Racial Capitalism and Language – 8th Workshop of the Language & Work Group
Date: 22-23 September 2023
Location: Studiecentrum Utrecht Open Universiteit (Vondellaan 202, 3521GZ Utrecht)
Organizer: Sibo R. Kanobana
Registration deadline: 15 september 2023
Credits: 1 or 2 ECTS (Readings and optional reflection essay)
This interdisciplinary workshop will explore the concept of racial capitalism as presented by Cedric Robinson in Black Marxism. The Making of the Black Radical Tradition (1983). This workshop aims to understand the relevance of Robinson’s work to the fields of sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology, semiotics and cultural studies and seeks to investigate how various struggles for social justice, such as antiracism, feminism, class struggle, etc. are fundamentally interrelated.
Racial capitalism refers to the ways in which capitalism and systems of racial oppression intersect and mutually reinforce each other. It suggests that capitalism is not only a political and economic system, but also a system of racial hierarchy that is used to justify and maintain the exploitation, exclusion and oppression of marginalized groups. Cedric Robinson (1983) argues that capitalism and racism did not originate as a rejection of feudalism, but rather developed from it, suggesting that capitalism emerged in a European society that was already deeply influenced by racialism, and it shaped a modern global system of “racial capitalism” that relied on violence and imperialism.
In this workshop, we will discuss how racial capitalism can be critically applied in research on inequality, political economy, and language and how it also relates to feminist critiques of capitalism. Participants in this workshop will have the opportunity to engage with scholars from different disciplines who are working on issues related to racialization and capitalism and to discuss the implications for their own research. The workshop will provide a space for critical and interdisciplinary dialogue on the intersections of language, race, gender, and capitalism, and will encourage participants to think creatively about how to apply these insights in their own work.
Overall, this workshop aims to foster a deeper understanding of the concept of racial capitalism and its relevance today in contemporary 21st century Europa, and to inspire participants to think more critically about the role of language in systems of inequality and oppression as well as to inspire new forms of resistance that acknowledge the inherent relationality of different structures of oppression.
Papers and discussions
Video lecture: Kelley, Robin D. G. 2017.‘What is Racial Capitalism and Why Does It Matter?’, November, 2017, Kane Hall, University of Washington, Seattle, WA.
Paper presentations and discussion:
1. Performances of new racial identities. The case of feminismo villero in Argentina
a. Prof. dr. Veronica Pájaro, Universitet i Agden, Norway
2. Beyond race and capital: exploring the languages of new political imaginations
a. Dr. Maria Rosa Garrido Sardà, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
3. Racial Capitalism and Discourses of Desire
a. Dr. Mi-Cha Flubacher, Wien Universität, Austria
4. “RIP English”: Race, class and ‘good English’ in India
a. Dr. Katy Highet, University of the West of Scotland, UK
5. Woke Capitalism and the Semiotics of Nonwhiteness
a. Dr. Sibo Kanobana, Open University of the Netherlands
Readings and discussion
- Paper: Leong, Nancy. 2013. ‘Racial Capitalism’. Harvard Law Review 126:2153–2225.
- Virdee, Satnam. 2019. ‘Racialized Capitalism: An Account of Its Contested Origins and Consolidation’. The Sociological Review 67(1):3–27. doi: 10.1177/0038026118820293.
- Mies, Maria. 2014. ‘Colonization and Housewifization’. Patriarchy and accumulation on a world scale: women in the international division of labour. 74-111. London: Zed Books Ltd.
- Book’s introduction: Williams, Theo. 2022. Making the Revolution Global: Black Radicalism and the British Socialist Movement before Decolonisation. London: Verso.
Bookings are closed for this event.