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Racial Capitalism: Race, Class, and the Black Radical Tradition
“Racial capitalism” is a concept that has become central to contemporary radical movements, from Black Lives Matter to the prison abolition movement to movements against state violence and for climate justice. The concept was first developed by Cedric Robinson in his monumental Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition, where he argues that “the development, organization, and expansion of capitalist society pursued essentially racial directions.” For Robinson, capitalism and racism evolved together and thus must be understood as inseparable from each other. Why, even at its origins, was capitalism racialized? And how, in racial capitalism, are we to understand race, class, identity, and exploitation?
In this course, we will take seriously the challenge of thinking through Robinson’s concept of racial capitalism in all of its complexity. The class will be centered in a close reading of Black Marxism, alongside selections from thinkers in the Black Radical Tradition, including Oliver Cox, W. E. B. Du Bois, Frantz Fanon, C. L. R. James, and Richard Wright. Students will also examine contemporary scholars and activists who have carried forward the analysis of racial capitalism (including challenging and supplementing Robinson’s general failure to consider the intersections of gender and sexuality with race and class), including Angela Davis, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Joy James, Walter Johnson, Robin Kelley, Fred Moten, Noel Ignatiev, Donna Murch, and Robyn Spencer, as well as the collection Futures of Black Radicalism.
We will conclude by looking at recent debates regarding the relationship between Marxism and intersectionality. How do the histories of global capitalism and global racism intersect? How do anti-capitalist and anti-racist theory and practice align (or fail to align)? What is the relationship between intersectionalist feminism and theorizations of racial capitalism? Does capitalism need racism—or, as Nancy Fraser’s asked in a recent essay, “Is Capitalism Necessarily Racist?”—and does racism need capitalism? How does studying racial capitalism help us better understand race, capital, and the contemporary world?
This course is available for "remote" learning and will be available to anyone with access to an internet device with a microphone (this includes most models of computers, tablets). Classes will take place with a "Live" instructor at the date/times listed below.
Upon registration, the instructor will send along additional information about how to log-on and participate in the class.
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Brooklyn Institute for Social Research
New York, New York Online
New York, New York
This class isn't on the schedule at the moment, but save it to your Wish List to find out when it comes back!
The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research was established in 2011 in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. Its mission is to extend liberal arts education and research far beyond the borders of the traditional university, supporting community education needs and opening up new possibilities for scholarship in the...
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You’ve seen Emily in Paris, but is Parisian life all just cute outfits, champagne soirées and macarons? Join us for a panel discussion to find out! Hear from successful American expat ladies from different walks of life who will talk about their Paris experiences, highlight cultural differences and bring the City of Lights to life in all its unfiltered...
Saturday May 15th, 1pm - 2:30pm Eastern Time
Join author Stephanie Rabinowitz for an exciting exploration of relatively unsung American literary gems that you should be reading. From Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop to John Williams’s Stoner, Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, Henry James’s What Maisie Knew, and Wallace Stegner’s Angle of Repose...
Tuesday May 25th, 2pm - 3pm Eastern Time
At a time when we are more physically distant than ever before—how can we reverse the growing trends of disconnection to forge meaningful connections in business and in life? Even before the pandemic gripped the world, we had become a nation engulfed in loneliness. People have hundreds of “friends” on Facebook, and countless “connections”...
Thursday May 27th, 1pm - 2:15pm Eastern Time
Explore early stage startups with Initialized Capital cofounder and Managing Partner Garry Tan. Garry Tan is cofounder and Managing Partner at Initialized Capital, the early stage venture capital firm he founded with Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian. The VC firm has over $700M in assets under management and has a portfolio with over 200 companies, including...
Thursday May 27th, 2:30pm - 4pm Pacific Time
Deschooling & Decolonizing: Systemic Change From the Inside Out This 8-week OlioCourse examines the settler colonial history of the university and the different ways we can create decolonial projects from the institution’s structure using Janelle Monae’s work. We'll be launching our conversations off la paperson’s "A Third University is...
Friday May 28th, 7pm - 8:30pm Eastern Time(8 sessions)
Times of uncertainty can create obstacles for artists and designers; they also present opportunities for new ways of thinking, making, and envisioning. This course will provide both first-time and more experienced artists with prompts to inspire their art practice while navigating and reflecting on our current moment. A prompt is a starting point...
Wednesday Jun 2nd, 6pm - 8:30pm Central Time(12 sessions)
Explore cap tables, fundraising and early stage startups with Techstars Managing Director KJ Singh. KJ Singh is Managing Director for Techstars, a seed accelerator with 2,379 companies in its portfolio and over $11.4B in total funding. During his time at Techstars, KJ has invested in over 100 companies, which have collectively raised more than $200M...
Wednesday Jun 9th, 2:30pm - 4pm Pacific Time
This class will take place online. Registered students will receive login instructions. Learn how to identify this unique order of insects as they take to the skies in early summer. Study their biology, behavior, habitat associations, and conservation efforts currently underway.
Monday Jul 12th, 10am - 12pm Eastern Time(3 sessions)
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