Gregg Mitman, 'Empire of Rubber: Firestone’s Scramble for Land and Power in Liberia'


Thursday, October 21, 2021, 1:00pm


Virtual Event


Gregg Mitman in conversation with Evelynn M. Hammonds

Empire of Rubber: Firestone’s Scramble for Land and Power in Liberia

Empire of Rubber is at once an iconic story and utterly unique. In Mitman’s clear, complex, and compelling narrative, he provides privy to the measured and malevolent workings of the U.S. as an imperial formation. Mitman’s account ... is told with erudition and grace in a powerful narrative that combines the political imaginaries and grounded conditions of racism, capitalism, and visionaries long at the heart of imperial democracies.

—Ann Laura Stoler, Willy Brandt Distinguished University Professor of Anthropology and Historical Studies, Director, Institute for Critical Social Inquiry, New School for Social Research, and author of Duress: Imperial Durabilities in Our Times

Gregg Mitman has delivered a brilliant, compelling read. Empire of Rubber draws together the long history of commodity colonialism, the imperial roots of Liberia’s recent civil war, and the fraught relations between American medical institutions and racism at home and abroad. Empire of Rubber dramatizes intersectional thinking at its very best.

—Rob Nixon, Barron Family Professor of Environment and Humanities, Princeton University, and author of Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor

In this brilliantly rendered, epic tale of American racial capitalism in West Africa, Gregg Mitman details the profound and devastating effects of plantation agriculture. In the process he unearths the political and legal machinations of Firestone rubber in undermining Black sovereignty, and reveals the violence of corporate philanthropy in the guise of development.

—Julie Livingston, Professor of History, and Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University, MacArthur Fellow, and author of Improvising Medicine