into Popularity." [see figure 6-



Appearing to gather inspiration from the lively squeak of the fiddle, [McParlan] advanced
to the middle of the floor, where remained a few square yards of vacant space, struck an
attitude, and, without further prelude, began his best Irish break-down. [...] Dormer [a
lieutenant for the Mollies] gradually absorbed the magnetism of the dance, and the music
made by feet and bow and string, and, seating himself on a convenient chair, held his face
between his two brawny hands, the elbows resting on his knees, and interestedly scanned
McKenna' s [McParlan's alias] movements. [...] The agile shuffling evidently gave him
pleasure, and turning to the sleepy musician he loudly ordered him to "play faster!" The
request was instantly obeyed, and quicker and quicker came the inspiring notes, faster
and faster were the maneuvers of the dance executed, and the more fantastically the
dancer turned and whirled, and threw out leg and arm, in gesticulations more grotesque
than graceful. (74-5, my emphasis)

This passage, which I've quoted extensively, occupies a vital moment in the narrative as the

contact zone between two discrete spheres, and the consummation of the relationship revolves















---6~1111 ~it --


Figure 6-1. The Detective Sings, Fights, and Dances Himself into Popularity. Image taken from
Pinkerton's The Mollie Maguires and the Detectives
















276









around the concept of interest. That word, interest--which defines the particular exchange in

which the apparatuses of the State infiltrate the spaces of labor solidarity and speculates upon the

proj ected presence of gender "identity"--itself leaves much space for accumulations of surplus

value, and thus exploitation. The cast in this story of nascent normalcy is arranged in a very

specific way--the Pinkerton operative, on behalf of the "lawful" domestic public descends into

this tavern and exchanges his body for membership into the Mollie Maguires. But that exchange

is never commensurable--there is an excess of value in that exchange, just as Marx notes there is

an excess of value in the circulation of money, here represented by the State' s circulation and

investment into this organization, an investment that must by definition not only be paid back in

full, but with the investors getting a return on what they invested. Any attractions and affinities

these workers share with one another is commodified within a logic of security and justice. With

the advent if a professional police, the State, to use Negri's words, here becomes a capitalist

subj ect-a guarantor of an assumed equilibrium between labor and capital (41).

The implication of this scene suggests a motive of affinity toward the commodified,

dancing detective that runs underneath surface exchanges. We need not delve too far into the

well-rehearsed points of Marxian notions of commodity fetishism, but the tenets of this

fetish/desire towards commodities are more than rehearsed in Pinkerton's text. Capitalism has so

infused the cultural logic with an understanding of value beyond that which is readily available

at first glance, that the author steers whom he takes to be his audience towards an understanding

of labor militancy that has an "hidden" desire. Marx argues that this hidden quality of a

commodity, or the consumer' s sense of something qualitatively hidden within that commodity,

yet somehow understood to be part of that commodity's essence, is the amount of human labor

power expended in that commodity's production. But here, in Pinkerton's genealogical narrative










for the modern state, we have something closer to what Rosemary Hennessy interprets as

commodity fetishism: something "perceived and yet not seen." For, in Pinkerton's narrative,

what is perceived but not "seen" by "the private eye that never sleeps" is desire--more

specifically labor-power-as-queer-desire. Such a perception haunts the rest of the text for the

detective of the Mollie Maguires--the narrator takes "forced" moments to reiterate that the

detective as Pinkerton operative, as outsider infiltrating militant labor spaces, and thus as agent

for "normal" "domestic" public that works to ensure and encapsulate a specific type of mode of

production, reproduction, and accumulation, still holds heterosexual attractions. Pinkerton

"closes" the question of the operative's sexual preferences by writing heterosexuality into his

being as one who is on the side of a "peaceful public." Yet, his situation and "duty" as infiltrator

of organized, collectivized, shared labor leaves him no choice but to "conform to the social

mores of this terrorist group," according to the logic of the narrative. Furthermore, this

reification of attraction and affinity into interest and exchange by the logic of this security

narrative guarantees the gendered social division of labor, for desire is now in service to

capitalism, making the State a policing agent for a "heteropublic." The Mollies as criminal threat

to the social order of "civil society" are marked as such through the category of sexual attraction

and desire in deviation. An understanding of gender desire has been reworked to ground an

understanding of criminal justice-as-economic-transaction in which attractions become reified,

valuable (in the sense that gender becomes a value and becomes a means of comparison),

exchangeable descriptors for a normative public at peace; and a logic of the verb secure morphs

into descriptor for the narrative action of the governing regime obfuscating this gendered

implication of justice as "repayment" and "return on an investment."









Financial Time and "Heteropublic" Interest

Marx' s analysis of the anatomy of the state in the fifty years proceeding the French

Revolution as inauguration of the transactions and exchanges between the sovereign government

and the populous is a mode of analysis that would characterize his critique of market relations

decades later. The interactions between the pose that compose the contemporary State mirror

those within capitalist exchanges to the point in which "State," as an idea flowing from the

French Revolutionary tradition, has for Marx devolved into a bourgeois republic that has been in

the process of becoming a mass-scale market, in which citizens have been constituted as such

with all the rights and protections proper to them as potential merchants and consumers in

competition as it is understood under a logic of capitalism:

For each of these liberties is proclaimed as the absolute right of the French Citoyen, but
always of the marginal note that it is unlimited so far as it is not limited by "the equal
rights of others" and the "public safety" or by "laws" which are intended to mediate just
this harmony of the individual liberties with one another and with the public safety.
(Eighteenth Brumaire 30)

"Mediate," balance," "reciprocate"; these verbs that apparently describe the active exchanges

between these actors themselves are not stable, as Marx uses the term "organic" to characterize

that view of public: the counter-revolutionary (or, more precisely, finite-revolutionary, for

"revolution" under the bourgeois republic ends in a very specific place) brings an "organic" view

of "the people" with respect to the mediating activity of Law

in such a manner that the bourgeoisie in its enj oyment of [rights] Einds itself unhindered
by the equal rights of other classes. Where it forbids these liberties entirely to "the
others" or permits enj oyment of them under conditions that are just so many police traps,
this always happens solely in the interest of "public safety," that is the safety of the
bourgeoisie. (30, my emphasis)

What would apparently describe the interaction between spheres made definite, absolute, static,

i.e. the Law, hi de s an interest one governing regi me hol ds over the public c- space- as -market. In

this sense, authorship towards what counts as public explicitly serves the needs and desires of










accumulators: the Law, overtly made absolute and not arbitrary (for it is an arbitrary enforcement

of laws that had been used to describe "the Terror" of the French Revolution in the early part of

the century, and an arbitrariness that described the whims of "terrorist" groups like the Mollie

Maguires in the latter portions), is in fact quite organic in how it is executed by the state, so as to

not interfere in specific with exchange.

"To purchase so that later one may sell dearer"--this axiom defines Marx's analysis of

commodity exchange within the market, the M-C-M1 of circulation. Along the temporal axis,

when no equivalent for a given commodity is given immediately, but promised at some later

time, Marx point out money--the commodity that socially "stands in" for a determined value--

no longer functions solely as facilitator of exchange and interactions, as measurement of

reciprocity. Money also assumes a new form as a method of payment. With this temporal delay

in the actions that define capitalist interactions and exchanges, we have entered into a logic

where human relations function under the categories of "investment," "speculation," and

"interest" from one perspective (the perspective from which one begins with capital), "debt" and

"repayment" from the other (in which one has only her labor power to sell). If labor, as Hegel

and Marx understood it, is the social bond that demarcates "civil society" and public, what

constitutes Pinkerton's distinctly heteronormative narration of security is a rendering of

"public"- the labor that constitutes the social fabric- as operating under the logic of repayment,

finance .

If we are to understand the relation of political safety and' security that govern the terms

of human interactions within what counts as public as a logic of reified exchanges passing

through time, as something that eventually will be rendered reciprocal, the model of criminal

justice that this particular narrative embeds into consciousness must be recognized as a system of










finance. That is, finance as a concept materializes through the narrative as capital invests itself in

Pinkerton, in McParlan the Pinkerton detective, in the coal mines; the narrative concludes when

every value has been extracted from the sites of production. And one senses with this judicial

conclusion of the narrative, capital will move on, has already moved on, to other sites were value

can potentially be extracted. Frederic Jameson is only partially correct in his essay "Culture and

Finance Capital," in which he notes that the features that lend finance capital an air of mobility

are understood as the logic of speculation and investment. But Jameson only narrates one half of

that feature, calling speculation a

withdrawal of profits from the home industries, the increasingly feverish search, not so
much for new markets (those are also saturated) as for the new kind of profits available in
Financial transactions themselves and as such [...] is the way in which capitalism now
reacts to and compensates for the closing of its productive moment. Capital itself
becomes free-floating. It separates from the concrete context of its productive geography.
(259)

It would seem that this understanding of speculation and Einance as historical phase, capitalism is

merely a reactive force, maneuvering itself against "other forces" that through time deteriorate

the amount of value that can be extracted. But Pinkerton' s narrative of emergent professional

criminal justice as a system details finance as inherent to industrial management as an attempt to

coordinate and discipline a mass body of labor-power: value in Pinkerton's text can be quantified

by a definite limit placed upon it, by defining the potentiality of mass-scale human labor, not

organized by itself but organized by capital, into an actual product. The system of value

production needs a consumable end, needs static, Einite actors in a controlled transaction.

Pinkerton's narrative provides such a limit, for the court case in which Gowen, the railroad and

coal mine president, argues on behalf of the State assures that the logic of crime will be mapped

onto a logic of debt; "justice enacted and consummated" becomes finance proper, in which all










debts have been paid in full, the account settled, public safety the resulting product ready for

consumption.

Finance as a term traces its significance once again to a temporal understanding of

investment and exchange of debt and (re)payment. Originally used as a term describing the

closure or complete repayment of debt, under the logic of industrial capitalism that dictates the

day-to-day operation of the contemporary nation-state, gender has been financed, "public" has

been financed, "safety and security" have been financed, "terror" has been financed. Beyond

Jameson' s articulation of finance capitalism as flight, "the disinvestments, the pondered or hasty

moving on to the greener pastures of higher rates of investment return and cheaper labor" (260),

remains the notion of capital' foreclosing, draining every last ounce of vitality from a specific

entity in order to exchange a value, accumulating a surplus of values as it leaves the wreckage of

labor power in its wake--while the overt act of delimitating, engendering specific spheres

"public" and "government." It is thus not criminal justice, "terrorism," "national and homeland

security," as discrete entities in and of themselves, but as descriptors of a complex relation and a

way of working out cultural relations that result in productions and additions of value that more

accurately describe the being of the contemporary nation-state. The "heteropublic" it authors is

impossible to be separated from the terms of production and reproduction, as "public" becomes a

guaranteed return on a particular investment.









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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Todd Reynolds was born on the west side of Chicago, approximately one mile away from

Waldheim Cemetery, where the remains of the eight Chicago Haymarket Martyrs, Emma

Goldman, Lucy Parsons, and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn have all been laid to rest. At the University

of Florida, Todd had been a participant in and conference organizer for the Gainesville Marxist

Reading Group. In addition, Todd has been a labor organizer for Graduate Assistants United, the

labor union for the 4000 graduate teaching and research assistants at the University of Florida.

He served as co-president on GAU from May 2004 through May 2006, and is currently the lead

organizer and chief steward for GAU. Todd also has been an organizer and activist for Critical

Resistance Gainesville, a local prison abolition group that challenges the prevailing cultural logic

that the security offered by an increased police presence and exponential growth in the number

of incarcerated working peoples actually does not serve to make our communities safer. This

dissertation, as a product of Todd' s life' s labor, attempts to bridge those segregated learning

environments--the academy and the community--in the hopes of working toward a more equal

society.





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1 SECURITY EXCHANGES: THE RISE OF SYSTEMATIC CRIMINAL JUSTICE IN THE GILDED AGE U. S. IMAGINATION By TODD REYNOLDS A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2007

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2 2007 Todd Reynolds

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3 To my mother and my father, just two of th e working peoplepast, present, and futurewhose struggle makes the political chal lenges offered through public highe r education both possible and necessary.

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS In September 2004, after the graduate st udent employees had occupied the UF administration building in protest of not receivin g their pay for eight we eks, one letter to the editor of the Gainesville Sun chastised that local paper for se emingly taking the graduate workers side against the University of Florida. This challenge to workers ri ghts would be just one instance within an ongoing battle fo r ownership of the University of Florida in particular and American Higher Education in general. The rallyi ng cry in those days, as it is today, was the administration is not the University of Florida; we, the working people, are. Upon the social body composed of these workers, not just the faculty and the graduate studen ts, but also the local community of activists, my edu cation has been built; and this social body almost certainly does not include the central administration of the Univer sity of Florida who has periodically attempted to redefine the universitys func tion as an institution to both ge nerate revenues and further deny access to whole segments of the population on whos e back a public university has itself been constructed. In this sense, a nd with the understanding that th e discovery of new knowledgethe work of those employed in the university take as their chargeis itself a social act, not the work of any one author, but a composite of social life in general, I wish to address that true university community: I am honored to have been able to la bor in your ranks, and I can only hope that this dissertation can be considered adeq uate enough to participate in the work it is so vital for us to undertake. I would like to single out a fe w fellow travelersif I may be so bold as to use the termwithin this broad construction of a univers ity community who have been especially vital to my education. I have been fortunate enough to have shared the last seven years of my academic life with many of the wonderful gradua te students within the English department particularly Joel Adams, Sonya Anderson, Dori s Bremm, Mindy Cardozo, Franklin Cason, Kate

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5 Casey-Sawiki, Lindsey Collins, Marlo David, Em ily Garcia, Ariel Gunn, Lisa Hager, Jaimy Mann, James McDougall, Patrick McHenry, Melissa Mellon, Marlon Moore, Nishant Shahani, Aaron Shaheen, Craig Smith, Aaron Talbot, An drea Wood, and especially Andrew Reynolds. The faculty and staff of the English department have been incredibly supportive as well particularly department chair John Leavey, R oger Beebe, Melissa Davis, Sid Dobrin, Pam Gilbert, LaMonda Horton-Stallings, Barbara Me nnel, John Murchek, Scott Nygren, Jim Paxson, Mark Reid, Leah Rosenberg, Raul Sanchez, Jo hn Seelye, Jodi Schorb, Maureen Turim, Ed White, Jeri White, Kathy Williams, and especially Phil Wegner, Kathryn Baker, and Kim Emery. The people composing the different generati ons of the Marxist Reading Group at UF including Wesley Beal, Renuka Bisht, Nicole LaRose, Jessica Livingston, Regina Martin, Michael Mayne, Derek Merrill, Sherwin Mendo za, Aron Pease, Reagan Ross, Matt Stoddard, Michael Vastola, and Trish Venturaoffered a sounding board to work through many of Marxs texts vital to my project. Gainesville Critical Resistancecomposed of English department scholars such as Amy Ongiri, Angelique Nixon, and Robin Nuzum, and community activists such as Dan Berger, Jane Ballard, Bret Bostoc Quintina Crawford, Pat Fitzpatrick, Virginia Hamner, Jessica Hardy, Amber Kelley, Melissa La ne, Luce Lincoln, Neil Lorenzini, Laurie Reisman, Melissa Toothman, and Charles Willettoffered a space where one could easily merge the presupposed divergent fields of academics and activists. At the recent MRG conference, keynote speaker Cary Nelson mentioned that the most important development in higher education in th e last 20 years has been the graduate labor movement. The impact my colleagues and colla borators in Graduate Assistants United can hardly be understated, and in particular Id like to thank Abubakar Al-Hassan, Robin Collins, Sophie Croisy, Ali Dashti, Christy Edwards, Fr ank Goeddeke, Anna Guest-Jelley, Nic Guest-

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6 Jelley, Erika Gubrium, Marcus Harvey, Deeb Kitchen, Karen Kuhl, Steckley Lee, Brian Mann, Aniruddha Mukhopadhyay, Tim Nevin, Mark Piotro wski, Craig Rinne, Guneeta Singh, Bret Seferian, Samuel Snyder, James Thompson, Vict or Romano and especially Jesse Zeigler and Candi Churchill. Finally, I must thank the memb ers of my dissertation committ ee for being so patient with the project as it developed. Louise Newmans pers pective as a historian made sure the project was well-grounded. Kenneth Kidds seminar on the Di sney corporation and its planned company town in Celebration was the original inspiration for the Pullman chapter. The project itself on the whole can be traced back to the original pros pectus I wrote for Susan Hegemans class on the City and the Country. And finally, I owe the mo st gratitude for my dissertation director, Stephanie Smith whose determination in shephe rding the project from its original moments through the final stages will never cease to amaze me.

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7 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................4 LIST OF FIGURES................................................................................................................ .........9 ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... ............10 CHAPTER 1. IT WAS EVERYWHERE; IT WAS NOWHERE: 1877 AND LABOR IN THE NEW INDUSTRIAL NATION........................................................................................................11 The Calculus of Nation Building: Commensura bility and History in the Industrial Age......11 Realisms projection: Exporting Cons umerism, Docility, and Security.................................22 To Be a Criminal............................................................................................................... .....29 2. THE ROAD FROM THE MINT AND THE PATH TO THE MELTING POT: REAL CURRENCY AND NATIONAL CIRCULATION IN HERMAN MELVILLES THE CONFIDENCE MAN .............................................................................30 Melvilles Exceptional Coin and th e Affected Value of Currency.........................................34 The Social Myth of Debt: Desire an d the Narrative Currency of Investment....................44 Its Everywhere You Want to Be: The Money Fetish and the Development of Imperial Security.............................................................................................................. ...57 3. WAS BARTLEBY BLACK?: RACE WORK, AND EMINETLY SAFE COMMUNITIES IN THE LATE NINETEE NTH-CENTURY INDU STRIAL CITY.........66 Gentlemanly Cadavers and Social Deaths..........................................................................66 Toward the White City: The Operative Community...........................................................91 A Whited Sepulchre............................................................................................................. .108 Epilogue: The Politics of an Occupation..............................................................................129 4. POLICE ACTIONS AND WAR ZONES: THE MAJESTY OF THE LAW AND THE GEOPOLITICS OF PROFESSIONAL POLICING....................................................138 Walking Softly through New York City: A Do mestic Ethic of Nascent Imperialism.........140 Technologies of Detection: From Private to Prosthetic Eyes...............................................152 Cleaning the Streets: Traffic Contro l in the Circulation revolution..................................160 The Color of Money.............................................................................................................167 5. IN JUST TIME: THE PENITENTIAR Y AND THE MOTION PICTURE AT THE TURN OF THE CENTURY.................................................................................................185 False Dawn: The Flashpoint of th e Buffalo Pan-American Exhibition............................185

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8 American Technocracy: Shock and Sovere ign Control of a World Without Work.........195 City of Fire: The Time of the Comm odity and the Regime of Automation.........................206 The Penitentiary, the Individual, and the Invention of Productivity....................................218 Stepping Out of Time: The Mechanical Reproducibility of Life and Death........................235 Class and Technology: Popular Mechan ics and Participatory Science................................244 6. GOING PUBLIC: ALAN PINKERTONS NARRATIVE OF GENDER TERROR AND PEACEFUL SECURITY........................................................................................254 Keeping a Private Eye on the Public Sphere........................................................................264 Gender and the Narrative L ogic of Public-as-Debt..............................................................269 Financial Time and Heteropublic Interest.........................................................................279 LIST OF REFERENCES.............................................................................................................283 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.......................................................................................................297

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9 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 5-1 Buffalos Electric Tower..................................................................................................188 5-2 Circular Panorama pf Electric Tower..............................................................................192 5-3 Esplanade at Night......................................................................................................... ..193 5-4 Final frame, Execution of Czolgosz with Panorama of Auburn Prison...........................196 5-5 Feight train frame, Execution of Cz olgosz with Panorama of Auburn Prison................203 5-6 Panorama of Auburn Prison, from Executi on of Czolgosz with Panorama of Auburn Prison......................................................................................................................... ......204 5-7 Benjamin Rushs Tranquilizer Device.............................................................................227 5-8 Execution frame, Execution of Czolgos z with Panorama of Auburn Prison...................239 6-1 The Detective Sings, Fights, and Dances Himself into Popularity..................................276

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10 Abstract of Dissertation Pres ented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy SECURITY EXCHANGES: TH E RISE OF SYSTEMATIC CRIMINAL JUSTICE IN THE GILDED AGE U. S. IMAGINATION By Todd Reynolds August 2007 Chair: Stephanie Smith Major: English This study traces the rise of a system of U.S. criminal just ice in response to the growing labor unrest and nascent na tionalist imperialism at the end of th e nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century. In particular I look at the st ories that working people told themselves, as well as the stories propagated by the interests of indus trial capitalism, about what it meant to be considered a citizen in this extraordinarily turbulent era.

