ACLA Seminar: Geographies of Racial Capitalism: Labor, Caste, Dispossession

deadline for submissions: 
October 31, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Co-organizers: Najnin Islam (Colorado College), Neelofer Qadir (UNC, Greensboro)

We understand racial capitalism as a global phenomenon hinged on long, connected histories of dispossession and labor across geographies and temporalities. Cedric Robinson’s pioneering Black Marxism emphasizes the tendency for capitalism “not to homogenize but to differentiate–to exaggerate regional, subcultural, and dialectical differences into racial ones.” Investigating how capital draws upon differences within Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean attunes us to otherwise obscured dynamics. What histories, archives, literatures, and methods expand the vocabulary for racial capitalism to account for the specificities of diverse contexts? How do we apprehend the relationship of race, caste, casta and their articulation with labor and dispossession?

Robinson, W.E.B. DuBois, C.L.R. James, and Eric Williams showed how race and capitalism constitute one another. Lisa Lowe, Shona Jackson, Glen Coulthard, Denise Ferreira da Silva, Paula Chakravartty, and Sumit Guha rethink political economy as entangled with not only race, but also caste, indigeneity, nationality and gender. We build on these conversations, contributing to da Silva and Chakravartty’s claim that the dispossession of racialized subjects from their land and labor is a central, ongoing feature of global racial capitalism. Possible topics include: primitive accumulation; (post)colonial archives; Connected histories of Atlantic, Indian, Pacific Ocean worlds; Indentureship & chattel slavery; race & caste.