Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)

Truncated transitions, surplus population and the politics of entitlement after development

06June2017 16:00


Tania Murray Li (University of Toronto) delivers the 26th Wertheim Lecture. She will discuss the development narrative which anticipates that all nations will eventually follow the transition path of the global north, from farm to factory, from low to high productivity. Li states that this narrative is increasingly problematic.

In the global north and south alike, a great many people find their labour 'surplus' to the requirements of capital. If not through their work, how will such people gain a share of global wealth? The politics of entitlement – who will become entitled, on what grounds, and who will be abandoned – is the critical frontline of research, policy, and mobilization today.

About Tania Murray Li

Tania Murray Li teaches in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto, where she holds the Canada Research Chair in the Political Economy and Culture of Asia. Her work concerns land, labour, development, community, class, and indigeneity with a particular focus on Indonesia.

Her books include Land's End: Capitalist Relations on an Indigenous Frontier (Duke University Press, 2014), Powers of Exclusion: Land Dilemmas in Southeast Asia (with Derek Hall and Philip Hirsch, NUS Press, 2011), and The Will to Improve: Governmentality, Development, and the Practice of Politics (Duke University Press, 2007).

Her current writing project concerns the social and political impacts of oil palm in Indonesia, drawing on primary research in  West Kalimantan and situating current patterns in relation to colonial histories of plantation agriculture in Indonesia and beyond.  

Location: Agnietenkapel, Amsterdam

  • Agnietenkapel

    Oudezijds Voorburgwal 229 - 231 | 1012 EZ Amsterdam
    +31 (0)20 525 2362

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There are limited seats available, please register in advance via email,, or telephone +31 (0) 20 525 2262.

About the Wertheim Lectures

Honoring the legacy of Prof. W.F. Wertheim, the founding father of Asian studies at UvA, the annual Wertheim Lecture is organized by the Moving Matters programme group of the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR, University of Amsterdam). The Wertheim Lecture series transcends the boundaries of the individual disciplines which constitute the social sciences, and aims at understanding the dynamic forces at work within Asia during the colonial and post-colonial eras. Pattern s of cultural and structural change are analysed in a framework which is comparative in both time and place. Sometimes the focus is on the nation-state, in its mid-twentieth century form, or on its antecedents in the recent past, but it may also be directed towards other societal levels. A recurrent concern is the integration of intellectual rigour with compassion and social concern.

Published by  AISSR