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11 CHAPTER 1. IT WAS EVERYWHERE; IT WAS NOWHERE: 1877 AND LABOR IN THE NEW INDUSTRIAL NATION The Calculus of Nation Building: Commensurab ility and History in the Industrial Age The first task confronting the author in Allan Pinkertons 1878 memoir Strikers, Communists, Tramps, and Detectives is the problem of bringi ng the labor unrest of the 1877 national railroad strike into public consciousness, to grasp th is relatively new kind of massdiscontent in a way that utilizes the political vocabulary availabl e at the time. The vehicle this detective-turned-author uses to register these even ts of 1877 is a text that is at once crime story, corporate advertisement, and hist ory lesson. The texts first atte mpt to contain the threat of general revolution posed by 1877, the n, involves a reificati on of history, abstrac ting the events of 1877 from their contexts and placing them in so me level of commensurate relation with other abstracted historical events in order to justify new practices to diffuse the threat. Contrasting the general strike of 1877 against th e Great Rebellion that bega n the U.S. Civil War, Pinkerton wrote There was something tangible about our great Re bellion. Public expectat ion was to a certain degree prepared for it. [] For some time prev ious to the beginning of hostilities the two sections had become more distinct and separa te, in all that constitutes mutual respect and consideration, than two contiguous unfriendly nations. All that was needed to complete the isolation of each was the border forts and the bor der patrol. [] When [the hostilities] came, their consequences followed natu rally and in constant order; and though neither section was wholly prepared for the rapid culmination of the numberless startling and dramatic events which crowded into the four y ears of civil conflict, both were enabled, through this previous certainty of some sort of peril, to cope with the same with an increasing wisdom and judgment. Using the events of the Civil War as the sta ndard, Pinkertons text demonstrates that the ability to locate the forces of contention is in and of itself settling. Thus the reified picture of the Civil War is rendered here in terms as a rath er stately conflict; that is, Pinkertons snapshot presents this antagonism literally made civilless shocking, less disquieting, le ss disturbing to a

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12 general public because the tensions supposedly developed gradually. In the language of massscale unrest, the politics of nati on-buildingrepresented here in th e imagining of conflict as that not between people per se but between people organized into nation-statesoffers the best way to minimize the damage of social unrest. When his attention turns to the riots of 1877, Pinkertons tone changes dramatically. Anxieties over labor anta gonism here cannot be easily framed within a context of inter-national conflict; rather, such unrest th reatens the idea of nation itself: But how different were we situated when this last great terror came upon us, and how unusual and startling were its phases and condi tions! It was everyw here; it was nowhere. A condition of sedition which can be located, fixe d, or given boundaries, may, by any ordinary community or government, be subdued. This uprising, in its far-reaching extent, was so alarmingly sudden that it seemed like the hi deous growth of a night. (Pinkerton 13-4) The panic evident in Pinkertons response is telling as to what this new, elusive type of threat really presents, for as an anomalous hideous growth of a night it challenges and defies illumination and description. Moreover, as Pinkerton develops what he sees as a link between the riots of the 1877 strike and th e Paris commune of 1871, an alternative model materializes that registers collective consciousness in a way that di rectly defies the availa ble narratives of midcentury nationalism. Indeed, what seemed a new global challenge to the assumed proper social order of the nation-state was ex citedly beginning to take shape. As Benedict Anderson notes, the first appearance of the word anarchist as a technical-political te rm occurred in 1877 amid the larger global counter to capitalisms arrangement of social life under the nation-state (72).1 In 1 Andersons description of the social climate in which the term anarchist is coined offers a powerful perspective on the ways people planned their collective challenges to exploitative modes of production in industrial capitalism, as well as illuminating how many felt that other modes of resistance to capital were more easily quashed under apparatuses available to the industrial nation-state of the late nineteenth century. For a good deal of anti-capitalists, a recognition of the ways in which economic exploitation works through the nation-state became itself a grounds for political action. Anarchisms emphasis on personal liberty and autonomy, its typical suspicion of hierarchical (bureaucratic) organization, and its penchant for vitriolic rhetoric, Anderson writes, made its appeal especially great under political conditions of severe repression by rightwing regimes. Such regimes found it much easier to

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13 addition, certain critical flashpoint s of U.S. historythe 1877 na tional railroad strike, the 1886 Haymarket incident, the 1892 Homestead Stri ke, the 1894 Pullman Strike, and the 1901 assassination of U.S. President William McKinleywere often described as the results of the political philosophy of anarchism ; the word belied a terrifying sens e of the desire and inability to name, frame, and conform to the political na rrative of stateliness. In this sense, anarchism as term filled a general void, the ominous shadow not intelligible by the voca bulary available to the narrative of the indus trial nation-state.2 Locating the source of rebellion is at once simple and difficult, and Pinkertons memoir of 1877 proceeds to reason that refugees from the 1871 Paris commune did more than merely influence, but directly participat ed in, the railroad action. Dedicati ng chapters in this history of 1877 to Paris 1871, Pinkertons text demonstrates a very palpable fear that this new unrest escapes what the cultural logic grasps as a materially present idea of managing mass populationsa nation-state. In other words, because these upheavals has no governments nor forts from which battle plans could be drawn, the fear emanating from a cultural anxiety over smash trade unions and political parties than to keep trac k of, penetrate, and destroy dozens of self-generated autonomous groupuscles (72). 2 One glaring example of the socio-political deployment of the term as a method of identifying and locating the challenge to the capitalist nation-state can be found in Au gust Spiess comments at his 1887 trial for his alleged involvement in the Haymarket riots. Spies and the other men held accountable for the throwing of a bomb that had killed numerous Chicago police officers on May 4, 1886 (despite the fact that evidence shows they had done nothing more than organize the speeches and protests for that day), only accept the appella tion placed upon them as anarchists at this final trial before their execution, as a moment of resistance and defiance. Previous to this point, these anti-capitalists would have been loathe to call them selves anarchists. Spies, often quick to point out his belief in socialism and the struggle of communities of work ing people to abolish the wage system, declared at his defense Grinnell [one of the prosecutors in the case] has intimate d to us that Anarchism was on trial. The theory of Anarchism belongs to the realm of speculative philos ophy. There was not a syllable said about Anarchism at the Haymarket meeting. At that meeting the ve ry popular theme of reducing the hours of toil was discussed. But Anarchism is on trial! foams Mr. Gr innell. If that is the case, your honor, very well: you may sentence me, for I am an Anarchist. I believe with Buckle, with Paine, Jefferson, Emerson and Spencer, and many other great thinkers of this century, that the state of castes and classesthe state where one class dominates over and lives upon the labor of another class, and calls this orderyes, I believe that this barbaric form of social organization, with its legalized plunder and murder, is doomed to die, and make room for a free society, voluntary association, or universal brotherhood, if you like. (Spies 14)

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14 conflict was that the conflict superseded an assu med idea of the statethat perhaps nation-state was itself an overdetermined response to new form s of mass conflict. Pink ertons reaction is to append or even develop new practices and modes of social intervention that would better equip the state to contain and direct mass-scale unre st; the detective memoir he publishes, while serving as advertisement for his new agency of priv ate, professional investig ators, participates in a much larger project of imagining the social discord and conflict that had been accelerating in the final years of the nineteenth century, a nd submerging or channeling this unrest into a narrative form that reworks social conflict into that between law-abiding or lawtransgressing citizenship. The problem I pose here contemplates a collective imaginary attempting to understand human activity from 1877 and continuing throug hout the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, with larg e-scale, general, indeed national labor unrest. My project demonstrates that from the 1870s through the tu rn-of-the-century, and via diverse, often new methods of representation from dime novels to early motion pictures and even Worlds Fairs and planned industrial communities, American cultural production reframed political activity within a new schema of citizenship in order to both diffuse the social antagonisms forged by the dynamics of production under the flag of nationalist sovereignty as well as to prepare capital for a global expanse through that new notion of na tionhood. In giving historical significance to 1877 in this particular way, cultural logic recontextu alizes upheaval and revolution in a new juridicopolitical way. Here I examine how and why the ar eas of labor, unionism, professionalism, a new type of imperialism, a new notion of what counts as technology, and even what has cultural value as public as response to a moment um of privatization, affect th e imagination to the point in which identity becomes a commodity of elaborate social systemswhat Stephanie Smith has

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15 identified as an endeavor to collapse complex ities in order to render [t]hat which was at one time unpalatable or difficult to swallow in the popular perception [] tasty (135). Moreover, this project looks at to what extent an iden titarian politics depend upon a management the global masses that divides them into law-abidi ng at one polar end, criminal on another. According to the logic exhibited by texts li ke Pinkertons, the urgency to comprehend and manage new forms of mass conflict demands that a new idea of nation be recovered within the context of the new tensions wrought by industrial and investment capital. The modern U.S. criminal justice system, like the detective/crime novels that were ubiquitous in the era, or more generally like the movement of literary social realism itself, strives to capture and represent revolutionary sentiment in a way that never explic itly challenges but indeed tacitly facilitates modes of production that would furt her develop the industrialist nati on state as it prepared to be an agent on the stage of global capital. Rather th an telling a tale of socio-political antagonisms based on the modes of production that prevailed in the later portions of the centur y, the narrative mantra/new state apparatus frames social life and politics within a larger project to maintain lawand-order, to assuage any and a ll threats under the rubr ic of domestic or nationalist security. Rather than placing emphasis on the population as a mass of produ cers, the heightened emphasis on the dynamics of securityexampled by these arti facts that grant us some access to a general, broadly social viewdepict the creation of a consumerist cultur e, eviscerating the living-labor element from the political fiel d. In effect, the social bond up on which any sort of communal resolution can be built is reconfigured from th e shared capacity of all humans to labor and produce to the shared condition of being completely subjected to the nation-state as a social formation intended to maximize surplus production and accumulation.

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16 The cultural logic then privileges and o ffers as panacea a new way of understanding human activity, i.e., through specifi c systems that linked together constitute a technology of justice and a narrative mechanism that virtually runs on its own, like clockwork. A project that needed to actively suppress any sort of r ealization of the populat ion as consisting of workers/producers must also of course present justice itself as free of any sort of limited perspective of human agency and authorship. A new mechanism of justice as a narrative of social realism systematically reanimates its characters not based on the prevailing modes of production, reproduction, and accumulation, but inst ead based on legal/juridical notions of criminality and citizenship. And, as Stephani e Smith has shown elsewhere, the developing perception of authorship as prof essional producer in this era of the novel of social realism (and thus a professional working in the field of knowledge production) as specialized and not alienated workerdistinct from or above the rabbleassumes reading a nd/or interpretation as subordinate activities an d as acts of consumption (109, 111). Thus, new systems of justice are de facto dependent upon whole populations maneuvered into the passive role of consumers in need of security; all political activity becomes specialized, professionalized, not something for the masses to participate in or collectively author but for everyone to pa ssively experience, be subject to, or consume. The vehicle to this reorganization under specialized politics of the industrial nation-state is the machin e-like narrative of the criminal justice system. It is not for the masses to write the narrative of justice, but rather for the individual to interpret where she or he might fit within this master narrative that ha s been systematically, m echanically reproduced before them. I begin my dissertation with the extended quot e from this detective memoir to illuminate the numerous anxieties and slippage s that participated in a larger, cultural imagination. Often

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17 using 1877 as a marker for a new era (for it saw th e end of reconstruction and the return of white rule in the South as well as the beginning of mass-scale labor revolt), hi storians of this period have presented a wide array of arguments on the late nineteenth centur y, ranging from calling the period one of the bitterest explos ions of class warfare in Ameri can history (such is the argument posited by Eric Foner, Robert V. Bruce, La wrence Goodwin, and Nell Irvin Painter) to emphasizing the level of social unease with te chnological and mechanical changes shared by both working and middle-classan unease that th e iron horse catalyzes tensions in what counts culturally as public, and what is beco ming increasingly mech anized, unnatural (and by implication, privatized) space. Leo Marxs The Machine in the Garden is not the only example of this latter view; David O. Stowells Streets, Railroads, and the Great Strike of 1877 exemplifies this vein of thinking, de-emphasizing class differences in arguing that in northern cities like Albany, Buffalo, and Syracuse, The Great National Strike of 1877 was much more of a spontaneous uprising of urban peoples fr om different economic a nd social stratum in response to one of the most direct and damaging ways th at they experi enced capitalist industrialization outside of the wo rkplace, namely, the use of the city streets by railroads (1). Surely, despite Stowells explicit de-emphasis of class, a contention over what will constitute public vs. privatizing urban space can itself be a re sidual conflict of class pr actices. And, just as surely, describing 1877 in terms of class conflict seems to situate cl ass in a very confining, static, (and perhaps also spatially contained) system, a de scription that hardly sp eaks to anxieties over the complexities of unrest, and deflates an idea of class as a lived, soci al relation. The problem exhibited here rather seems to revolve around a paranoia about nation itself which history has settled; that is, these critical and historical inte rpretations have already co nceded to, if not placed implicit faith in, an idea of nation that had been exhibited and rhetorically assumed as a starting

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18 point for, and ultimate resolution to, any histor y expressed in the cultural logic, without interrogating what nation has histori cally come to mean. In short, ea ch subscribes to an idea of history as a system of commensur ability, whose telos is nation. Pinkertons text is demonstra tive of a new anxiety over change that threatens to rupture what was culturally understood as hi storythreatens to explode the su bjects of that history, i.e., the nation-state. Because revolution is at on ce everywhere and nowhere, the avenues for resolving conflict were simply not yet available. But what is also remarkable is the extent through which one of the first instances in American culture of a red scare is used to reformat history within the context of the nation-state engulfed in new sorts of class conflicts. This detective memoir/history blames foreign instigators and refugees from the Paris commune as the most responsible for 1877, allying the poor and t ramps, who like the revolutionary spirit were both everywhere and nowhere, as one partic ular symptom of indus try and investment.3 However, Pinkertons use of a red-scare tac tic does not use the same warrants of those very same tactics we are familiar with today, following the McCarthyis m of the middle twentieth century that brought new descriptors of nationalism into the cultural lexicon. The view of those refugees of the Paris commune as un-American is a secondary concern in this nineteenth-cen tury anxiety; instead, Pinkertons detective memoir give s also a history of Paris 1871, ch ronicling the heinous acts of those lawless communists, whose prompt and utter extermination, in this and all other countries, is the only method of removing a c onstant menace and peril to government and society (67). It would seem that here, Pinkerton s first concern is the divert of all forms of active resistance to capitalist exploitation and make those resistances legible as criminal 3 Christian Parentis critical analysis of the contemporary Prison Industrial Complex, a term used to describe the systematic use of correctional state apparatuses as a resolution of social and economic conflict, and thus a perpetuation of post-consumerist capital, notes that the targets of this system, the impoverished and those more actively seeking social justice, are treated as social dust or social dynamite, and thus are always targeted by any advance in social suppression.

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19 challenges to the nation-state, a social formation that on the surface appeared to have very little to do with the production and accumulation of the surpluses that defined industrial capitalism. It would be an understatement to describe the era following the Civil War as an era of social, political, and cultural uphe aval. Numerous studies have b een dedicated to this purpose, focusing primarily on the new social stratificatio ns as a result of th e advance of machine production (as in Alan Trachtenbergs The Incorporation of America ), as a result of racial reordering after emancipation4 and rise of Jim Crow and l ynching (as in Sandra Gunnings Race, Rape, and Lynching and Trudier Harriss Exorcizing Blackness ), or as a result of the discord between business and labor (as in Alan Dawleys Struggles for Justice ). But I am primarily interested in the new ways that th e social sphere in this period remodels itself through a shift in perception on a juridical level. The cultural imagin ation relocates conflict into not one of internnational relationsforei gn versus domestic per se but instead intra-national relations criminal contra law-abiding social subjects. Certainly, as Douglas Kellner has shown, such questions would be of central importance for a burgeoning critical theory that attempted to resolve the increasi ngly authoritarian position of the state and the rapidly developing modes of capitalism (Kellner 66). Subtle disagreements existed between fellow travelers of the Frankf urt School as to whether, as Otto Kircheimer argued, the state marked the organic developm ent from liberal capitalism to organized, monopoly capitalism or whether as Max Horkheimer argued, the tattered veil of capital had been replaced by the a completely new, techno-po litical apparatus of th e state as absolute authoritarian regime (44). This study sides with the former and l ooks at specific developments 4 Patricia Williams uses the term unowned rather than emancipated to describe th e African American former slaves after the Civil War. They were also disowned: they were thrust out of the mark et and into a nowhere land that was not quite the mainstream labor market, and very much outside the marketplace of rights (21).

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20 characteristic of what we understand to be th e modern state as can only be understood in its history forged in the tumultuous groundswell of unrest and revolution that was the latenineteenth-century U.S. industrial age. This st udys conclusion agrees with the view of the modern stateand its imperial trajectoryas the development of a capitalist economy and organization of society meant to maximize effici ent productivity and guarantee the production of surpluses by embedding a diffusion of the antagonisms of producti on in favor of an emphasis on securing spaces for a consumerism into th e idea of an imperializing nation state. To this extent, the new tec hnologies of justice emerge to marginalize the contours of economic and social conflict stemming from industr ys advance: what easi er way to rationalize the complexities of social discord in an era of mechanical reproduction than to measure them with the objective, ra tional, systemic law? The ways in which crime and punishment were envisioned and then distributed becomes a way of mapping the contradictions, anxieties, and antagonisms that had been produced by burgeoni ng capital into a narr ative of crime and punishment. In an era where the machine was the fetish because of its faculties for mass production, cultural systems also became the choice for resolving social problems. Put another way, the groundwork was laid in place so that th e expression the system works could culturally make sense. An analysis of the function of a systemized set of laws that manage interactions among the population as a channeling of so cial conflict is not really ne w. Psychoanalytic critic Rene Girards Violence and the Sacred demonstrates the key distinc tion through how civilization (and for Girard, that means the European West) claims as its definitive feature the incorporation of some systematized judicial apparatus. Whereas primitive societies are subject to a vicious cycle of violence,

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21 for us [civilized as opposed to primitive socie ties] the cycle has b een broken. We owe our good fortune to one of our social institutions ab ove all: our juridical system, which serves to deflect the menace of vengeance. This sy stem does not suppress vengeance; rather, it effectively limits it to a single act of re prisal, enacted by a sovereign authority specializing in this particular function. The decisions of the judiciary are invariably presented as the final word on vengeance. (Girard 15) The civilizing mechanism herein that differentiates the west fr om Other seems to be the ritual of the judicial system But Girard later points out that this ritual is not hing more than a regular exercise of good violence (17), a notion that seems to underlie our entire reliance on a benevolent notion of justi ce. This principle introduces the pos sibility that the whole idea of justice as an objective machine de fers our desires for reciprocal revenge and works to suppress and redirect the conflicts and fr ictions that emerge as industria l and investment capital develops. An emphasis on a legalized entity, an ident ity, emerges as a product of this new vision that resubjugates the populace. In effect, this activity is a recolonizati on of the population that responds to the increases of urbanization, m achine production, labor a nd racial discord by altering notions of citizenship ba sed on the degree to which the i ndividual subjects her or himself to those laws. Such a rubric calls for a new, criti cal lens with which to vi ew the roles of policing agents (a role that had been gaining nati onal prominence through th e nineteenth century, culminating in the introduction if a national police force, the FB I, in 1908), the threats posed by individuals marked as criminals (a specific anxiet y that had been associated with the rise of urban populations, as Karen Halttunens Confidence Men and Painted Women argues), and other actions industrializing society take s (such as the rise of the mode rn criminal justice system and prison industrial complex) to maintain a sense of a stratified, positivist order. Rather than reducing the issue to one in which particular factors in the social climate determine these institutionalized formations, I believe, as Raymond Williams asserts in Marxism and Literature that literature stages the process by which these factors dynamically participate in a historical,

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22 material production of a partic ular mechanism that situates a response to the question of citizenship within a cap italist-industria list nation. Using the words of Fredric Jameson, we must analyze the ideological production of very real st ructures, an analysis to explore the multiple paths that lead to the unma sking of cultural artifacts as socially symbolic acts ( The Political Unconscious 36). But beyond that, we must explore the cultural practices, liter ary and otherwise, that populate a political landscap e and set the terms for the imag ination of a people who would remake themselves as citizens of an industrializing, moder n, national community. Realisms projection: Exporting Consumerism, Docility, and Security If the issue as I have posed it is one of systemically containi ng into identity a particular discourse, I propose to look to a period of American history in which controllable, predictable, mechanized methods of production for mass consum ption begin to make headway. In short, I mark as this period of cultural history a be ginning of a particular technology of docility. Amy Kaplans argument in what has been conti nually understood as Ameri can literary realism grounds my point: The renewed interest in history, however, ha s reconstructed a new social context for realism as well. Realism is now related primarily to the rise of consumer culture in the late nineteenth century, in which the proce ss of commodification makes all forms of the quotidian perform in what Guy Debord has calle d the society of th e spectacle. In this context, the novelists attempt to represent ever yday life is understood either as a way of staging a series of acts of exhibition for symbolic consumption, or as a means of engaging in one of the most common activities of modern life: just looking. (Kaplan 7) Ontologically structuring human activity on a massive scale to the point that activity is a specific state or phase in relation to and distinct from just looking, the cultural lo gic and masternarrative envisions human interac tion as again a calculus of reci procity to the point that all activity can be understood to produce an endall activity can be now measured commensurate

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23 against others, captured (using the Deleuzian term) for consumption.5 If the period, as many literary historians have remarked, does indeed ad vance this notion of spect acle, of just looking, it also must be recognized as havi ng a specific role in industrial and capitals advance, managing mass populations and organizing them into an idea of citizens as consumers. As law-abiding citizenship becomes the marker through which new forms of consumption can be mapped and dispersed, such an effort belies the expansive characteristics of industrial nationalism, a new imperia lism that begins in the late ni neteenth century for the United States. By the end of the nineteenth century, the nation would be heavily involved in bringing freedom to other localities outside the U.S. borde r, but only after the tr ajectory of industrial nationhood had remade, managed, and made docile its own population. The pr oject of industrial nationalism can happen only with not just the permission of th e populations imagination, but also with its willful participat ion, a process which uses as its key terms measuring the place of the law-abiding against the role of those who would commit crimes against civilized society Both archetypes thus created are still grouped unde r the genus citizen, not having inherent rights, but having those rights derived by the industrial nation. If industr ial nationalism is an expansive projection, any action inefficient to imperial growth is socially devian t, a social illness in need of a cure. The product has been given governance over the pr ocess, and this shifts over to a deemphasis of labor, now governed by consumption. It is in this spirit that Horkheimer and Adorno note, [t]he criminal has always been bourgeoi slike the retribution wh ich consists in robbing him of his freedom. [ ] Man in prison is the virtual image of the bourgeois type which he still 5 Fredric Jamesons essay Reification and Utopia in Mass Culture recognizes this tendency of instrumentally reorganizing human activity within a burgeoning system of capitalism as a process of reification. See Jameson, The Jameson Reader 124.

