Annual Workshop: Racial Capitalism

Birkbeck, University of London, 20th September 2019

Coined by the late Cedric Robinson, “racial capitalism” remains one of the most crucial theoretical contributions drawn from the black radical tradition. With the idea of racial capitalism Robinson sought to explode traditional conceptions of political economy by placing the racialising practices of colonialism, enslavement and apartheid at the core of his study of capitalism. In doing so, Robinson also centred black struggle as a revolutionary and world-making agent In the politics of liberation from racial capitalism.

In recent years, racial capitalism has received revived interrogation among various researchers and activists, not least by Gargi Bhattacharyya in Rethinking Racial Capitalism (2018). Some have used it to understand contemporary practices of state violence, mass incarceration, social reproduction, dispossession, bordering and climate change. Others have returned to the idea to push beyond analytical and political separations of class, race and gender. Racial capitalism has also been used to reinterrogate “traditional” disciplinary concerns of IPE (International Political Economy), such as markets, property, trade, financialisation, production and labour. In this workshop, we will interrogate the history of the idea of racial capitalism and explore new directions and innovations in its use today. We therefore invite interventions on (but not limited to):

  • Neoliberalism, financialisation and racialised crises
  • Racialised work, labour and production
  • Land, dispossession and gentrification
  • The relationship between race and class
  • Racial capitalism, gender and social reproduction
  • State violence and mass incarceration
  • Climate change and environmental politics
  • Black struggle, antiracism and anticapitalism
  • Teaching and learning racial capitalism in IPE
  • Alternative theorisations of/ to racial capitalism

Our annual workshops are not organised around “paper-giving” as such, but rather each session is introduced by a couple of five minute opening interventions around which we build a collective conversation.  Therefore, if you are interested in attending please do also indicate whether you would like to provide one of these five-minute interventions, and if so, on what issue area. Places are limited and travel funding is available with doctoral students, precarious and early career scholars prioritised. Please indicate your interest in attending no later than June 24th 2019 to Lisa Tilley