Document Type


Author Biography

Char Roone Miller’s research and writing focus on political aesthetics, political theology, and disciplinary technologies. His more recent book, Cities on the Plains: Divinity and Diversity (2009), examined the role of violence in the construction of political community. He has published in Political Theory, Theory & Event, PS: Political Science, and the Journal of American History. He is currently finishing a book project, “Reigning Money,” which examines money as a political and theological form of sovereignty. He can be contacted at cmillerd@gmu.edu.


Tracking similarities between film and money, specifically focusing on connections between the financial economy and the films of Charlie Chaplin, this essay examines the dynamics between the movement of the Tramp and the movements of financial markets. It explores the power of lifeless money to activate and command people, driving them to labor, starvation, and even death, yet also providing them a gold rush of stimulation. What does the power of money and what Deleuze calls its obverse, film, mean for democratic politics, especially in terms of the challenges that it presents to conceptions of political action centered on human sovereignty? Cinematic conceptions—such as movement, emotion, and time—help us think of monetary activity in a new light, as an activity shared between organic and inorganic objects. Moreover, thinking becomes less about isolating objects and more about categories that cannot be nailed down as singularities, like movement or time—realities that escape our ability to conceptualize them as objects. Money is a rush—of emotion and time—and we should begin to use it that way.