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24 has to become in reality (225-6). What a systema tized projection of justice belies, then, is its attempt to manage and remake all human labor s ubject to a new type of sovereigntya radical reduction of all people as commensurate under the moniker citizen, with codified rights, responsibilities, freedoms that ar e granted and taken away at th e command of the new sovereign on a global theater. The emergence of systematized criminal justice in late nineteenth-century America hinges on consumption as the inscription of citizenship. The material representations of the cultural imaginary at this juncture exemplify the precarious theme of justice and social order as i nherent in reality a term I will here use to describe productions of the public mind, in vary ing degrees of stability, that make policing a grounds for narrating and construc ting subjectivity, foreground the correctional/ debt repayment idea of justice/reciprocity for acts marked criminal (for the violator of the law is rendered in economic terms a negativeowing a debt to the social whole), and deal with a potential for collective action within the new imperial/industrial-national trajectory. The tenor of the strategy of social maintena nce on (and into) a natio nal scale is the notion of realism as a culture of surveillance, but a surveillance intuited by the new Taylorist automaton, the industrial-national citizen, a citizen of both the nation and the world-as-potentialmarketplace. Critics like Kaplan and Mark Se ltzer have applied Foucauldian notions of surveillance and panopticism to the literary period termed realism as a dynamic relation in which the realist participates in the panoptic forces which both control and pr oduce the real world by seeing it without being seen in tu rn (Kaplan 7). The stra tegy of realism, in order to make an explanation for these social dissonances or change s in the social fabric, is to make itself as transparent as possible to immerse itself into th e cultural logic. In orde r to promote a unified sense of national identity as authentic, realis m hides its structure and makes its artistry

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25 disappearto make itself into documentary, to ch oose to mask itself in a more epistemological or scientific approach toward understanding and reasoning human behavior. But in so far as realism can be described as a conscious movement a blueprint for representation, the concept of the realist project presents a distinct paradox: when confronted with the popular, melodramatic, and sentimental, the professional, disciplined aut hor the Realist demonstrates that her or his work is without authorial embellishment. Invoking the term realism, thus suggests both professional authorship and a f undamental absence of authorship. While much of Kaplan and Seltzers analysis is confined to texts commonl y categorized as works of American literary realism, I want to expand the definition of a cultu ral production that partic ipates in the logic of an attempt to narrate emergent social antagonisms into collective consciousne ss, one that defies the normalized assumptions about authorship th at contributes to, ind eed advances, social divisions of labor so as to maxi mize individualization at the expens e of the social whole. Realist authors recreate themselves as realist authors as professionals, distinct from unskilled labor, rather than recognizing that those who produce ar e part of surplus labor. For example, the popular culture texts of the late nineteenth centurythe dime nove ls and story papers purchased and read by so many working-cla ss people, the early motion-pictur e shorts that had been quite popular in nickelodeons and old vaud eville theaters, or the attrac tions meant for a general public like the numerous worlds fairs and exhibitions that wrote technology as the potential utopian solution to the labor question and social an tagonismsalso contribut e in significant ways. Furthermore, Im not merely asking how did peopl e live their everyday lives in that period and location, but how a particular way of understandi ng presented itself as a technology that resulted in a very real product or commodity identity as it was invested within this new, massive plan for managing the spaces and relations of pr oduction in order to exponentially grow wealth.

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26 However, the literary movement American literary realism was itself also intentional in that is saw itself as an aesthe tic (and thus political) response to the technologies that immersed the literary market with mass-produced texts. At this time, as Nancy Glazeners work on this particular literary period Reading for Realism notes, professional authorship arises in response and contradistinction to more popul ar literature, an effort that seems to parallel a rise in professionalism in general to distinguish itself from unskilled labor.6 The aforementioned paradox of American literary rea lism thus presents itself with a distinctly political effect: remaking authorship into a science of observation the project of realism serves to give the professional, absolutely distinct from the masse s of unskilled labor, privileged access as to what will count as political. Invoking the term realism already links any debate and discussion over cultural production to the social divisions and political anxiet ies within and/or against a projection of imperial-citizenship, and as Bill Brown remarks in The Material Unconscious : popular culture itself promoted an understandin g of its popular potent ial, envisioning new modes of affiliation within a ne w public sphereand thus prefiguri ng the desire within the field of cultural studies, to re-imagine mass culture as genuinely popul ar (22-3). It is here where these high culture narrative projects of a realis t movement place their stamp on what composes an official marketplace/nation. Priscilla Wald in Constituting Americans expounds upon the importance of narrative in this se tting: official stories are narrati ves that surface in the rhetoric of nationalist movements and initiatives. [ ] Official stories constitute Americans [ because] they determine the status of an individual in the community (2). Canonized realism already intuits the colonizing project of industrial adva nce by its attempt to dissociate itself from a 6 Burton Bledsteins work in The Culture of Professionalism analyzes the rise of high er education at particular Universities across the Midwest as an apparatus to creat e professional, distinct from unskilled, general human labor. See Bledstein, The Culture of Professionalism: The Middle Cl ass and the Development of Higher Education in America New York: Norton, 1976.

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27 popular production professionalism will index all fi elds of human activity in order to deflect the question of labor against cap ital, and thus efficiently secu re industrial-national growth. Further, the anxieties of the period that grappled with the economic and social antagonisms fragment and compartmentalize the lives of the populati on. According to Brown, recreation literally became something deemed nece ssary to re-create the worker as worker, yet distinct from what counted as work, and thus in Marxian terms secures the reproduction of the social relations of production (29). In a similar vein, but on a macro level, the cultural project compartmentalizes social space, measuring a public space by redrawing its boundaries as privatizing space advances, the tw o poles apparently necessary to advance social health and growth. My project here traverses these spaces and social divisions, high and low culture, literature versus other manifesta tions of communal imagination (such as early film and even planned company towns), work versus amusement, public versus private, as those divisions come into play in defining what really counts as crime as it is used to bring the population under one system conducive to commodity culture. It is no accident that this pe riod sees the rise of what we understand to be the modern criminal justice system which regulates the spat io-temporal relationship of its subjects to one another; the field of criminology trac es its historical origins to this period as well. The shift in the legal discourse, as Foucault states in Discipline and Punish locates both the subjectthe individual to whom the laws applyand just ice the means and grounds for punishment of offensesinto a spatio-temporal fixed avatar of the body. Enlightened (i.e., appearing fair and reciprocal) punishment fits the crime when it en acts its process of establishing a truth of the transgression upon the b ody of the offender. The form of power par excellance then, according to Foucault, remains a function of the legislat or, and its mode of action, is of a juridico-

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28 discursive order ( History of Sexuality 83). The body becomes the location through which all these social divisions contend, the medium th rough which technical advance is measured, the field which is targeted for sc ientific suppression, and in tu rn becomes as Brown posits, a visceral sensation reducing the self to an agentless sensorium (46) As a result, the discourse of crime and punishment has both 1) made itself over as one absent of human agency and influence, as well as 2) allowed a shift in the perspective of citizenship as a functi on of the spatio-temporal embodying of the subject. Hence, citizenship in imp erializing America starts on the micro level, making the individual human body and its every acti on the location for comp liance with the law, and the medium through which debts to society will be repaid. That mechanism of systematized justice ha s been employed to cover the area which has been debated on what counts as public space. Whethe r it serves to show the weight of the crime, to reinitiate and rehabilita te the offender back into the wounded community by making the society more acutely aware of the offenders regr et and re-education, or se rving to deter further offenses against the community, responses to crimes against society and repaying ones debt to societythus assumed as social violations under an economic vocabularyhave always occurred on a public stage. But Adam Hirsch points out that in the nineteen th century, the social context of rehabilitation was altered subtly: instead of seeking to draw the offender back into the community, as had the old public punishments, car ceral punishments wrenched the offenders out of a subculture that commentators perceived as inimical to honest society (45). Michael Welch argues that earlier in the ninete enth century, during the Jacksonian period, American politics was characterized by a growing anxiet y concerning crime and corruption as a threat to social order (4). It is this initial anxiety concerning crime and the social or der, and what even will count as public that the country finds itsel f within as industry developed.

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29 To Be a Criminal Resulting from this shift in perspective on the relationship between social maintenance and citizenship, a number of tropes materialize in th e cultural public and furn ish the social sphere with a new significance. G unning points out in her study Race, Rape, and Lynching that this era saw the rise of the trope of the black rapist, white avenger, white innocent woman, and black prostitute. But alongside these new codifications (all products of this new imperialism) about constructions of race, gender, an citizenship lay anxieties of collectivizationof identities contradistinct from the masses anxieties abou t moral turpitude catalyzed by unchecked mob action and violence. Such representati ons permeate the texts like Twains The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Howellss The Rise of Silas Lapham and A Hazard of New Fortunes Chesnutts The Marrow of Tradition Norriss The Octopus and Dreisers Sister Carrie But they also permeate the texts of other, less we ll-known authors: Rebecc a Harding Davis in Life Among the Iron Mills Mary Wilkins Freeman in The Breadwinners Allan Pinkerton in his numerous memoirs of being a private ey e, the nameless house authors of corporate pulp libraries, and authors like Thomas Edison and George Pullman (i n either the technologie s they produced or the company towns they planned.) The texts produced by these authors within the political context of realism debate what is understood to be publ ic spaces within a setting that increasingly rakes space as a possible locus for investment a nd return, accumulation, and privatization. In the midst of working through his critical analysis of what he would later term both some fundamental aspects of the economy and the current crisis, Marx wrote to Engels in a correspondence dated December 18, 1857 the following: I am writing like a condemned man. Sometimes until 4 oclock in the morning. The ur gency which goads Marx to work tirelessly is for Antonio Negri a radical theoretical, and at th e same time practico-po litical, synthesis. The work of the condemned, Negri writes, in the area of theory is an impatie nt refusal of eclipses

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30 in practice: if this practice is not given [] analysis must discover it as it occurs, in so far as analysis brings out the revolutionary subjectivity implicated in the crisis (2). For Negri, the immanent crisis is a crisis for, not of, capit al, particularly the d evelopment of communist subjectivity, and revolutionary will and organization (2). However, the two separate registers in Ma rxs description of hi s critical situation, between ones work and ones status as conde mned, suggest another illumination for politicotheoretical activity that Marx and others immerse themselves in. Being condemned is, of course, a juridical situation, and image of the writer condemned is most cer tainly an apt description for the relationship between the hyper se curity state and its constitute d radical subject. The urgency of Marxs work as analysta union of practico-po litical theorist, of writer, of activistseems itself a product of an intense awareness of radi cal subjectivity of the self imperiled by the converging jaws of imperial capitalism (govern ed by free-market principles, but essentially indirectly coercing the worker to labor in order to survive) an d its various apparatuses (like coercion through juridical means). For, if these apparatuses work to constitute a new array of people on the continuum of citizenshipincluding those who are law-abiding and those who are marked as deviant criminals, Marxs insight here recognizes that the proper place of the analystthe lived experience of the political-the oretical activistmuch more closely resembles the latter side of that continuum. That is, the cr itical, radical subject is constituted and imperiled by the very counter-revolutionary structures that have been haunted by collective organization and radical equality. The critic al theoretician, like many of th e authors of this study, bears witness to lived social life with in a reactionary wave of intens ifying disciplinary structures. While paying only glancing attention to the writing of the condemned may be exceedingly easy to contemporary audiences, it is the final hope of this project to revisit the histories in which

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31 new structures of justice, citizenship, imperia lism, global and local capital, and public versus private spaces would themselves yield a rich desc ription of radical subjec tivity within nascent imperialism and a context for which the notion of writing as if condemned makes cultural sense.

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30 CHAPTER 2. THE ROAD FROM THE MINT AND THE PATH TO THE MELTING POT: REAL CURRENCY AND NATIONAL CI RCULATION IN HERMAN MELVILLES THE CONFIDENCE MAN The different national un iforms worn at home by gold and sil ver as coins, but taken off again when they appear on the world market demonstr ate the separation betw een the internal or national spheres of commodity circulation and its universal sphere, the world market. The only difference, therefore, between coin and bul lion lies in their physical configuration, and gold can at any time pass from one form to the ot her. For a coin, the road from the mint is also the path to the melting pot. [] The natur al and spontaneous tendency of the process of circulation to transform the coin from its meta llic existence as gold into the semblance of gold, or to transform the co in into a symbol of its official me tallic content, is itself recognized by the most recent laws on the degree of me tal loss which demonetizes a gold coin, i.e., renders it incapable of being circulated. (Marx, Capital Vol 1, 222). An 1886 installment of one of the more popular de tective dime novel serials in the nineteenth century provokingly titled Shoving the Queer: Old King Brady on the Scent of the Counterfeiters opens in a rural New Jersey ta vern frequented by work-gangs engaged in construction of a new railroad line. The railroad companys paymaster, who also happens to be the son of the principle investor in the company, seats himself in the tavern for a quick cigar and respite from the days cold weather. The taverns conversation quickly turn s to the state of the communitys railroad project, and we learn that the present business troubles of the line arise from the refusal of a local bank to turn over company bonds. As the day passes, the taverns other patrons gossip over the son of the recalcitrant banker, re cently released from Sing-Sing State Prison for passing counterfeit bills. Growing weary of this idle talk the railroad prince departs, but not before paying the tavern owner by leaving a ten-dollar bill on the bar. As if on cue, the bankers prodigal son en ters through the tavern door. Berating the people of this community and the tavern-owner in particular for their role in his arrest, the bankers son shares with this crowd his story sinc e his release: I have slept in places your dogs would not sleep in, he states. I have eaten food your hogs woul d reject, and now in desperation

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31 I have returned among you. This town has caused all my trouble, and of this town I demand workno matter how laboriouswork to enable me honestly to earn my daily bread (3). The barkeeper draws a silver coin from his own poc ket in response and places it in the young mans hand with instructions to leave th e tavern and the town. Eyeing th e coin and then the barkeep, the bankers son indignantly throws the coin back at the bar and storms out of the hotel. Following this scene one of the patrons of this tavern, a stranger whom none had recognized as being from the community, rises to ask the barkeeper for change for a twentydollar bill. When the barkeeper offers him the ten given him by the rail roads young paymaster, along with a five and five ones, the stranger refu ses the change on the basis that the paymasters bills are all counterfeit. Exasperated, the barkee per empties his till with the money given him by the lines employees for work of the of the day, only to learn that every one of these bills, the pay of a days work for the laborers of this new ra ilroad line, are all ba d. The stranger announces himself as the New York detective Old King Bra dy, and begins his investigation that will form the principle plot of the rest of this popular dime novel. What is the nature of the crisis that occasi ons this particular de tective narrative, of currency entering and leaving the regime of a public sphere de fined by economic valuation? The astonishment of those within the tavernthose day-laborers huddled aro und the stove after their working-day is doneemphasizes the impact of this type of crime that has been perpetrated: as if by magic, the mere presence of a potential co unterfeiter conjures a destabilization of the economic basis of the community of railroad workers by mysteri ously transforming the entire currency into fake money. But even more, this scene reveals the chilling portraitthe uncanny negativeof exchange that arises from the contradiction of money-as-sovereign-meas urement for all values.

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32 Our dime novel here first operates within the para meters of agency legible in a market economy: day-laborer (animated/politicized by a demand for work), barkeeper, paymaster and potential counterfeiter/criminal (the latter two are within the narr ative the heirs of ca pital)any sort of human activity registers through a clear sense of where these entities fall in the fable of exchange. Just as the scene pres ents a challenge to the legitimacy of the company itself through the possibility that false bills have been excha nged for real value-creating labor, so too does the scene comment on the system itself which derives subjects/agents. In one sense, the detective novel here illuminates the extent to which subj ectivity is a negation, an abstraction from a larger, social whole.1 For while the bankers-son-as-poten tial-counterfeiters appearance correlates to the poisoning-of-the-w ell of economic circulation, the effect of this disease-like spread of counterfeit bills is that the sy stem which makes legible this negationmarket circulationbreaks down to mere speculation. Everyones pay in the entire tavern, indeed the people within this local commun ity, are all now suspect, and any attempt to assert a material presencea function of the logic of immediacy within exchange rela tionsby passing these bills becomes the means to the unraveling of the evaluative conditi ons and presuppositions necessary for exchange in the first place; or, in Marxs wording, the road from the mint becomes the path to the melting pot.2 1 This fragmentation of a self as deriving from a larger social whole is a key argument in Henri Lefevbres Critique of Everyday Life, volume 1 although Lefebvre would locate this effect more within the regimes of production than the regime of market exchange. Lefebvre writes [T]he fragmentation of labour provides only a negative foundation for individuality; in this world of production, individuals have an effective self-consciousness, but of a kind which makes them lead inward-looking lives, centered upon their pa rticular skill and specialization. As regards to the rest of social and human life, they are consciou s of it only in so far as they reject it, despise or transpose it to a level of unreality. They tend towards individualism (149). 2 Marx is, of course, referring to the de terioration and oxidation of precious metals in this phrase, a subject to which he devotes much energy in the Grundrisse The indissoluble contradiction of money as facilitator of exchange can be traced to this corruptibility of the material of which mo ney is made. For money to work as the sign of value, according to Marx, it needs to be emptied of all its physical properties, have no use-value inherent to its material. Still, its presence must be apparent, it must exist in reality for the purposes of reci procity. Hence, the very characteristic of money as facilitator of exchange al so catalyzes moneys collapse as a sign of value.

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33 The appearance, then, of a potential counter feitera harbinger for what is becoming economic diseasedemands narrative, explanation, detection to solve the crisis. The social mythos of money has opened up a new realm of critical possib ility, a new way to read and question the emerging basis for establishing comm unal order. In this sense passing spurious money is the primary crime committable in a co mmunity that bases itself on the dynamics of investment capitalism.3 Put another way, the potentially cr iminal act of passing spurious moneyshoving the queer in nine teenth-century coll oquial termsdefines the limits and the contours of a legal fict ion of citizenship base d upon capitalist principles of actors within exchange. It is within these parameters that we may be able to view Herman Melvilles challenging final novel, The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade (1857) as a failed detective narrativea text which will, like the detective narrative s so ubiquitous at the time depend upon an epistemological promise of repayment, only to confound the assumed reciprocity involved in the economics of exchange. And Melvilles failed de tective novel does this by offering us currency directly as text to be read and decoded.4 Melvilles character the Black Guinea instantiates a production of common-sense that capitalisms market invests into the fibers of everyday life, 3 Most fitting, then, is the role of counterfeit currency in establishing modern policing apparatuses. Midway through the nineteenth century, in one small rural community just north of Chicago, a young Scottish immigrant switched his trade from that of a cooper for Chicagos meet packing industry to seeking out counterfeit banknotes that had been ubiquitous in the region. Allan Pinkerton soon formed his cadre of professional detectives to detect and then eliminate these spurious promissory notes (Morn 20-1). 4 One famous scene which starkly depicts this power of money occurs in the exchange between Charlie Noble and Frank Goodman, spanning chapters 30 through 32. After di scussing friendship and geniality, Frank breaks the mood between the two friends by asking Charlie for a loan. Charlies indignant response-- Beggar, impostor!never so deceived in a man in my life is countered by Frank re moving ten gold pieces from his coat, stooped down, and laid them, one by one, in a circle roun d [Charlie]; and, retiring a pace waved hi s long tasseled pipe with the air of a necromancer, an air heightened by his costume, accompanyi ng each wave with a solemn murmur if cabalistic words. [] Reappear, reappear, reappear, oh my former friend! Replace this hideous apparition with thy blest shape, and be the token of thy return of the words, My dear Frank (241). Charlies genial attitude towards Frank returns with the incantation, and Mitchell points out that it is Charli es attention paid to these gold coins that reconjures his former self (60).

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34 only to plant the seeds that such a logic canno t wholly contain and might not even be an accurate, realistic depiction of th e social landscape. Thus Melvi lle acutely calls into question the multiple regimes of value upon which capita lism will establish, develop and secure sovereignty, order, and the nation-state as globa l subject, all through the hint of a counterfeit coin. By extending the meditation on the implica tion of market exchange and the supernatural power of money in an imperi alizing economy of speculation, The Confidence-Man as detective novel (and itself a decidedly queer text) is finally a novel about security in an age of the commodity sign. Melvilles Exceptional Coin and the Affected Value of Currency As market forces developed their haste to st age an ever-increasing amount of products of labor (and indeed the humans whose labor pow er was the source of these objects) for the purposes of exchange, so too did the import of what Marx terms the general equivalentan object excepted from normal circulation that would serve as the token of universal value and thus facilitator of all potential exchange. Briefly, in his analysis of exchange Marx demonstrates how the market-as-the-site for social exchange engi neers a relationship in which elements meet and weigh-in against each other in a judgment of va lue or worth. This act of commensurabilitythe very notion that disparate elements can even be made comparable in a calculus of valueadds a new dimension to those objects: to some degr ee all commodities contain a common element of negotiable magnitude. A supersensuous, trans cendent element beyond that objects own material features now becomes fundamental to that objects own being, and the object-ascommodity has been apparently abstracted, alie nated, from its origins in living human labor ( Capital 144). Within this deterritor ialization and recoding of materi al objects into elements and components of the market, currency or money seem s to hold special privilege. If two disparate objects share an element in common and can be ma de commensurate with each other, then a sign

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35 of that equivalence can be constructed, replaci ng the material presence of the commodity, in order to facilitate and develop exchange ( Capital 127). Marxs philosophy of the commodity fetish offers an explanation for all human interaction through market dynamics: only as owne rs of these objects-fo r-the-market do humans express their will, express themselves as transcendent beings ( Capital 178-9). But further, a general equivalent form manifests this abstract ed value as will and ta kes the stage to govern and facilitate the actions that de marcate this entity we know as t he market. The social quality of labor, fragmented, effaced from the immediat e presence (prescience) of the commodity at the event of the exchange, can best be tr aced in the form of the money commodity.5 In their difficulties our commodity-owners think like Faust: In the beginning was the deed. They have therefore already acted before thinking. The natural laws of the commodity have manifested themselves in the natural instinct of the owners of commodities. They can only bring their co mmodities into relation as values, and therefore as commodities, by bringing them into an opposing relation with some one other commodity, which serves as the universal equivalent. []The social action of all other commodities, therefore, sets apart the particular commodity in which they all represent their values. The natural form of this commodity thereby becomes the socially recognized equivalent form. Through the agen cy of the social pr ocess it becomes the specific social function of the commodity whic h had been set apart to be the universal equivalent. It thus becomesmoney. ( Capital 180-1) The commodity as both the elemental object th at defines capitalistic exchange and as the determinant and governor of all social relations is, of course, the basis upon which Georg Lukcs builds his critique of reification.6 Yet Lukcss description of reification gives only passing 5 Ernest Mandel writes Under conditions of generalized commodity production, social labour cannot be immediately recognized othe rwise than through its exchange against money (74). 6 Lukcs writes at this stage in the history of mankind there is not problem that does not ultimately lead back to that question [of the fundamental nature of a capitalist society] and there is no solution that could not be found in the solution to the riddle of commoditystructure [] That is to say, the problem of commodities must not be considered in isolation or even regarded as the central pr oblem in economics, but as the central, structural problem of capitalist society in all its aspects (83).

