Studium Generale - Palm oil and the capitalist mode of human sacrifice

In 1898, the British Empire invaded and destroyed the Edo Kingdom (present-day Nigeria). This sacrificial event, which killed thousands, is often associated with the theft of the Benin Bronzes, which today haunt many Western museums and are the subject of repatriation struggles. The invasion was motivated by Europe’s hunger for palm oil, which was a key product in the industrial revolutions.

Taking this haunting act of violence as a starting place, this presentation follows palm oil’s story through the changing shape of global capitalism until the present day, when it is found in 50% of supermarket products. This might allow us to theorize a particularly capitalist mode of human sacrifice and speak of rebellions against it.

Programme of EarthCraft's Kindred Soils session #4

Location: Auditorium, KABK, The Hague

17:00 - 18:30 CET
~ Food & film hosted by KABK students, under the guidance of Elia Nurvista

18:30 - 19:30 CET
~ Lecture Max Haiven

19:30 - 20:30 CET
~ Elia Nurvista in conversation with Max Haiven and Q&A

Watch below a recording of the lecture of 20 April 2023

Playlist material

Bio Max Haiven
Max Haiven (he/him) is a writer and teacher and Canada Research Chair in the Radical Imagination. His most recent books are Palm Oil: The Grease of Empire (2022), Revenge Capitalism: The Ghosts of Empire, the Demons of Capital, and the Settling of Unpayable Debts (2020) and Art after Money, Money after Art: Creative Strategies Against Financialization (2018). Haiven is editor of VAGABONDS, a series of short, radical books from Pluto Press. He teaches at Lakehead University, where he co-directs the ReImagining Value Action Lab (RiVAL).

Bio Elia Nurvista
Elia Nurvista (she/her)explores a wide range of art mediums with an interdisciplinary approach and focuses on the discourse on food. Through food, she intends to scrutinize power, social, and economic inequality in this world. Using several mediums from workshop, study group, publication, site specific, performance, video and art installations, she explores the social implications of the food system to critically address the wider issues such as ecology, gender, class and geopolitics.

In 2015 she initiated Bakudapan, a food study group, with colleagues from different disciplines. Bakudapan runs on the principle of complementarity and camaraderie between its members. With Bakudapan she has conducted cross references research on food within the socio-political-cultural context. She is also part of Struggles for Sovereignty, the solidarity platform on Land, Water, Farming, Food which aim to build lasting solidarity between groups in Indonesia and trans-national who are engaged with struggles for the right to self-determination over the basic resources that our individual and collective bodies need.



20 april 2023 17.00 - 20:30


Auditorium KABK, The Hague

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Part of the Spring Cycle series of lectures Earth Craft - Studium Generale 2022-2023