Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8611-9210

Year of Publication

2018

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Dr. Andrew Wood

Abstract

By means of a peculiar magic, insurance preserves the quantified value of capital through destructive, contingent events. The principal subjects of this project, global reinsurers, stand at the end of a long line of loss claims, holding capital together as forces threaten to tear it apart. The apocalyptic imaginaries of climate change portend events that will be increasingly destructive to capital, and insurers counter with new products and narratives. In examining reinsurers and the catastrophes they protect against, this project questions how novelty emerges from the eternal return of the same. I show how power is inscribed in the landscape, maintained through the ritual of daily reproduction, and protected from looming outliers to build a long inheritance. Using Walter Benjamin's meditations on violence, I then explore the swerves and breaks that might make the world otherwise.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/etd.2018.291

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