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36 reference to the import of money within commodity culture.7 Still, it would seem that, as the passage from Marx hints, the money commodity would hold special place within the reified social conditions of the nineteenth century: wh at we understand as money is only identifiable as such as the commodity itself ascends out of circul ation and loses all of its own definitive features that might possibly give it valuein-itself, and yet this special commodity would seem to hold the mirror to read social codes under capital deve lopment. As Jean-Joseph Goux has noted, money ascends to sovereign commodity and facilitates and governs the circulatory momentum defining the market only insofar as it is excepted from the circulation of all other commodities.8 It would seem that this excepted status from the regime of the commodity in circulation offers special insight into the concept of reif ication that governs social life. The difficulty in explaining the phenomenon and function of money within the market is thus also based on the concept of value as an exception, extracted from value-creating living human labor, to the point that the market can ap parently be self-suffici ent and generate value through the money commodity. Th is is the criticism lobbied by Lukcs towards certain bourgeois economists, who divine these empty manifestations from their real capitalist foundation and make them independent and perman ent by regarding them as timeless models of 7 Lukcs quotes volume 3 of Marxs Capital to describe the reification process as a way that the bourgeois economists measure the creation of value, or money as the measurement that bourgeois economists use to illustrate the ways in which capital apparently reproduces itself. Lukcs brings us to this quote in Marx in particular: While interest is only a portion of the profit, i.e. of the surplus value, which the functioning capitalist squeezes out of the laborer, it appears now, on the contrary, as though interest were the typical product of capital, the primary matter, and profit, in the shape of profit of enterprise, were a me re accessory and by-product of the process of reproduction. Thus we get a fetish form of capital, and the conception of fetish capital. In M-M we have the meaningless form of capital, the perversion and objectification of production relations in their highest degree, the interest-bearing form, the simple form of capital, in which it antece des its own process of reproduction (Marx, Capital Vol. 3 384-5; Lukcs 94). 8 Goux writes Whether the accession to power is by conquest or by election, it is accompanied by an excommunication The sovereign element, as universal equivalent, itself has no equivalent; it is out of the ordinary placed for this reason outsid e the community it governs. It is cut out, substituted, withdrawn. It legislates as an exception [] What becomes the site of law itself [] is thus what is by nature into the bargain; more than bargained for, excessive, transcendent (31, emphasis in the original).

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37 human relations in general. [] But they do not go further than a description and their deepening of the problem runs in circles around the eternal manifestations of reification (945). Money, by bringing unlike material entities into relation at the same time, produces a mystifying characteristic beyond th e material by which value is to be judged. Reinserted from outside into the systems of ex change, the excepted commodity, th e universal equivalent, money, bears the will of the sovereign market and the enforcement of an alieni.e. external law on the contours of everyday life. In th is sense, currency excepted from the level of commodities on exchange not only serves to faci litate that exchange, but also to govern the social body. Money thus is a strikingly imposing, evident example of what Giorgio Agamben recognized as the authority of legal and juridical apparatuses because it bears witness to the activity of exception that defines modern sovereignty itself.9 One of the most exceptional characters on a ship brimming with th em a steamer that Melville describes as market-like in its dashi ng, fusing and pouring along, helter-skelter of disparate entities in the all-fusi ng spirit of the west, yet also lik e the reified social stage in that production has been submerged is The Confidence Man s Black Guinea, a crippled African American fellow who makes his living by catching with his mouth coins thrown at him by the passengers of the Fidle .10 Note, however, the subtlety of Me lvilles transformation of the Black 9 More precisely, Agamben identifies the definitive character istic of sovereignty as exception that can be more properly viewed as a type of exclusion but still bearing rela tion to the rule, a type of suspension of the rule: The exception is a kind of exclusio n. What is excluded from the general rule is an individual case. But the most proper characteristic of the exception is that wh at is excluded in it is not, on account of being excluded, absolutely without relation to the rule. On the contrary, what is excluded in the exception maintains itself in relation to the rule in the form of the rules suspension. The rule applies to the exception in no longer applying, in withdrawing from it (17-8, emphasis in the original). 10 The particulars of this image of the Black Guinea pres ented by Melville probably resonated strongly with his nineteenth century audience, for the actio ns of this character conform in strict detail to the legendary origins of the entertainment associated with blackface minstrelsy. In Love and Theft: Blackface Mi nstrelsy and the American Working Class Eric Lott cites a 1867 Atlantic Monthly article, appearing ten years after the publication of The Confidence-Man, about T.D. Rices first famous performance almost 40 years earlier in Pittsburgh:

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38 Guinea from object of charity to facilitator of economic flow that is itself marked by an excess an oversignification : Thus far not very many pennies had been given him, and, used at last to his strange body looks, the less polite passengers of those in that part of the bo at began to get their fill of him as a curious object; when suddenly the negro more than revived their first interest by an expedient which, whether by chance or de sign, was a singular te mptation at once to diversion [emphasis in the original] and to char ity, though, even more than his crippled limbs, it put him on a canine footing. [] Still shuffling among the crowd, now and then he would pause, throwing back his head and opening his mouth like an elephant for tossed apples at a menagerie, when making a space before him, people would have a bout at a strange sort of pitch-pe nny game, the cripples mouth bei ng at once target and purse. (11-2) The Black Guineas activity here revives the faili ng moneyed interests of the Faustian passengers and draws all signs of value to him. The Black Guinea as centerpiece of this enterprising vessel, this ship carrying merchants on stock exch ange (to which Melville had likened the Fidle on page 7), ascends to the point of convergence and synthesis for all th e values; part of what defines the dashing and all-fusing qualit y of the steamer is the extent to which passengers have one and all been induced into participation in Bl ack Guineasmoneysgame of a market that generates its own value.11 Furthermore the Black Guineas act ions can be recognized through the There was a negro in attendance at Griffiths Hotel, on Wood Street, named Cuff,an exquisite specimen of his sort,who won a precarious subsistence by letting his open mouth as a mark for boys to pitch pennies into, at three paces, and by carrying the trun ks of passengers from the steamboats to the hotels. Cuff was precisely the subject of Rices purpose. Sli ght persuasion induced him to accompany the actor to the theatre, where he was lead throug h the private entrance, and quietly ensconced behind the scenes. Rice, having shaded his own countenance to the contraband hue, ordered Cuff to disrobe, and proceeded to invest himself in the cast-off apparel. [Ons tage] the extraordinary apparition produced an instant effect. The effect was electric. (cited in Lott 18). The Atlantic Monthly goes on to describe how this Cuff, who, like Melvilles Black Guinea, works aboard a steam ship as baggage-carrier for passengers, hears the just-arrived vessel signal at the Monongahela Wharf. Anxious to return to the wharf to earn his daily wage, Cuff interrupts Rice in his performance, imploring the performer return Cuffs dress. According to the Atlantic Monthly Cuffs interruption of Rices act was the touch, in the mirthful experience of that night, that passed endurance (cited in Lott 19). 11 Salazar associates the sense of strangeness aboard the Fidle to late antebellum soci ety that made confidence between strangers an increasingly necessary, yet precari ous, condition of economic a nd social exchange (55).

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39 principles of exchange particular to cap italisms accumulation of surplus valueadding diversion to charity, becoming at the same time target and purse. Written alongside this character as the certificate of socio-economic interaction is the possibility that the Black Guinea is counterfeit; his wordy (wort hy) character floods the market of value so as to hasten its collapse.12 The scene offers as axiom the notion that the excepted commoditys transcendence into the general e quivalent is based on some social, unstable contract; real value is far from intrinsic featur e of the excepted commodity. To a certain extent, the functionality of equivalent exchange and the possibility of the creation of capital surplus depends upon this confidence game: Guineas affect ed role, affected value as centerpiece for circulation, more than revives dying interest and induces excessive participation in a system of reciprocal exchange which belies the incongr uity that would govern market principles themselves. The hint of something excessive in exchange provides a whisper of surplus-value: something exchanged has been more than what has been bargained for.13 Unexamined by the orthodox principles of re ification, then, is th e question as to how money in this sense induces par ticipation without direct, coerci ve force. The charges brought by the former custom-house officer that the Black Guinea is some decoy meant to ensnare the 12 Reader of this novel have traditionally noted the correlation between an economy of words and the governing context of finance capital in which the novel is set. Do minique Marais is quick to point out Melvilles play on words wordy/worthy in this description of the Black Guinea: B lack Guinea, punning on worthy/wordy, calls attention to himself as dis poor ole darky, well wordy of all you kind gentlemen in a context where a good word is opposed to valuable papers, hinting at the primac y of oral discourse over the written word (187). The abundance of words here seem to play a vital role in the obfu scation of true value at this point in the novel, and as is discussed later offer an endless string of payments de ferred rather than realized in the event of exchange. For critics such as Clark Davis, the correlation between money and words in this texts demarcates a growing concern with the transformation of human values into commodities (43). 13 Wai-chee Dimocks assessment of the novel draws a so mewhat similar conclusion, although Dimock does not locate any excess in exchange throug h the Black Guinea. [C]onfidence in th e crudest sense [] seems to signify money. Money is what changes hands as confidence changes hands. [] And yet something less tangible, harder to account for, seems to have changed hands as well. [] The loss somehow seems greater, not so easy to calculate (191).

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40 (white) passengers on the ship offers as subt ext the question from wh ere does legitimacy of value come? Who is its guarantor? Even more, in what sense does the minted coin also bear the will, the desire, the constructed need of a multitude reconstituted as actors for the market? Consider Billy Budd, Sailor, for example (yet another in the Melville cannon described by critics as being a decisively que er text), in which Melville dabbles in the introduction of the money commodity as it relates to notions of politicized unres t and channels people into a confidence in market relati ons marked by a sense of security As Barbara Johnson and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick have noted elsewhere, the axis around which the reader is called to interpret and judge the events aboard the Bellipotent is based upon the relati on between two of the principal charactersBilly Budd and John Cla ggart and what each supposedly signifies; for Johnson, Billy seemingly represents the perfectly motivated sign; that is his inner self (the signified) is considered transparently readable from the beauty of his outer self (the signifier) (236-7). Claggart, as Sedgwick, has shown, is defined as the negative of Budd, depraved because he is, in his desires, a pervert, of a sort that by 1891 had names in several taxonomic systems although scarcely yet, in English, the na me homosexual (219). The narrative space of the ship is abuzz, then, with what circulates between these tw o key, polarized figures, each of whom cannot seem to get the other out of hi s respective thoughts (Budd for the life of him cannot figure out why Jemmy Legs is down on hi m, while Claggart for his part is obsessed with getting Billy); circulating aboard this sh ip, then, is an economy of desire, a play between two figures whose motives lie in the relation be tween the (sexualized) links between signifier and signified. But while these critical views point to char acter motive and desire based on a primarily linguistic level (the motivation between the signifier and what is signified), what we must not

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41 forget are they ways in whic h the narrative also deploys a material economics of detection to establish the tempo for an economics of de sire. Budd, the uncommonly handsome, young sailor impressed into duty aboard the Bellipotent in Melvilles novella, ca tches the eye, and thus the antipathetic passion, of the master-at-arms of the warship and the chief security officer, Claggart. Much of the officers information concerning the sentiments of the common sailor come from his corporal, Squeak, so nick-n amed by the sailors on ac count of his squeaky voice and sharp visage ferreting about the dark co rners of the lower decks after interlopers, satirically suggesting to them the idea of a rat in a cellar (40). At once in this passage a mouse, a weasel and a rat, Squeak is the junction of both information and an implicit tool for the security chief in laying little traps to snare the targets of Claggarts envy. The success of Claggart as security chief depends ultimately on this agent circulating among the population that is to be policed. Awakened in the next chapter by an unknown figur e, Billy is invited by this otherworldly voice to sneak away while his ship-mates sleep to the lee forerchains, for there is something in the wind. The voice attempts to gain Billys sy mpathies by pointing out that he, like Budd, had been impressed into duty aboard the Bellipotent But we learn also of a confederation of impressed sailors aboard this ship who may need Billys helpat a pinch (42). To secure Billys sympathies, the mysterious figure offers Billy two small objects faintly twinkling in the starlight (42). Although we never learn the ident ity of this conspirator, we, along with Billy, wonder in the next chapter how anyone would be able to obtain two guineas at sea. Whatever the case, the warship seems to be ove rseen by some external martial law; that is, the occurrences aboard this ship are not an organic, autonomous outgrowth of the vessels own society left to develop itself but are a product of some outsid e source just out of sight, both in economy and

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42 justice. The guineas here are employed in an economy of detection in Billy Budd, and we suspect they are offered to him by Claggarts deputy in order to gage, isolate for the purposes of measurement and control, monitor, and discip line the ships populati on. In this scene from Melvilles novella (telling subtitled An Inside Narrative), currency here appears surreptitiously, attempting to seduce Billy into pa rticipation in a plot in a pinch. Through the two sparkling guineas in the moonlight, secur ity itself becomes something exchangeable, a commodity for-the-market like all others, and thus subjected to the marketing practices systemic to these methods of exchange. Money thus also, as the market sovereign, bears the seal of a carefully and intricately constructe d system of social desire that has been synchronized, and in this case, bears the seal of the social desire for security; all de sires and motive circulating aboard this ship are now re-written, re directed within an economics of security. The phrase that repeatedly haunts Billy, Jemmy Legs is down on you, ripples with the cr oss-cutting meanings that seem to channel all desireseconomic ( down on Billy as if he were a public stock), disciplinary (Jemmy Legs being the colloquial term for the poli cemans baton used to subdue rioting masses), and sexual (implying the attracti on Claggart holds for Bi lly)into one that will lay the foundation for the social bond of the public sphere in which the population will find its subjectivity under the imperi alizing nation-state. This is to sa y that the social order and laws codified to guarantee it confront the subject/cit izen in a very similar way as do commoditiesas an alien force emanating from some extra-human origin. For a political system nominally based in principles of democracy, in which the laws and codes governing daily life are generated and developed by the equal participation of thos e who compose the community, the commodity and the general equivalent that is money threatens to rupture this fable of political autonomy.

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43 It would seem in both of these Melville texts, the Guinea part icipates in a new function of the general equivalenta textualization of the opacity of social rela tions, or what Jean Baudrillard in The Political Economy of the Sign understood as the sum total of all social relationsof production and the reality of the di vision of labor (65). In both examples, the Guinea appears on the stage of the market from a place not legible within the contours of normalized everyday circulation. Nothing explicit to the logic of reciprocity, commensurability and exchange should allow for an excess of value to be written into the act itself; yet this phenomenonto contain more th an signified value common to the market in which it circulatesis precisely what gives money a special quality Money moves from being facilitator of exchange to object of accumulation, and mark s a transformation of market relations from participation underwritten from the centered subject of investment capitalism from a complex of needs to an array of desires engendered to assu re no one would willingly want to leave its grasp. With the emergence of the sovereign coin, the lin k between social relations and the histories in which they had been born and crafted has become opaque. Social relations forged out of the tryworks of a living human history that has been deeply submerged, return to make an uncanny appearance on the stage of collective consciousness through mone y, but in altered form that now whispers you are most yourself when you give your self over to the market and participate in capitalist exchange. The accelerated process of exchange catalyzed by currency effaces the status of human agency in this system; market, currency, and s overeign power seem a natural development of human history. Human agency has only been readmitted into this system to confirm market sovereignty, i.e. as a means to securing a naturall y ordained reality. As a concept that acts as guarantor of new social relations of exchange, security itself circulates on the market, has its use

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44 value superseded by its exchange value, beco mes commodity, and has attached to its newfound existence properties that have b ecome a target of newly engin eered shibboleths of need and desire. By the final chapter, the confidence man and the old man consider one such embodiment of security commodifi edthe Counterfeit Detector the tw o discuss was a common periodical publication that offered patrons insight as to how real money might be discerned from false specie. These desires, as have been demonstrat ed numerous times elsewhere, materialize and become conscious through some fo rm of narrativization; but just as easily both counterfeit coin and narrative may act as textua lized countercurrency and through material history made legible ground a now vibrant oppor tunity to criticism.14 The Social Myth of Debt: Desire and the Narrative Currency of Investment Something queer about this darkie, depend upon it. ( The Confidence-Man 19) Conductive to the proper function of money, the n, is that the general equivalent chosen from all other commodities must be emptied of all features that are its own, or characteristics particular to itself. This is partially behind Marxs obsession w ith money and the oxidation rates of various precious metals found in the drafts of the Grundrisse : as metals decay, they falter in their ability to be representative of an abstract value, of the supersensuous characteristic that measures and evaluates all commodities.15 In fact, the Guinea coin historically marked a significant moment in the metallu rgical production money as the fi rst coin to be mechanically reproduced and thus more perfect, more unifo rm, and less susceptible to shavings, ragged 14 Fredric Jamesons The Political Unconscious presents this most directly: We would therefore propose the following revised formulation: that history is not a text, not a narrative, master or otherwise, but that, as an absent cause, it is inaccessible to us except in textual form, and that our approach to it and the Real itself necessarily passes th rough its prior textualiztion, its narrativization in the political unconscious. (35) 15 See especially Notebook 1from The Grundrisse s chapter on money, pages 174-86.

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45 edges (as Melville in Billy Budd would later describe narratives that strived to present truth uncompromisingly told), and other corruptions common to coins made of precious metals. Melvilles Black Guinea, a comm odity without origin, without a readily available history, a dog without a master, has had his own features susp ended, if not completely emptied: whatever his own emotions, he swallowed them (12). The im age is subtle, yet profound in its precision: Guinea suppresses anything that would be his own or particular to his character in the very same act in which he becomes the center of circulation. Ye t as living reference to an artifact that itself was a mechanism meant to guarantee economic s ecurity, he makes splashes among the waves of the confident and cosmopolitan tide when the possi bility that he is himself is counterfeit has been introduced by the suspecting discharged custom house officer. It is an authority of judgment once again coming from outside the parameters of the desiring commun ity (read: market) that is shared by the detective-as-stranger from our nineteenth-century dime novel: While this game of charity was yet at its height, a limping, gimlet-eyed, sour-faced personit may be some discharged cust om-house officer, [] after sundry sorry observations of the negro, began to croak out something about his deformity being a sham, got up for financial purposes, which immediately threw a damp upon the frolic benignities pf the pitch-penny players. (12) Both prophet and profit in these two different sc enesthe custom-house officer represented here in terms antithetical to the geni ality of the pitch-penny game and the Black Guinea in Melvilles text, and the detective-stranger and the counterfeit ten dollar-bill in our dime novelspeak their words defining the contours of real versus feigned currency from unperceived locations, out of the sight but not from outside of shouting distance to those participating in the business-as-usual activities of the community of exchange.16 16 As Dimock has observed, speech imposes itself upon, rather than is uttered by, the characters in this novel, but does not tie this observation directly into the fetishes proposed by and inherent to investment capital. From the first scene till the last, Dimock writes, disembodied voices are made to deliver oblique comments on the actions of the story. All in all, we have the eerie sense that speech imposes itself on a characterr ather than issuing from him

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46 The effect is one shared with our earlier, disease-like dime novel and reflects the new, urbanizing cultural logic of para noia emerging in the middle of th e nineteenth century. In many cases, the figure of the confidence man was portr ayed in early antebellum America as a benign trickster whose ubiquitous presence on the ur banizing landscape offered acumen into human social relations changed by the expanse of the ma rket (Mitchell 53). As the urban centers grew larger, so too did the implicati ons for social life. As historia n Karen Halttunen has noted the trope of the confidence man that was abundant du ring this period developed from a specific fear of contagion: that young people, usually young men, re -locating to urban cente rs that facilitate market circulation at a higher rate, would not onl y be susceptible to swindlers themselves, but through exposure to such practices, might themselves forget the values taught them in their rural upbringings and become swindlers of others (5). Fears of dise ase and contagionthe new poles of signification made legible by the development of human soci al contact and exchangeare hereby foundational moments for new apparatuses of security.17 Against these registers of meaning and va lue dictated by the l ogic of accumulation, Melvilles work seems a decidedly queer text. This final novel, written by one who ten years later himself was employed by the city of New Yo rk as a customs officer, circulates within the literary marketplace much the same way as does the Black Guinea aboard this favored steamer; or put differently the text illuminates the exte nt to which the cultural activity of reading has and that in the long run, it makes little difference who this character is. Characters are interchangeable. They are no more than the medium in wh ich words circulate (208). 17 As Michael Rogin notes The problematic identity of the confidence man spreads to the other characters. Just as Bartlebys language infects the lawyer an d his employees, all the characters on the Fidle wear costumes; none has a self. A modest man thrust out naked into the street, would he not be abashed? Take him in and clothe him; would not his confidence be restored? the cosmopolitan asks the barb er (239). He is defending clothing in the name of the authenticity of wigs, to assuage the barb ers anxiety that men are not what th ey seem. Men are not what they seem on the Fidle but that is not because they have true selves hidd en under their clothing. Th ere are only the costumes with no one inside. Clothes have lost their connection to a self, even to a hidden one revealed by the clues they provide. Once clothing is cut loose from its moorings in the self, the unembodied interior dissolves. Pierre and Bartleby imagined a split between exterior and interior. There is only an absent self on the Fidle (243).

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47 collapsed to mirror the speculative games of trad ers on the stock exchange. One early review of the novel from the New York Dispatch dated April 5, 1857 describes his disappointment in revealing metaphor: When we meet with a b ook written by Herman Melvi lle, the fascinations of Omoo and Typee recur to us, and we take up the work with as much confidence in its worth, as we should feel in the possession of a checque drawn by a well-known capitalist. So much greater is the disappointment, therefore, wh en we find the book does not come up to our mark. This trajectory mapped out by narr ative expectations work within the established au spices of an economy of investment seems itself a nineteenth-century project that weds aspects of the literary to the specifications of investme nt capital. Other reviews of the text looked on with suspicion, sensing the immediate act of reading left someth ing unfulfilled in the exchange between author and audience. Consider the review from the London Literary Gazette dated April 11, 1857: It is, of course, very possible that there ma y be method in all this madness, and that the author may have a plan, which must needs be a very deep one indeed. Certainly we can obtain no inkling of it. It may be that he has chosen to ac t the part of a medieval jester, conveying weighty truths under a semblance antic and ludicrous; if so, we can only recommend him for the future not to jingle his bells so loud. Ther e is no catching the accents of wisdom amid all this clattering e xuberance of folly. Thos e who wish to teach should not begin by assuming a mask so grotes que as to keep listeners on the laugh, or frighten them away. Whether Mr. Melville re ally does mean to teach anything is, we are aware, a matter of considerable uncertainty. [. .] [T]his caldron, so thick and slab with nonsense, often bursts into the bright, brief bubbl es of fancy and wit. The greater the pity to see these good things so thrown away. In the hint of the unreadable (a revi ewer from the April 25th edition of The London Illustrated Times describes it as indigestible), wast eful, excessive, aff ected, inscrutable, inexchangeable, counterfeit novel, the possible excess that has been psychological ly, socially feared defines the reading experience. Jacques Derridas analysis of another narrativ e of false currency, Baudelaires short story Counterfeit Money, illuminates this tendency of dominant busin ess practices to dictate the

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48 literary lexicon. Baudelaires narrator in this s hort text seems scandalized when his companion reveals to him that he intentionally has passed a counterfeit coin to a common beggar; Derrida posits this exchange between narrator and friend is something that itself creates a feeling within the narratorthe possibility of (counterfeit) exchange is the source of the realistic narrative.18 The narrator/narration in the age of value as monetary sign beco mes an infinite game, a source of whimsical fancy which can easily slip into the same bourgeois uncritical awe as the power of real money; currency, counterfeit or no, can produce real capital all by itself, without the aid of living labor behind it (124). As a result of this literary co-opting of th e money-fetish, narratives such as these introduce an aleatory, incal culable consequencespeculationof counterfeit currency. What takes shape here is the infinity or rather the indefiniteness of the bad infinite that characterizes the monetary th ing (true or counterfeit money) and everything it touches, everything it contaminates (that is by definiti on, everything). What take s shape here is the quasi-automaticity of its accumulation and thus of the desire it calls forth or engenders. (158) The Black Guineas presence rather early in this novel demonstrates the level to which humans in this age of value as a monetary sign have been lost in the economic infinite. The possibility of feigned value in the symbol agai nst real, value-creating labor, cr eates the speculation that will generate and advance the narrative. Reading a novel becomes a monolithic approach that presumes the novel itself produces, as Frederic Ja meson has noted in the development of realistic prose, the world, the cadences, and th e animations of commodity life as reality (152). Whether or not speculation can in and of itself fuel a novel or even be sufficient evidence to judge a text as a whole, unified ent ity text, novel, wor k/product of an author, 18 That which happens here is not the content of a story, those events that a narrative relation generally reports, Derrida writes. What happens happens to the narration, to the elements of the narration itself, beginning with the fiction of its supposed subject (121).

