This course sets out to historicize the conditions under which a specific kind of capitalism emerges at the beginning of the twenty-first century—a regime organized through speculation and new forms of exploitation beyond the industrial workplace, in prison and military industrial complexes, where debt accrues to the Black poor, the jobless, and a growing global precariat. This new moment in the history of capital accumulation is approached in several ways: one, through attention to the critical significance of 1492; two, the rise of Atlantic slavery; and three, the emergence of “racial capitalism” as a system reliant on “transparently violent means (war, land-grabbing, dispossession, neo-colonialism).” The course goes on to show the ways that 1492 and Atlantic slavery remain critical to understanding the present. As the archaeology of contemporary capitalism emerges in the first few weeks of seminar, we will begin to think about some of its cultural logics too: how race and racism operate in tandem with capital; the utility of empires and peripheries; the centrality of gender for private property. How do the legacies of Atlantic slavery inform processes of deindustrialization, mass incarceration, and militarization? What is the relationship of racial capitalism and anti-Black racism? And finally, in what ways does the Movement for Black Lives encompass a response to racial capitalism and the afterlives of slavery?

This course will align with the Globalization, Ethics, Welfare and Human Rights specialization track and specifically the relationship between racial capitalism and anti-Black racism as instantiations of the problem of ethics, welfare, and human rights in their relationship to the global expansion of capital.
NO preliminary knowledge required