Since its first usage by antiapartheid activists in South Africa to its elaboration by political theorist Cedric J. Robinson, racial capitalism is a concept that delineates the interlinked relationships of race and class constitutive of global capitalism. The racial capitalism working group is a site of sustained collaborative research and study. Our collective work is rooted in a commitment to Black radicalism, historical materialism, feminism, and anti-imperialism.
The working group, directed by Jordan T. Camp, Term Assistant Professor of American Studies, Barnard College; Christina Heatherton, Assistant Professor of American Studies, Barnard College; and Manu Vimalassery, Assistant Professor of American Studies, Barnard College, theorizes the connections between exploitation and expropriation in interlinked political geographies. The “Racial Capitalism” working group will build on and also expand already existing efforts of the Barnard New Directions in American Studies (NDAS) initiative.
With members that include scholars from Barnard, Columbia, and the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics (CPCP) at the CUNY Graduate Center, as well as local scholars, graduate students, organizers, and visiting international scholars, this group seeks to ask: what visions of justice does the critique of political economy enable us to imagine, and to achieve? Through public lectures, seminars, manuscript workshops, conferences, community-based research projects, publications, exhibitions, and a digital archive, the working group seeks to gain clarity on the material and ideological links between Indigenous dispossession, racism, imperialism, and capitalist political economy.