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49 etc., is also at least suspect, as Peggy Kamuf has argued about The Confidence-Man .19 Precisely this uncertainty, this infin ite open-ended possibility of The Confidence-Man, serves as the power by which Melville illuminates th e tenuous social cohesion and the confidence that holds together the Fidle s cosmopolitan and confident tide.20 Kamufs assessment is that Melvilles work does much to lead towards the expectation of a resolution as some promise of payment infinitely deferred. What is important, indeed imper ative, to acknowledge is that this effect of suspension is no less calculated than the other e ffect of doubt sustained co ncerning the probity of certain characters who may be the masquerades adopted by just one ch aracter (170). This calculated incalculable op ens up in this text, for Kamuf, a potent literary horizon, that which confounds the insistency fostered by a market synchronized by the event of instantaneous exchange and instead resides in the aleatory fu ture. For Kamuf, this narrative temporality deploys a resolution always antici pated but never made present, in infinite deferment in which literature and the novel dwell, r unning counter to, counterfeiting, the cadences of a real defined by immediacy, present, exacting payment.21 19 Beginning her analysis with the difficulty editors have ha d in introducing critical editions of the text, Kamuf states the possibility opens up that the editors have described not the object itself which they concede remains itself in question as precisely an itself; rather they have described but a belief concerning that object and shared by certain mainstream of Melville scholars, the belief that The Confidence-Man is held together by the notion of a self who is selfsame (169). 20 For at least one reader, the texts complete denial of absolute knowledge and extr eme skepticism is itself a new source of community bound together by charity or faithfulness. Gustav Van Cromphout argues that the novel demonstrates that knowledge of the other is so highly pr oblematic that it cannot serve as a valid determinant of ones relationship to them. What is needed is a more satisfactory mode of being in the world with others. The proposed alternative is charity, urged emphatically in chapter 1 (48). Charity, then, for Van Cromphout will provide the moral axis upon which the rest of the novel revolves (49). Of course, this highly problematic reading of the novel denies any possible subtext that would even hint at charity, credit, or any other feelings describing a new social relation drawing actors to exchange as exploitative. 21 Kamuf uses the critical language differnce, located here specifically in terms of capitalist principles of exchange. The Confidence-Man in this sense, comes to us, if it comes at all, from the future. Its temporality is that of an always-yet-to-come, and it issues what may be called literatures unlimited credit card (171).

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50 This view of Melvilles text implicitly re lies upon an assumption of the literary artifact the novelas a bourgeois institution, fulfilling a specific expectation that accepts, indeed flourishes under a particular ec onomic philosophy of payment, ex change, value, and capital. Along these lines, the introduction of the possibility of feigned or affected value, suggested by the discharged custom-house officer of The Confidence-Man entrenches the presumed veracity of value vital to the markets f unction not within a system of immediate reciprocity or payment but instead in a seemingly endless possibility of credit in which exchange can be deferred for a time. The rupture in this continuum becomes an ex traordinary site in which much of workings of investment capital, and narratives employed in its service, begin to engineer the subjectivities Wai-chee Dimock identifies this phenomenon in Me lvilles novel as an emerging economy of the self (186, 196)necessary for surplus ac cumulation to develop more rapidly. In The Gold Standard and the Logic of Naturalism Walter Benn Michaels notes that a new concept of bourgeois desire as the proper feature of subjectivity on th e market stagea new desiring characteris involved in reassu ring the confidence of the economy of investment capital: a desire to conflate, or at least de-emphasize the tw o regimes of value, use versus exchange value, into one value remakes people not into workers but consumers.22 The definition of value according to this economic ideology, that objects ha ve a synchronic, apparent, present value, as well as a projected, exchange value, creates a schi zophrenic effect with re spect to the object, for the possibility exists that the object as commodity is nothing more that what it appears to be at that moment, a feeling that always haunts the co nstitution of that object as commodity. What if, 22 In the novel of naturalism, according to Michaels: the desire to live up to the look on your face (to become what is written on your face) is the desire to be equal to oneself, to unify both the use-value and exchange-value which, in the logic of the gold standard, is the desire to make yourself equal to your face value, to become, gold (20)

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51 after all, Michaels reminds us, that dollar bill in your hand is really a worthless piece of paper?23 Not coincidently, stringing together a procession of elements li nked together into a line of extended payment is also precisely a key role money plays in an economic continuum according to Gerog Simmel: Every act of consumption in itially breaches th e continuity of the line of development. [] Into this stream, which pervad es the strictly separated objects and controls their value significance, money now enters in order to compensate for the threatened interruption (124). Money intervenes at this mo ment to facilitate exchange as narrativenot only to represent value, but dir ect the desires of exchange as the social cohesion keeping this particular social relation togeth er. But to return to our excepti onal character, the Black Guinea; through the offering of an infinite processi on of possible payments, of those who could potentially vouch for his real value, the Black Guinea lays out the sequential pathway to serve a monetary purpose that will also structure our narrative. When pressed to find someone to vouch for him, the Black Guinea will name in succes sion the characters who will embody the persona of the title character in th e novels following episodes. But is there not someone who can speak a good word for you? [] Oh yes, oh yes, gemmen. [] Der is a board here a werry nice good gemmen wid a weed, and a gemmen in a grey coat and white tie. Oh, find em, find em he earnestly added, and let em come quic k, and show you all, gemmen, dat dis poor ole darkie is werry well wordy of all you kind gem mens kind confidence. (14-5) 23 The naturalist novel produces an attempt to raise into consciousness capitalisms hand in projecting subjectivity, for, according to Michaels, in these novels it becomes, of course, impossible to keep capitalism out not only because capitalism provides the objects of fear and desire but because it provides the subjects as well. For every commodity creat ed (on, say, the Chicago futures market), a desire can be created (in advertising, by art): for every worthless bit of paper that can be transformed into an object of desire (greenbacks) some impersonal entity can be transformed into the subject that desires it (corporations). Indeed, one must go a step further and say that the logic of capitalism produces objects of desire only insofar as it produces subjects, since what makes the objects desirable is only the constitutive trace of subjectivity those objects bear. (20)

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52 The veracity of exchange lies both in Black Guineas presence but also upon his absence, as if his real value is abstracted, in finitely elsewhere, never to be materialized in the immediate event of payment upon which the systemic rule of recipr ocity has been founded. This seemingly limitless procession of people who will vouch for him dictates the tempo by which the proceeding pages will turn, seeking (re)payment in the event of reading and thus fulfilling the promise governing social exchange. But what Melvilles text offers us here is an illumination to the racialized markers that had increasingly been a part of the new logic of exchange and development. As Susan Ryan has demonstrated, the search for a verification of Bl ack Guineas identity closely mirrors strategies employed by other midto late-century text s that relied on white-a uthored prefaces as testimonials to the truthfulness of individual slav e narratives. In this context, white speech is less alarmingand perhaps more trustworthytha n black flesh (699). This formulation expressly correlates flesh with the mechanical reproduction of th e surface of the coin/general equivalent, and makes legible a formulation for raci laized identities that ca nnot be extracted from diachronic, expansive, animated economic l ogics of realism, credit, and U.S.-style colonialism. Kamufs assessment of an indefinitely defe rred future through whic h the act of reading hopes to exact payment removes the moment of payment from the immediate, or at least independent of time, event of exchange now infinitely deferred. Of c ourse, Marxs analysis of the money-form identifies this as a peculiarity and po tential problem within th e system of capitalist exchange; money serves here both as the instigator of an exchange that needs to be instantaneous (for commodities change and alter valuesi .e. age through time, but money is by its definition, not subject to such material corrosions i.e. timeless) and itself a fulfillment of the

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53 promise of repayment. Marxs initial foray in to an analysis of ci rculationof commodities exchanged for money so that a different commod ity with a different use-value may be acquired (C-M-C)itself illuminates a contradictory founda tion for money: money also may be utilized in a process not just to excha nge different commodities (and t hus as a mere placeholder for value), but is vital to a process of exchange in which a surplus of value may be created through the exchange itself (M-C-M or money exchanged for a commodity, to be exchanged later for a higher cost, to buy in order to sell more dearm oney has thus been used to increase its own quantity). The general equivalent, supposed as a squaring-of-the-account a synchronization of time remade by the dynamics of exchange value, has also in its ow n being a sequence, a narrative of surplus accu mulation. Money thus becomes the consummate text of U.S. Literary Realism, a form emerging in this particular era of American investment capitalism. Time, of course, holds particular import for Marxian notions of value as the measure of the amount of human labor socially necessary in commodity production. But for other attempts to explain the peculiarity of money, time is at the behest of m oney as an instrument of payment, as a means to fulfill desires created by certain barriers. Simmel writes in his Philosophy of Money, the opportunity of choice which money as an abstract instrument provides applies not only to the goods offered at any one time, but al so to the date when it can be used (213). Simmels notion of money as a type of technology depends on the view of value as the extent to which objects resist human possession and consumption.24 Temporal differences become just one barrier established that meas ures a commoditys resistance to be consumed, and as such measures its value; enjoyment and consumption are themselves immediate moments for 24 Simmel writes We desire objects only if they are not imme diately given to us for our enjoyment; that is, to the extent tat they resist our desire. The content of our desire becomes an object as soon as it is opposed to us, not only in the sense of being impervious to us, but also in terms of its distance as something not-yet enjoyed, the subjective aspect of this condition being desire (66).

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54 Simmel.25 The economic system, consisting of objects bound together through an exchangeability expressed in money, becomes a complex negotiation of acquisition and sacrifice of values (Simmel 84, 120). Under this view of m oney and the economy, the engine that drives a system of exchange that is the market is human desire. Objects are not difficult to acquire because they are valuable, Simmel writes, but we call those objects valuable that resist our desire to possess them (66). Of course, such a vi ew ignores the extent to which notions of need and desire are themselves products of a systemic method of exchange that mediates, moderates, and governs all social modes of production and reproductionas if n eed and desire are elements anterior to modes of cap italist accumulation and the cr eation of surplus value.26 Lukcss critique of Simmels Philosophy of Money seems especially useful in discussing this Melville text: Simmels analysis of the money commodity is no more than de scription, rewording the spectral phenomena that is the effect of m oney in a commodity society rather than attempting to get at its root (94-5). Further still, it would seem that Kamufs analysis of The Confidence-Man may be susceptible to a similar critique that itself shed s light on a reified proce ss of reading for an end the fulfillment of some social contract for readin g realistic texts as a return on an investment. Kamufs likening to this infinite deferment of pa yment to a sort of literary credit card is a revealing metaphor, not just for th e ways in which it conjures an image of payment disassociated 25 The moment of enjoyment itself, wh en the opposition between subject and obj ect is effaced, consumes the value. Value is only reinstated as a contrast, as an object separated by the subject (Simmel 66). 26 Ellen Meiksins Wood, for example, defines the dis tinction between precapitalist and capitalist modes of production as the effective isolation of human workers from property, from the means of production, and even from the means of their own labor by approp riators for the express purpose of creating surplus labor. By legally constituting these producers as f ree as opposed to those held in chattel slavery, appropriators who control these means of production can compel producers to exchange their labor-power for a wage without using means of direct coercion. The market governs all social relations, not onl y a simple mechanism of exchange or distribution but the principle determinant and regulator of social reproduction. Market forces, according to this vi ew, intervene and influence the elements of social reproduction creating need s and desires that will guarantee, develop, and expand the level of human participation in a system geared towards unlimite d accumulation (96-7).

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55 from the event of exchange, but for an element which Kamuf ignores in he r analysisthe desire to further immerse oneself in the social situ ation of the market and its correlative in accumulation of debt. To say that the cultural pract ice of composing and reading fiction in this period resembles the now dominant mode of cap ital in the later portions of the nineteenth century is not enough; the economic primacy of inve stment instead here seems to be the basis for new cultural practices like reading fiction as a r ealist with an implicit understanding of the deeply buried yet still volatile conflicts and antagonisms that act as a subtext for the limited perspective granted citizenship. Kamufs assessmen t of Melvilles text as a deployment of a literary credit card thus immerses any activity of reading as a matter of class privilege, for while the infinite procession of objects meant to sa tisfy the desire for equal exchange defines the writing process, this economy (of signs) impos es itself on the exploited of the market, particularly on those who rely on the marketing of their own living labor. (We will encounter a strong example of this at Pullman in chapter 2.) A definition of literature as a system of credit all too easily masks its counterparta system of debt, one which will even assure against the autonomy for the worker, guaranteeing she or he cannot leave this system by which surplus is accumulated the more she has been alienated from her own efforts. The infinite procession of objects of payme nt offered by the Black Guinea points to a fundamentally new paradigm and approach to r eading the novel as artifact, for reading now relies on an essentially bourgeois notion of va lue: a series of signs placed in sequence is enough in itself to generate the promise of paym ent, the fulfillment and successful transmission of a coherent idea. For it is precisely this procession of comm odities introduced by the Guinea the gentleman with the weed, the gentleman with a grey coat and white tie, etc.which unite the text temporally into a novel by compelling the tu rning of the pages, drawing readers into what

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56 Baudrillard identified as a series of more complex motivations.27 And this rhetoric of this procession and offering of future payment serves as invitation to piece disp arate objects together which Baudrillard suggests to us wi ll inflate a sense of need and de sire in the human remade into consumer, all in order maximize the purchasing impulse: It is evident that objects are never offered for consumption in absolute disorder. They may, in certain cases, initiate disorder the better to seduce, but they are always arranged to mark out directive paths to orientate the purchasing impulse towards networks of objects in order to captivate that impulse and bring it, in keeping with its own logic, to the highest degree of commitment, to the limit of its economic potential. Clothing, machines and toiletries thus constitute object pathways, which establish inertial constraints in the consumer: he will move logically from one object to another. He will be caught up in a calculus of objects. ( Consumer Society 27). On this favored steamer, and in reading this n ovel, the expected approach of reading that the surface parallels simple commodity exchangec ommodity sold for money, money purchasing a different commodity, or C-M-C, gives way to th e hint, made even more palpable by the Black Guinea that the exchange actually generated unre quited, uncompensated value at the expense of the reader-made-consumer, or M-C-M Thus, workers who first come to this system with the only commodity they have at their disposal will always lose in this valuation processthe same processes which reworks their agency into th at of mere purchasing poweri.e. that of a consumer, obfuscates the fact that it is value generated by their own living labor which creates the potential for this surplus in the first place. The quest for equal exchange is itself the system which draws those even further into debt. 27Baudrillard writes that the human, through the infinite proc ession of commodities, no longer relates to a particular object in its specific utility, but to a set of objects in its total signification. [] The shop-window, the advertisement, the manufacturer and the brand name which here plays a crucial role, impose a coherent, collective vision, as though they were an almost indissociable totality, a series. This is, then, no longer a se quence of mere objects, but a chain of signifiers in so far as all of these signify one another reci procally as part of a more complex super-object, drawing the consumer into a series of more complex motivations (Baudrillard, Consumer Society 27).

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57 Its Everywhere You Want to Be: The Money Fetish and the Development of Imperial Security What then is the extent to which we may say narrative represents this inertia to the market? Of course, the enthusiasm to which the people of the ship defend the guinea reaches an apex when a Methodist minister threatens the doubting custom-house officerreferred to unflatteringly as a Canada thistle (16)with violence. From the very beginning of Melvilles novel, the parameters of a system of exchange through which humans will be engaged has been established. The first act aboard this ship sees a post offering a reward that will lead to the capture of some mysterious impostor. As if it had been a theater-bill, crowds were gathered about the announcement, and among them certain chevaliers, whose eyes, it was plain, were on the capitals, or, at least earnestly seeking sight of them from behi nd intervening coats; but as for their fingers, they were enveloped in some myth (2). Passages such as these are full of multiple trajectories; the word capitals a conduit for those di rections, referring both to the draw of the theater advertisement and the draw of money; and it is here in which the novel begins to carve out a description of what we now recognize as the cite of the cont radiction of the development of exchange, namely the money fetish. The descript ive language Melville deploys to describe a particular situation earnestly seeking sight of the capitals from behind intervening coats, fingers enveloped in some mythpresents th e subtlety of social relations remade under developed circulation, an ominous countertext offe red against positivist exchange in a very real yet shadowy myth. The pickpocket (chevalier/gen tleman) here is the paradigmatic subject of this ship of merchants on changethe desi re to accumulate the capital embodied in the money fetish. The myth that operates parallel to the masterplot of development is the money fetishthe sense that money is more than sym bol and facilitator of exchange, but the most powerful and desirable commodity on the market because of its privileged position as governor

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58 and overseer of all commodities. In the rise of realism as a l iterary demand that accents what Jameson recognizes as the limited perspectiv e of centered subjectivity, a corresponding collective logic brings a new soci al power of unrealistic omnipotence into view. Finally money emerges as the gateway to realitybecause if a ll perspective is limited, or more precisely, the reliance on perspective is precisely what defines real narrative, money thus is perspectiveless, and has the air of omnipotence. Imagining a negativ e is part of the creati on of a centered subject, an unrealistic omnipotence met with a realistic perspective. Realism here is situated by a limited, but centered subject.28 Melvilles scene here oscillate s between an emphasis on realistic perspectivethe chevalier eyes seeking the capitals from behind intervening coatsand transcendent omnipotencethe myth which ca n be revealed through the grasping of that capital. Desire thus constructed is what names this newly constituted subject of the reala definitive, finite position within the whole social fa bric, to the porthole of social power that is the money commodity. The reified identities of actors on the market with capital as the fulfillment of their subjective desires becomes, then, the grounds for the establishmen t of the newest safeguards. [D]uring a chance interval, one of these cheval iers somewhat showed his hand in purchasing from another chevalier, ex-officio a peddler of money belts, one of his popular safeguards (2). The money-belt peddler is both typical and at ypical chevalier, threatening the myths collapse by producing a guard against such othe r chevaliers; and even suggesting certain safeguards against the draw of the money fe tish necessarily shows his hand. The narrative 28 Symbolic textsentertain a far more difficult and im placable conception of the fully realized fantasy: one which is not to be satisfied by the easy solutions of an unrealistic omnipotence or the immediacy of a gratification that then needs no narrative trajectory in the first place, but which on th e contrary seeks to endow itself with the utmost representable density and to posit the most elaborate and systematic difficulties and obstacles, in order the more surely to overcome them, just as a philosopher imagines in advance the objections his triumphant argumentation will be summoned up to confute (Jameson 183).

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59 offered by these apparatuses of security whispe rs that myth across this faithful Mississippi steamer. The next peddler in Melvilles line of gentle men hawks a different type of safeguard narrative tales of various thieves, bandits crooks who achieve d popular icon (read: mythical ) status. Creatures, with others of the sort, one and a ll exterminated at the time, and for the most part, like the hunted generations of wolves in the same regions, leaving comparatively few successors; which would seem cause for un alloyed gratulation, a nd is such to all except those who think that in new countries, where the wolves are killed off, the foxes increase. (2) These narratives as commodities of security al so indulge in the mythical, or something beyond the everyday of the real market, to explain human activity transgressing the social order. A sort of exceptional statethe popular mythbecomes one proper realm of narra tion. Note that the limits of subjectivities these fa med criminals havefame through th eir traversal of the borders of citizenship granted through capitalismis represented as a penultimate horizon, a dying practice that is itself becoming legendary rebell iousness recoded as spectacle, emptied of its politically threatening potential. Crime as spectacle is at once bot h outside of circulation and in the process of being included into circulation. A nd yet this mythical notion of foxes contriving to short-circuit the laws of the market begins our narrative ; narrative becomes the direction to which these deferments will be settled, and the ga p or irreconcilable payment, of excessive value that was itself a product of exchange develops. The endless procession of objects made for ex change establishes a new system of living social life as if by proxy : rather than humans in direct social interaction with each other, humans interact with each other i ndirectly, filtered through the tranquili zed, secure social contract of the

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60 commodity form.29 And this indirect connection with what is really behind the Black Guineathe endless procession of characters that represents security-a s-certainty contingent upon a distance from realized valuewill offer us the vehicle that carries us from the beginning of this novel, with the advertisement warning of overzealous pickpocke ts with their eyes on capitals, through the final pages that culminat e in the discourse on Counterfeit Detectors and Money Belts. The Confidence-Man finally is a novel about securi ty in an age of the commoditysign. This futurity, this expansive trajectory evinced by characters like the Black Guinea, is now, for Dimock, the axis around which revolves a notion of selfhood and citizenship in the world in which investment pr ovides have become normative practice. Dimock writes The incorporation of time into the self is crucial fo r the logic of penalty, we can now see, for what results is a self accountable not only fo r wrongdoings already accomplished but also for wrongdoings he can be counted on to commit (200). Dimock notes that infused into the logic of the self and character, as demonstrated by this novel, is the idea of accountability, and is this notion of accountabilitythat somehow value w ithin the market can be exacted through the human material that composes itwhich defines th e legal fiction of thos e subjectivities of the new economic relation. Of course, this idea of credit/debt mapped on to a notion of security illuminates the privilege granted to some within the legal apparatus that exacts payment through a calculation of value based on these trajectories.30 What the character the Black Guinea 29 [S]igns are sources of security, Ba udrillard writes. A miraculous reality: wh en we look at the images of this world, who can distinguish this brief ir ruption of reality from the profound pl easure of not being there? The image, the sign, the messageall these things we consumerepre sent our tranquility consecrated by the distance from the world, a distance more comforted by the allusion to the real (34). 30 According to Lukcss definition of the law under reificatio n, It requires no further explanation to realize that the need to systematize and abandon empi ricism, tradition and material dependen ce was the need for exact calculation. However, this same need requires that the legal system shou ld confront the individual ev ents of social existence as something permanently established and exactly defined, i.e. as a rigid system (97). For Lukcs, this sets up a

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61 textualizes in the money commodity is the tendency to manipulate and compel bourgeois participation in these exchanges, conceptualizin g needs and desires on an individualistic level; under one logic presented here, security becomes a defining featur e of the human remade consumer, an end to the means.31 Yet the indissoluble antimoni es of class struggle present themselves here: too easily does this animation of social life continue to extract value from its participants, while further saddling them with eve r-accumulating debts. If Mitchell is correct in his assessment of the text, that The Confidence-Man explodes reified subjectivityas represented by the rational static selfthrough a type of irrational behavior centered in the body (54), we need only to consid er various classed-challenges to legal structures (the altered mug-shot from the Rogues Gallery is just one glaring example) to see how the body becomes a site of class struggle, recoded w ithin a discourse of le gality/criminality, in th e nineteenth century. The corollary of the Black Guinea, his logical development, as the novel implies, is the cosmopolitan, the figure who dominates the final half of Melvilles work. This true citizen of the world, who is never stranger in any one place where capital ha s already cut a path. In this novel, we have moved from a character named af ter a mechanically produced coin first minted by the British Empire in 1663 to commemorate the commencement of colonial trade with Africa (and which also becomes the colonizers term for an entire continent-as-raw-material for imperialism),32 to a model for what can only be described as citizens for a world paved for a possible conflict between the law and the continuous revolution wrought by capital; yet the synthesis is able to adapt the law to fit its own ends, all of which reveals the extent the development of the law is based on changing power relations between classes (Lukcs 101). 31 Baudrillard posits that needs and desires are better defined as a function induced (in the individual) by the internal logic of the system: more precisely, not as a consummate force liberated by the affluent society, but as a productive force required by the functioning of the system itself, by its process of reproduction and survival. In other words, they are only needs be cause the system needs them ( Political Economy of the Sign 82). 32 As William Pietz points out in his essay titled The Problem of the Fetish, guinea was the term becoming evoking specific spaces/poles along the circ ulation of the slave/triangle trade. Guinea, Pietz writes, was the word used to designate black Africaa non-European, nonmonotheist land not covered by the histories and cultural codes

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62 return on investments. Of course, the figure of th e cosmopolitan is not wit hout its own rich social history as John Bryants read of The Confidence-Man illuminates: attitudes toward cosmopolitanism particularly as it had been decoded as a consumer of cultures differentiated by racial markers, had dramatically shifted be tween the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Whereas the eighteenth century viewed cosmopolitanism as the potential for political, economic, and spiritual communion of all races a nd nations, the nineteenth century cast a distinctly suspicious eye on the fi gure. In Melvilles America, Br yant continues, the character type was invariably aligned with internationa l merchants, speculators, opportunists and other such operators (21). The difference seems to be one of intense suspicio n attached to modes of capital, now with the rest of the world subjected to the false sincerity that was inevitably linked to speculation and the creation of surplus value. Our cosmopolitanthe narrative descendent of our Black Guineais represented at the very first by Melville to be a taster of races, and presents a different view of race than that which had been dominant during the apex of cha ttel slavery in the United States. Rather than depending upon a synchronous determination, race latches on to the diachronic, logical sequence of narrative realism and a credit/inve stment economy, more proper fitting for nascent imperialism in which, as Salazar has argued charact er replaces racial identity (72). In Marxs descriptive precision of the diffe rences between global versus na tional markets, gold as the of old Europe or classical antiquity (2 05). The Guinea itself as a text allude s to a host of significant historical events, evoking colonialist histories and technologies of secu rity as the first currency ma nufactured by the means of mechanical reproduction, and therefore especially resilie nt against debasement by clippings, shaving about the edges, or other defilements that would render the mental incapable of performing its monetary service. This mechanized currency, perfect in that it would be a uniform general equivalent that would have its own material uniqueness erased by necessity, w ould be replaced in 1817 by the sovereign Pietz argues that this double meaning of the coin is a psychogeographical fusion of the term and thus into consciousness: an interferenc e, dialectic of meaning that locates, literally, the power of the money-form, and its ontological effect on those who wield it. It is almost as if between thes e two psychogeographical poles of the distant strange land and the new mysteriously monetized Europe, all natural objects with commodity value appear in a new, exotic light, almost a new field of consciousness (205-6).

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63 universally recognizable money co mmodity can at any time pass from one form to the other. The dual quality of money, depending upon the sphe re in which it circulates, is exactly the situation of Empire: an imperialism that inve sts an omnipotence into global money while retaining its hegemonicin this case whitec enter of dominance. For while all desiring individuals have their subjectiv ity defined by and contained w ithin the market, money is by definition boundless and under global literary realism, omnipotent when placed against the limited capitalist subject. If human agency can onl y be made legible as it has been staged through action-on-the-market, with the minting of the currency that animates human interactions the nation-state explicitly remakes those within its borders into ec onomic subjects of it sovereign power. Through the minting of money, an idea of m odern citizenship within U.S. Empire begins to sediment into its more familiar form. And yet, at the same time, through the contradiction of money as both place-holder and epit ome of abstract value, the co ins possible counternarrative provides an intense criticism of and a material history for that nascent pattern of global order.33 The body of the Black Guinea at last becomes the final mirror for a form of exploitation that can best be described as a type of ventr iloquism. When asked by a curious onlooker who is your master, Guineas rejoinder what gemen want to own dese here legs? destabilizes the logic of ownership in a free market: for both under the logic of American sl avery and the logic of American capitalism, ownership of bodily labor is the demarcating principle in operation and essentially dehumanizes the person into a labori ng conglomerate of moveable parts. As a dog with no master, Black Guinea is still in position where the activity of his legs, his bodily labor, still needs to be understood via a rhetoric of ownership. Marx reminds us that, under market capitalism, the only commodity a worker can offer is labor-power; such labor power as a 33 Marx points out that in the money form, we have encountered a technology that at once exerts a global economic taxonomy, yet at the same time through its mean s of circulation, erodes that difference. See Capital 235-6.

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64 commodity can also not escape the rhetoric of ownership. U nder both paradigms, the body of Black Guinea is subjected to ownership by privil eged whites. The logic of capitalism, with its requirement of free labor, offers no definite altern ative to the logic of ch attel slavery. Guinea as currency is something owned by the entire system of global investment capital that turns a profit on human flesh; the limbs that in part compos e his being are merely satellites or objects themselves that can be owned, or more desc riptive of the situation of nineteenth-century security: of living realit y via proxy/colonized.

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66 CHAPTER 3. WAS BARTLEBY BLACK?: RACE, WORK, AND EMINETLY SAFE COMMUNITIES IN THE LATE NINETEENTH-CENT URY INDUSTRIAL CITY Gentlemanly Cadavers and Social Deaths Dead letters! does it not sound like dead men? The opening to Herman Melv illes Bartleby, the Scrivene r offers, like many of the works by that author, a questionable, if not a ffected, narrative voice. Three paragraphs spent chiseling out the narrato rs persona of efficiency, founded on the profound conviction that the easiest way of life is the best, do little to quell the conspicuousn ess of a narrator who by his own words, an eminently safe man, is noteworthy fo r being un-noteworthy. One could easily turn to the well-rehearsed axioms of form alist criticism that comment on the interpolation of narrative with these odd, seemingly contradictory, declar ations; that the opening paragraphs call both narrator and the narrative walls of Wall Street into existence, diagetically cordoning off the spaces of investment and circulation as the eminent domain of nineteenth-century safety. Yet the narrative voice of eminent safety hardly suppresse s, indeed is conspicuou s in its suppression of, an alternative inertia that threat ens these diagetic walls of Wall St reet; that is, reader and author alike cannot bury an ambiguous something else that roams Wall Street, that haunts the political project of a narrative of invest ment capital in circulation. By the conclusion of this narra tive, this business-professiona l narrator, frustrated by his former employees unresponsive behavior, desperat ely takes refuge in the rumor-made-epilogue he creates through a philosophi cal treatise on the relation be tween life and labor, between (in)action and occupation. Upon vi siting the title charac ter for the second time in The Tombs, New York Citys infamous jail, the narrator poses this question in a way that would seem an exoneration of both narrator a nd reader from any culpabil ity in the employees fate.

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67 Unsurprisingly, critical response has attempted to grapple with that possibility for exoneration.1 In its asking, the eminently safe narrator poses circulation as the norm fo r everyday social life; that human deathBartlebys deathshould be now grasped and understood via a set of rules of engagement for capitalist exch ange. For many of these critics the narrators comparison of Bartleby to dead letters would th en offer a vexing moment where capital appears astute in its recognition of its own flawsa moment of rare perceptiveness for a dim narrator whom is characterized up until this point by his lack of perception, particularly when reading the class divisions of New York.2 The conclusion of the story of Wall Street in which the narrator-become-social-critic displays a curious sense of symp athy toward Bartleby evades the di fficult, intensely political and historically specific, and most importantly unasked questions behind the presumptions about Bartleby-at-rest: Why has Bartleby been imprisone d? What offense, what state-sanctioned crime has Bartleby committed? Rather than close this narrative with a critical inquiry into sovereign 1 Michael Gilmores argument concerning the legibility of class antagonism seems particularly astute, and an accurate description of the knowledge of the narrator. According to Gilmor es argument, this epilogue is more evidence of an increasing opaqueness between classes. Con finement in the Tombs seems but the logical conclusion to an economic revolution which segregates and walls off from view the impoverished worker of the city (141). Gillian Brown further articulates an absolute inability for the narrator to make Bartleby comprehendible in the language of circulation and desire that are available to him. Brown reads the epilogue as this final moment of class illegibility in which Bartleby has removed himself from the ri gors of circulation (and de sire) fostered by the world of Wall Street. Or, more precisely to Browns point, Bartleby represents an anorexic tendency to wall off/protect a notion of the self from the radical commoditization of the human that has been made possible by mass-scale exchange. These are the anorexic politics of Bartlebys radical employment of immobility. Stringently restricting the agoraphobic im agination to its ethic of i mmobility, Bartleby elaborates death as the best method of self-preservation. He leaves the world in order to keep himself (148). The narrator then misunderstands Bartleby, or, more precisely cannot fathom a removal from the contours of circulation; thus, the closing paragraphs of the narrative attempt to recuperate Bartleby within circulation: Bartlebys condition seems to the narrator an intensified experience of human mortality. He therefore commemor ates Bartlebys passage as a testament of the human tragedy, joining the man and the crowd in his closing lament (148). 2 For example, Naomi C. Reed argues that Bartlebys sad fate is another lesson in capitalism, one Bartleby himself never learns. If the seemingly equal exchanges of circul ation conceal injustices, we cannot respond to these injustices by attempting to get out of circulation. Bartle bys fate makes his critique of circulation all the more pressing, for the story reminds us that a response to the capitalist logic of the lawyer lies not beyond circulation but within it (259-60).

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68 rule of law with regard to the new urban order of property rights, labor, and distinctions between workspace and homedistinctions which themselves must also be markers for social divisions of labor in the imaginary space of Melvilles New York, for those w ho do not appropriately participate in those divisions ar e now officially comprehended as homeless [the German unheimlich] this narrator voices a resolution that s uppresses those questions by aesthetically rendering Bartleby within a tragedy of circulation. Bartlebys fate is here, then, a regrettable, but apolitical, withdrawal from the social sphere akin to and resulting in social death. Conceive a man by nature and misfortune pron e to pallid hopelessness, can any business seem more fitted to heighten it than that of continually handling th ese dead letters, and assorting them for the flames? For by the ca rtload they are annua lly burned. Sometimes from out of the folded paper the pale cler k takes a ringthe finger it was meant for, perhaps, molders in the grave; a bank note sent in swiftest charityhe whom it would relieve nor eats nor hungers anymore; par don for those who died despairing; hope for those who died unhoping; good tidings for those who died stifled by unrelieved calamities. On errands of life, th ese letters speed to death. (143) The sequel explanation leaves us with a narr ator contemplating information flows on a massscale bracketed within a discussion of tragic death. Articulated by examples of uncompensated exchanges, the narrator imagines the occupati on of Bartlebythat of an employee who works for an organization that facilitates such exch anges and indeed makes such exchanges on this massive scale even possible, but who actually works when circulation failsactually hastens the scriveners withdrawal. This Story of Wall Street marks an expa nsive trajectory of Bartleby-as-socialmetonymy (we know, after all, that Bartleby is not particular) to the point that his story has meaning on a much broader, collective level; that is, Bartleby has been recast as the tragic hero of this Wall Street vision of Ne w York, the unfortunate victim of the logical extension of general business investment practices. The parting gr andiloquence Ah, Bartleby! Ah, humanity! synthesizes labor, poverty, propert y, and human interactions in a market and investment

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69 economy into an apparently coherent narrativ e of professionalism, vagrancy, crime, and communal living modeled on efficient, functional social relations.3 Forty-one years after the publication of Bartleby, the Scrive ner: A Story of Wall Street, th e normalization of social life as circulation, the associativ e spectacle of dead letters sounding like dead men, would uncannily warrant new practices of state interv ention in the struggle be tween capital and labor. In this story, written in 1853, Bartleby has been arrested for inactivity, immobility made discernible as a deviation from normative beha vior by the actions of those around him which have been proscribed as properly participating within, and directed towa rd, a specific mode of production. Ralph James Savarese has likened th is standstill inactiv ity of Bartleby as symptomatic evidence of the traumas associated to the stresses of industrialization (20), a symptom that is made even more peculiar when located directly at the heart of where unending progress seemed most likely in the prom ise of capitalnamely Wall Street (21).4 In this light, we must importantly note that the story of Wall St reet is located, as Barb ara Foley has described, within a period of intense la bor antagonism in New York, wh ich suggest that Melvilles imaginative process in Bartleby required him to blend events from the early 1840s with events 3 Reeds argument, then, counters the positions of Georgi o Agamben or Gilles Deleuze. While Agamben argues that Bartlebys abandonment of work emphasizes a human potential beyond the constrains of capital exchange and circulation, Deleuze takes a similar approach that Bar tlebys formulaic resonances (I prefer not to and its complementary I am not particular) stymies all speech acts and creates a vacuum, an empty space that cannot be comprehended under the aegis and logic of capitals epis temological identifiers: Bartleby is the man without references, without possessions, withou t properties, without qualitie s, without particularities: he is too smooth for anyone to be able to hang any particularity on him. Without past or future, he is instantaneous (74). While I tend to think this resolution of Bartleby is dangerousto assign Bartleby a positionality outside the confines of fathomable human history will of course not satisfactorily challenge, indeed even gives license to, the actions culminating in the sovereign reign of capitalIm not satisfied in Reeds ar gument that capitalism offers its own contradiction and thus the tools by which such structures could be dismantled. 4 Savarese writes Bartleby seems uncannily to perform Be njamins idea of a traumatic [dialectical] standstill, and he seems to do so at the very center of what Marx called value in motion: namely, Wall Street (21). While Savareses argument looks at medicine, then, as it developed alongside industrial modes of production in the nineteenth century as a way to mollify workers for the new modes of capitalist production, I am more interested in what this text presses even furthernamely, an escalatio n of matters to assure participation in the modes of production that have an implicit understanding of what counts as productive work in the mid to late nineteenth century.

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70 occurring later in the decade and perhaps into the 1850s (89). Likewise David Kuebrich has attempted to place the narrative within the tr ansformative years of the middle Nineteenth Century.5 Looking at this text as an artifact of a moment animating thes e new modes of human interactions allow Foley and Kuebrich the oppor tunity to discuss th e underlying ideological assumptions of property rights, an emerging sense of public space apart from private space, and new cultural logics of living in rapidly e xpanding urban centers of capital production.6 However, as much as this narrative should be viewed within the historically significant events of Astor Place and othe r intensified class antagonisms of the middle century metropolis, so should it also be located with in the social logic manifested in celebrations of technologies and ideologies that forge a unidirectional co mmunal order by sanctioning official action, movement, and expansion at this time; this is to say that if we are to take this as a Story of Wall Street we must also take into account the trajec tories that will mark the shorthand realism of spatial and temporal investment, expanse, growth hauntingly prone to being read in reverse. Precisely the same logic underlying technological de velopments of circulation and investment of the periodmost notably the telegraph of 1844 and its descendent the stock ticker of 1867 register Bartlebys presence as Wall Street work er a gentlemanly cadaver (the narrators own term for Bartleby), an uncanny sp ecter of industrial and investment capital, a social death for a character that is industrially tone -deaf. If Michael Gilmores final assessment of this narrative is correctif the inability to read across class lines is the determining feature of living in this new 5 The storys primary concern is not to explore underlyi ng economic structures, mirro r the mid-century New York workplace, or advance a particular ideo logy. Rather, Melville practices what mi ght be termed a short-hand realism that assumes or merely intimates the existence of certain ec onomic conditions so that he can concentrate on his chief interest, which is to disclose the underlying ideological assumptions (that is, the largely unconscious modes of thought and behavior) that new conditions engender (Kuebrich 389). 6 Bartlebys conduct becomes less freakish and idiosyncrati c, more plausible and historically significant, I would argue, when seen in the full context of contemporaneous struggle and discourses over property rights (Foley 96); Underlying all these ideological themes is the more fundame ntal assumption of the primacy of the rights of private propertythe right to unlimited acquisition of pr operty and its unregulated use (Kuebrich 398).

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71 city7then not only is a this story about the part icular cadences of industrial progress and efficient advancement into one coherent social w hole, but it is also a narrative haunted in its reality by the negative presence of its title char acter, the invisibility of lower and working classes, the homeless, unheimlich, uncanny unsuccessfully repressed in the social space of the urban nineteenth century.8 Bartleby, understood by this logic has been deemed inactive, unprogressive, and conscribed to social death; the walls of Wall Street may be littered with ticker tape, but not enough to bury the trajectories of the countern arrative of investment capital. Thus, inasmuch as it is a narrative of th e alienation of one worker on Wall Street, Bartleby, the Scrivener is also a study of the wo rk of narrative to submerge important political and historical questions of co mmunity into the synthesizing pr oject understood as NineteenthCentury Modernity.9 But how can this novella help us comprehend those Nineteenth-Century urban industrial locales for capital production? More to the point, how can this narrative encapsulate the changing relations between humans that mark the spaces of social life through its negative, a social withdrawal ? In what ways do the introductor y words of our eminently safe narrator delimit a new conceptualiz ation of urban social space, teeming with a life struggling against the endeavor to remake it according to the contours of ci rculation? Or, to echo Kristin 7 Melvilles tale is concerned, then, with the invisibility of one class to another. [] One even gets the impression from the story that this invisibility ex tends into the structure of the city: in other words that the marketplace has imposed its rationality on the dis position of urban space (Gilmore 140). 8 The German term unheimlich refers of course to Freuds description of the uncanny, but my intents are also partly to link it to Freudian interpretations of urban anxiety, most notably found in Civilization and its Discontents Whereas Freud argues that urban social relations direct desires in a way acceptable to civilization, my attempt to describe an urban malaise follows more closely Marxian definitions of alienationthat is humans alienated from their own labor. Such a concept may be built into Freuds description of the uncanny as a vague notion of automaticmechanicalprocesses that may lie hidden behind the familiar image of a living person (135), or the haunting uncertainty of the distinction between the inanimate and the animate that confounds any attempts at suppression (138). 9 Marxist interpretations of this narrative originally focuse d on this allegorical quality of the narrative to depict individual worker alienation. Defined only by his job and becoming increasingly dissociated with it, Bartleby sums up the workers plight. Given systems committed to profits the only alternative to working under such dehumanizing conditions is death (Barrett 379).

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72 Rosss words in the description of the events of the Paris Commune, in what ways can we conceive of urban space as revolutionary space (4)? In an analysis of human interaction and re sponses to the stimuli fostered by the new urban experience, Georg Simmel writes of how the nineteenth century began to change the parameters for what a concept of social deat h would mean. According to Simmel in The Metropolis and Mental Life, while the eighteenth century cultivated freedom from the social ties of politics, religion, morality, and economics, the nineteenth century promoted not just individual freedom, but furthered the concept of individuality a complex outgrowth ultimately connected to a division of labor and of qualities which make him unique and indispensable but which at the same time make him so much mo re dependent on the complimentary activity of others (30). The creation of a metropolitan typediscer nible as a calm rationality mediating the discrete shocks on the consciousness offered by the street that brings multifarious elements into relation with each otherresults fro m a reaction to the pace of new urban stimuli characteristic of market relations.10 The purely objective, calm, rational, efficient sentiment necessitated by the money economy pa rallels, and is advanced by, the ways in which the city engineers a community by forging new social interactions and relationships. But while this correlation of market to community seemingly ignored relations of production, Simmel quickly asserts a very Marxian point about commodities in circulation: the modern city-as-market remakes social space by bringing the products of work into contact with unknown producers. Social discourse is mediated not through subjec tive interactions betw een people directly, but through the objectivity of the pr oducts of labor disembodied from their origins in human living 10 The metropolis has always been the seat of the m oney economy because the many-sidedness and concentration of commercial activity have given the medium of exchange an importance which it could not have acquired in the commercial aspects of rural life. But the money economy and the domination of the intellect stand in the closest relationship to one another. They have in common a purely matter-of-fact attitude in the treatment of persons and things in which formal justice is often combin ed with an unrelenting hardness (Simmel 32).

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73 labor, reassembled as commodities via the tendenc y of the market to weigh commensurate those disparate phenomena. Furthermor e, the industrial urban centers ground a new politics, a social struggle in which seller must seek to produce in the person to whom he wishes to sell ever new and unique ends, a remaking of the agency of urban citizenship as dependent upon this circulation (41-2). This new social complex is staged in the urban locales which will bring scores of people into new contact with each other a nd will thus for Simmel become the ground for the resistance of the individual to being leveled, swallowed-up in the social-technological mechanism (30). But must we recognize the only possibility for community through an increasingly repeatable, systematized, commodified se t of behaviors? Jean-Luc Nancy in The Inoperative Community offers another possibility by which comm unity can be comprehended and realized. Nancys axiom, that community is dependent upon people producing in essence their own essence as their work, and furtherm ore producing precisely this essence as community would seem to point to a recognition of what Marx w ould call a realization of the social quality of humans bound together by the nature of their cap acity to labor. Community here would depend upon a willingness recognize human immanence as a social quality, and would thus be dependent upon a reaffirmation (not an alienation) of labor to the human (Nancy 2-3). The antagonism of social life/social death that is expended in the dialectic between eminently safe narrator and his gentlemanly cadaver would seem to exemplify a struggle in forging community. Efficiency governs the lawyer-n arrators worldview to the point that we see a transformation of the day into the working da y, run like clockwork. Not only does the lawyer recognize the actions of his two operatives Turkey and Nippers based on the circadian increments of the working day oclock meridi an repeated so insidiously as is the more

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74 familiar preferbut the narrator/manager is able to coordinate the efforts of these two workers that will become the basis for that working day: T heir fits relieved each other like guards. When Nippers was on, Turkey was off; and vice versa (112). When describing the work activities of those in his employ, the eminently safe narra tor is exceedingly proud, almost giddy, of the systematized, mechanical, demeanor of Turkey a nd Nippers. The narrator gleefully celebrates his technical innovation of social e ngineeringhis own law copyist office; in other words, the workshop as his own creation is a wonderful i nvention for the ways it recodes his employees as operatives. The makeover extends beyond the workshop and into the contours of daily life to portend a social innovation of an entire operativ e communitya working day that renders a day subordinate to industrial work. This cel ebrated project of soci al engineering in the reterritorialization of public space would be an ideological endeavor particular to many other cultural projects of late Nineteenth-Century America. The concluding paragraph of dead men recogniz ed as such by being excised from social life remade as living-for-circula tion, then, would seem to draw a ttention to a contemplation of the meaning of community solidifie d by such processes. What strike s through this epilogue is not Bartlebys death, but how this eminently safe man animates the new disciplines of life.11 The 11 Gilmore begins to analyze these new relationships as becoming more and more regimented too, disciplined, objectified. Obligations, generally between strangers were now purely contractual and traditional habits of sociability yielded to a new emphasis on regularity and discipline (134). Dan McCall has argued against such interpretations of this narrative based on textual evidence that suggests the narrator attempts to view Bartleby and sympathize with him beyond those objectified relationships of the capitalist city; theref ore, McCall argues, a Marxist read of the class antagonisms of the novel are somewhat dishonest. But, as Rosemarie Garland-Thomson argues, precisely the failure of any sympathy to have any real tr ansformative effect establishes the axis around which this narrative revolves: Bartleby supp orts [a] connect between modern commerce and benevolence in that benevolence is the primary discourse the narrator turns to in his desperate attempts to contain the threat Bartleby presents to his ordered world. [] In the end, benevolence collapses under the weight of its own contradictions, throwing the narrator into crisis and casting him back upon a desperate and evacuated religiosity rooted in the apprehension of suffering. Benevolence thus ultimately yields the narrator despair rather than comfort (786-7). Like this argument by Garland-Thomson, which ultimately pos its that the tragedy of the narrative is in the failure of benevolence, Reed argues against McCall in that the problems posited by new social relations of the urban setting transcend individual cases: The motor of capital is the e xploitation of the worker to produce surplus value and thus does not depend in the personal characteristics of any one individual (248).

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75 supposedly profound revelation thus voiced ripples with the possibility of being swallowed-up by the social-technological mechanism. The epilogue is haunted by a subtext that mediates the singular entityworkerto a social life remade the proper medium for the practices of investment, exchange and accumulation. That Bartleby has apparently fallen victim to one social deathi.e. withdrawal from the rhyt hms of labor exchangedue to a previous occupation does little to draw attention away from the submer ged rumble of the countertext: another kind of occupation the politically charged term desc ribing a reclamation of the spaces of workleads directly to anot her kind of social deathconfinement and imprisonment in an legally-sanctioned human warehouse. The narrators reluctance to utilize lega l force and coercion to compel Bartleby to conformity remains for readers today, 150 years subjected to the cadence s of industrial and postindustrial discipline, a confounding, if not frustrating moment in the text. Significantly, when the lawyer decides to remove his offices closer to City Hall, a suggestion of the law-as-last-resort enters into the narrators consciousness: Something severe, something unusual, must be done. What! surely you will not have him collared by a constable and commit his i nnocent pallor to the common jail? And upon what ground could you procure su ch a thing to be done?a va grant, is he? What! he a vagrant, a wanderer who refuses to budge? It is because he will not be a vagrant, then, that you seek to count him as a vagrant. That is too absurd. (135) The hint of Bartleby as being cons igned by the narrative of the law as vagrant is abruptly dismissed by this calm, rational, safe narrator. As apparition, or gentlemanly cadaver, Bartleby flutters in and out of a legal definition, traversing th e limits of such a definition precisely because he refuses movement; however, th is is exactly the offense Bartleby is charged with and the reason why he is removed to the Tombs.12 The apparent contra diction in the legal 12 Central to Naomi Reeds argument is this haunting presen ce of Bartleby which will attest to the spectrality of capitalism, its complex intertwining of the material and the immaterial (251).

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76 logic of the narrative is not fu rther contemplated by our lawye r-narrator, yet the implication suggests that movement is not qui te the defining offense in the cr ime of vagrancy; the offense is more a disinvestment of labor from the socially prescribed exchanges that govern investment communities, a disinvestment that deeply troubled el ites in both North and South, particularly in the years following emancipation. To ask a questi on as I do in the title of this essayWas Bartleby Black is not to ask if the character described and animated by Melville personifies racialized tropes, but rather is to bring to the forefront the histor ically specific anxieties of the nineteenth century that were at the heart of struggl e of work, community, capital, and how it was rendered eminently safe by a disciplinary appara tus determined to police the way people acted to exchange their disembodied labor. Perhap s alternately, while the question Was Bartleby Black cannot reasonably be answered with to any definitive end beyond speculation, the implicit question, is the eminently safe narrator of this tale white ? can be more to the point. For emerging from these negotiations of speciali zed labor, technologicalcultural innovation and the project of forging public spaces made safe is an axiomatic proposition about race and citizenship. ********** The national railroad strikes of 1877 mark a moment which would be the genesis of a new and unsettling possibility fo r social revolution grounded in wh at would become part of how people began to perceive a labor problem. Si gnificantly, as Carl Smith has pointed out, the trouble was not seen as that existing between labor and capital, but ap parently labor alone, and the class of people composing its ranks an enig matic catalyst of the moral outrages that took place across the Atlantic earlier in the decade in the uprising in Paris of 1871. One of Allan Pinkertons first novels, titled Communists, Strikers, Tramps, and the Detectives put the

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77 situation succinctly, advanci ng an unambivalent perception of a fluid workforce on curious relation to the curren t of community: The effect of tramping upon any person, Pinkerton writes, is to make him keenly arrive to the fa ir generalship of living without work, and existing when work cannot be secured. He cannot but beco me a sort of guerilla on the outskirts of civilization (45). In viewing those of the labor ing classes whose relati onship to industry was more portable, fluid, and unstable, a nd thus confounding the fix ity that increasingly defined work within the as cendancy of industry at the e nd of the century, Pinkertons description of these masses fuse s romantic nostalgia with a palp able fear of violent struggle; somehow, the compulsion to sell ones labor ha s had no affect on these tramps, these warlike apparitions both mobile and peripheral to civil ization. Indeed, in th e beginning of Pinkertons novel, the narrator describes the anxiety pervading the bourgeois a nd propertied classes in this century: Revolution was nowhere; revolution was everywhere. The mobility that defines this classs marginality, the sense of being out-of-sync h temporally and spatially is symptomatic of the withdrawal of labor. However, the development of industry and investment capital depended upon its creation of a flexible and fluid workforce of unskilled labor. As David Montgomery has argued, the advancement of labor saving devicesthe pres ence of which helped create and advance new modes of productionpromoted the need for casual labor. Exemplifying the extent to which portable common labor had increasingly occupied an oblique relation to official accounts of workimplicitly proscribing the relation of wo rk to societyMontgomery demonstrates how economists at the time began to rewrite the contou rs of a culture-at-work that held new emphasis on professionalism and discipline. Censuses taken in the final three decades of the nineteenth century began to track and classify the population s engagement in the market of labor-exchange

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78 by indexing occupations via spec ific divisions of the econom y. These sectorsagriculture, professional and personal service, trade and tr ansportation, and manufact ures and mechanical and mining industriesall did have common, unskill ed laborers working w ithin them, but were not really distinguished from the general h eading of professional service because, as Montgomery has noted in quoting Margo Conk, co mmon, unskilled workers were assumed to be in a personal, almost feudal relationship to an artisan (a masons laborer, for example), or to the society as a whole (a road laborer or da y laborer) (59). The pe rpetuation of portable, unskilled labor suggests that the advent of labor-saving machinery facilitated a thorough casualization of laborwork disembodied from the human via a more thorough commodification process, now comp letely at the disposal of th e drive to large-scale production. By 1877, the advent of technological progress embodi ed in the introduction of machinery would necessitate new measures for subjugating the ma sses made identifiable as such through the new possibilities offered by the social quality of living labor. In many of the labor outbreaks of the final quarter of the nineteenth century, frustr ation was often taken out against the machinery itself, apparently seen as the source of much worker oppression. According to Pinkertons text the dangers that the refugees of the Paris Commune presented to America lay in an alternative m odel of the relation of labor to a community.13 Measures to further secure appropriate la bor discipline began to populate the American 13 As Kristin Ross points out in her study of the 1871 Paris Commune titled The Emergence of Social Space: Rimbaud and the Paris Commune reaction to the commune typically cond emned what was seen as the violence exercised by the communards. In fact, it was the regular st ate army at Versailles that initiated the bloodshed. When on March 18, 1871, working-class Parisians (many of them women) seized control of the city and barricaded themselves within it in response to the resolution of th e Franco-Prussian War for which the working people of Paris were made to pay, the state army at Versailles responded with terrible force. Among the casualties of the attempt to destroy the commune were twenty-five th ousand, mostly working-class Parisians, a larger number than any of the casualties of the battles of the Franco-Prussian War or than any of the pervious massacres (for example, the Terror) in French History (Ross 4-5). Still, the popular st rategy to historicize the Paris Commune by portraying the Communards in such an intensely negative light as perpetrators of uncontrollable violence was most definitely employed by American writers, Pink ertons text just one example.

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79 landscape after 1877. Citizen associations such as the Law and Order League and others formed in reaction to the ubiquitous news acco unts of rowdy and intoxicated youthsmany if them explicitly marked as immigrant agitato rstaking arms against the police (Adelman 2, Buder 33). The general strike that had begun with a labor action by the workers of the BaltimoreOhio Railroad touched off numerous clashes on a national scale. On one level, the growth of the labor problem itself turned on an axis of assumptions about a new community faced with aggressive, invasive ideas. Popular presses rushed to publish stories that hinted of a threat of a Red War being waged within and against th e whole nation, and bega n outcries for national counterrevolutionary measures (Buder 35). In Chicago, these citizen boards and Law a nd Order Leagues did more than give new emphasis to the enforcement of laws prohibiting the sale of liquor to youths by targeting the violating saloons (Buder 33); they also spearheaded a campaign to increase the firepower of the police. Business leaders sought to pr otect free enterprise from viol ent dissent such as those that occurred in 1877 by increasing th e militia-like capaci ties of local, stat e, and federal law enforcement. The elite, normally bearish on government spending, Thomas Philpott writes, lobbied for more National Guard Armories and more federal forts (Fort Laramie was too far away). And the citys most pr estigious reform group, the Citizen s Association, gave the police department money to procure a small but modern arsenal for city defense (44). Among the purchases were 100 new handguns and rifles, f our 12-pound Napoleon cannons with carriages and caissons, some lighter artillery pieces, one ten-barrel .50 caliber gatling gun, and 1000 rounds of ammunitions. All of this was give n by the Citizens Association with the understanding at the time that it was to be used where the pu blic order was threatened, a shibboleth that betrays the extent and scale of the cl ass antagonism that permeated a delicately

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80 balanced social sphere. Notewort hy is the fact that most of th ese Public Citizens Associations were not public in the strictes t sense; instead, numerous industr ialists who had lost property in the outbreaks composed these boards. Chicagos Citizens Law and Order League, for example, had as its chair George M. Pullman, presiden t and founder of the cor poration that produced, among other things, the world-famous Pullman Palace Cars.14 As a businessman, George Pullman was widely seen as one who dealt with his employees as a capitalist-c itizen best shouldthat is, objectivel y, without emotion, efficiently. Beginning his career in physically elevati ng properties when threatened by floods or other water-type damages, Pullman soon turned his attention to luxu ry railroad travel when, on a particularly long and incommodious business trip, he decided to himself that sure ly people would pay top-dollar to travel in comfort. As the Pullman Pal ace Car Company grew, each employee, from the manufacturers through the conductors and porters that manned the cars themselves were strictly monitored, their tasks closely regimented. In or der to ensure this efficiency, Pullman hired spotters who traveled on the cars in disguise to test the honesty of each worker (Buder 17). Not all attempts to stem the supposedly ri sing red tide relied on overtly militaristic measures. The events of 1877 spurred in industria lists like Pullman a concern for the causes behind labor agitation (Buder 35) Such an impetus would pr opel Pullman to begin in 1880 construction of a model company town that woul d distance his workers and his factories from the evil influences offered by the metropolis an d the rioting immigrant neighborhoods (qtd. in Adelman 2). When asked much later what drove him to build his famous company town located far enough south of Chicago, Pullman responded 14 In 1877, Pullman himself had been invited to participat e in a lawsuit to recover damages that resulted from the violence of 1877. In the Pullman Co mpany Archives at the Newberry Libr ary in Chicago is a letter from the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, inviting George Pullman to participate in a lawsuit against Allegheny County in Pennsylvania for the destruction of property from damages done on July 21 and 22, 1877.

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81 such advantages and surroundings made better workmen by removing from them the feeling of discontent and desire for change wh ich so generally characterize the American workman; thus protecting the employer from loss of time and money consequent upon intemperance, labor strikes, and dissatisf action which generally result from poverty and uncongenial home surroundings. (qtd in Adelman 2) The planned industrial-company town targeted labor unrest by entombing it into a narrative that dictates labors appropriate rela tion to the social whole. Unde rlying this solution of the new industrial town-without-a-l abor-problem is an argument about the meaning of belonging to that communityof what the meaning of citizen is under industrial production. No longer will community be concerned with or derived from principles associated with democracy representative or director of autonomy in which social groups will be forged in order to determine their own course of action based on common interest. In Pullmans solution, community is rendered in terms industrial efficiencya maximization of the possibility for surplus wove into the fabric of everyday life a nd social discourse. Pullmans response to the unrest symbolized in cultural consciousness by the Paris Commune and 1877 was to create a commune for capital; citizenship invoked by the extent to which human labor has been thoroughly disembodied, commodified. Citizenship in this mercantile-democratic society, or more precisely, mercantile democracy has been re defined to the extent th at workers are stripped of their living laborundead (liv ing-dead) automatons interacting in eminently safe discourses. This new suburb just south of Chicago w ould be completely engineered and managed by the company underwritten by a philosophy that practical philanthropythat workers would gravitate to a locale in which everything was made beautiful for them by their employers would both solve once and for a ll the troublesome labor probl em and also generate steady production of capital.15 The Pullman Companys plan called for full corporate ownership of 15 According to Adelman, Pullman believed his practical philanthropy would generate profits with fewer problems from his workers who we re selected from those ethnic groups which he considered the least undesirable

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82 everything in the townfrom the arcade-stores at which residents could purchase food, to the libraries where the inhabitants could borrow books to the churches where the residents could collectively worship, to the individual tenement houses where his workers would live, to the utilities by which citizens could pipe heat and wate r into their residences (Pullman tenements, all brick structures, were some of the first to us e running water and gas linesbut each had to be purchased at an extra cost beyond rent), to th e parks and recreation clubs where his workers would spend their down-time. In addition, Pullma ns plan called for close screening processes for potential inhabitants; specifically, Pullman in tended to populate his model town with workers selected from ethnic backgrounds which he c onsidered the least unde sirable (Adelman 2). Revealingly, according to the logic of Pullman, the combination of the emerging field of landscape architecture with corporate community management and selective living practices would need no overtly repressive apparatuses co mmon to its larger metropolitan brethren for controlling the massesno police, no courts no lockups or penitentiary system.16 Pullman famously bragged that law professionalspolice officers, lawyers, judgeswould not find much work in his town. The legal arm of the Township of Hyde Park, in whose jurisdiction the town of (2, emphasis added). This selective process in effect makes the corporate town of Pullman a narrative negotiation of the labor problem, and defines what would count as th e labor element of the eq uationcultural consciousness begins to view labor officially, as I will argue, as white, primarily of Northern European descent. 16 The field of landscape architecture had em erged at this time as a microcosm of the effort to engineer space for the social purposes that married aesthetics with utility. Nathan Barrett designed the parks, the laws, the walkways, the winding paths that would mollify the citizen-worker of Pu llman, making him appreciate his surroundings, and thus lifting his mind from and removing the temptations of the more vulgar tendencies associated with urban locales. The discipline was also used in other urban-planning situations, most notably by Barretts contemporary Frederick Law Olmstead in New Yorks Central Park and even at Chicagos Worlds Columbian Exposition of 1893. Andrew Silver and David Scobey have pointed out the expressly political means exhibited by Olmstead in his engineering of urban landscapes. Olmstead, in designing Central Park in part to mute social divisions and quell working-class resentment, [attempted to hide] class boundaries just as he attempted to hide the boundaries of the park itself. The goal of Central Park, in Olmsteads own words, was to com pletely shut out the city (Silver 111). Se e also Scobey Empire City

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83 Pullman fell, generally left the company town alone, its services deemed wholly unnecessary by this revolution in social engineering.17 Pullman presented not just a solution to the hi storically specific contentions that seemed to be brought up by disgruntled la bor, but also an alternative m odel for what would count as politics in civil discourse. Pullman, visited often by journalists from foreign countries, became a global experiment in the question of community, democracy, and sovereignt y within the era that seemed hopelessly doomed to unending class anta gonism. While most reporte rs enthusiastically heralded the successes of Pullman to the rest of the world, including Carroll D. Wright who would soon become the nations first Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor, less sanguine were the submerged reports from the worker-citizens themselves that would bubble up to the surface of popular consciousness in numerous letters to th e editor of local periodicals (most notably the labor-friendly Chicago Herald ) and an 1885 report by Johns Hopkins economics professor Richard Ely, who argued in Harpers Magazine that the Pullman method more closely resembled feudalism than democracy. To a certain extent, Ely was correct, as the to wn of Pullman must have appeared to the economist a feudal hamlet in which all subjects we re in absolute deferen ce to the lord of the manner, the communitys soverei gn power. Still, I argue that Pullman offered a distinctly modern idea of community through industrial pro duction and a civic duty-to-work that promoted the principles of a commodity market, cen tered around a mechanism for mass productionthe industrial factoryand governed by the principles of the maximization of surplus value through human activity (no matter how difficult the nation al economy would get, Pullman demanded that 17 As Buder has pointed out, by and large the township le ft the model town alone, which was exactly what George Pullman wanted. It provided the use of Hyde Parks courts and jailhouse and the service of two policemen, one working the dayshift, and the other the night (110). Ev en after the town had been successfully annexed into Chicago in 1889, the company still more or less dictated community policy.

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84 the town return at least a 6% profit). In this sense, the planned company town of Pullman more closely resembles the community that Marshall Be rman has described as a Faustian tragedy of development, that aims less for immediate profits than for long-range development of productive forces, which it believe s will produce the best results for everyone in the end (74). The community begins to resemble the same i ndustrial machinery that sought to coordinate previously fragmented and competitive forces, and, in so doing, this technological state presents a new model for capitalist sovere ignty and authority. Manipulati on of communal relations now were in service of the need for progressive, unending development (Berman 74). By 1894, an even greater contestation to the sovereign au thority of capital that had taken place in 1877 centered around this model town of Pullman: the national strike by the American Railway Union headed by Eugene Debs protested not just the companys lowering of wages while maintaining rental costs (and other cost of living prices the company/town controlled) in the midst of a severe depression, but also challenged this specific idea of capitalistic hierarchy in the politics of community-building. Most importantly, Pullman represents an en lightening study of the both role of governing apparatuses that monitor the social interactions of civi l society at the apex of industrial capitals power and the ascent of capitals sovereignt y through its creation of an eminently safe community. Pullman exemplifies the emergence of a radically different sovereign power that polices and governs these newly constituted comm unities and those citizens within in a way evocative of what Walter Benjamin (and later Ge orgio Agamben) would identify as the state of exception. Briefly, the modern state is defined by an exception, or ra ther the role of the sovereign to govern, to create and preser ve social order according to la ws under which that sovereign body

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85 is not subject.18 For Benjamin, the state of exception turn s on the role of violence as political potential, and a legal system that w ill constitute and define the stat e serves to erect, in all areas where individual ends could be usef ully pursued by violence, legal e nds that can only be realized by legal power. Banning the use of violence on the individual level, while simultaneously deploying it for its own ends, this exception becomes the face of the modern state. It is precisely this exception which will be di stributed throughout the landscape, codified into an apparatus of professional criminal justicea legally-sanctioned violencethat will advance to assure that social relations are at all times, (eminentl y, conspicuously) safe; for violence wielded for individual ends threatens [the state] not in the ends it may pursue but by its mere existence outside the law (Benjamin 281-2). In Pullman, in Bartleby, we get the historically specific collapse of the distinctions between the prin ciples that will organize communities and the principles that will superordin ate the production of industrial cap ital; the specter that walks Wall Street, the specter that haunts late Nineteenth -Century Chicago, is th e implicit knowledge that the promotion of the legal fiction of mercantile democracy cannot erase the contradictions of an industrializing nation-state. 18 According to Benjamin, this exception is grounded in th e legitimacy of violence: since the acknowledgement of legal violence is most tangibly evident in a deliberate submission to its ends, a hypothetical distinction between kinds of violence must be based on the presence or absence of a general historical acknowledgement of its ends. Ends that lack such acknowledgement may be called natural ends, the other legal ends. The differing function of violence, depending on whether it serves natural or legal ends, can be mostly traced against a background of specific legal conditions (280). A legal system will try to erect, in all areas where individual ends could be usefully pursued by violence, legal ends can only be realized by legal power. [] Law sees violence in the hands of individuals as a danger undermining the legal system. As a danger nullifying legal ends and the legal executive? Certainly not; for when the violence as such would not be condemned, but only that directed to illegal ends. It will be argued that a system of legal ends cannot be maintain ed if natural ends are anywhere still pursued violently. In the first place, however, this is mere dogma. To counter it one might perhaps co nsider the surprisi ng possibility that the laws interest in a monopoly vis--vis individuals is not explained by the intention of preserving legal ends but, rather, by that of preserving the law itsel f; that violence, when not in the hands of the law, threatens it not in the ends that it may pursue but by its mere existence outside the law. The same may be more drastically suggested if one reflects how often the figure of the great criminal, however repellant his ends may have been, has aroused the secret admiration of the public. This cannot result from his deed, but only from the violence to which it bears witness. In this case, therefore, the vi olence of which present-day law is seeking in all areas of activity to deprive the individual appears really threatening, and arouses even in de feat the sympathy of the mass against the law (281-2).

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86 With the advances of technological reproductio n, large-scale conflict seemed to have been made an inseparable part of industrial society. As Montgomery has argued, the collective, coordinated effort of thousands of hands in iron and steel manufactures wrought new organizations of social labor wherein technical expertise and intense physical exertion were applied to ever-more imposing furnaces, rolling mills, molds, and transfer machinery, all of which were legally owned by othe r men (44). At the hilt of this example of newly-forged community-as-solution-to-urban-problems of crime, vice, and riot (and serving to constantly remind the place of the worker in this new styl e of social organizati on) stood Pullmans main factory; watching guard over its te rritory and mediating all social interactions of the community would be the immense and intimidating factory clock towerthe monolith of the industrialized working day by which all worker-citizens would synchr onize their lives so as to be better, more productive neighbors. By bringing these masses into new social relations, these immense, imposing structures of industrial production served as important locations for class identification and mobilization to action (Montgomery 160). Ex trapolating from the refrain from Marxs The Poverty of Philosophy, if the handmill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam mill, society with the industrial cap italist, the factory clock to wer gives you society with the industrial soverign. Marxs demonstration of the process through wh ich living labor is commodified via the creation of factory-time a nd the working day most explicitly laid out in chapters 7 and 10 of Capital,19 offers insight on our example of the significance of the factory 19 This important passage reads: The value of a days labor power amounts to three shillings, because on our own assumption, half a days labor is objectified in that quantity of labor-power cost half-a-days labour. But the past labour embodied in the labour-power and the living labour it can perform, and the daily cost of maintaining labourpower, the latter is its use-value. The fact that half-a-days labour is necessary to keep the worker alive during 24 hours does not in any way prevent him from working a whole day. Therefore the value of labour-power, and the value which labour-power valorizes [ vertwertet ] in the labour-process, are two entirely different magnitudes; and this difference was what the capitalist had in mind when he was purchasing that labour-power. The useful quality of labour-power, by virtue of which it makes yarn or boots, was to the capitalist merely the necessary condition for his activity; for in order to create value labour must be expended in a useful manner. What was really decisive for him

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87 clock tower governing community relations in Pullman: not only did it serve to remind inhabitants of the subordination of their everyday lives to the shifts of th e workshops, but with every passing minute also advances the aliena tion of ones labor in to a commodity with exchange value under the logic of mercantile democracy. This project in social engineering for the purposes of efficient industrial production and maximization of capital must be noted for how it built community by an orderly arrangement of race relationsor the extension of social segreg ation of Black from White that had been inherited from the antebellum division of labor Indeed, as Montgomery has shown, a racialized discipline was, if implicitly, attached to the emergent rhetoric of factory efficiency and scientific management (177). In response to Chicagos proble ms that seemed particular to the period, the town of Pullman not only prohibi ted alcohol and coordinated patr iotic celebrations, but also attempted to bar people whose et hnic or racial backgrounds did not fit the companys idea of one who would be a model citizen/worker. As certain skilled industrial jobs were used in effect to define whiteness Pullman as a planned town also would be a white communal solution.20 Scholars cannot agree on the extent to wh ich Pullman worked to make his industrial utopia a thoroughly white one. Philpott posits that Pullman expressly forbid African was the specific use-value which this commodity possesses of being a source not only of value, but of more value that it has itself. This is the specific service the capitalis t expects from labour-power, and in this transaction he acts in accordance with the eternal laws of commodity exchange. In fact, the seller of labourpower, like the seller of any commodity, realizes [ realisiert ] its exchange-value, and alienates [ veraussert ] its use-value. He cannot take one without giving the other. The use-value of labour-power, in other words labour, belongs just as little to its seller as the use-value of oil after it has been sold belongs to the dealer who sold it. The owner of the money has paid the value of a days labour-power; he therefore has the use of it for a day, a days labour belongs to him. On the one hand the daily sustenance of labour-power costs only half-a-days labour, while on the other hand the very same labour-power can remain effective, can work, during a whole day, and consequently the value which its use during one day creates is double what the capitalist pays for that us e; this circumstance is a piec e of good luck for the buyer but by no means an injustice towards the seller ( Capital Vol. 1, 300-1). 20 Afro-Americans were rare in the tr ade. Nineteenth-century descriptions of black workers in machine shops usually portrayed them in one of two ways: as ingenious mechanics performing amazing repairs with hand tools in small rustic shops, or as helpers who assisted white mach inists in preparing and setting up large, cumbersome, and often greasy work, usually in southern railroad repair shops (Montgomery 198).

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88 Americans from taking up residence in his comp any town; Janice Reiff takes a less absolute stance. Evidence does allow for the possibility th at African Americans we re not banned outright from living within the town. Howe ver the fact that the numbers of African Americans living in municipalities adjacent to Pullman, especially Chicago, had been on steady increase in the final two decades of the nineteenth century, yet hard ly any record can be produced of African Americans living within the planned town, suggest s that something was afoot. What our primary object of interrogation should be here is not (yet) segregation in the letter of the law we will not find any codified laws of the town of Pullm an that will say whites only. Instead, our objective here is the interrogati on of the way that culture wr ites into common sense the antagonisms and anxieties about work and social lif e with a particularly r acialized tonea read of culture that is more an an alysis of the unwritten codes through which people identified their social lives and forged communities, and in so doing allowed for a system of citizenship that contributed to racialized segregati on and systematized social death. Most of the type of work done by the factories owned by the Pullman Palace Car Company had commonly and traditionally been perf ormed by white labor, or more accurately labor that had become growingly comfortable w ith identifying itself as white. If African Americans were employed by the company, their posi tion would usually be th at of a sleeping car porter or possibly even a worker for the towns Hotel Florence (named after Pullmans daughter). Interestingly, over thir ty years after the town had b een founded, it would serve as the epicenter for A. Philip Randolphs struggle to orga nize the first African Am erican labor union in the nation in the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porter s. Still, the idea behind the planned town as solution to the conflict between labor and capital, in which skilled factory work rendered as a means towards achieving industrial harmonya m odern civilizationmust be questioned for

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89 the ways in which it makes an argument about race. A contented operative, one who could be best affected by the aesthe tic and utilitarian methods of this so cial engineering pr oject, would not be the typical inhabitant of the new industr ial metropolis like Ch icagoa metropolis now teeming with immigrants from Southern and East ern Europe and newly emancipated slaves from the South. A contented, docile operative would be ambitious, industrious, apparently unlike those who shirked steady work and proper appearance, demeanor, even homelife itself (as apparently occupied Chicago). In short, th is narrative of labor and commun ityof skilled work, factory life, and secure social relationsmust be understood fo r the ways in which it creates a new identity for citizenship based on an occ upation for the role race will pl ay in the nascent industrial nation. Arguments about the role of racialized iden tities within this pe riod pose an idea that racial identifiers served as a marker that would accelerate social divisions of labor; rather than challenging the sovereignty of capita l, nineteenth-century racism em erges as a way to stave off, comprehend, and resolve competition among general social labor, or as a way to reinstate some agency within a system of absolute subjugation.21 Borrowing from the works of Herbert Gutman and George Rawick, David Roediger argues that a concept of wh iteness as a racialized trope emerges within industrialism when workers will write Blackness as something that could permanently embody the pre-industrial past they scorned and missed (97). All of the anxieties and ambivalences concerning time-management, leisure-time/work-time/home-time divisions of daily life, bridled sexuality, and work in general is channeled, according to this argument, into 21 This idea of race affecting class st ruggle and solidarity is one of the central themes to W.E.B. DuBoiss Black Reconstruction. Taking as his subject the idea th at chattel slavery debased free labo r that had come to be identified as white, DuBoiss history of the nineteenth century illustrates organized labors vexed position concerning work and race. On the one hand, many leaders of organized labo r disapproved of racial equality and interracial solidarity among working peoples for an admittan ce of equality would have meant, acco rding to their arguments, increased competition among the working-classes. On the other hand, allowing racial distinctions to debase labor itself was compromising labors power by threatening to level all labor to the position of absolute subjection (17-31).

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90 racist perceptions and practices. Roediger cites the examples of the outbreaks of 1877, particularly looking at the epicen ters of St. Louis and San Fran cisco, as examples that might have began as integrated struggles of labor ag ainst capital, becoming opport unities to vent racist anti-Black and anti-Chinese sentiment (167-8).22 Manifested in Pullmans management of social relations by imagining who would be the conten ted, chosen workers to form this utopian community-for-capital, late nine teenth-century American cultur e reveals its assumptions about race, docile social labor, legality and sovereignt y, official citizen and criminal outlaw: Pullman constructed his model industrial town immediatel y within a period of anxiety about non-work that had a distinct racialized tone within the na tional discussion that had as its key terms Black Vagrancy, which had particular cu rrency in developing industrial centers, and its corollary in the Convict Lease System. This would be the ground upon which a modern Criminal Justice System would build its lexicon. In the cases of many Southern communities who wished to secure industrial productivity, the trope of the Black Vagrant was invented to wa rrant the use of coercive disciplinary force in order to assure constant labor a pplication to the creation of indust rial capital. But many of the fears about race and labor were not confined to the South. In fact, as Amy Dru Stanley has shown, the situations of the impove rished, casualized workforce in the North and the freed slaves in the South came to be seen in strikingly similar, if not reciprocal, terms (119). At the very same time reformers in the North were writing anti-vagra ncy laws to prevent id leness, the white South had enacted the infamous Black Codes to target freed southern blacks (Stanley 126). The Black Vagrancy Laws of the South and the microman aged social engineering solution of Pullman 22 Nevertheless, Roediger observes a new attention on the part of labor to integrate its forces to the extent that was unmatched in the antebellum period. Beginning his study into the post-bellum years of labors new-found desire to integrate political action, Roediger speculates that the Civil War and emancipation removed the ability of white workers to derive satisfaction from defining themselves as not slaves and called into question self-definitions that centered on being not Black(170).

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91 narrate the same tale about race, la bor, community, and sovereign power.23 Chicago in the later portions of the nineteenth century, particularly the period bracketed by the Paris Commune and Chicagos own urban conflagration of 1871 and the Pullman Strike of 1894 offers one snapshot of the struggles within industrialization. The period between the fire and the Pullman Strike witnessed the emergence of an ou tlook, writes Carl Smith, in which reality, city, and disorder became closely related, if not interchangeable term s (8). The late nineteenth-century industrial urban centers like Chicago speak a brand of realis m haunted, the hint of the echo that escapes the synthesis of capital relations, that which like a guerilla on the outskirts of civilization, to revisit Pinkerton, remains the ever-present negative of a mercantile democratic possibility. Toward the White City: The Operative Community The fire that destroyed much of the property of Chicago in 1871 did little to slow the citys rapid growth; indeed, the successful emergen ce from this particular conflagration furthered the opinion that this once little-regarded outpost on the western banks of Lake Michigan best exemplified American communal resolve when confronting the new questions presented by living in an industrially-dominated world. The po pular press from numerous other U.S. cities reported the events and aftermath of the Chicago Fire with unprecedented zeal, and thanks to the availability of new technologies that could communicate news ove r long distances the ways in which media reported on the fire did much to build a network of comm unities concerned with national events (Smith 29). Chicago seemed to hold much of the spotlight in this era, and it became the conduit for an ambitious discussion on the perceived problems of modern reality, a site to navigate the new antagoni sms of industrial social life. 23 As Bryan Eustice Wagner has observed, the field of legality that defines the contours of the social relation in a community revolving around industrial production and capital accumulation i s a question, in other words, of understanding how the ideology of universal citizenship an d the practice of state-sponsored racial violence came to coexist and even depend upon one another for their existence. [...] It is, finally, then, a question of the formation of the modern racial state (19).

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92 Despite the profound economic destruction wiel ded by this fire, the citys growth-rate accelerated after 1871. By 1890, more than one million called Chicago home, making it the second-largest city in the United States in a phenomenally short period of timethe fastest growing city in the western hemisphere in this period despite the dearth of jobs immediately available to its citizens and the subsequent homel essness problems the city periodically faced (Smith 101).24 Such growth was not always received enthusiastically, for by 1890 Chicagos teeming masses had gained for the city an intern ational reputation for colorful wickedness and labor radicalism. Such an incredible influx of people in close proximity seemed to foster new relationships with a specifica lly political end. The social st ructure of the urban metropolis accented, made immediate, a strained divide betw een those who had modest-to secure financial means and those who were struggling for a liv ing wage and an eight-hour workday. Economic depressions coupled with a sense that these relations of production increasingly impinged upon the social customs and traditions of everyda y life for the exhausted common laborer, would periodically bring these antagonism s to a boil, and the extent to which the poorer classes fought earned the city a reputation fo r instability (Gutman 73, Drak e 21). Conditions in Chicago exemplified to the international community a We stern Progress laced with kindling for largescale catastrophe. Up until 1871, Chicagos burgeoning populati on created the need to quickly and inexpensively house the cheap labo r upon which much of the citys prosperity would be driven. Many of the poorer communities consisted of little more than shabbily-constructed shacks made of wood. Such neighborhoods were pr one to large and uncontrollable outbreaks of fire; in the unusually dry summer of 1871, more than two dozen fires broke out in these communities that 24 Smith notes that often economic times would be so poor that Chicagos homeless would every-so-often be forced to live in the citys police stations.

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93 consisted of buildings made of board (Smith 19). Wh en a particular fire broke out in one of these poor communities on October 8, Chicagos elites looked on in horror as this blaze spread with such vehemence that it jumped bodies of water and in no time took hold of buildings considered to be fireproof. The offices of the Chicago Tribune and homes of those same elites were among those that proved not to be safely beyond th e fires wrath (Smith 21). The perception of the tragedy and loss centered no t on the relatively low number of casualties (roughly 300 people died in a fire that completely destroyed over two thousand acres of heav ily-populated residential areas), but instead on the destruction of private property. Stories of catastrophe emphasized that the fire destroyed eighteen thousa nd buildings, and measured an ec onomic cost that stretched to almost two hundred million dollars, or roughly a third of the citys worth (Smith 22). The literature of the fire hardly touc hed at all on the losses and the ha rdships of the lower-classes and ethnic neighborhoods that this fi re leveled (Smith 52). Apparen tly, the city presented a new concern to the economic prosperity of the moneye d classes at least as much as it expressed a concern with general public safety. The prevalent view of the fire held the t eeming masses of Chicago responsible for the economic destruction wrought by the fire. Some acc ounts went as far as to suggest the fire had been set by foreign, working-class inhabitants of the poorer districts that had been influenced by the events in Paris earlier in the year (Smith 55). If Chicago were to be rebuilt, more attention must be paid to ensuring such a disaster would not happen again. Because the economic destruction of property was seen to have constituted the real disast er of the fire, a new project of imagining the social space of the cityone whic h saw the relatively close proximities of rich and poor communities as a major concernwas deemed necessary to handle the urban disorder. Chicago after 1871 o ccasioned a new large-scale attempt forge order by quelling

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94 these antagonismsrecreating social space as that which can be grasped as eminently safe. Under this logic, Smith writes, Chicago stood in new global significance, an epic moment that made it pure, heroic, and modern at the same time (35). The substantial increase in the number of im migrants from Southern and Eastern Europe fueled in no small part this anxiety and fears abou t labor unrest. In 1850 half of Chicagos inhabitants were immigrants, fift y years later 80% of the city was composed of immigrants and their children, most from locati ons other than Northern or West ern Europe. Other western cities saw similar increases in immigran ts from Eastern and Southern Europe; Detroit, for example, counted 77% of its population in 1880 as children of at least one foreign born parent (Montgomery 49). By 1880, an influx of newer im migrants from Eastern and Southern Europe began to change the social landscape of the city with a steady stream into the Metropolis of the Midwest for work (Philpott 117). The area on the western periphery of the business and wealthy district in Chicago became referred to colloquially as Little Prague. In nearly every expanding city, immigrant laborlargely from those not from Northern and We stern Europecomposed the majority of the manual and unskilled, casualized workforce. The flood of living labor which facilitated th e production of capital propagated larger unemployment numbers, and a common view emerged that identified many of the modern social problems of the city were due to idle hands. So me advocated for an increase in services and in employment opportunities as a guar d against trouble, for it was apparent that idleness was a primary source of the wild behavi or of urban disorder (Smith 73) Still, as Herbert Gutman has recognized, the press of these cities themselves opposed such efforts, and even the relief agents held those who were jobless in low regard as be longing to the degrading class who have the

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95 vague idea that the world owes th em a living (qtd. in Gutman 86) According to the very agents who supposedly served them, unemploye d workers were shiftless and lazy. This disdain for the unemployed and unskill ed workers in post-conflagration Chicago was evident in the priorities the city placed on constructing houses for its citizens put out by the catastrophe. By placing high priori ty on building single-family houses for Chicagos skilled workers, rather than quickly constructing te mporary barrackswhich was sometimes done for common, unskilled workersthe c ity posited an argument of what it would mean henceforward to be a legitimate inhabitant of an urban comm unity. Consider, for example, a report of the Chicago Relief and Aid Society, the association charged with r econstructing many of the private residences of those affected by the blaze, that made palpable an anxiety of putting a large number of people into promisc uous and involuntary association that would almost certainly engender disease and promote idleness, and vice, and be dangerous to themselves and to the neighborhood in which they might be placed (qtd. in Smith 74). Employing a rhetoric thick with anxieties of improprieties sexual, biological, and economical, urban municipalities took as their subject the regulation of the asso ciations of its inhabitants, an d the construction of homes, of neighborhoods, or urban pockets base d on a social division of labor. Along with the usual conflicts over wages and hours required by the industrialist, this new urgency to closely manage a nd monitor the lives of many of its population became a stasis point for the rewriting of the fault-lines within ur ban locales, indeed helped redefine the players in a conflict between what had been recognized as labor and capital. As St. Claire Drake recognizes, the antagonisms betw een the foreign-born and native whites revolved around this axis of intervention into social associations su ch as the passage of Sunday Blue Laws and the general struggle for control of C ity Hall. Despite the fact that African Americans were more

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96 commonly consigned to the place of the unskilled worker in this i ndustrial age, Drake argues that African Americans did not particip ate as often or to the extent as did new immigrant workers in the agitations for an eight-hour workday primar ily because they had been driven to work in service capacities (50). Such an observation is not insignificant, for while not growing in numbers to the extent that the Eastern and Southe rn European immigrants di d, the city limits of Chicago did also see a substant ial increase in its African Amer ican population in these decades. The determination to manage the social landscap e in light of these population growths forms the basis of racialized divisions of citizenship f ounded upon the type of work performed; this axiom would go into the creation of wh at Philpott recognizes as the development of a Black Belt within the city of Chicago. When Chicago had incorporated in 1833, only a few of its residences were Black. In these first few decades, the size of the Black population was insignificant when compared against the rapidly expanding numbers of Chic agos white population. Yet the numbers of African Americans who called Chicago home c ontinued a steady increase decade by decade, tripling in the 1850s, nearly quadr upling in the 1860s, then doub ling in each of the following three decades (Philpott 116-7). In 1860, US census reportswhich have to be conservative estimates at best in the tradit ional under-reporting of the numbers of African Americans within the populationmeasured the total population of Chicago at 109,260; 955 (.9%) of which were Black. In 1870, the census reported 298,977 Chica goans with a Black population totaling 3,691 (1.2%). In 1880, 503,185 people called Chicago home, 6,480 (1.3%) of them were Black. In 1890, Chicago had grown to a city of 1,099,850 peopl e, 14,271 (1.3%) were Black. By the turn of the century, 1,698,575 lived in Chicago, 30,150 (1.8 %) were Black (Philpott 117). What this tells us is that alongside Chicagos unpr ecedented population boom, the rate of African

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97 Americans in the city either kept pace with or grew faster than other demographics during this timeframe; Chicagos expanse was at least in part due to the incr ease in the numbers of African Americans coming to this Midwestern industr ial hub. But Black Chicagoans, more than any other group during this time, found themselves mo re and more the subjects of the intensive project to manage urban social space, evidenced by the fact that large pockets of Chicago emerged as a Black Belt. By the turn of th e century, this reorganiza tion of poor Black people into urban pockets was nearly complete. While cer tainly many Blacks chose to live close to and associate indeed forge a communitywith those who shared a common history, the extent to which African Americans had been isolated within the city had been so thorough so as to suggest a much more elaborate project of communal e ngineering taking place on perceived racialized differences. African Americans were not allowed to vote in the city through 1870, and public schools had been racially segregated in th e city up through 1874. By 1900, sixteen Chicago wards were 99.5 to 100% white. Over half of the citys black population lived in three congruous South Side wards (Philpott 131). Raci al consideration also went into the construction, or at least the containment of red light districts. Black communities also had to deal with the authorities willingness to build a vice district adjacent to their own homes.25 Perhaps the most international attention was paid to the attempt at urban social engineering and management in an experiment located 20 miles outside of Chicago. George Pullman, who had in the years leading up to 1880 had been quietly purchasing prairie land south of the burgeoning metropolis, claimed publicly the n eed to move his workers so relatively far from Chicago to escape the vice that he felt plague d these urban centers, particularly in terms of 25 No white people, not even the sort who patronized whores and gambling tables, cared to live next door to bordellos and casinos any more than they wanted to live near Negroes. Because it was not possible, or at least not politic to suppress vice, the police segregated it. Black people were helpless to prevent the authorities from locating the red light district where they lived, just as they were unable to stop whites from segregating them (Philpott 159).

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98 crime, vice, and labor unrest. While Pullman tout ed the idea of a planned community to solve the haphazard and chaotic expansion of Chicago that contributed to its social problems, company towns came with additional benefit to capitalists of isolating workers from labor unions and larger, powerful solidarity organizations and from alternative sour ces of employment. What must it have been like to inhabit such a community? Pullman took extraordinary measures to engineer the physical landscape of his company town, employing a landscape architect to produce a natural, ae sthetically pleasing effect for hi s worker that would be a stark contrast to the concrete slums of the metr opolis. With such surroundings and such human regard for the needs of the body as well as the so ul, Pullman said, the disturbing conditions of strikes and other troubles that pe riodically convulse the world of labor would not be found here (qtd. in Buder vii-viii). Pullmans insistence on absolute cleanliness in all aspects of his settlement was the manifestation of a major underlying principle behind the town (and also, significantly, behind his general corporate ethic)that aesthetic s and beautiful surroundings had above all commercial value.26 The industr